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Employee Referral Programs (Video)

Word-of-mouth may be the most reliable marketing tool in selling. People are much more likely to trust their friends, or even strangers, when it comes to making a purchase, than they are to trust the company selling the product. Just look at review websites like Google and Yelp. Even job seekers turn to online forums such as Glassdoor to learn about a company before deciding to accept a job.First-hand experiences and referrals play a strong role in the consumer world and they can play an equally strong role in the hiring world. We’re not recommending a forum where employers can rate past employees and leave references for future hiring mangers (as attractive as that may sound), but instead, building out your employee referral program and reaping the benefits of first-hand knowledge.If your referral program doesn’t get much attention, then this video from HR360Inc is for you and your team. It outlines the benefits of referral programs and why they’re more important today than ever.

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Job Descriptions for Contractors vs Employees

Job Descriptions for Contractors vs EmployeesA perfect job description is the first step in making sure you attract the most qualified applicants for your position.  If you consider the job posting as a marketing document (which we recommend you do) then you know that to make it effective, you need to write for your target audience. There are many ways we can classify job seekers, but one way is to look at those seeking permanent, full-time employment and those who are seeking contract positions.

The job description you write to attract a new employee should be different from the one you’d write for a contractor who is performing the same work. To understand those differences, let’s first take a look at the goals and behavior of each group.


Those looking for full-time, permanent work tend to have long-term goals in mind. They’re seeking an organization that will help them grow and provides opportunities for promotion. These people also recognize that since they’ll be with their new organization for a long period of time, they’ll want to be in an environment that makes them happy. Therefore, they research the company and its corporate culture to find the place that they know will fit with their values. Finally, and most obviously, future employees care about the salary and benefits being offered, including vacation. They depend on the company to help them find the ultimate work/life balance.

Contractors are usually independent entities seeking short-term project work. Their main goal is to find a project where they have the skills required to do the job, but they also want to learn and grow as a professional, as well as gain some impressive accomplishments and references to add to a long resume. Although this group wants to know they’d be working in a nice environment, they’re much less concerned with the corporate culture. This is because they know it is not long-term situation, but also because they avoid getting involved with employee activities, protecting themselves from being classified as an employee by the CRA. Finally, independent contractors don’t seek a salary, but instead are looking for a competitive market rate that allows them to pay themselves, and also cover other expenses unique to contractors, such as insurance and vacation time.


Because there is more invested in a permanent position, employees often spend more time in their job search. They carefully evaluate all positions and organizations based on which ones will help them achieve their personal goals, and then concentrate on submitting top-notch applications to a select few who meet the criteria. These job seekers (at least the good ones) rarely go through this process but when they do, they’re hoping that it will be their only job search for a long period of time.

Contractors treat the entire situation as a business-to-business activity. Instead of searching for a job, they’re looking for a gig for their business. These people often deal with procurement departments rather than HR and, therefore, are used to that process. Contractors are always looking at new jobs, even if they currently have one that is expected to last for another few months. As such, they apply to many positions, they’re time is limited, and they have no desire to read the “fluff” in a job description.


The employee job description is what’s more often written about and you are probably already an expert on this topic. When creating a job posting for a full-time position, put a lot of effort into selling the company and the long-term benefits. Demonstrate why they should want to work at your organization and explain the corporate culture. The tone of your ad will also tell a prospective employee a lot about your culture.  Instead of just skills, let future employees know all of their roles and responsibilities as a member of your team.

On the contrary, contract job postings should be short and to the point. Provide an overview of the project with the required skills so the contractor can quickly decide if they want to apply or not. Be sure to include the length of the project and try to use words more unique to contracting such as “rate” instead of “salary.” Finally, there is a common misunderstanding that every contractor would rather be an employee. As a result, there may be a temptation to include a line that says “potential for permanent employment.” This line may actually discourage career contractors, so you may want to think twice before adding it if that isn’t really part of the plan.

Both employees and contractors bring different value to an organization. They each have different benefits so a solid mix is a great idea, just be sure you know the best ways to recruit each of them.

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Tips for Hiring Your First Employee (Video)

Is your small business getting to the stage where you need to hire your first employee? That’s a big step to take with many questions to be answered. If you’re finding yourself in this position, then you stumbled onto the right blog post! Here’s a video from that gives tips for doing just that!

