Tips to Help You Win the War for Talent

In the Salesforce ecosystem, the talent shortage is wreaking havoc on businesses trying to grow. Every hiring manager is under pressure to deliver, and many often feel held over a barrel retaining underperformers. By making a few simple tweaks to how you hire, you can beat your competition, accurately hire top employees, and improve your company and career. Here are a few best practices and behaviors my top clients incorporate, which have led to their exponential growth during the talent shortage. Tips to help you win the War for Talent.
  1. Assume every other company wants the candidate you want, too.
    • Act accordingly with speed and strong offers. 
      • To improve speed, block time on all interviewers’ calendars to prevent meeting delays.
      • Get budgetary sign-off before starting the hunt.
      • Have benefits and general offer paperwork pre-drafted.
      • Strong offers don’t have to mean more money, but they usually do. Unlimited PTO, fully remote work, and bonuses tied to business success and acquiring certifications are becoming commonplace. You’re better off paying for top employees and retaining them than flooding the floor with average employees.
  2. Compare candidates to your top employees first.
    • These comparisons matter more than how they compare to other candidates. The days of talking to 3-5 candidates for comparison have practically vanished for certain positions. You don’t need to speak to 5 architects if you already have two good ones on your team and understand how to interview.
  3. Get great at interviewing.
    • You probably don’t have 10,000 interviews under your belt, so here are a few shortcuts to having better discussions and making better decisions. 
      • Allow candidates to ask all their questions upfront. You’ll not only learn a ton about what is important to them, but they’ll also relax, having had their questions answered. This tip is straight out of Recruit Rockstars by Jeff Hyman
      • Sell before you screen. Candidates should clearly understand what they can expect from you as a manager, the company, growth opportunities, employee investments, clients, projects, culture, and work expectations. Once they understand that, screen them carefully. Leaders often pretend there’s a line out the door to get into their company when there isn’t. Don’t be that person.
      • Review a candidate’s work history by starting with their oldest job on the resume within 15 years. A more natural story of their career progression will unfold, and you’ll get more reliable information. After all, an interview shouldn’t feel like you’re watching Memento or Pulp Fiction. Keep the timeline simple. 
      • Focus on accomplishments and ask clarifying questions.
        • What are two accomplishments you are proud of at XYZ company?
        • How did you achieve it? 
        • Who else helped?
        • What was the aha moment?
        • What did you learn from that experience about your role?
        • About yourself?
      • Set clear expectations on when they can expect to hear back from you. Always follow up promptly to stay top of mind and show you care.
  4. Extend an offer to the first great candidate who makes it through your interview process.
    • Don’t wait for everyone else to finish. 1/2 of my clients hire the first candidate we present to them. The risk of losing a top candidate to a competitor or their current company is enormous. I estimate a 50% greater chance of a competing offer for top candidates this year than two years ago. Keep up with traffic, or you’ll get stuck in the slow lane.
When your business relies on top-performing professionals, recognize that hiring in this market is a competition. Play to improve your business and help your customers. Play to improve someone’s career. Play to improve your own. Most importantly, play to win.

How to Prepare for Your Next Video Interview

Video Interview best practice guide

Be Seen, Be Heard, Get Hired!

You’ve prepared for this life-changing career opportunity for weeks.

  • Resumé revamp — Check
  • LinkedIn refresh — Check
  • Network like a pro — Check
  • Articulated your value and accomplishments and practiced both — Check

It’s game time! A video interview with an amazing new company. The only problem is, your video interview game may not go as expected, leaving you wondering why there’s no call back or job offer.

Maybe you’ve been working remotely already. You might have conducted calls on Zoom or Google Meet for weeks, months, or years already — but that’s no guarantee that you’re doing everything right. Being a Salesforce Recruiter I’ve personally conducted more than 1,000 video interviews and, almost everyone has room to improve their online video interview strategy.

Know the stakes!

For some, getting this right is the difference between advancing their career, making tens of thousands of dollars in additional income, or getting some much needed life-balance back in order. It might mean getting out of debt — or staying out of it in the first place. The right new job can be a life-changer and I’ve seen countless candidates blow it, and it was 100% preventable. This is my roadmap to help you de-risk the most important meetings of your career.

