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Update Flash Player

Today, Adobe has released a critical security update to flash player. The update closes a security hole that is actively being exploited. Everyone should update to the latest version of Flash Player at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer as soon as possible. If you are using Google Chrome you should be notified to update Chrome automatically. For users on Windows 8, visit Windows Update to update Internet Explorer.

To find out more about the updated release and the security hole that is being fixed, please visit http://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/flash-player/apsb14-13.html.

The Definition of Insanity

The definition of insanity, according to some, id doing the same thing you have always done and expecting a different result. A post over at The HR Capitalist titled “But Kris, That’s the Way We’ve Always Done It!” deals with just such a situation in a real work environment. Teams, just like individuals, get stuck in a rut. It is easier to just keep doing things the way we have always done them, and sometimes it can even work well. That is why we create policies in the first place. If we never take time to look at our policies and procedures, decide what works and what doesn’t, and make necessary changes we are likely going “insane”.

Hire Outside Your Comfort Zone

A great post from Kris Dunn at hrcapatalist.com discusses the merits of hiring an artist for a regular job at your company.  This got me thinking about the way many of our clients have selected candidates over the years.  Most of our clients, whether consciously or unconsciously, hire people just like themselves.

While it is important to hire people who are going to fit in with your corporate culture, you also need to take charge of your corporate culture and mold it into the culture you want it to be, not just let it develop on its own.  I think the problem is rooted in the fact that most people fail to see their own weaknesses, especially if they are successful. Take a look at the following example.

John is the entrepreneurial type, he is very bright and charismatic, but not great with details or paperwork.  John’s business is moderately successful and now he needs to hire someone to help with the day to day responsibilities.  John wants to hire someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, great ideas, charisma much like himself.  After all he is successful already, just think how much more successful the two of him will be.

This makes sense on the surface but it is totally wrong! In truth what he will get is two people coming up with great ideas and still nobody handling the day to day stuff, and that is the best case scenario.  At worst he will have an employee who hates their job as the “day-to-day guy” and probably isn’t great at it to boot.  The reason John started a business in the first place was he hated being stuck in that day-to-day grind where nothing he did really made any difference anyway.  Now he  has hired someone just like himself, and expected them to enjoy doing the stuff he doesn’t like to do.

John should have hired someone who has complementary strengths.  Someone who is not terribly interested in starting or running a company, but is great with details and paperwork.  Not only would an employee like this be good at taking care of the areas where John needs help, the employee would also challenge John to do a better job with his end of the business.

Next time you are hiring take into account the responsibilities  of the job you are hiring for, decide whether this is something you would want to do.  If so, great, hire someone who with your strengths.  Otherwise go outside your comfort zone and hire someone nothing like you.

A “Thank You” Gets More Done

Science has recently proven what most of us should already know, saying thank you motivates people. In an article on Compensation Cafe Derek Irvine explores a recent study on the value of a simple thank you.

The study had a fictional college student, Eric, ask 69 people for feedback and help on a cover letter.  Eric responded to half of the group with a thank you email, and the other half with a neutral email, think “I got your email”.  When asked for additional input 66% of people whom Eric had thanked provided additional assistance vs. 32% of people who got the neutral email.

Even more interesting, the study found that Eric’s gratitude had an effect on how participants felt about another fictional college student named Steven.  Even though Steven had no prior contact with the participants, those who had received gratitude from Eric were twice as likely to help Steven as those who had received a neutral response from Eric.

Now think about how this can effect your business. Are you showing gratitude to your employees and co-workers? Is gratitude part of your corporate culture? If your answer to either of these questions is not a resounding yes, maybe you should try something new today, maybe you should try saying “Thank You”.

Law Students Prove They Can Argue

According to US News & World Report, it seems a new trend is starting among law firms.  Frustrated by superficial interviews, law firms are trying out new interviewing techniques that can more easily help interviewers tell a good candidate from a great one.  One example of this is the firm Pepper-Hamilton in Philadelphia, where they crafted a three part interview process that requires the candidate to discuss and argue the facts of their writing sample with one of the firms attorneys.  By putting the candidates into a realistic scenario, they can more easily tell which candidates have the skills and personality required for their firm.

