Retain Your Best Employees During Covid-19 Crisis

Are your top performers safe?

Here are five steps you can take to protect your top performing Salesforce pros.

The Coronavirus pandemic is inducing stress for almost everyone. Fear of losing ones clients, job, business, getting sick or losing a loved one can be overwhelming. While under stress, no matter how much we care, it’s easy to overlook the needs of our most critical employees.

Protecting the health of your workforce, is paramount. Protecting the livelihood of your employees and your business comes next. We’ve all heard “In case of loss of cabin pressure, place the oxygen mask on yourself first and your child second.” So too must businesses look after the life of the business first and the employee second. Success is dependent on a variety of factors, including debt, cash and industry. Now, it’s not all bad news. Many of us are at an advantage by operating remote Salesforce work forces. Even so, not all work forces and employees are equal and not everyone will be safe from losing great employees.  Let’s protect them as many as we can, starting with your most critical employees! After all, if you’ve invested in a great Salesforce recruiter to help develop your team, you’ll want to protect your the team, now more than ever.
 

1. Identify Your Salesforce Top Performers

  • Who on your team accomplishes more, complains less, has the best ideas and the drive to execute? Chances are, you already know.
  • It’s not only work output or revenue production of your Salesforce Developers, Salesforce Administrators and Account Executives that matter. Some employees are the glue of the office. They’re the reasons top performers stay and ignore other job offers.

2. Communicate Directly

  • Blanket emails to all staff isn’t enough. One on ones with each employee is just good management. It’s doubly important for your most valued staff.
  • Seek to understand how the pandemic is impacting their lives. Give them a chance to vent and be heard.
  • Top performers have AMAZING ideas. Asking for their input on how to manage clients and other staff should be a no-brainer.

3. Have a Plan if an Employee Gets Sick

  • Do you have a redundancy plan should one or more of your staff become ill?
  • Who covers for whom?
  • Is there access to all files, plans, and project status?
  • Are team updates more frequent and have you increased documentation requirements?

4. Get Creative and Negotiate Compensation

  • Will offering furlough to employees save the company?
  • Can we allow full time employees to moonlight to make up for loss of income?
  • Can we keep more top employees by reducing hours?
  • Who do you value who is expensive that would be willing to temporarily accept less income?

5. Identify Low Performers

  • Identify your low performers and attitude mismatches. Low performers wreak havoc on your leadership career and cause numerous challenges. This could be the time to realign your staff to your goals and values. Again, you likely already know who they are.
  • This does not automatically mean the newest or least expensive employee. You may have hired a 5 out of 5 rock star who is still new and less productive. If they have the right drive, a great attitude and match your company’s values, hang on to them as long as you can.
  • Let the low performers go. Save the business and live to hire another day.
  • Act swiftly. The speed of your decisions may well determine if your team dies, survives or thrives in the new economy.
For additional strategies to protect your team, schedule a pro-bono strategy call with The Salesforce Recruiter

The Best Interview Question Ever!

The Question:

“Imagine all the people who love and care about you are locked in a room. Their only way out is to agree on the number one thing that, if you changed, would improve your life the most. What would they agree on?”

I wrote this specifically to be able to hold candidates accountable to their responses without degradation of rapport in an interview. It’s recommended it be quoted word for word.

Interpretation of responses:

First and foremost, we’re looking for openness and self-awareness.
The more honest, the better. Here are a few real-world examples:

If the candidate states no one would say they need to improve in anything, they are either not self-aware or have no allies in life. Either is a massive red flag.

If the response is trite, or self-serving, hold the candidate accountable to the question, as in this example:

“So, you’re saying everyone who loves you thinks your life would improve the most if you weren’t so efficient (detail-oriented, friendly, hard-working, whatever)? It’s a difficult question. Take your time to think this through. There’s no rush.”

Whatever the response, it’s merely the X on the map of where to dig, with follow up questions.
OK. Tell me more? Why? What do you mean?
How long have you been working that way?
How have you tried to fix this?
Do you agree with them?
In what way is it impacting you now?
Can you share an example?

Protect your team and your time!

If there’s a mismatch to the job trait requirements and the response, address it directly.“This position requires (insert trait) to be successful. Based on what you shared, is it possible this may not be the right role for you?”

Did you know? 