For those conducting the interviews, a weak video interview can be the reason the top candidate you fell in love with is going to a competitor. Don’t miss an opportunity to truly connect with a top talent candidate. They want and need to feel connected to you.

Here’s how to ensure that nothing gets in the way of you becoming a real contender for your dream job or finding the top talent your company needs.

It’s time to start thinking like a filmmaker.

Great directors and producers know that they have a rectangle and some speakers to get an audience to buy into their vision. Now, you have to make a potential candidate or employer see your vision with the same restrictions: a rectangle and some speakers.

Gone are the handshakes, the lunch dates, the workplace tours, and the sense of energy you get walking into an office. No one is looking to see how nice your shoes are or if you’re fidgeting with your hands. By moving the conversation from an office to a laptop screen, a lot of information has been lost. It’s time to start putting more of it back in. 

I’ve broken this guide into 10 sections:

  1. Video Meeting Platforms
  2. Lighting 
  3. Cameras
  4. Framing 
  5. Set Design
  6. Audio – Microphones and Speakers
  7. 5 Ways to Manage Distractions 
  8. Body Language – Avoid Doing These 6 Things
  9. One-Way Interviews
  10. What’s Next

Video Interview And Meeting Platforms

When it comes to a video interview, the most common mistake people make is not preparing and testing their video conferencing platform in advance. This can cause delays once the time for the video interview comes—or even make it so you have to cancel altogether.

There are dozens of platforms you can use for video interviews, including:

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Spark Hire
  • Skype

Some of these, such as Zoom, will require you to download software beforehand. Do this as soon as you get the invitation. Your computer or phone may require a full system update to use the software, and you won’t know if you don’t try it out earlier enough to deal with potential issues.

Once you’ve downloaded the right software, created an account, or completed any other necessary steps to use a video call platform, test it out.

What could go wrong if you don’t? Plenty. The software could have trouble recognizing your microphone, speakers, or your camera. It may default to a lower quality camera or microphone, and you’ll need to become familiar with the settings beforehand to ensure everything is ready for opening the curtain.

Regardless, you want to make sure that once the time comes to sit down and talk with a potential candidate or employer, everything is good to go.  

Meagan Damrow, an HR professional from Advanced Technology Group shared

“I can’t count how many times we’ve spent 5+ minutes working with a candidate to test out the connection link and audio which then cuts into the time of the video interview. It sometimes also creates a lot of frustration for the candidate which can be very visible to the panel.”

Lighting

All truly great videos have great lighting. Yours doesn’t need to be great, but it does need to be adequate. Heavy shadowing makes it a lot easier for someone to misinterpret your facial expression or body language, too. Don’t risk it!

Here’s what you need to know about lighting:

  1. Two lights are better than one.
  2. Three lights are better than two.
  3. The easiest and cheapest way to ensure good lighting is to face a well-lit window. DO NOT HAVE A BRIGHT WINDOW BEHIND YOU. That’s a major no-no. 

Because of compression, data is always lost on a video interview or meeting, so test your lighting for both daytime and nighttime meetings well in advance. Open up some video meeting software and take screenshots to compare. Play around with lighting and positioning until you find what works for you. Examples are coming up down below!

The person or people on the other side of the scheduled call have carved time out of their day to join the video interview. Don’t waste their time by failing to double-check that everything will work as it should.

DOWNLOAD ANY NECESSARY SOFTWARE, AND TEST IT, AT LEAST 24 HOURS BEFOREHAND.

Cameras

There are three primary cameras most people use for video interviews and meetings. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Your Built-In Laptop Camera

    Your laptop’s built-in camera will typically be adequate if your computer is of good quality and was built within the last five years. Plus, usually, they’ll automatically connect to video conference software.

    On the other hand, the built-in camera often offers an unflattering angle, low and aimed upwards. (HACK: Raise your laptop with a laptop stand, a box, or a stack of books. I’ll show my set up in just a moment.)

  1. A Plug-In Webcam

    This is an easy upgrade to a laptop’s built-in camera and can come in a variety of quality standards.

    Because I hook my laptop up to a larger monitor, I use a plug-in webcam, and I appreciate the improved quality of the camera over my older MacBook Pro’s built-in. Many webcams will also come with built-in microphones and speakers which can help tackle audio issues as well.

