Appologizing on the Job: How to say “I’m, sorry”

You’re going to make mistakes at work. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a presentation to your business team, and you spot a major typo. Or your boss’s email made you so angry that you share a scathing diatribe with a co-worker, later realizing you hit “reply all” when sending your message. Maybe you complained about a team member in the kitchen, and he walked in to hear every scornful word.

It’s happened to all of us, and it’s not fun. However, you can atone for your workplace sins. Take responsibility and quickly remedy the harm you’ve caused. Determine if your mistake is of the professional or personal kind and figure out how you can fix it.

Shauna Heathman, owner of Mackenzie Image Consulting, shares four basic steps for fixing a workplace goof:

1. Weigh the impact of your mistake: You need to figure out how big a mistake you’ve made and how to apologize without blowing it up into an even bigger issue — or worse, not acknowledging your mistake at all. Always analyze the best medium to use when apologizing, whether it’s via email, face-to-face or a public announcement. If you mocked a co-worker who was right behind you, go to her directly. There’s no need for a grandiose public apology, but an email is not personal enough.

2. Apologize quickly and sincerely: Transparency is best, and you should take full responsibility for your actions. Attempting to be elusive to save face rarely works, and dallying doesn’t help matters either, so make your apology clear, to the point and sincere. Don’t overdramatize or make excuses for your actions. Just apologize.

3. Be able to laugh at yourself: There’s no point in throwing yourself into a complete tizzy unless you’ve broken a cardinal rule, such as flinging an expletive directly at the CEO. Otherwise, know how to laugh at yourself if it’s something non-personal and minor like typos or unintended accidents. Still apologize, but recognize that you’re only human and that everyone makes mistakes.

4. Take preventive measures: As part of your apology, provide reassurance that you’ll do your best to never let it happen again. The bigger the blunder, the more reassurance you’ll need to provide. If typos or smaller issues were the offender, having someone edit your work can help minimize such mistakes in the future. When it comes to bigger mistakes, like an infamous “reply all” or being caught slandering your co-worker, just let the person or your boss know that if you have serious concerns you’ll just address them in person next time.

So as you can see, everyone has to be mindful of their work and their mouth in the workplace. If you have serious concerns about certain issues, talk to your co-workers or your boss and address them head-on. If you’re getting caught in petty emotional wastelands, take a breath and refocus your energy on your work.

Social Recruiting Trends in 2012

This year will bring about radical changes in social recruiting. New application capabilities promise to engage audiences on a large scale, make social recruiting easy and efficient, and close the gap between the recruiting power of smaller and larger companies, resulting in richer and more personalized communication between recruiters with prospective candidates.

1. Referral Hiring Goes Mainstream

Social media has laid the foundation for scalable referral hiring. Since the first social media savvy companies embraced referral-hiring applications not that long ago, technology has matured significantly and is delivering considerable benefits. Employers now leverage all of their employees across all social media by automatically targeting candidates in employee referral networks, tracking referrals, and rewarding employees with referral bonuses. The process is remarkably easy for employees, while successfully grants recruiters access to massive talent pools. If we assume that a typical person has 150 friends in their networks, then every 100 employees is connected to 15,000 first-degree friends and 2,250,000 second-degree friends. In 2012, we will see both large and small companies enabling employees to refer the best and the brightest to their teams.

2. Recruitment Marketing for Everyone

Social networks created a powerful new approach to recruiting that is accessible to employers of any size. Managing attractive career pages and creating rich, dynamic content requires a relatively minor investment of time and resources. Small companies can successfully attract large followings on Facebook and Twitter simply by sharing interesting and authentic content. It’s easier than ever to create engaging, career-focused content by embedding videos, posting company photos and blog articles, and sharing company career events. Personalize descriptions of job openings with individual recruiters’ names, pictures and social media profiles to enable them to grow their networks and create a superior experience for potential employees. We will see a growing number of small companies managing sizeable talent communities on major social networks and utilizing a variety of innovative recruitment marketing approaches.

