Hiring Practices

People in a business meeting talking about startup hiring

The Ultimate Startup Hiring Guide

The Ultimate Startup Hiring Guide 725 482 Sprockets

In today’s world, many entrepreneurs have decided to pursue their dream of running their own business. If this is the case for you, you’ve probably started thinking about how to optimize your hiring process. Luckily, the process of finding and hiring the right people doesn’t have to be as tedious and time-consuming as it may sound. To make the process as effective and expedient as possible, predictive hiring solutions and specialized strategies help with startup hiring. 

 

1. Utilize Employee Assessment Resources.

When you start your startup hiring process, make sure that you utilize employee assessment resources. These resources will empower you to determine which candidates are most likely to function effectively in their given roles and as team members. The most effective employee assessment process will involve the company’s current staff members completing the assessments first. Once this happens, the companies that administer the test can determine which shared attributes or skills the individuals who are most successful with the company have. After making this determination, you or the employee assessment company can carefully screen incoming candidates to determine which staff members would function most effectively in specific positions.

Sprockets, an HR tech company, offers predictive pre-hire assessments. Of their many features, Sprockets can help you decide if the candidate will be successful and fit into the company’s culture.

2. Hire Based On Potential, Not Just The Candidate’s Track Record.

If you’re serious about your startup’s hiring process, seek out candidates who seem to have potential. While existing skill sets and track record is important, these don’t provide you with the full picture of everything a job candidate can be. In reality, factors such as educational opportunities, existing social networks, and self-concepts can subtly impact whether an employee has had high performance in their work settings thus far. Recognizing your ability to provide them with the necessary support and resources can positively impact productivity and results. Consider whether the employee may be able to take your organization into a deeper dimension of success.

In some cases, it might be difficult to identify factors that indicate that a specific employee has potential. One thing to consider is work ethic. In many cases, an employee may not have all of the skills or capabilities you’re looking for. Nevertheless, they work hard and are willing to learn new things as quickly as they can to help push the company forward. Another thing to consider when attempting to gauge the potential of a job candidate is general life outlook. Is the candidate generally positive, negative, or somewhere in between? In many cases, individuals who maintain a positive outlook are more effective in dealing with setbacks, constructive criticism, and disappointments. Because all of these things are integral, being able to grapple with them while still working effectively is imperative for those who want to excel in the vocational setting.

3. Look For Flexibility.

While there are many attributes that would make an employee the ideal fit for a startup, flexibility is probably at the top of the list. For example, with many startups, the employee may need to put in 14 hours one day and 4 the next. Also note that startups tend to operate with smaller staffs and are often fast-paced. An employee may be required to jump in and complete tasks that aren’t in their job description. Flexible people can do this type of thing with a substantive level of competence and confidence, so look for this type of individual when you’re ready to hire.

4. Enhance Your Interview Process.

Another strategy you should implement to optimize the hiring process is enhancing your interview process. This approach is important because the interview is the time for you to learn as much as possible about a specific job candidate. By asking the right questions, you can gain the information necessary to determine whether a particular candidate would be ideal for the position.

Note that there is a wide range of questions that you’ll want to ask during the interview process. Some will be personal while others will pertain directly to the job the candidate is applying for. Still, others will concern the work the candidate completed in other positions. Ask questions that give you a sense of the other party’s character. This is important since you will be working closely with them.

Some of the questions you may want to consider asking during the interview include:

• What is your understanding of what our company does and why we were founded?

• Are you familiar with the roles and responsibilities for the job you’re applying to?

• Describe your biggest work-related fault? Have you done anything to correct it?

• Do you consider yourself to be introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between?

• What is your most significant job accomplishment, and why is it important to you?

In addition to asking the right questions during the interview process, make sure that you consider the value of having a co-worker sit in with you during this component of the hiring journey. This step is effective because even the most objective employer will have blind spots. Blind spots can include favoring certain candidates over others. Pre-existing prejudicial assumptions about individuals can cause hiring managers to pick someone who isn’t truly ideal for the position. Consider the value of asking a trusted co-worker to be present when you conduct the interview. Then request their honest feedback.

Conclusion

If it’s time for you to do some technical hiring, it’s important to have a game plan in place. Rather than allowing the process to unfold in an entirely organic manner, utilize some of the strategies and systems outlined above. You will increase your likelihood of bringing the most best-matched candidates on board this year!

Learn how Sprockets can help with your startup hiring.