    These webcams are generally designed to be flexible, so you can mount them directly above the image window of the person you’re talking to. This makes it seem as though you are looking right at the interviewer or candidate during the video call.

    However, a plug-in webcam will use up a USB port to operate, and your video conferencing software may not automatically detect it right away. Not to mention, it requires you to invest in additional equipment. That said, it’s often worth it.

  1. Your Smartphone Camera

    There’s nothing wrong with using your phone for a video interview meeting. They’re portable, allowing you more flexibility to schedule meetings, and the lenses and color software in newer phones allow for exceptional detail and clarity.

    But remember: When using a phone for a video interview or meeting, it is an absolute must that it be hands-free. Not only should you take notes, but you don’t want the other participants to get seasick or distracted as your caffeine tremors wiggle and jiggle the camera around, no matter how much you try to stay still.

    Without a tripod or stand, you’ll be betting your career on how steady your hand is, and you’re not even a surgeon.

DO NOT USE A PHONE WITHOUT A TRIPOD OR STAND. 

 The Tripod I use for myself.

I’m a huge fan of small flexible tripod stands and use them regularly. You can wrap it around your steering wheel or desk for a convenient video interview in your office, car, or home. You can even stand your phone at eye level on your desk to provide a more natural visual with less neck strain.

 Tripod for phone stability during video interviews or meetings.

  1.  

Framing

Your video meeting software is working, you’re well lit, and you have a good quality camera. Before we get into audio, we are going to stick with the visual side of a video interview.

To do that, we need to make sure that whatever’s in the frame (your rectangle) is in the right position, and that there’s nothing in the background that will harm anyone’s perception of you. This is called framing. 

Framing is the easiest thing in the world if you know what to do. However, most people blow this part, which it’s too bad. There’s information to be shared such as your breathing and what you do with your hands, all of which can help to convey confidence and build trust when communicating with others that is often left out due to sitting too close to the lens or positioning cameras that hide too much of our body.

Framing well is 100% free and requires no investment beyond a couple of minutes of practice. 

The shortcut is to think, “Newscaster at a news desk.”

Here’s Walter Cronkite showing us how it’s done. 

Best Head shot and Framing example

Your head and at least half of your upper body are visible. There’s a small space (about 5-10% of total height) between the top of your head and the top of the frame. By showing more of yourself, you’ll be able to bring your hands into view, the rise and fall of your breath, your shoulders if you shrug (or relax). You know…that whole body language thing that helps us communicate and build connections to others.

Do this:

Video Framing Techniques
 Good Camera Position

Don’t do this:

Bad Framing during live visual interview
 Bad real example

DO NOT POSITION YOUR CAMERA TO THE SIDE OF YOUR HEAD or look at the other participant on a different monitor. It’ important to face the person as though they were in the room with you. To help, position video window of the person you’re talking to as close to the lens of the camera as you can. Eye contact is key to bonding and communication, and this is the only way to get even close.

Set Design

Where you sit and what’s in frame with you matters. If you’re in your home office and it’s messy, clean it. You wouldn’t throw your ugly bathrobe on the back of a chair in a video interview room, so don’t do it online either.

It’s also perfectly fine for some of your personality to shine through. A family photo, an award or framed degree, or anything demonstrating an accomplishment can be a quick way to find common ground and develop rapport.

The big rule is DO NOT HAVE YOUR BED IN THE BACKGROUND. If you’re in a small apartment and options for settings are limited, good use of lighting can make up for this, or just find a blank wall somewhere.

Remember, DO NOT AIM YOUR CAMERA UPWARDS AT BRIGHT LIGHTS IN THE BACKGROUND. This is a rookie mistake and will completely botch your presentation. 

Green Screens and Digital Backgrounds

These can be terrific, especially if there’s a giant mess behind you and there’s no time to clean it up, or if the only place you can shoot is your bedroom. They can also be a terrific way to brand yourself with custom backdrops that highlight certifications and accomplishments. 

