How to Tell if Your New Hire is Going to Work Out

You finally hired someone for that open position on your team. It took a while and you are looking forward to being back at full staff again. However, how do you know if that person is going to work out?

Signs Your New Hire Is Not Going to Work Out

Small business experts say to pay attention to these red flags:

  • Attendance problems. Accidents and family deaths can happen at any time. If a new hire has one of those situations, that is usually not an issue. However, if the new hire is calling in sick for vague reasons or just not showing up, you have a problem.
  • Lack of enthusiasm. When someone comes into a new job, you should expect enthusiasm for starting new projects or learning new skills. A lack of, or a radical drop in, enthusiasm is a troublesome sign.
  • Don’t want to learn. New hires usually have the highest desire to learn new things and work with new people. If there is a decided lack of interest in learning at the beginning, there is going to be apathy going forward.
  • Failure to understand basic tasks. Some people just do not have the ability or desire to learn new things. They enter a new job and struggle with the most basic parts of their jobs. They ask for help constantly, even after weeks on the job. That is a very bad sign for the future.
  • Resisting change. These are the new employees who always refer to their old jobs as the standard to which they work. They insist on doing things the way their former employers did it and refuse to do it the new way, or complain about the changes.
  • Asking for upgrades in equipment before knowing job requirements. They are just learning what their new job entails. Yet, the new hire insists that the old laptop or system is not adequate enough for their needs.
  • Overly assertive, too quickly. Having a new hire voice opinions and raise concerns is a good thing. A new hire, however, needs time to learn the culture as well as interpersonal and organizational communication patterns. Someone who is overly assertive within days of being hired will likely get worse when the probationary period is over.

It is better to go through the hiring process again rather than let a new hire bring your entire team down in chaos. For more tips on Building your Dream Team click here. 

How to Interview the Right Way

A job interview is the time when you get to meet a prospective member of your team for the first time. You reviewed his or her resume and may have talked on the phone. But, the face-to-face part is where you really get to know this person.

Interviewing the Right Way

Knowing how to interview the right way will help you determine if this person is the right one.

  • Know who you need before you start the first interview. You need to make sure that you have a solid hold on the job skills, qualifications, and experience you want. You must also be looking for a good fit for your company culture. Have a clear, concise job description that includes KPI’s written ahead of time.
  • Do your homework. Small business experts recommend spending twice as much time on the prep as you do on the interview itself. Thoroughly review the resume and make note of any questions you have. A quick search on social media will help you get to know the person better.
  • Realize the candidate will be more nervous than you are. You should make every effort to help that person relax. Start the interview with simple, get-to-know you questions. The interview should feel more like a conversation, rather than an interrogation. Are you spending as much time answering questions as asking them.
  • Explain the interview process to each candidate. You can do this before the interview or just as it starts. Knowing what is going to happen will help that person relax.
  • Involve others in the interview process. Having more than one person meet each prospect will give you a better picture of whether that person will fit into your team and culture.
  • Give yourself time to conduct the interview. Trying to jam an interview in 15 minutes between meetings won’t give you the time or mental prep to find out if this person is a good fit or not.
  • At the end of the interview, describe the next steps to the job candidate. Tell them approximately how long it will be until a decision is made. If there is a chance of second interviews, make that known as well.
  • Provide closure. If you had the time to interview that person, be courteous and let him or her know if someone else got the job.

Interviewing for your next team member can be daunting. But a little prep and the right approach will make it easier for everyone.

7 Rules for Reading Resumes

You have an open position in your team. You put out a job posting and a flood of resumes have arrived. What would a small business expert recommend for wading through the piles of resumes on your desk (or in your email)?

Rules for Reviewing Resumes

Here are seven rules you can use while reviewing resumes. They will assist you in sorting out who you should interview and who is not worth your time.