People in a business meeting

Assess Soft Skills with Interview Questions

Assess Soft Skills with Interview Questions 1430 936 Sprockets

When you think of the perfect employee, what traits come to mind? Soft skills including being personable and hardworking or hard/technical skills like data entry and phone skills? Most managers would say that their top-performers have a mix of both soft and hard skills that match the department that they’re in. Taking time to assess soft skills, in-person and with predictive hiring tools, during the hiring process is crucial.

However, taking time to assess soft skills can difficult when you only have a brief interview. In fact, over 60% of hiring managers agree that screening for soft skills is tough and 92% rated soft skills as a critical priority. Below are a few tried and true interview questions for measuring the most prevalent soft skills.

Communication

Whether you are hiring a software developer or a sales representative, communication is essential to thriving in any company culture. While a software developer may mainly work alone, they must be able to communicate with clients effectively and internally communicate deadlines and information needed for each project to be successful.

  • Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?

  • Can you walk me through your process of explaining a new topic to someone who is unfamiliar with it?

Teamwork

Being a team player is important in having a collaborative work environment and a team that gets along well. If you have a majority of employees with positive attitudes and one person with a negative outlook, it can bring the whole team down. Assessing social skills without the future team in the room is difficult. Use these questions to assess if the candidate will be a good match.

  • Do you enjoy working on a team or on your own? Why?

  • How would you react if a team leader encouraged competition between team members instead of collaboration?

  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with someone you were not compatible with?

Leadership

Whether you are hiring for a managerial position or an entry-level position, it can be beneficial to assess whether someone is capable of being a successful leader down the line in their initial job interviews. This includes having people skills and certain personality traits that make up good leaders.

  • Can you tell me about a time when you successfully led a group through a difficult situation?

  • Describe a time you were able to improve the performance of a team or team member?

Critical Thinking

Problem solving by using critical thinking skills is something that is developed since elementary school. However, some people have better critical thinking skills than others – and simply enjoy it more. 

  • Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you had never done before. How did you approach it and what did you learn?

  • Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with incomplete information or your manager was not available.

Adaptability

From time management skills to prioritizing a busy, hectic schedule, being able to adapt to different circumstances is essential in today’s busy world. Not only do candidates need to be adaptable under different working styles, but also adaptable in terms of being resilient when a project or idea does not go their way. Adaptability can be a difficult soft skill to assess in-person. Predictive hiring systems can help by revealing a person’s mental makeup compared to that of top performers.

  • Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted— like a promotion you wanted and didn’t get, or a project that didn’t turn out how you had hoped.

  • Tell me about your last project. What worked and what didn’t work well?

Culture Fit

Does your office boast a glass door policy, an air-hockey table, or unlimited PTO or cubicles, structured retirement plans, and professional development opportunities? Each culture is the right fit for a certain candidate. Finding the candidate that matches your company culture is important for employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

  • Describe a time when you took a risk for the sale of a principle, value or mission?

  • In what type of work environment are you most productive and happy?

  • What management style do you thrive with?


While assessing soft skills can be difficult, Sprockets’ predictive hiring solution helps. With the combination of psycholinguistics and artificial intelligence, Sprockets is able to analyze the mental makeup of candidates — before you even meet them. Sign up for a free account today.

Sources: LinkedIn.com | Forbes.com

A Positive Candidate Experience is Key in Hiring Quickly and Efficiently

A Positive Candidate Experience is Key in Hiring Quickly and Efficiently 150 150 Sprockets

Many companies miss the most important part of the hiring process – the positive candidate experience.

A 2018 report by Human Capital Institute backs this with some staggering statistics:

  • 60% of job seekers reported a negative experience with employers

  • 72% of job seekers reported posting a negative review online regarding their experience with the employer.

  • 55% of job seekers report avoiding certain companies after reading negative reviews online.

Your company brand and hiring process could be scaring away your best employees before they even apply! Thankfully, there are some simple ways to turn this around. From predictive hiring systems to simplifying the process, these strategies are proven to help. For more information on executing a great candidate experience, check out this blog.

1. Research your company as a candidate.

Simple as that. Start a job search for a current opening in your company. Take note of how easy it is to find your openings. Read reviews from employees/candidates about your company and your process. Take a look at your company website and career page to ensure they are attractive, informative, and inclusive.