Warning: An overly pixelated background or the wrong background selection can both work against you. To ensure success with digital backgrounds, follow these tips:

  1. Don’t use GIFs, like flying through the clouds or crashing waves in the background. While they may show off your personality, the movement can be distracting. Remember NEWSCASTER at a desk! No crashing waves unless you’re reporting on Winter Storm Watch .
  2. You must be well lit. If not, the software can’t distinguish you from the background. You could end up with a fake bookshelf or the Golden Gate Bridge hiding your face.
  3. Watch what you wear. I know your lucky shirt is Kelly green, but you’ll be the invisible candidate or interviewer if you wear it against a digital background and haven’t selected the right preferences.
What do you wear when filming a green screen?
 Creepy Green Screen Example

What to Wear

Keep in mind that what you wear during a video interview is part of your set. A general rule is to wear whatever you normally would to this kind of meeting if it was in-person. Would you typically put on a button-up shirt? Then stick with that. Just make sure everything is ironed and clean. Fancy or expensive isn’t generally required—clean and pressed is.

Psychologically speaking, dressing well for an interview does have an impact on your own confidence. Just make sure it’s appropriate for the company and the role. Interviewers will assume this is you at your best, so if it isn’t, make it so. I’ve been seeing well paid professionals showing up to video interviews in sweats. For those of you who are getting a bit too comfy in the modern world, YOU ARE KILLING YOUR CHANCES when you don’t dress the part.  Pants and a shirt with a collar or blouse folks. That’s the minimum! Check out our Pant’s Guarantee

AUDIO

While it’d be great to just make faces into a camera and get a job, words matter, and your ability to hear and be heard can be compromised by the wrong gear. How many times have you had to rewind a show or movie to hear what the actor said? Annoying, right? Poor audio always is.

Here are your main options:

  1. Built-In Mics and Speakers

    All modern laptops and phones have built-in mics and speakers, as do many desktops and webcams. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you should use for a video interview.

    Like built-in cameras, the quality can vary greatly, and built-in microphones are typically multidirectional and pick up lots of ambient noise. This can make it difficult for other participants to hear you clearly, or it may sound as though you are far away.

    Neither is a good thing.

    Be sure to test the quality of your mic by recording yourself—not just on your computer or phone, but through your video conferencing platform of choice. The compression will affect your audio during the call, and you need to know if that will be a problem.

  1. Headphones

    A great alternative to built-in options is to use headphones with their own microphone. Any plug-in or wireless earbuds can often improve the sound quality both ways. As always, you’ll want to test this.

    WARNING!!! BE VERY CAREFUL WITH PLUG-IN EARBUDS.

    The wired microphone often ends up mic side down on your shirts, creating an extremely muffled audio. DO NOT let this derail your meeting with other participants too kind to say anything. Instead, tape the wire to your shirt with the mic side out. 

    And if you’re thinking about using your $300 noise-canceling headphones, start pumping the breaks on that idea. Unless you’re interviewing for a DJ spot in Ibiza or in a noisy airport (do those exist anymore?), seek an alternative system.

    Golden Rule: If you wouldn’t wear it in a family photo don’t wear it in an online interview.

  1. Plug-In Microphone

    If you’ve tested your gear and it leaves something to be desired, or if you know that any job you take will be heavy on the online meetings, consider investing in both external plug-in speakers and a plug-in desktop microphone.

    For as little as $50 for each, you can up your audio quality tenfold.

    Imagine you’re the hiring manager and you just got off a meeting with a candidate who was great for the position, but a little hard to hear. Then, you jump on for another meeting with another candidate. This one has invested in a quality mic, there are zero technical issues, and they’re just as good a candidate as the one before. Not only that, but this job will be meeting-heavy and require a lot of interaction with clients from around the world where data may already be compromised.

    Which one would you be more likely to hire? Now imagine you’re the candidate with the better mic. The focus is going to be squarely on you and the fact that you didn’t settle for cheap hardware. Remember, for some, these are $10,000, $20,000, or even $100,000 conversations. Spend the $50-$200 for a quality microphone and you’ll never go back. Especially if you’re on meetings all day.

    You can also use KRISP, a software that eliminates all outside noise except for your voice. I can personally vouch that it works incredibly well. There are both desktop and phone versions. Best of all, you can try it out for free.

    Here’s my setup:

Cool home desk set up
  Home Office Set up Ideas for video interviews, work from home, and meetings.