The person who responded, “My temper,” was placed by me a week later and spent over five successful years in the role. Be openminded and slow to judge until you’ve uncovered the truth. There are no wrong answers, just wrong hiring decisions.

Hopefully, this is a question you can integrate into your screening process to help you better understand your candidates and protect your Salesforce team from a miss-hire. While not every interviewer is comfortable asking personal questions of this nature, gaining comfort will develop over time and through practice, so consider trying it out with some friends and family.

Whether you’re hiring a Salesforce Developer or attempting to find a Salesforce Consultant,

there is one question I recommend above all others. Among my team and for many years, it’s referred to as “The Question,” and it may help you significantly de-risk your hiring decisions.

The question tests self-awareness, honesty/openness, accountability, and stress behavior while giving insight into a candidate’s support network, among other revelations.

Entry Level – Salesforce Career Advice

Top Salesforce Recruiters

I’m often asked by entry-level candidates “How can I gain real-world Salesforce experience?”. Whether you’ve just started your Trailhead or just completed your first certification, check out this list of steps, tips, and resources to help you achieve your goal of employment within the Salesforce ecosystem.

1. Get in the playground and play. 

Practice daily! You must improve your skill and efficiency. Remember the 10,000-hour rule. It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. Start getting yours in now.
 

2. Don’t stop learning.

I recently placed a Junior Salesforce Administrator who had zero real org experience, but she did have 150 badges. It’s the drive to learn that impressed the employer, along with the extra skill. Badges help. 
 

3. Build your LinkedIn profile. 

If you don’t absolutely love your profile, chances are others won’t either. 
For help getting started, check out this article: 31 Best LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers
 

4. Build your LinkedIn connections. 

Identify employers in your area who use Salesforce (look at job postings). Invite appropriate managers from those firms to join your network. Stay in touch, but don’t annoy them with too many communications or asking for a job. Instead, let them know you’re excited about your new career and offer to help.

5. Read this great article from a Salesforce insider:

Get Salesforce Experience 

6. Make sure you can touch type.

Efficiency will accelerate your opportunities and compensation. This is often overlooked for those transitioning into technology. If you can’t touch type as fast as you can talk, there are free lessons on www.typing.com. No looking! 

7. Answer these questions.

  • What are you committed to accomplishing in the next 90 days? 
  • How much time per week are you committed to investing?
  • What user groups and online communities will you join?
  • Will you invest in your resume and LI profile?
  • How many badges or certifications will you complete?
  • How many jobs will you apply to?
  • How many connections are you committed to making?
  • What non-technical skills do you have that ensure you will be a terrific employee? (interdepartmental communications, customer support, an upbeat attitude, highly organized, etc.)

8. Make a plan.

Plot your activities in your calendar and execute.

Pro Tip: 

Studies show you are more likely to complete what you set out to do if you are accountable to others. Consider forming a group of 2-3 peers with weekly check-ins to keep the motivation and drive up.
  

Pro Tip: 

Studies also show you are more likely to complete a goal if you focus on and complete one goal at a time. Think of each goal as a ladder rung. Skipping rungs increases your chance of falling off the ladder.

You’ve made an exceptional and timely career decision. While it’s not often we are engaged for junior level placements, I hope someday we can be a help to you as you grow your career and expertise. Now, here’s a chance for you to help others…

What’s the best tip you know of? Share in the comments!

5 Steps To Increase Offer Acceptance

Find A Salesforce Developer

Did you know people who are satisfied with their candidate experience are 38% more likely to accept a job offer?

 
Losing a candidate after extending an offer can be crushing, but we often lose a top candidate early in the process.  
 
Let’s face it; interviewing is stressful for managers. Often, an unsuccessful hire can mean hours of coaching, missed deadlines, decreased positivity in the workplace or, my least favorite, drama. There’s pressure to hire, hire quickly, hire correctly and that pressure can show. In a world of candidate scarcity, assuring a positive initial candidate experience is critical. Candidates are consumers. They buy into the company, into you as a leader, and follow standard consumer-driven behaviors of those that purchase your products. This fact means not all candidates you meet, even if they’re perfect for the role, will accept an offer. Not only are candidates skeptical, particularly those that were sourced passively (not looking for a job change), but they are nervous. The impact an employee has on a company isn’t close to the impact the job has on a candidate. It’s our job as the interviewer to know this and put them at ease quickly. 
 