Conduct A Better Interview – Behavioral Interviewing

Behavioral interviewing is not new. Since the 70’s managers have heard that behavioral interviewing will change the way they hire. It is somewhat surprising then to find so many people doing it poorly.

One part of behavioral interviewing is asking a candidate how or why they have done something in the past. The assumption is that if a candidate has behaved a certain way in the past he or she will continue to behave that way in the future. Right now some of you are arguing that people change and you can’t always expect for them to behave the way they always have. You are right, people do change as they age and gain experience, and I would never recommend you use a behavioral interview as the sole factor in your decision making. That said, your argument would also indicate that criminal background checks are irrelevant because “people change”.

The second part of behavioral interviewing is asking a candidate what they might do in a certain scenario. The scenario does not necessarily need to be work related. In fact you can sometimes learn more from a real life scenario than a work related scenario since a real life scenario is not seen as having a “right” answer and the candidate is less likely to just say what you want to hear.

So far so good right? Behavioral interviewing makes sense as a part of the interview process. You can get insight into how the candidate has behaved in the past, and into how they tackle problems now. So what is the big problem? The problem is the way companies are implementing behavioral interviews.

If you were to Google “behavioral interview questions” right now, you would find a number of web sites listing commonly asked behavioral questions and how to best answer them. These lists exist because companies often pick 3 or 4 behavioral questions and use them to interview every candidate who comes through the door. One of my favorites is “What is your greatest weakness?”. I’m sure the first time that question was asked in an interview the candidate squirmed in their seat trying to come up with a good answer. But now it has been so often used, so thoroughly analyzed and debated, that everyone comes up with an answer like, “I work too hard” or “I’m loyal to a fault”. A posed, practiced answer gives us little or no insight into the candidate and we are back to square one.

Even if the candidate hasn’t researched and prepared for behavioral questions on the interview, many companies are asking the same questions for every candidate in every department for every job title. This is something I really don’t understand. Does it really make sense to ask a salesperson and an IT manager the same questions? Of course not, if the questions are generic enough to be used for both positions, they are too generic to garner any valuable insight into the candidate. At the very least companies should be using questions specific to the role for which the candidate is applying.

Getting the absolute best results requires a company to go one step farther and use questions tailored specifically to the candidate. This is best accomplished by giving the candidate a behavioral assessment before the interview. A good behavioral assessment will highlight possible areas of concern, and offer targeted questions to explore those areas during the interview. A thorough behavioral interview is especially important for supervisory and customer service positions where the candidate will not only have to manage his or her own behavior, but also the behavior of others around them.

If you are not currently using behavioral interviews as part of your hiring process, give it a try and see how much more you learn about your candidates. If you are using behavioral interviews, make sure you have a program that is targeted enough to provide you the very best results.

Hire-Intelligence releases a self-Interviewing tool that allows job candidates to pre-screen themselves!

A good deal of buzz has been generated recently about the use of two-way video in screening candidates. Companies are now looking to employ video conferenced interviews with candidates to save money on travel costs. The only problem is, the hiring manager still must take time out of their day to interview a candidate who may or may not be suited for the job. If the candidate is unsuitable then the interview is essentially a waste of the manager’s time. What if you could take this process one step farther, eliminate the interviewer from the first round, and allow the candidate to interview themselves?

On Aug. 24th Hire-Intelligence, LLC introduced Video-View™, a revolutionary, online solution to prescreening job candidates. Interview4™, which is the latest in Hire-Intelligence’s suite of products and services designed for the human resources industry, offers employers, recruiters and search firms the benefits of interviews recorded and delivered over the internet. Interview4™ is a proprietary self-interviewing tool that allows candidates to answer a number of pre-determined interview questions online over a personal computer using a webcam. Interview4™ provides built-in candidate management which allows employers to quickly and easily keep track of job candidates. Job candidates use their computer and a webcam to answer questions pre-selected or customized by employers. The candidate’s responses are recorded and immediately uploaded to Hire-Intelligence’s secure video servers for the hiring manager’s review. After candidates have completed their Interview4 interviews, employers can review their videos at any time from the Interview4 site.

Benefits:
Save on Travel Costs Share with colleagues
Review multiple times
Eliminate unecessary follow-up interviews
Easier to schedule than a phone screen
More revealing than a phone screen

To learn more go to: www.interview4.com