Manage Distractions

Your video interview is going great. You’re making solid connections with the person on the other end. Everyone is in sync.

Then, all of sudden: bark, bark, bark. Or, “Mommy, daddy, I’m hungry!”. Your neighbor fires up his leaf blower right outside your window. Your phone pings and buzzes with notifications.

Momentum lost. Game blown.

Ha. Sorry……where was I???

This is not an exaggeration. It can take minutes, not seconds, to get back in the flow as your brain attempts to get you back on track and some, well…they never do.

So, here are the 5 rules for managing distractions:

  1. Turn off all notifications on your desktop from the main system, but check software, such as Slack, that may require you to turn off notifications within the app.
  2. Close all unnecessary windows and software on your computer.
  3. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb.
  4. Feed your kids, walk your dogs, and get an extra set of hands to look after them before your meeting.
  5. If you don’t have help and expect some interruptions, it’s not the end of the world. Simply let the interviewer or interviewee know your situation early on. Just say, “Before we begin, I need to let you know we have a new hound dog, 4 year old twins and we’re remodeling our kitchen. I’m sorry if this interrupts us and wanted to give you a heads up.”

Something like this can go a long way to setting expectations and acting professionally.

Loud noises, kids, neighbors, and pets aren’t the only things that can be distracting during a video interview. Watching a candidate read their answers or stare down at their desk as they scribble notes from the meeting can also get in the way of having the best meeting possible. 

If you type notes during meetings, let people know in advance. I usually say, “I’ll be typing up a lot of notes from our meeting today. Just letting you know so you don’t think I’m writing emails.”

Personally, I love it when candidates take notes during meetings. In fact, I get pretty worried when they don’t.

Body Language

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

I’m a huge fan of the study of body language, micro facial expressions, and being able to articulate what we most often interpret as feelings. This includes signs of deception, self-soothing, impulse-control cues, and more. I’ll save most of that all of that for a different article.

Instead, here are 6 common behavioral pitfalls that can sour even the best online video interviews.

AVOID THESE BEHAVIORS LIKE THE RONA!

  1. Spinning or Rocking in Your Chair. 

    This is self-soothing behavior, and most people who do this aren’t even aware of it. So start paying attention to yourself during calls. If you spin your chair back and forth or rock, and it’s an old habit, change your chair to a wheelless four-on-the-floor model.

  1. Clicking Your Pen

    Don’t. Just…don’t. Switch to a click-less pen if you have to. I used to keep some basic Bics in my office and force pen trades with employees who were frequent clicking offenders. Over time, it worked.

  1. Eating Food or Chewing Gum

    No one cares if it’s your lunch break. If you can’t control your need to feed during an important interview, people will assume the meeting isn’t important to you.

  1. Reading Your Notes Verbatim and in an Obvious Way

    NEVER READ PREWRITTEN ANSWERS.

    You’re not giving a statement to the press like a politician—you’re having a conversation. It’s okay to have notes that help you during the meeting, but don’t squint at your second monitor and read the company’s description of itself to someone who works there or read from your resumé.

  1. Not Smiling

    I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that were loath to return a grin until they warmed up a bit. People can even hear if you’re smiling without seeing it and people like smiles. It relaxes the atmosphere and lubricates communications between strangers. You don’t have to be ridiculous—just don’t forget to smile when you meet someone for the first time and ask how they’re doing, sincerely. It will also put you in a good mood. Facts!

  1. Talking for Too Long

    Superbowl ads stay under 60 seconds. When answering questions on a video call, so should you. Take a breath and see if the interviewer already picked up what you were putting down so the conversation can keep going. Serial offenders think they get good at interviews because they’ve had so many. Often, they’ve had so many interviews because they talked their way out of so many jobs by talking to long. Get in, answer, give an example, check for understanding and get out.

One-Way Video Interviews

One-way video interviews are when a candidate responds to prewritten questions using recorded video of themselves. There are a number of platforms in use such as HireVue pick. I use Spark Hire for its features and affordability.

Some candidates flat out refuse to participate in these types of screenings. They’ve cited it’s too impersonal. I think it’s a mistake to dismiss them or assume it is the deciding factor in a job offer.