2. Communicate.

Keep candidates informed of where they are in the process. A personal email thanking them for their application is ideal. This can be done manually or setup as an automatic notification in most applicant tracking systems. Don’t leave candidates guessing the next steps. If a candidate is brought in for an interview, provide a timeline of when a decision is expected to be made and if a position is closed, make sure all candidates who applied are notified.

3. Simplify your application process.

Complete an application to get an idea of how long the process takes. According to a study done by Paycor, applications that take over ten minutes to complete, businesses can experience a 50% drop off rate! Make your application short and to the point. Include other options for completion, such as resume parsing, mobile-friendly, and remove the need for accounts to complete an application.

4. Review your job descriptions.

Your job description is the candidates peek into a day working for your company. Make it informative, appealing, and personable. Ensure the requirements you are listing match the actual position. Many companies lose out on great candidates by requiring years of experience for an entry level role.

Push out a campaign to have employees complete reviews on popular boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor. If possible, implement an employee referral program. Employees will have a better insight to the day to day of the company and if they are compensated, are more likely to refer quality candidates.

Turning around your candidate experience will take some time on your part, but the result will be quality candidates genuinely interested in working for your company!


Learn how Sprockets’ predictive hiring solution for small businesses can help your company.

Two people discussing how to assess candidates before interviewing

3 Tips to Assess Candidates Before Interviewing

3 Tips to Assess Candidates Before Interviewing 2048 1302 Sprockets

The benefits of assessing a candidate’s skills before bringing them into an interview are absolutely endless. This process is often called a screening interview. While it is not an actual face-to-face interaction, the screening interview is the process of getting to know someone. This is done before meeting up with them and can have an impact on hiring decisions. Think of it kind of like researching a person before a blind date. No one wants to go into an interview—or a date—completely blind.

One of the many benefits of doing a little research is that you’ll be able to tailor your job interview questions. Tailored questions allow getting to know the candidate. Human connection cannot be manufactured, but it can be tailored. Knowing your candidate’s skills before going into the interview room gives you and your interviewee plenty to talk about in your meeting. No awkward silences here.

So what are some ways that leaders get to know their interview candidates before they actually speak in any capacity?

It sure isn’t through a resume.

While resumes are still a reasonable tool in their own right, resumes can be easily doctored to look impressive without saying a single word about who your candidate actually is. Hard and soft skill mastery is important. There is no way around that. However, just because a resume lists a manifest of duties and applications of those skills does not mean the employee actually completed those tasks masterfully. This is why assessing candidates is so important.

Cover letters attempted to rectify this conundrum. Yet cover letters are honestly just longer resumes. While they do expand on the skills and experiences listed, cover letters are so stock and tailored toward a stiff professionalism that employers do not get to see the person behind the experience. This raises red flags. There is no such thing as a perfect person, so why does this person seem flawless? Something does not add up.

For this reason, more and more hiring managers are moving away from resumes simply listing work experience to alternative methods of pre-interview screening. Try using these three tips in your recruiting and hiring process to find the right person for the job.

1. The Skills Test

If you are a traditionalist—or just a designer who loves to see what cool formats people create for their resumes—you can still have your potential candidates upload a resume to your application form. While we gave resumes a bit of a bad rap a second ago, resumes do make good complementary tools when used with other methods of assessment. We simply do not believe they should stand alone.

Have your candidates upload a resume with your application and use it as a quick check against your skill test data. If the data matches with the resume, congratulations, you might have a good candidate. However, if the candidate just squeaked by on the skills test and they claim they have excellent whatever skills, you might want to reconsider their integrity. Sometimes people underperform on skills tests due to an off day, but more likely than not, this inconsistency heralds a deeper character issue that you do not want affecting your company and won’t be a good cultural fit.

In that case, a resume can be a very helpful reference for further understanding of your skills test data.

Whether your industry is health insurance or mass producing tea cozies from your exploding Etsy shop, your employees are going to need a certain set of skills to help you grow your business into its next successful season. An automated skills test assesses candidates on the practical skills for the job.

Interviewers have used games, math puzzles, industry-specific questions, and other means to determine how candidates apply their skills. There are different matrices for generating data from these tests. Percentages are the most common for multiple choice answers.

Most employers have a minimum passing score in their tests to ensure only the best candidates get through. Oftentimes this percentage sits at 60%, but this is really subjective in nature. The passing rate for your candidates should correlate directly to how specific your job opportunity is.