  1. Know what you are looking for and stick to those parameters. You can use your job posting as your checklist, if necessary. If you are looking for 5 years of experience, for example, don’t accept any less.
  2. Take a first pass through all resumes. This initial pass involves quickly reviewing each resume and sorting them into three piles: those that clearly don’t qualify for the position, those that might meet your parameters and those that clearly deserve further scrutiny. This will eliminate up to 80% of the resumes.
  3. Look for a customized cover letter (or email equivalent). If someone has taken the time to research your company and the position available, it will be reflected in the cover letter.
  4. Review each resume for a professional appearance and content. Poor grammar and spelling errors are unprofessional. Other red flags include no contact information, using an employer’s email address, or using an inappropriate email handle.
  5. Each resume should include an objective statement. This is where the candidate can indicate the kind of position he wants, skills he is bringing, the industries he is interested in, and his future career objectives. If the objective statement does not fit your open position, you should pass on that resume.
  6. Look at the candidate’s job history. The latest position should be either at the current level of the position you have open, or a position immediately below that with plenty of experience behind it. You should also consider if the candidate has jumped jobs frequently, has gaps in employment, or is making a major career change.
  7. Go with your gut. If you have a resume in hand that seems too good to be true, it likely is. Resumes are a place where many job candidates exaggerate or outright lie about their experience. Set those resumes aside that you have suspicions about. If you want to interview this person, check their references first to be sure that the claims are true. Also, you may find that you have plenty of other candidates available, so you don’t need to waste time on these.

Use these rules to make filling your open position easier. For more helpful hiring tips click here now. 

2 Signs You Might Need to Change Your Marketing Strategy

You have a marketing strategy. It may be one you developed years ago. It may be one you developed just a couple of months ago. However, something seems to be wrong. You are not getting the number of leads you expected and sales are flat or falling. It may be time for a marketing strategy change.

Signs You Need a Change

If you talk to business experts, they would tell you that there are a couple of signs that your marketing strategy needs to change.

Nothing seems to match.

Do you have a consistent marketing message and branding scheme? If you are using several disparate marketing messages and a mix of old and new branding, you are confusing potential customers. Prospects need to trust the companies they do business with. Mismatched marketing and branding gives the impression of a company that is not consistent and may not be reliable.

There is an easy way to test this. Look at your website. Now look at your signage. Check out your ads. Peruse your marketing materials. If they seem to come from multiple companies, you have a marketing mismatch. It is time for a new marketing strategy.

Your competition looks better than you.

You should always be equal to or better than your competition when it comes to marketing. Your marketing should not copycat theirs. However, it should not look like it was last year’s leftovers either.

How do you tell if your competition is doing better? Take the time to study what they are doing. Spend time reading their blog. Subscribe to their newsletter or sales updates. Check to see if they use social media. If they do, how often do they post and what do they post? Look through their website.

Doing a bit of homework will help you compare what you are doing with what they are doing. It will tell you if your marketing needs an update or if you only need to do a few minor tweaks.

If you find your marketing needs a makeover, don’t despair. Every company should revisit their marketing strategy on a regular basis. It helps keep your company relevant and fresh. It keeps you focused on your target market and it keeps everything consistent.

Do you need a marketing strategy change?

3 Creative Ways to Generate New Leads

Are you looking for new and creative ways to generate leads for your business? Sometimes you need to get creative to jumpstart your lead generation process. Adding just a bit of creativity can expand your audience and attract plenty of attention to what your company has to offer.

Let’s Get Creative

Here are three creative ways you can generate new leads:

  1. Host a special event. This can be as simple as an after work wine and cheese party. It can be as complicated as a full-blown formal black-tie event, complete with orchestral trio and a sit-down dinner. You invite your existing customers and ask them to bring a friend who might be interested in what your company has to offer. It is a nice way to reward your existing customers while introducing yourself to some new prospects.
  2. Develop strategic alliances. What products or services mesh well with your business? These are companies who are not in competition with you, and complement your offerings. Think about creating alliances where you cross-promote each other’s business. For example, bankers might refer business clients to the accounting firm down the street. An accountant might refer clients to a personal financial adviser. A real estate agent might refer a general contractor or home builder.
  3. Join (or create) a networking group. Local networking groups are great places to get your company known. You can meet people face-to-face and let them learn a bit about what your company does. You may not get direct business from those you meet in the networking group. However, if you educate the people you meet about what you do, they will start referring people to you. You should reciprocate and do the same for them.

