Hire Right The First Time: Are You Tired of Not Knowing Who You are Hiring?

By Dana Borowka, MA

In this day and age, making the wrong hiring decision can cost a minimum of 2-3 times the annual salary! That’s a high price to pay, and it’s a conservative figure when you factor in the emotional pressures of training, evaluation, termination and then starting the hiring process all over again.  By refining your hiring process, you can turn hiring into a profitable and successful venture.

Creating An Effective Recruitment Program

There are several steps to creating an effective recruitment program. The first starts with the basics – the job description. Many companies don’t even have job descriptions for their bizmen on moneypositions and that’s one of many hiring pitfalls. It’s very difficult to describe a position to a candidate, without having it completely defined. The next problem with job descriptions is that they are usually not definitive enough. It’s important to detail the expected job performance outcome, and be very specific in what is needed and expected. The job description should have 30-, 60-, 90- and 180-day objectives, so the candidate has a clear understanding what is expected for the job. Be sure to review and update job descriptions regularly, as company needs and expectations for a position are bound to change.

The next step is to define where to recruit candidates or target your recruiting process. Now that you have an idea of what you need and expect for the position, where do you find this treasured person? There are many resources: Referrals, recruiters, ads, college placement centers, .com listings, etc. Of course, referrals are usually one of the best sources for candidates and giving out the job description to business associates and friends may reveal the perfect candidate. When working with recruiters, it is very important to be as specific as possible to avoid your time being wasted with unqualified candidates.

According to Arnie Winkler of the Northwest Public Power Association, “Organizations must be specific in understanding what they want in technical competency, cultural fit and behavioral characteristics.” The same is true for ads so that the ad is as definitive as possible. College placement centers are not only good for recruiting college grads, but usually have facilities to list positions that require extensive experience too. They can be especially helpful if they are in close contact with the alumni association.

In today’s environment, we all need to do more than just post an ad. An example of this would be if you post something with a university. The next step would be to reach out to the dean of the department and any clubs or fraternities or sororities on campus. The schools want to help their students get placed so you just need to reach out and ask and then follow-up… follow-up and follow-up again. This is the nature of our environment today. Everyone needs to think outside of the box as to where to find the candidates then be very proactive to find the just right person that you are looking for. Also, never wait until the need arises – you need to have a pro-active recruiting program year round. If you haven’t read the book,“You’re Not The Person I Hired”, please get a copy. It’s the bible of hiring and is filled with ideas that will help for the full recruiting cycle.

Resumes & Interviews

Soon in your hiring process, you will be faced with a big pile of resumes. Look for resumes that are specific to your needs and notice the presentation style, which will tell you athe interview great deal about the candidate. It is helpful to decide what the priorities are for the position and look for those first in the resumes. Once you have settled on a few resumes, we suggest the two step approach to interviewing. The first is the telephone interview, which can save you valuable time and effort. Ask the candidate a set of specific questions, such as: Why are you interested in this position? Please describe three key attributes that you have to offer to our company? Give me one significant program that you had an impact on in the last six months? Listen carefully to the candidate to see if the response fits the job description. This process allows the candidate to earn a face-to-face interview.

When interviewing in person, it is important to listen and not let emotions take over. The candidate should talk about 80 percent of the interview and the interviewer only 20 percent. The goal for interviewing effectively is to note their thinking patterns, and not get caught up in appearances, impressive schools or companies. During the interview, questions that are more specific are helpful in making successful hiring decisions. Some examples are: What significant impact have they had at three or more companies on their resumes – ask for specifics, percentage of change; Please describe in detail what brought about the change; What was their process, from A to Z? and ask how the candidate would handle a specific problem that you have seen in the position.

Reference Checking & Work Style Assessment

Once a candidate has been selected to be hired, then the most difficult part of the hiring process begins – reference checking. Most firms find professional organizations helpful when making background checks. We highly recommend doing a very thorough check including verifying education, job history, criminal (local, state and federal) and credit if it applies. Background and reference checks should be a part of your hiring process.

Yet, as the old saying goes, “You never know someone until you work with them, travel with them or live with them”. Through in-depth work style and personality assessments, you can reduce the possibility of making a hiring error if the appropriate assessment is selected.

