Tag Archives: Leadership

Why the best meetings are 15 minutes long

Meetings, meetings, meetings. They drag on for hours, accomplish little, and take away from your work day. Department meetings, review meetings, weekly meetings, planning meetings, team meetings, project meetings… you are falling asleep already. There’s certainly a case to be made for reducing the number of meetings, but there’s one meeting to consider adding in.

The Daily Stand-Up Meeting

This type of meeting brings a lot of benefits in a very short amount of time. A stand-up meeting is common practice in software development – but there’s no need to limit it to one industry. These types of meetings keep everyone on a team up to date, aware of potential problems or issues they can assist with before they get out of control. These meetings can be held daily, and should last no longer than 15 minutes.

They are called ‘stand-up’ meetings, because everyone should be standing – this helps to keep the meeting short, as well as get people out of their chairs. See, there are even health benefits!

The format of a stand-up meeting is simple: everyone takes their turn to answer three questions.

  1. What did I work on yesterday (or since the last stand-up)?
  2. What am I working on today?
  3. What problems am I facing?

In short, a status update. In this way, managers are kept up to date, fellow team members are aware of what their coworkers are doing, and people are held accountable for the tasks they are doing. If people can’t complete their work due to an issue, others may be able to step in and help solve the problem (after the meeting). Being aware of issues when they come up means they are likely to be resolved sooner, rather than stagnating.

To keep these meetings focused, eliminate any side conversations, and hold off any discussion that doesn’t pertain to everyone until after the meeting is over.

For small companies, everyone can be involved in these types of meetings, but as an organization grows in size, it may be wise to keep it to department, or even project team level only – any more than 15 people and even the fastest meetings will be time consuming.

HireGround has been using stand-up meetings for many years, and we find it a perfect amount of time to connect the ‘business’ and ‘development’ side of the office, keep tasks moving forward, and help identify and solve problems.

With these 15 minute meetings, there is less time spent during the day trying to track down an answer to a question, and a greater understanding of how current projects are progressing without the need for more formal meetings.

I encourage you to give them a try!

Want a promotion?

There are many reasons why you may want to be given a promotion. These may include wanting a change of job duties, a higher salary, better perks or a simple desire to move up the career ladder. If you are hoping to be considered for a higher level job, here are some actions you need to take:

Be consistent. Being a dependable employee helps put you in the good books, and shows you can handle your current responsibilities and are ready for more. Arrive for work on time, complete your tasks on time and at a consistent level of quality.

Go above and beyond your given tasks. Don’t just do the bare minimum required. Complete your duties with a high level of quality and deliver great results. Ask for more work if you have the time, or assist others who may need it. Strive to reach your full potential, and show that you are not settling for your current job but are reaching beyond. Continue reading Want a promotion?

Five Guidelines for Hiring IT Professionals

Hiring for the IT industry comes with it’s own tricks: computer-savvy tech support and programmers have their own lingo and live in a completely different world than those not in IT; the IT industry is it’s own culture, from languages (HTML, C++, VisualBasic…) to sense of humour to dress style to acceptable attitudes.

Hiring those the IT industry has two major niches: those who specialize in IT, and the IT workers. Those who specialize in IT include salesmen, directors, SEOs, Marketing specialists… you know, people who could do well in any industry but chose to go into IT. The IT professionals are the computer programmers, app developers, network analysts… the ones who get nitty-gritty with the hardware and software that make up technology. Hiring IT professionals can be a little tricky.

IT professionals are in high demand: their knowledge and expertise are specialized and very focused – it has to be. Each area of the IT world could be a world in and of itself – that’s what makes hiring for it so tricky. People who can not only understand this world but also work well with those outside it are of great value: it’s not the kind of thing a person could pick up in a few hours on a free Saturday night (not that we’d want to).

But there are a few guidelines that, if you stick to them, will wield fabulous results when hiring IT workers:

  1. Willing to learn: if your candidate enjoys their area of IT, be it programming or network analysis, that’s great, but make sure they are willing to learn. This means they will likely keep up with industry trends, the latest and greatest. IT is an ever-evolving field: those unwilling to keep their skills up aren’t going to survive, and will likely bring down the company they work for.
  2. Actively listen: it’s an unfair stereotype of the IT industry, but the concern still stands: if your candidate thinks they know it all and can do everything, beware! Every employee needs to have humility and accept their limitations. If an IT candidate doesn’t actively listen, they will be difficult to integrate into the workplace.
  3. Ask questions: this adds on to active listening, but deserves mentioning on it’s own: unless your candidate is a new grad, beware if s/he doesn’t ask questions. New grads tend to be easily intimidated, being unfamiliar with the corporate world, and that’s okay: it’s the seasoned professionals that should be asking questions. They should be just as interested in making sure the position is right for them as you are in filing the position with the right person!
  4. Express themselves: IT professionals are generally great at taking direction because they like to solve problems. Where they flounder a little is in communicating, especially when they are dissatisfied with something. Typically IT professionals will try and let something that dissatisfies them blow over, so even a little expression of themselves is huge for an IT professional: don’t expect a lot in this area, and make special note when an IT professional does express their concerns!
  5. Sense of humour: Most IT professionals have a great sense of humour, and is often necessary in the industry because of the technical nature of IT, so be careful of those that don’t have a sense of humour; they can often be embittered easily, and embitterment combined with lack of expression is a dangerous thing.

Those are the top five things we consider to be important guidelines for anyone hiring an IT professional. Are there any that you’ve come across that you would like to see in this list? Let us know in the comments below :)

Good Candidate Karma

People want someone that they can open up to and being too professional can cause awkwardness between recruiter [or hiring manager] and candidate. They want to know that you are truly listening to them and not just there for the business. If a candidate tells you that they don’t want to relocate and you later send him information on a job in China, he WILL spit on your grave.

This is not to say that you should change your personality in order to be a better recruiter. If a candidate mentions that he is all about harpooning whales and that is not your thing, simply change the subject to find something different to connect with. If harpooning whales is also your forte, then you have something to talk about that will cause the candidate to trust you and all others to be scared of you. Recruiting is about connecting to a person and trying to find the right fit for him. Lying in order to accomplish this does not build trust.”

Thanks Michael Stoyanoff over at the ERE Community for this expert about “Creating Good Candidate Karma“.

First impressions are important; I don’t think this is a big shock to anyone reading this blog. But just as you would want candidates to remain truthful on their résumé, in the interview, and on the job, candidates want you to be honest when you write the job posting, conduct the interview, and manage them in their position (if that is what you end up doing).

Don’t forget – your candidate is also a customer. If they have bad experience with your company, they’ll vent about it their friends and family, turning those potential customers off of your business too.

HR Blogs for December

Every month we want to promote great HR people we think you should follow, and why. Last month we chose which blogs to follow, and it was a huge success! So here we go again:

  • Hiring Juice: run by a division manager and recruiting manager, Hiring Juice has great advice for hiring managers
  • 1.00 FTE: a corporate web comic created by Stuart, each comic is written about a particular experience of corporate life. Most of the comics are observational, some (hopefully) are insightful and many just play for a laugh.
  • Seth Godin’s Blog: he probably doesn’t need any promotions from us: Mr. Godin is an American entrepreneur, author, marketing expert, and public speaker who popularized the topic of persmission marketing and likes the colour purple.

Millions of dollars wasted on failed recruitment

That’s the title of an article by Michael Stones, which focuses on how poor recruitment practices have cost the United States pharmaceutical industry millions of dollars – JUST the pharmaceutical industry.

Mary Driscoll, president of PharmaLogics, said this: “A common mistake is failing to identify and prioritise key skills at the beginning of the recruitment process.”

I hate to say “I told you so,” but…

Ms. Driscoll went on to say that, “It’s vital to build a skills profile of the type of person the company is looking for at the beginning of the recruitment process – not three months after it has started and apparently failed.”

Since it began it’s work with applicant tracking in 2001, HireGround has been adamant about proper skills assessment and prioritizing, which lead HireGround to create the Skills Matrix it uses today. Simple and effective, you supply HireGround with a list of skills you require, we program it into your applicant tracking system, and you are free to choose which skills are required for your open positions. The applicant tracking system then tracks and rates each candidate that applies based on the candidates skills, experience, and education, to find you the best fit for your open position.

The Skills Matrix is a great tool, but it doesn’t replace proper planning, responsibility, and response time when it comes to recruiting and hiring the right person for the job. Response time is critical, and is becoming more critical every day. The economy is bouncing back, and good candidates are being snatched up quickly.

Have a proper recruiting and hiring plan in place: determine what your skill profile is for your ideal candidate, how to go about finding that candidate, and what to do if that candidate doesn’t take the job offer. Be responsible: don’t delegate too much, or to the wrong person (but don’t take on too much yourself). Be sure to have a fast response time: you want to give candidates enough time to see and respond to your job opening, but don’t wait too long – any more than 3 weeks and the candidate will probably assume they were passed over, and may accept a job offer from one of your competitors.

Recruitment is too expensive to be left to chance; so plan and carry out your campaign effectively,” said Driscoll. “Any other approach is likely to prove an expensive mistake.”