Here are a few easy ways to relax, relax the candidate, get to the truth, and get a YES when making an offer. 
 

1. STOP and BREATHE

Don’t rush in from another meeting and wind up reading their resume in front of them. Take five minutes to decompress. Read their resume thoroughly and highlight areas of interest and concern. Leave your phone at your desk and notify staff that only 911’s should be cause for interruptions. 
 
How we appear to our candidates is essential. If we are coming out of a stressful meeting, it may show and send the wrong signal, causing candidates to form early but false impressions about you as a manager.  Disruptions during interviews, such as our phone buzzing in our pocket, cause us to lose focus and can derail critical moments of establishing rapport (the foundation of obtaining truthful responses from interviewees). 
 

2.  SMILE…OFTEN. 

A friendly smile not only relaxes the candidate, but it will relax you as well and put you in a better mood. Smiling upon greeting isn’t enough. It’s possible to be critical and comforting at the same time, so make a habit to brighten-up during the meetings when appropriate. It’s fine to ask hard-hitting questions, put them on their heels to see how they handle tough questions or react to stress, but you must SELL before you SCREEN. 
 

3. ESTABLISH RAPPORT

What do you do for fun? 
Tell me about yourself.
What’s something outside of work that you’re passionate about?
This is a standard NLP rapport building practice. It helps the candidate go to a “happy place” and gives them something stress-free to chat about and lubricate the conversation. Their answers to the tougher questions will flow more efficiently, and they’ll reveal more about the type of person they are. They’ll also view you as an interested employer whose they like, which can lead to a YES when the offer is out. 
 

4. ORIENT THEM IN TIME

Let them know how the meeting will go and in what order. 
“Carrie, thanks for coming in today. This morning, I’ll be meeting with you first for about 30 minutes, followed by Jim, the VP, and Sandra, the Office Manager, for 30 minutes each as well. Our style of interviewing is accomplishment based. We’ll be discussing your career history starting with your job at X and working towards your current position. Before we get started though,  tell me. What do you do for fun? “
 

5. ORIENT THEM IN SPACE

Whether it’s a small office or a large campus, offer a quick walk around or a tour of the space they’ll be working. Let your teams know candidates are coming in and encourage them to be warm and welcoming. Show them the kitchen, gym, and any other amenities you are proud to share. Even a walk to the warehouse or a different department can give them a sense of being courted and strengthen their bond to the company. You have competitors for these candidates, so take advantage of this important step and help give them a full picture of the environment. 
Note: This step can come after the meeting for the candidates you would like to move forward. It sends a signal of continued interest and courtship.
 
While the points covered here are far from comprehensive, as you can see, creating a positive candidate experience isn’t that difficult. These five steps will help you to improve common errors in hiring and help you get de-risk losing a great candidate early in the process. 
 
For more information about how to de-risk your hiring process, schedule a one-on-one Discovery Session.

Independence and Mental Health

Find A Salesforce Consultant

Independence day is one of my favorite holidays, second only to Interdependence Day, AKA Thanksgiving.

When we wipe off the make-up of BBQ’s and fireworks, we might remember a moment in history that embodied, risk, self-determination, and interdependence as a people against an unjust ruler who failed to act in the peoples’ interests.

Acting justly in one’s interest and the interests of those who entrust your decision making is at the heart of the declaration, and it should be at the heart of business as well. However, very often, it is not.

Each day, employees across the country, entrust their career and future success to the decision making of the leaders of the companies they serve. The hours go in, the work comes out, the checks get cashed, and yet the vast majority of workers (almost two thirds according to the Faas Foundation and Mental Health America) believe the stress of their roles harms their mental or behavioral health.

While there is no panacea or tonic to cure the unique conditions under which individuals suffer, you can hire for success with incredible accuracy and consistency and actively prevent some of the most common causes for workplace stress, namely non-productive employees and culture killers.

Unfortunately, very few know how to hire for success, and this includes the majority of recruiters and most hiring managers. If they did, attrition, work-life balance, and employee satisfaction rates would be much different than they are. Crappy hiring practices are so prevalent that only 20% of hires are deemed “overwhelmingly successful” while nearly half of hires fail within 18 months. Combine that with scarcity in the tech market, and It’s no wonder managers feel “held over the barrel” to retain under-performers, and the workloads of other employees increase resulting in a plague of unhappiness in the workplace across the USA.