When researching profiles, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Training or degrees of those who are providing the debrief/interpretation of the data.
  2. A copy of the resume and job description should be supplied to the testing company.
  3. Number of actual scales (minimum of 12)
  4. Scale for “Impression Management” (minimum of 164 questions in the questionnaire)
  5. What is the history of the profile?
  6. Does the profile meet U.S. government employment standards? Has it been reviewed for ADA compliance & gender, culture & racial bias?
  7. Does the data provide an understanding on how an individual is wired?

These are some general questions and if a profile falls short in any one area, we strongly suggest additional research into the accuracy of the data being generated.

Legal Guidelines

A common inquiry from companies and organizations is about the legal guidelines in providing assessments to candidates. Since industries vary, it is always best to check with a trade association or a legal representative. The general rule is that a test or any set of hiring questions needs to be administered to all final candidates in order to assure that discrimination is not taking place. More information may be found at the EEOC website, in the Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees section:
http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/guidance-inquiries.html#2

Another question is how do new hires usually feel about taking an in-depth, work style assessments. It shows that a company is serious about who they hire. If the company presents the testing program as a method of assuring both parties that they are making the right decision, the individual usually responds very well. The bottom line is that hopefully turnover is greatly reduced.

Benefits of Assessments

In-depth assessments can be very helpful for personnel development and succession planning. As a hiring tool, they can be used to develop additional questions for interviewing and confirming the interviewer’s intuition that might be overlooked. This process gains more reliable and accurate data in order to effectively manage individuals to make hiring and personnel decisions a win-win for everyone.

If you are a hiring manager and would like to see a sample of an in-depth assessment, please give us a call or email us. For more information, please contact Dana Borowka at Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC, (310) 453-6556, extension 403 or email dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

As you have seen, a successful hiring program requires many components that work together to provide the needed information for difficult personnel decisions. Combining a well-defined job description, targeted recruiting and focused interviewing with an effective personality evaluation program, turns hiring into a profitable and rewarding process.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your business”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

Holidays: A Ritual of Joy or Sorrow

By Robert Maurer. Ph.D

The year-end holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve evoke powerful emotions in many of us. The holidays can be a time of great joy and celebration or a reminder of the losses we have experienced. We expect a great deal of ourselves: happiness, material abundance, family, friends, health – the list is endless – and the holidays and the ending of the year invite us to take stock of our success and where we are lacking.

This can be a positive and healthy experience if we approach the task with four guidelines:

1. Honor the Sorrow and the Hope

First, remember that the holidays were designed to respect and acknowledge the pain and sadness of life. We are often very hard on ourselves, because we are not happy as we feel we should be and may be angry with ourselves for our sad state of mind. A study of the origins of the year-end holidays suggests they were designed not only as religious events, but also to lift our spirits and give us respite and comfort from the winters of our lives.

Many cultures as diverse as the Romans and Aztecs had rituals at the end of December, honoring not only their religion, but also to honor the sadness and losses of the year. Whether we light up the branches of the Christmas tree or the candles of the Menorah, the efforts to lift our spirits and enlighten our journey are now built into the rituals. The holidays were based on the premise that we had our grief and then the New Year could bring new hope.

snow-man-pixabay-jana2. Holidays are to be Shared

The second guideline is that the holidays were designed to be communal, to be shared. At times in our lives, this is easy, but at other times, the loss of a loved one can make holidays much harder. It is recommended that we seek out our friends or explore new paths to others through volunteer work, religious activities, the many self-help groups that are available in our community or professional counseling. If we are to embrace our sorrow and find new meaning and hope, we will need help.

3. Holidays are a Time of Giving

The third guideline is to view the holidays as a time of giving or service to others. By this, I do not mean buying expensive gifts for people, but rather small acts of kindness. Some examples might be sending people thank you notes; expressing your gratitude for their friendship and detailing some of the qualities about them you love; smiling at strangers; being courteous and helpful as a driver; or doing volunteer work with those less fortunate.

4. Be Good to Yourself

And fourth, be good to yourself and your body, whether it is grieving or celebrating. As someone once said, “the Christmas spirit is not what you drink.” Our efforts to brighten our mood with alcohol, sugar or excess of any kind make it harder to embrace the true spirit of the holidays. We have much to be grateful for at this time of the year, not only whatever abundance we may have, but for our courage to love and to feel the joy and the sorrow of the holiday season.