3. Facebook Takes Center Stage

With billions of dollars from their expected IPO, Facebook will accelerate their growth and approach 1 billion users by the end of 2012. In terms of recruitment, Facebook already delivers a talent pool five times bigger than LinkedIn’s. It’s used by over 9 million companies and users of all age groups and professions, and boasts the highest rate of engagement. This year, Facebook Timeline, which displays up-to-date professional and personal information, in addition to friends, subscribers, photos and videos, will become the online profile choice for many. (Check out the Timeline of Marc Benioff CEO of Salesforce.) Employers will bolster recruitment efforts on company pages and empower recruiters and employees with professional recruiting applications. Career-focused content will be optimized for social media, promoting user engagement and triggering viral distribution beyond first-degree friends. Companies will increasingly leverage interactive videos and cultivate relationships with candidates through real-time conversations with recruiters.

4. Google+, Make it or Break it

Launched only a few months ago, Google+ is the fastest-growing social network in history, amassing nearly 60 million users in record time. Google+ enables users to easily maintain both their personal and professional lives in one place. The simple interface and continually growing community will attract a large number of recruiters and company pages. Combined with its unique Hangout and Circles features, Google+ will present serious competition for Facebook. The Hangout feature taps into the already growing trend towards video interviewing remote candidates, while Circles allows recruiters to message specific influencers and candidates. From one page, companies can selectively ask alumni for referrals, invite local candidates to career events and publish internal job openings only to current employees. Relevant content greatly enhances user experience. If Google+ grows to 400 million users by the end of 2012, it has a decent shot at becoming the dominant social network.

5. Richer Twitter

Twitter has experienced enormous growth in terms of features, user numbers and revenue. The platform recently introduced brand pages, which will likely adopt most features available on Facebook pages. The ‘Who to Follow’ and the new #Discover features will become the prevailing tools for growing your follower base and increasing employment brand visibility. For instance, when a user connects to a company career account, Who to Follow automatically suggests other career-focused or recruiter accounts. Tweet interesting, media-rich content, and users will effortlessly find you with the #Discover feature. Companies will focus on increasing the discoverability of their Twitter accounts by tweeting social media optimized job postings, videos, photos and engaging stories, actively engaging in conversations with followers, and utilizing the @Mention feature and popular hashtags.

6. LinkedIn Gains Some, Loses Some

It has been a big year for LinkedIn— a successful IPO, double last year’s traffic, and a user base that’s grown to 135 million. Companies will continue to step away from traditional job boards that have higher price tags, but offer fewer and fewer advantages to LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn will face increased competition from Facebook and Google+. Facebook, in particular, is currently used by more businesses than LinkedIn. LinkedIn will add new features to its company pages to catch up with other networks, introduce richer profiles and add features that will improve engagement. If all goes well, there will be more profiles and activity on LinkedIn. If not, we will be seeing more corporate “About Us” pages like Pinterest’s, in which team members show their Facebook Timelines and Twitter profiles – but no LinkedIn profiles.

All in all, 2012 will see substantial developments in social media that will continue to encourage application-based recruitment and referral hiring, and promote personalized, widespread engagement between employers and the largest possible talent pool.

The Pain of a Hiring Mistake

Most of us know that a bad hiring decision can be costly. But just how much does it cost? Check out This article by Mary Lorenz of CareerBuilder and then consider how you can avoid the pain of a bad hire by using BarryStaff’s Temp-to-Hire program. It allows you to take the employee on a 90-day “test drive” before you stick your neck out and put them on your payroll.

How Much Does a Bad Employee Cost The Boss?
By Mary Lorenz

They may not have experienced the type of PR nightmares that Netflix experienced from its ill-conceived decision to launch Qwikster, or Yahoo! Inc. saw after firing CEO Carol Bartz over the phone, but two-thirds of American companies say they’ve made business mistakes this year they wish they could take back. Those mistakes, according to a new survey, came in the form of bad hires, the results of which ended up costing them more than just bruised egos.

According to a new survey by CareerBuilders 69 percent of employers reported that bad hires lowered their company’s productivity, affected worker morale and even resulted in legal issues.
Forty-one percent of companies estimate that a bad hire costs more than $25,000, and 25 percent said it costs more than $50,000.