It’s not.

One-way videos are an easy way to not only protect candidate and hiring managers time, but they usually allow a candidate to showcase the best of themselves. First of all, you can perform the video meeting anywhere and at any time convenient for you. No scheduling conflicts or unnecessary delays to getting through to the next stage of video interviewing.

Also, many of these platforms allow candidates to re-record their responses several times. That’s an opportunity you will never have in a live video interview. Additionally, by accepting the video interview, you immediately demonstrate your keen interest in the role. It may not be comfortable if you’ve never done it before, but this type of video interview is not going away. 

It’s wise to be on the cutting edge and getting experience with them before some of your competition.

The reality is, people forget people. When a manager is interviewing 6+ candidates per day for weeks on end filling multiple roles, having a recording allows them to refresh their memory, and even compare candidate responses side by side instead of having to rely on their notes or their imperfect memory. This is one way to not be forgotten.

DO NOT FORGET TO SMILE and DO NOT FORGET TO SHOW INTEREST, PASSION, and GRATITUDE on the recording. A little rehearsal and practice will improve your jitters once it’s showtime.

What’s Next

Hopefully, you’ve recognized that it’s not difficult to improve your video interviews and meetings. The problem is it’s too easy to get it wrong and potentially derail some of the most important conversations you’ll have all year—or even in your entire lifetime.

Following the above recommendations will help you look polished, professional, and tech-savvy. More importantly, your conversations will flow more naturally and allow you to come as close to a real face-to-face meeting as possible.

It will also help any friends and family you stay in touch with feel more like they’re in the room with you, and that’s always a good thing.

If you made it through the entire article about how to improve your video interviewing, congratulations! But don’t stop just yet. While it’s still fresh in your mind, do an audit of your equipment including audio tests and some screen captures of yourself to quickly determine how you can make a dramatic impact in no time at all.

For more information about how to hire or get hired like your career depends on it, subscribe to JoshForce or sign up for new article notifications.

Three Things To Know If Your Salesforce Recruiting Budget Gets Cut

Three things to know if your Salesforce recruiting budget gets cut. 

When the economy is being crippled, hiring declines, Salesforce headhunters disappear (not me) and you might even lose your internal recruiter. Here are three things to know if your Salesforce recruiting budget gets cut. 

 

1. Apply even more scrutiny to available applicants.

There are more available Salesforce Candidates in the market. As recent as February, 2020, there were more jobs than candidates, so this is a good thing. However, in a down economy we must apply even more scrutiny to available applicants. Many employers are reducing their teams and are letting go of Salesforce employees with the least amount of value, to them. That’s an important distinction as these same candidates could be of high value elsewhere. Many firms are using the current economy as a reason to cut employees they’ve been wanting to let go for some time.

This doesn’t mean at all that there aren’t truly excellent Salesforce professionals who are currently or soon to be on the market. That’s not the case at all. So, check on the reasons why they were let go. Did the entire division experience as RIF? Were the they “last on and first gone”? And be very thorough in your reference checks. 

2. Be careful of outsourcing the work to anyone else but you

If you lose your internal recruiter or you have no budget to work with a Salesforce headhunter or Staffing agency, be careful of outsourcing the work to anyone else but you. Your administrative assistant or EA may be swell, but it’s your career that is built or broken by the team you build. Speaking from 20 years of recruiting, this stuff isn’t learned overnight and in the Salesforce space, it’s 5x as hard. I’m here to help during these challenging times and will be happy to point anyone in the right direction. 

3. You must hire contractors quickly. 

There is already a reduction in direct-hire, full time opportunities. This is my third recession as a recruiter and we always see an increase in contract placement. Back in 2008, some of the largest firms doubled their contract placement divisions to the tune of billions of dollars. If you’re not used to hiring contractors, know this; You Must Hire Quickly! You can have a great hiring process, but applying slow, direct hire methodologies to a contractor will leave you high and dry and wondering where all the good ones have gone. 

Of course, there’s more to it than just this. To learn more and stay up to date, subscribe for videos here.

Stay safe!

Retain Your Best Employees During Covid-19 Crisis

retaining top performers

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.

5 Steps To Increase Offer Acceptance

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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

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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

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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.