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10 Out of the Box Questions to Really Get to Know Your Candidates

Out of the Box Questions

Tired of the same old “What are your strengths?” and “Tell me about yourself!” dialogues in your job interviews? So is everyone else! Today’s top hiring managers have figured out what questions to ask to assess behavioural and analytical skills.

We made a top 10 list of our favourite questions that real companies are asking today. These questions may seem strange at first glance, but each one is designed with a specific measure in mind.

  1. If you didn’t have to work, why would you come into the office? – NatureBox

This question is designed to get to know exactly what gets someone out of bed and going in the morning, aside from that report due at noon. This will show you how to motivate this employee and keep them coming into work with a smile. Hiring managers want to know that they’re getting someone who not only has the right skills, but the right attitude to grow with the company and mesh with the culture of the office.

  1. “If you were given $1 million dollars every year for the rest of your life, what would you do?” After an answer, I ask “Ok so you’ve done that, what would you do next?” and continue asking that until they can’t think of anything else. – SoapBox Soaps

This is another question geared towards finding out the candidate’s motivations and priorities.  SoapBox’s CEO, David Simnick likes this question because “Usually the last answer or two shows what the person really wants out of life and tells me what they care about the most. It helps me understand what motivates them.”

  1. Who were the competitors at the last company you worked for and how did your company differentiate itself? – ZipRecruiter

This question tests whether the candidate had a business understanding of their last role that went outside of their day to day tasks. It tells the interviewer whether the candidate really cares to know how to move the company forward, not just themselves. This is a great chance for a team player with an innovative mind to expose itself!

  1. If you could invite only three guests, living or dead, real or fictional, but not family or a love interest, who would your intimate dinner party guests be? – The Pepper Group

This is a great chance to see how the candidate will think on their toes. It usually takes a few nerve-wracking seconds for them to respond, so it will show you how they deal with pressure. A good answer will not only give you some insight on their priorities, but it will also show their creativity and their passions outside of work.

  1. What is your favorite band or musician? – Universal Information Services, Inc.

The actual answer to this question isn’t the focus. The emphasis is the passion that the candidate responds with. If they can’t get passionate about a single band or song, how can they get passionate about their work?

  1. What have you done professionally that you succeeded at, but isn’t an experience you’d want to repeat? – HubSpot

The answer the candidate gives here will tell you a bit about how they work and even more about how they don’t work! This will tell you how they respond to adversity and succeeded in a bad situation.

In a blog, HubSpot ‘s VP of Global Customer Support Michael Redbord tells us how they classify the answers in 3 different ways, each of which can tell you something different about the candidate:

  1. Something menial (e.g. envelope-stuffing). Pay attention to whether they understand the value of this getting done for the business, or whether they just think they’re too good for a job like that.
  2. Something really hard. Why was it hard? Was it because it was poorly planned, poorly executed, or something else? Where do they put the blame on it being such an unpleasant experience?
  3. Something team-related. Follow up with questions about the team, what their role on the team was, and so on.
  4. If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors? – Apple

If you’re hiring for a position that requires problem solving and creativity, this question will tell you if the candidate is right or not! This will show you how a candidate can innovate and improve processes, while making the best of the tools at their disposal!

  1. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? – Applebee’s

If the role you’re hiring for involves communication this will let you know if the candidate can target their audience appropriately and be relatable. Even if you aren’t hiring for a role specifically requiring communication, this will give you a clue as to whether or not the candidate will be a good fit with the office culture. If you’re going to be spending 40 hours a week with this person, you should see if you can get along with them!

  1. If you were asked to unload a 747 full of jellybeans, what would you do? – Bose

The perfect question to ask a Project Manager. If they respond by asking about timelines, budgets and tools, you know they are right for the job! This shows how a candidate is able to chunk out problems and work their way towards solving the larger issue.

  1. How many people flew out of Chicago last year? – Redbox

Similar to the last question, this one tests a candidate’s analytical aptitude. The way that the candidate runs through the question will tell you whether they can solve a big problem logically without being overwhelmed. If they start talking about the number of runways and gates that’s a good sign! If they’re on about their last layover on the way to Florida, they may not be the right candidate.

What are your favourite, out of the box, questions to really get to know your candidates? Leave a comment below and let us know!