While some mistakes are beyond the hiring manager’s control, there are ways to avoid hiring the wrong person. “The more thoroughly the candidates are vetted, the less likely they will be a poor match,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

Haefner advises employers to allow job candidates the opportunity to meet as many employees in the department as possible — especially if they will work closely together. Also, candidates should provide ample evidence to show they have the skills and work experience required for the position.

Hiring mistakes happen … but why?
When asked to give a reason for the bad hires, an estimated 34 percent of employers attributed the mistake to the fact that sometimes things just don’t work out. However, a rushed decision topped the list of reasons companies gave for making a bad hire.

· Thirty-eight percent of employers said they needed to fill the job position quickly.
· Twenty-one percent say insufficient talent intelligence contributed to bad hiring decisions.
· Eleven percent didn’t perform reference checks (a commonly undervalued part of the hiring process, according to Gilt Groupe CEO Kevin Ryan)

The price of a bad hire: It’s more than just money
The price of a bad hire adds up in a variety of direct and indirect ways. For example, 9 percent of companies said bad hires result in legal issues and 11 percent said they result in fewer sales. The most common effects of a bad hire are:
· Lost worker productivity: 41 percent
· Lost time to recruit and train another worker: 40 percent
· Costs associated with recruiting and training another worker: 37 percent
· Negative impact on employee morale: 36 percent
· Negative impact on client solutions: 22 percent

How bad is bad? Characteristics of a bad hire
When it comes to what makes someone a bad hire, employers reported several behavioral- and productivity-related problems:
· Failure to produce the proper quality of work: 63 percent
· Failure to work well with other employees: 63 percent
· Negative attitudes: 62 percent
· Immediate attendance problems: 56 percent
· Subject of customer complaints: 49 percent
· Failure to meet deadlines: 48 percent

OUCH! These costs are painful. But an excellent buffer between you and the pain of a bad hire is just a phone call away at BarryStaff. Try our Temp-to-Hire program and make sure about that new employee before you expose yourself to big losses.

Five Tough Jobs to Fill in 2012

The year flew by mostly because it was a very, very busy one.

Although the economy continues to face many challenges, the startup and tech industries are very much alive. The IPO window slightly opened up for companies like LinkedIn, Pandora, Groupon, Zynga, and Carbonite. We saw monster rounds of funding for companies like Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox. The appetite for seed and angel investing was extremely active. Tech incubators and accelerator programs kept popping up.

It was also a very busy year for hiring at startup companies, as you know, and it doesn’t look like that will slow down in 2012. We’ve certainly seen opinions on both sides of the fence as to whether or not there is a tech bubble or 2012 will be another active year of investing. I’m an optimist and I believe the pace of investing will remain consistent. Yes, some companies will fail, of course, but others will scale and grow their teams at a steady clip.

Hiring the best of the best is an absolute must if you are going to build a successful company. You will need to be prepared to compete against big companies with deep pockets and other up-and-coming startups that also have blue chip investors and a game-changing idea.

So, what are the most competitive areas for talent these days? Here’s a look:
Software Engineers and Web Developers
The demand for top-tier engineering talent sharply outweighs the supply in almost every market especially in San Francisco, New York, and Boston. This is a major, major pain point and problem that almost every company is facing, regardless of the technology “stack” their engineers are working on.

Creative Design and User Experience
After engineers, the biggest challenge for companies is finding high-quality creative design and user-experience talent. Since almost every company is trying to create a highly compelling user experience that keeps people engaged with their product, it is tough to find people who have this type of experience (especially with mobile devices including tablets) and a demonstrated track record of success.

Product Management
It is always helpful for an early-stage company to hire someone who has very relevant and specific experience in your industry. This is especially true for product management, since the person in this role will interface with customers and define the product strategy and use cases. However, be prepared, as it will be a challenge to find people with experience in these high-growth industries: consumer web, e-commerce, mobile, software as a service, and cloud computing.

