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The hiring season: A primer - The do's and dont's of job hunting, recruiting

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It's the first full week back after the long holiday season, and many employees have used the lull to reassess their careers and determine whether or not they are actually in the best place, professionally.

Conversely, companies are starting the new year with a fresh budget and looking to implement many of the initiatives and plans made late last year.

How can someone seeking a new position capitalize on these new opportunities at companies?

How can companies find the best talent as they go searching for new experiences?

And, maybe most importantly, how can these two entities communicate in a manner that is as clear as possible and makes sure the both the talent and company find the best fit for the work that needs to get done?

NJBIZ sought out two industry professionals — Susan Carrero, director of human resources at Triton Benefits & HR Solutions, and Jeff Menzel, regional manager at Robert Half — to get their input on these issues.


The Employee Perspective

  • Check the company’s website and employees’ LinkedIn profiles to see how many current employees promote working for the prospective employer. Read all testimonials and customer views about the company with which you are seeking employment. — Susan Carrero

  • Network: Getting out there and networking is the best way to get started. This is a good time frame to reconnect with old contacts. — Jeff Menzel

  • Consider the ability to advance in the new company as well as its full benefit package, vacation time and 401(k) plans when measuring the new opportunity versus your current position. — Susan Carrero

  • When being offered a position, stay firm with your financial needs. Do not concede, as upfront negotiations are when you have the best opportunity. — Susan Carrero

  • Practice the interviews, conduct roleplays and take it seriously. Having someone, either a trusted friend or family member, treat that roleplay as though you’re actually in it can give a tremendous leg-up in preparation for the actual interview. — Jeff Menzel

  • Consider new employment opportunities for the right reasons: Growth opportunities and advancement in your skill, happy and healthy working environments, and financial goals. — Susan Carrero

The Employer Perspective

  • Clearly identify the applicant’s financial needs and qualifications before scheduling the interview. — Susan Carrero

  • Be honest and upfront on the company’s culture and work environment, and have a very informative job description. — Susan Carrero

  • Get moving quickly: A lot of companies are doing a lot of hiring at the beginning of the year and, the sooner they get started, the better chance they have of getting at the first wave of talent after that holiday lull. — Jeff Menzel

  • Share the full benefit package, vacation and 401(k) options early in the interview process. — Susan Carrero

  • Be very clear on the type of candidate you are seeking for the position. — Susan Carrero

  • Keep the workplace fun, and create positive morale. Assure the company has positive and professional communications with employees to assure employees are always given the tools to be successful. — Susan Carrero

  • Professionally communicate new policy procedures and changes in benefits with adequate notice. — Susan Carrero


The Employee Perspective

  • Do not oversell yourself with experience you do not have. Be open and honest and emphasize your quick ability to learn new challenges. — Susan Carerro

  • Get moving quickly: A lot of companies are doing a lot of hiring at the beginning of the year and, the sooner they get started, the better chance they have of getting at the first wave of talent after that holiday lull. — Jeff Menzel

  • Be careful not to leave a position and absorb unexpected expenses of COBRA and penalties of moving your 401(k) without clearly knowing these costs. — Susan Carerro

  • Do not apply to positions unless they match your salary requirements. Companies that post compensation usually will not increase the salaries. — Susan Carerro

    Be careful not to concede on flexibility. If your position currently provides flexibility, good hours, time off, work from home and a good commute, more money will not always replace these amenities. — Susan Carerro

The Employer Perspective

  • Do not show favoritism or allow employees to bend the rules. Hold everyone accountable equally. Hardworking employees will lose motivation and dedication if they see other employees slacking and getting away with it. — Susan Carerro

  • Do not withhold information about fringe benefits: With unemployment being at such a low rate, companies add a lot of fringe benefits that are communicated late in the game. But, in a competitive market, those things could help sway the applicant early in the process if they are known. — Jeff Menzel

  • Do not drag out the process, which can be discouraging for prospective employees. They longer you take with internal processes, the less interested an applicant may become or, worse, may find something else entirely. Now, you’re competing with that applicant receiving multiple offers. — Jeff Menzel

  • Never design the job or position around the candidate; always stay true to hiring the person for the job or position you need. — Susan Carerro

  • Do not promise benefits or perks that will create HR issues with current employees. Define your compensation package and budget and stay firm with your recruitment and position budget. — Susan Carerro

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