Tips to Handling the Holidays

• Make sure your expectations are realistic for yourself and others. Ask yourself, “Am I expecting too much of myself and those around me?”
• Get back to the true meaning of the holidays. Don’t let the rush and glitter overshadow the holiday spirit.
• Before rushing around for the holidays, check your motivation and make sure it is in alignment with the spirit of the holidays.holiday2
• Make yourself a priority during the holiday season by eating well and balanced, exercising or walking, and giving yourself enough private time.
• Set a realistic budget for gift spending and find creative and inspiring ways to give. Some find giving to charities or planting a tree in someone’s name to be very fulfilling.
• Say no when you need to. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Minimize holiday decorations. Choose what is really important to you, and you will save time on decorating and cleaning up.
• May your holidays be filled with much happiness and beauty!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2021 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication, stress & time management, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills as well as our full-service Business Consulting Division.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

You Were Born with Potential – It’s Time to Use It!

By Ellen and Dana Borowka, MA

Ever find yourself confused over what career direction to take?  Or how to successfully prepare yourself for that career search?  Whether one has been in a career for many years or just beginning, these are not easy areas to navigate through. It can be very difficult to find the career path that is right for us.  Sometimes we may find ourselves trying to live up to someone else’s expectations rather than our own; or we don’t know what we want in a career  – what will truly make us happy.

Starting the Search

So, where does one start in a career search?  First, if you have recently been let go from a company – don’t panic, as that will be picked up when applying for positions.  Yet, don’t deny the feelings of anger, hurt and fear either.  A good way to deal with these feelings is to talk to a counselor, clergy person or friend, and journal out your feelings.  That will help to resolve the feelings so they don’t get in the way of your career search.  Next, it may be best to take a week off and go away on a short, inexpensive vacation.  This may help to put things in perspective and calm things down.  Then assess your financial status & needs, and create a budget.  It’s also very important to take care of yourself while looking for a new position.  Be sure to eat healthy, exercise, sleep and keep a balance between the job search and play time.

man with roadsignsFinding Your Direction

  1. Finding the right career is a process. The following are some steps in finding your pathway. Here’s an exercise that you might find helpful in making an action plan for your search.
  2. First, dream about three things you’d love to do in life. What turns you on? What gets your blood going? Some examples could be going to the moon, being a Broadway star or exploring ancient ruins. Don’t put limits on your dreams – write them all down. This will help you to discover what pathways you are most interested in.
  3. What is it about these three ideas that really excites you? Let’s use the example of going to the moon. It may be the instruments in the Space Shuttle that really excites you. Focus in on what is so interesting about your dreams.
  4. What is it about the (you fill in the blank) in your dreams that really excites you? What is it about those Space Shuttle instruments that is really interesting?
  5. Now, you get to research! So, go to the library, Internet, college career placement centers or other resources to research the companies associated with what you are excited about. With the Space Shuttle example, you might research the manufacturers of the Space Shuttle.
  6. Then contact a company representative in the department that interests you the most. You may be interested in design, sales, marketing, accounting, etc. so ask for that department when calling. Emphasize that you are doing research when calling, as people seem to be more helpful. You’ll gain information on opportunities and job requirements in the company and the industry. Also, ask what other companies or contacts would be helpful in your research. This can give you possible referrals and assist with networking. As part of your research, see if you can visit the area where you want to work and talk to people who are in your desired career field. This will help you decide if this is the right career for you.

Sometimes, we can be too close to the situation and need help to find our way. When this is the case, be sure to reach out for assistance from a counselor, clergy person and friends. Support is very important during this difficult process. 

Researching is the Key

Research is a very important part in any career search, whether it is to find that perfect career or new position.  Many people do very little research or preparation in their search –key opens door a practice that failed us in school and will fail us in our job search.  How many people do you know who obtained a graduate degree, only to discover to their horror that they hate their new career?  If you want that great career or position – be sure you are ready in all ways for it!
When I graduated from college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  So, I thought about what I liked and researched three areas – business, computers and psychology. I gathered information on different careers and companies in these three areas by looking in the library’s reference section and contacting companies, individuals and counselors.  I asked about the job requirements, pros and cons, and the daily routine of my desired careers.  At the time, I used this information to obtain a business position in a corporation then later made a career change to counseling.  This process helped me to decide what pathway was right for me at that time in my life.