I’m not talking about old-school marketing communications. Companies are looking for expert online marketers who know how to create a buzz of inbound marketing or viral traffic through the web, social media, and content discovery. Writing a good press release just doesn’t cut it anymore, as everyone is looking for the savvy online marketing professional who understands how the current state of the web operates and knows how to make it work to their benefit.

Since data is becoming more and more accessible, smart companies are increasingly making decisions driven by metrics. Analytics is becoming a central hub across companies where everything (web, marketing, sales, operations) is being measured and each decision is supported by data. Thus, we are seeing a high level of demand for analytics and business intelligence professionals who almost act like internal consultants; they help determine what should be measured and then build out the capability for a company.

Top 25 ‘Oddball’ Job Interview Questions From 2011

Interviewing for a job can be very stressful. Some of the questions can really make you sweat as you try and find the right things to say.

Others, not so much., a jobs and career website, recently released its top-25 “oddball questions” from interviewers in 2011. The company picked through more than 150,000 interview questions to come up with some of the wackiest things job candidates were asked in 2011.

Here is the list:

1. “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30pm on a Friday?” – asked at Google, vendor relations manager candidate

2. “Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk.” – asked at Acosta, leadership development program associate candidate.

3. “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” – asked at Hewlett-Packard, product marketing manager candidate

4. “What do you think of garden gnomes?” – asked at Trader Joe’s, team member candidate

5. “Is your college GPA reflective of your potential?” – asked at the Advisory Board, strategic marketing associate candidate

6. “Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?” – asked at Deloitte, analyst candidate

7. “If you could be number one employee but have all your coworkers dislike you or you could be number 15 employee and have all your coworkers like you, which would you choose?” – asked at ADP, inside sales associate candidate

8. “How would you cure world hunger?” – asked at, software developer candidate

9. “Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?” – asked at Pinkberry, shift lead candidate

10. “Does life fascinate you?” – asked at Ernst & Young, tax analyst candidate

11. “Given 20 ‘destructible’ light bulbs (which breaks at certain height), and a building with 100 floors, how do you determine the height that the light bulb breaks?” – asked at QUALCOMM, engineering candidate

12. “Please spell ‘diverticulitis’.” – asked at EMSI Engineering, account manager candidate

13. “Name 5 uses of a stapler without staple pins.” – asked at EvaluServe, business analyst candidate

14. “How much money did residents of Dallas/Ft. Worth spend on gasoline in 2008?” – asked at American Airlines, revenue management candidate

15. “How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?” – asked at Horizon Group Properties, office assistant candidate

16. “You have a bouquet of flowers. All but two are roses, all but two are daisies, and all but two are tulips. How many flowers do you have?” – asked at Epic Systems, corp. project manager/implementation consultant candidate

17. “How many planes are currently flying over Kansas?” – asked at Best Buy, demand planning analyst candidate

18. “How many different ways can you get water from a lake at the foot of a mountain, up to the top of the mountain?” – asked at Disney Parks and Resorts, project engineering intern candidate

19. “What is 37 times 37?” – asked at Jane Street Capital, assistant trader candidate

20. “If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?” – asked at Rain and Hail Insurance, claim auditor candidate

21. “If you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?” – asked at Summit Racing Equipment, ecommerce candidate

22. “Pepsi or Coke?” – asked at United Health Group, associate project manager candidate

23. “Are you exhaling warm air?” – Asked at Walker Marketing, client manager candidate

24. “You’re in a row boat, which is in a large tank filled with water. You have an anchor on board, which you throw overboard (the chain is long enough so the anchor rests completely on the bottom of the tank). Does the water level in the tank rise or fall?” – asked at Tesla Motors, mechanical engineer candidate

25. “How do you feel about those jokers at Congress?” – asked at Consolidated Electrical, management trainee candidate

Top Ten List of What Large Companies do to Lose Their Top Talent :

1. Big Company Bureaucracy. This is probably the #1 reason we hear after the fact from disenchanted employees. However, it’s usually a reason that masks the real reason. No one likes rules that make no sense. But, when top talent is complaining along these lines, it’s usually a sign that they didn’t feel as if they had a say in these rules. They were simply told to follow along and get with the program. No voice in the process and really talented people say “check please.”