The reality is, adopting proven hiring methodologies that both attract the right candidates and screen out those that will suffer and cause suffering to others is possible. Not only that, it’s the surest way to protect your company, your career, and the mental and behavioral health of those that have entrusted their work lives to your management.

This independence day, I encourage all business leaders to claim more independence to build the right teams and refuse to be subject to the historical and ignominious norms of staffing and hiring. 

Fire your severely under-performing employee. Resist engaging recruiters who are incentivized to sell their candidates at any price. Engage in in-depth discourse with your talent acquisition team and ensure they aren’t overworked. Refuse to be held over a barrel due to the scarcity of talent. Take your career into your own hands by taking hiring into your own hands and committing to being great at it. Investigate the passive candidate market with dedication and fervor and study the best books for how to do this. Hire an experienced recruiter with niche knowledge and a record of placement longevity, not just placements. Finally, for inspiration to make the changes necessary, read the Declaration of Independence this week.

For information on best practices, resources, and simple measures that considerably improve the quality and happiness of your team, I recommend the books WHO by Smart and Street, Recruit Rockstars by Jeff Hyman, or contact me directly for a short discovery session.

Have a happy 4th of July and be sure to exert your independence!

Specialized Isn’t (Salesforce) Special

Salesforce Staffing
If you are in a niche, your Salesforce recruiter should be too!

“Niche recruiters who specialize in a certain area are often a better choice than a recruiter from a large generalist firm…The will often be a better choice. In addition, you’ll avoid the restrictions or off-limits lists of the big firms”
-Jeff Hyman, author of the much-lauded Recruit Rock Stars

Is your specialist really specialized?
 
1994 was the birth of both the World Wide Web and specialty technology recruiting with some of the largest staffing firms on the planet.
 
For 25 years, the tech sector roared to its 2019 estimate of 5 trillion-dollars as technology branched off to hundreds of languages, platforms, and systems. Meanwhile, the tech recruiting industry blossomed to 200 billion dollars per year.
 

5 years into this boom, the largest firms recognized the need for specialization and segmented infrastructure recruiting from software development and engineering. It took another 10 years to see the slight expansion of some of these firms into technology agnostic ERP and CRM specialization.

Is there really such a thing as a specialist technical recruiter from a large firm?

Maybe, but probably not.

What was once only mainframe, C and C++ now include all flavors of .NET, Java, MS-Dynamics, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, JDE, backend, frontend, big data, implementation, dev-ops, Marketo, Angular, AI and the list keeps growing.

 
Introducing the generalist tech recruiter.

Big firms rarely turn down an order and their known names often foster a misplaced trust in niche knowledge.  Hiring managers whose careers depend on the teams they build may be left asking themselves “Is this as good as recruitment gets?”. If a business has placed hundreds of the specialists you are looking for, does it matter there were 100 recruiters, in 20 countries, who only did this only once each?

You betcha!

Think of it  this way, a vulture is a generalist in the scavenger category. They are prolific and agnostic about what they eats so long as it’s carrion. Meanwhile, a koala bear is truly a specialist. They rely on the specific eucalyptus leaves grown in their unique habitat. 

Next time you’re looking to bring on a critical employee through an agency, save yourself time, improve quality, options, and work with a koala. Salesforce recruitment doesn’t need to be a learning experience for your recruiter, and all those Network Engineers on their database simply won’t matter to the Salesforce network you really need to access.

How to Work With Recruiters

Salesforce Recruiters

Working with a recruiter could be one of the best career decisions you’ve ever made. It can also be a serious waste of time and lead to disappointment and even resentment.

Choosing the right firm, the right recruiter and getting off on the right foot can be essential steps to landing you in a position that fulfills your ambitions. Follow these simple seven tips to get the most out of your recruiter relationships.

1. Choose firms (and recruiters) that specialize in what you do.

As obvious as it sounds, a little research will go a long way to helping you find the right position. If a firm or recruiter doesn’t understand the language of your profession, chances are they won’t have the skill to obtain the job orders from managers hiring people like you.