Each of these will help you generate high-quality leads. It all begins with knowing what you do well and finding a creative way to showcase it to prospective clients and those who may refer you.

What is the most creative way you generate leads?

4 Rules For Finding New Customers

How do you find new customers? In today’s technology focused age, finding prospects can be a challenge. This topic is so challenging that it is a hot topic among small business speakers. Some of the rules are the same as they were before. However, with changes in consumer behavior and expectations, some rules are completely new.

Rules for finding new customers

Here are four rules you can use when you are hunting those elusive new customers.

  1. Answer the question “Who is your ideal customer?” It is a question that every business owner needs to answer in detail. The answer to that question tells you most of what you need to know when you engage potential customers. What do they need? How can your product or service help them? Is this person a business owner or a retail customer? It is a question that business owners have answered for centuries.
  2. Know where to find and engage potential customers. This is an old rule that works today, just in a different context. A few decades ago, the best way to engage a retail consumer was through an ad in the newspaper. Today, it happens with engaging content and an interactive website. It all comes down to inserting your company, brand, and products in front of the consumer in an engaging way.
  3. Realize that clients do their own research. This is something relatively new. The Internet has opened up the world to consumers and they have ran with it. Many prospects do a lot of research on their own. They will research companies and products without any input from sales people. You have to make sure that you have a strong online presence and that your online reputation is as good as your offline rep.
  4. People want to do business with people. This is a rule that is as important today as it was a century ago. Even if you do a lot of your business online, people still want to know that there is a living, breathing person behind the company. Make sure that your marketing emphasizes this human side.

Finding new customers is something you should be doing all the time. Whether you are doing it in person, having your sales team do it, or leveraging online technology, prospecting and lead generation are a must for business success.

What rules do you follow to find new customers?

6 Tactics to Make Your Marketing More Effective

Do you have an unlimited marketing budget? If you are like most business owners, the answer is “no”. That is why you need to make sure your marketing as effective as possible.

Tactics for Making Your Marketing More Effective

Here are six tactics recommended by business mentorship programs.

  1. Describe what you do or what you offer in a single sentence. That sentence should summarize exactly what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. That summary helps target your message to your target audience. If you cannot summarize exactly what you can do, how do you expect a customer to know what you do?
  2. Use your unique branding consistently in everything you do. This can include your logo, your tagline, your mascot, your color scheme, or anything that makes your brand unique. You need to use it in all your advertising and marketing efforts. Consistency builds your brand and customer recognition.
  3. Know what differentiates you from the competition. What makes you unique is your strongest marketing point. You can leverage these differences to demonstrate why a consumer should choose your company over another. You need to know this before you start any marketing effort.
  4. Establish yourself as an expert in your field. This helps to build trust in your company. You can do this by building a strong online presence, presenting articles in industry publications, and doing speaking engagements.
  5. Have a plan and work it. A marketing plan is much more than a bunch of words on a piece of paper. It is a roadmap that shows where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan on getting there. The time spent developing and solidifying the plan will save time, money and effort in the future.
  6. Remember timing is everything. You need to have the right offer, presented to the right customer, through the right channel, at the right time. For example, there is a big gathering on the beach. A budding entrepreneur sets up a drink stand in the parking lot. He puts out signs pointing out that drinks are available in the parking lot. That is well-timed marketing.

These tactics will make your marketing more effective. That allows you to reach your target market, using less of your marketing budget. That leaves money you can use to market more or to expand your business.

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