2. Failing to Find a Project for the Talent that Ignites Their Passion. Big companies have many moving parts — by definition. Therefore, they usually don’t have people going around to their best and brightest asking them if they’re enjoying their current projects or if they want to work on something new that they’re really interested in which would help the company. HR people are usually too busy keeping up with other things to get into this. The bosses are also usually tapped out on time and this becomes a “nice to have” rather than “must have” conversation. However, unless you see it as a “must have,” say adios to some of your best people. Top talent isn’t driven by money and power, but by the opportunity to be a part of something huge, that will change the world, and for which they are really passionate. Big companies usually never spend the time to figure this out with those people.
3. Poor Annual Performance Reviews. You would be amazed at how many companies do not do a very effective job at annual performance reviews. Or, if they have them, they are rushed through, with a form quickly filled out and sent off to HR, and back to real work. The impression this leaves with the employee is that my boss — and, therefore, the company — isn’t really interested in my long-term future here. If you’re talented enough, why stay? This one leads into #4….
4. No Discussion around Career Development. Here’s a secret for most bosses: most employees don’t know what they’ll be doing in 5 years. In our experience, about less than 5% of people could tell you if you asked. However, everyone wants to have a discussion with you about their future. Most bosses never engage with their employees about where they want to go in their careers — even the top talent. This represents a huge opportunity for you and your organization if you do bring it up. Our best clients have separate annual discussions with their employees — apart from their annual or bi-annual performance review meetings — to discuss succession planning or career development. If your best people know that you think there’s a path for them going forward, they’ll be more likely to hang around.
5. Shifting Whims/Strategic Priorities. I applaud companies trying to build an incubator or “brickhouse” around their talent, by giving them new exciting projects to work on. The challenge for most organizations is not setting up a strategic priority, like establishing an incubator, but sticking with it a year or two from now. Top talent hates to be “jerked around.” If you commit to a project that they will be heading up, you’ve got to give them enough opportunity to deliver what they’ve promised.
6. Lack of Accountability and/or telling them how to do their Jobs. Although you can’t “jerk around” top talent, it’s a mistake to treat top talent leading a project as “untouchable.” We’re not saying that you need to get into anyone’s business or telling them what to do. However, top talent demands accountability from others and doesn’t mind being held accountable for their projects. Therefore, have regular touch points with your best people as they work through their projects. They’ll appreciate your insights/observations/suggestions — as long as they don’t spillover into preaching.
7. Top Talent likes other Top Talent. What are the rest of the people around your top talent like? Many organizations keep some people on the payroll that rationally shouldn’t be there. You’ll get a litany of rationales explaining why when you ask. “It’s too hard to find a replacement for him/her….” “Now’s not the time….” However, doing exit interviews with the best people leaving big companies you often hear how they were turned off by some of their former “team mates.” If you want to keep your best people, make sure they’re surrounded by other great people.
8. The Missing Vision Thing. This might sound obvious, but is the future of your organization exciting? What strategy are you executing? What is the vision you want this talented person to fulfill? Did they have a say/input into this vision? If the answer is no, there’s work to do — and fast.
9. Lack of Open-Mindedness. The best people want to share their ideas and have them listened to. However, a lot of companies have a vision/strategy which they are trying to execute against — and, often find opposing voices to this strategy as an annoyance and a sign that someone’s not a “team player.” If all the best people are leaving and disagreeing with the strategy, you’re left with a bunch of “yes” people saying the same things to each other. You’ve got to be able to listen to others’ points of view — always incorporating the best parts of these new suggestions.
10. Who’s the Boss? If a few people have recently quit at your company who report to the same boss, it’s likely not a coincidence. We’ll often get asked to come in and “fix” someone who’s a great sales person, engineer, or is a founder, but who is driving everyone around them “nuts.” We can try, but unfortunately, executive coaching usually only works 33% of the time in these cases. You’re better off trying to find another spot for them in the organization — or, at the very least, not overseeing your high-potential talent that you want to keep.