2. Work with a senior recruiter when possible.

It’s perfectly OK to ask a recruiter a few questions to determine their experience and ability level. Check them out on LinkedIn. Do they have good recommendations? Are they connected to your industry?

3. Most recruiters work for free until they make a placement and when they do, it’s the client who pays not you the candidate.

Remember this and treat them accordingly. If a recruiter doesn’t like you for whatever reason (thinks you’re rude or arrogant) it’s unlikely they’ll submit you for any jobs.

4. Staying in touch is YOUR job –

just don’t stay in touch too much. It’s essential for you to gently remind your recruiter of your existence. However, too many phone calls or emails and your recruiter is likely to run the other direction and begin avoiding you. Striking the balance is easy. Ask your recruiters how often they would like status updates. I recommend sending an email each week with your availability status, whether you have interviewed recently etc. Include in the email “REPLY NOT REQUIRED”. This keeps your recruiter informed without generating more work for them.

5. Take the advice.

If you’ve chosen your recruiter wisely and are working with someone with many years in the industry and he or she offers you advice TAKE IT. They know much more about resumes, interviews, and skills trends than most other people you’ll come in contact with.

6. Register with more than one firm.

More recruiters equals better odds of landing the job you want most.

7. Keep track of places you interviewed,

the managers you met with and share this info with your favorite recruiters. Many recruiters rely on leads from candidates to grow their job openings, which helps them place other people. This is the very best way you can repay a recruiter for the time they spend with you. Not only will it be appreciated, but it will keep you at the very top of their available candidates matrix as well.

Would you like to learn more?

Resumes and Golf Swings

Salesforce Recruiting

Resumes are like your golf swing. Everyone has an opinion and a suggestion that can make it better. The trouble is, if you take everyone’s advice you wind up with a document that is three pages too long, two pages too short, over descriptive without saying enough, in a format that’s perfect, but unreadable and says too much about your personality without saying enough about who you are. Too much advice cancels out all advice, much like sound waves muting other sounds.

When learning to golf I started out with affordable group lessons. $200 got me into a six-session group. Half the time I was the only one who showed up so I benefited from one-on-one lessons with a pro. The results were so profound I signed up for 10 more individual lessons and in a matter of a few months was able to shave off 30 strokes from my game. Some of the best advice I got from my pro Tony was to quit reading golf magazines for advice and to only take advice from one person. I paid a little attention to this and found an article on improving your drive distance. One part said to tee the ball high and the next section said to tee the ball low. RIDICULOUS! But that’s golf. It’s a game. Your career is not a game.

Promoting oneself to the world with a resume made up of tips and tricks found on Google, five recruiters opinions, and your friends and family’s advice is bound to be flawed. To begin with, most family and friends are not Pro’s and most recruiters have very little experience. Think of them as your buddy who shoots in the 80′s. He or she is still not a pro. At a company I once worked for, six out of seven recruiters had less than a year of experience. Would you hire a golf Pro with less than a year of experience? Why would you trust your CAREER to anyone’s opinion with so little experience?

If the resume gets you an invite to the tourney, you still have to play great to win the offer. This is where the mental game comes in. In The Golfers Mind: Play to Play Great, Dr. Bob Rotella emphasizes the importance of confidence and playing “loose” during matches. The tournament is not the time for trying out new ideas. That’s what the range is for. How confident will you be when the invite comes? How much practice have you had to prepare for your big moment? Where will you get your advice? How will you know how to choose?

Ask. Ask. Ask.

Salesforce Recruitment

ASK. ASK. ASK.

When we don’t ask for anything, we usually get anything but what we wanted. It’s the same as saying “If you don’t know where you are going, you just might get there.” What I like about the former is it’s 1. it’s about the present moment and 2. it involves questions.

Good questions are important. When we ask good questions of others, we demonstrate our interest in people, develop rapport, close deals, make our friends, family, and employers happy. In other words, we create opportunities to both influence and to serve.

Good answers are less important. They help us impress on job interviews, first dates, bank loans, and game shows.

Most important are the good questions we ask ourselves. These change our beliefs, our responsibilities, our perspective, and our destinies.
What do I believe? Is this belief still serving me?
What do I really want?
What’s the worst that could happen?
What’s the best?
What’s the first step?
When?