Career Testing

In-depth work style testing can be very helpful. It is not a silver bullet, but can assist in exploring environments that would be conductive to your personality. When used appropriately, an assessment can stimulate ideas as a part of the research phase. The data can also help in preparing for potential questions you might be asked during an interview. If you would like additional information on this topic, please email Dana at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Effective Interviewing Tips

So, now that we have a direction to go in, how do we prepare for our career search? Here are some interviewing tips to help you on your way.

  1. I can’t say it enough – Research! Be sure to research the company and position fully before the interview. Know the salary range ahead of time and how long the previous employee had been in the position. Knowing how long employees have been in the position will help key you in to any danger signs. It can signal whether this opportunity is the door to heaven or hell.
  2. Self-image is very important in interviewing. Make sure your suit or interviewing outfit is in good shape and pressed. Keep appearances fairly conservative like neat hair, no long fingernails and light on perfume/cologne and jewelry. This advice may bother some, but appearances are vital in interviewing. As you may know, an interviewer usually makes a decision within the first 10 minutes after meeting the interviewee. So, it’s important to put your best foot forward.
  3. Successful resumes and cover letters target the position. Go to the library or bookstore to get ideas for effective resumes and cover letters. Keep resumes and cover letters brief and to the point – one page in length, and targeted to the desired position. Be sure to cover all areas of job requirements from the job listing in the cover letter. For example, if the listing calls for five years of experience with gadgets then put that in the cover letter. Or if you don’t have that experience then be sure to address it with similar experience or skills. Also, different jobs call for different resumes like a sales resume for a sales job or a management resume for a management job. There is a different emphasis for each job type. Plus, you always need an original cover letter for each position. Don’t use form letters, as they are too general and unfocused. After the interview, always send a thank you note. It gives you the edge over others who don’t. It’s also important to have someone else proof your resume, cover letters and thank you letters to watch for grammar and spelling errors.
  4. Practice makes perfect! Before the interview, practice with interview questions. You can get sample questions from career books at the library. If possible, practice with a friend – role-play the whole interview from handshake to good-byes. You can even videotape the interview to study how to improve your interviewing style. Be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses; what you liked and disliked about your last position (in a positive manner – don’t complain about supervisors); and why the company should hire you. Keep your answers brief and to the point, using workplace examples in a positive manner. Be able to discuss difficult areas like employment gaps or lack of experience. Remember that this is the time to toot your own horn. If you don’t believe in yourself, then it will be hard for an employer to believe in you.
  5. Be prepared for that big interview. Take an extra resume copy to interview and fill out all forms completely. Confirm your interview before going. Always ask one question about the company – something you really want to know, but avoid asking about salary and benefits in the first interview. Ask for business cards to send thank you notes after the interview.
  6. You make the decision. Look around the company environment to be sure you feel comfortable there. The interview process is not a one way procedure. You have to decide if this is the right place for you. So, look at everything and everyone at the company to help you make the right decision. Listen to your intuition. If it feels wrong, then it’s probably not the right place for you.
  7. Assess the interview for self-improvement. What could you do differently? Yet, don’t beat yourself up for nervous slip-ups. We’re all human and we all make mistakes.

There’s a Place for Everyone

Well, that’s the scoop on searching for the right career. Finally, I want to leave you with a story to ponder. A friend once told me about a young lady who was trying to sell her car to pay her college tuition. She was having little luck and tuition was due in a few days. She drove her car into a gas station and began to cry in frustration. The owner of the gas station came over to see what was wrong and she told him her tale of woe. When she was finished with her story, he made an interesting, if somewhat inspiring reply. He said, “Honey, let me tell you something. There’s an ass for every seat!” Then he suggested she leave her car at the gas station and he’d see what he could do. The next day the car was sold and the young lady was able to pay her tuition. The owner would not even take a commission for the sale. When life seems dark and hopeless, this story can remind us that everyone has a perfect place in life. So, no matter how tough things may be, the right pathway is waiting for all of us. The key is to maintain our vision.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your business”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” , “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.