2. The Personality Test

In addition to implementing a hard skills test to assess candidates, employers also like to have their potential interviewees take a personality test of some sort. Personality tests allow candidates to demonstrate subliminal personality traits—positive or negative traits of which they might not be aware—to give employers a better idea of the individual behind the skills.

Personality tests can be administered in many forms, and their data is very telling. While personality tests do not have any right or wrong answers, the way candidates answer certain team, or philosophy related, questions will give you a good idea of if they’ll fit into your company culture. Even more though, if the test you give them is in a game format and you are looking to see how well they work as a team, you will be looking to assess their scenario reaction more so than their overall success. Do they win the game because they do it all solo? Do they try to help their teammates overcome obstacles? Are they creative in collaboration? Do they rage quit when things heat up?

Newer predictive hiring solutions like Sprockets offer a way to easily assess candidates. We help companies decide who to hire based on their cultural and intellectual fit. Try us today for free! Check out this blog post on how pre-employment assessments lead to a positive, long-lasting relationship with candidates and employees.

While personality tests are never meant to be stand-alone qualifiers for a person’s ability to do a job, they do have many tells within their questions to let you know who is most apt to fit into your team.

3. Know Your Ideal Candidate

Our last piece of advice is to know your ideal candidate. Before you sit down to create your screening requirements for the open position, you need to assess just exactly what you are looking for. What position are you trying to fill? Why? Can you consolidate another position into this one? If so, do you even need to hire?

  • What qualities are you looking for?
  • Which skillset does the position require?
  • What would be a deal-breaker on a candidate for your company?
  • Why does your company need this candidate?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you narrow down what to look for in interviews. This will allow you to tailor your questions and personality test to exactly what you are looking for.

The ideal candidate is going to know their stuff, be personable, and bring your company growth. Being specific, but flexible, on your pre-screening process will allow you the opportunity to see a diverse group of people.

Conclusion

Open-mindedly approaching the results of the tests is the key to finding the best job candidate. Sometimes, personality tests can lead business owners to think there is only one type of person who can fill a position in their work environment. However, using the personality test as a guide to understanding a person’s thought processes is much more effective than using it as a blanket identity. A person’s personality is forged through experience, and all habits—including weaknesses—can be strengthened with coaching, patience, and practice.

When you take the time to assess candidates, your fourth-quarter earnings will thank you.

A sign that reads "this must be the place"

The Modern Hiring Process Starts With a Great Job Posting

The Modern Hiring Process Starts With a Great Job Posting 900 500 Sprockets

When it’s time to hire, your job posting says everything about your company. Are you a dynamic, cutting edge company? Socially conscious? A digital dinosaur? Every communication is an opportunity to promote your organization, its culture, and values. Job postings can either attract top talent or send them yawning on to the next ad.

Like any marketing tool (and yes, you are marketing your company to the talent community) you’ll want to generate interest and even excitement. You know what’s great about working for you – you should be boasting it at every opportunity in the modern hiring process.

In today’s “unemployment is so low it’s making headlines” market, you need job postings that pull triple-duty: boosting your employer brand, finding the best applicant, and illustrating why that job seeker should look no further than your ad.

What’s in it for me?

Messaging must include what you have to offer as an employer as well as what you want from the candidate you hire. Get attention and interest by defining your company, the job and the candidate. Rather than looking for keywords that refine a job search, focus on “key” language that top talent associates with their skill set. Post for those to find the best match.

Keying in on key language

You know the qualifications and experience level you need. But you also know they’re not always predictors of success. Soft skills, emotional intelligence, and potential to learn and grow are important. They are often as important, if not more, than what’s on a candidate’s resume. Identifying the traits of top performers can help you search for those traits in candidates. And it goes both ways: highlighting key characteristics of your company can increase interest. Data suggests three quarters of workers would consider a pay cut to work for a responsible company. Your posting must key in on your corporate social responsibility.

When you quantify the shared characteristics of top performers, you know what to post for, what to interview for, and what to hire for. Is your company driven by innovative thinkers? Are meticulous, detail-oriented staffers your top performers? Whatever characteristics make for a successful employee, using those key terms can help you target the best applicants for a successful hire.

Focus on core values

Carefully choosing the wording of your posting speaks to the right candidate at the right time. Research shows some language dissuades candidates from applying. In the same way some language discourages candidates from applying, a strong job posting includes terms that encourage job seekers to see themselves in the role and quickly submit their resume. And seeing themselves in your company is important: one survey revealed the number one reason a candidate chooses one job over another is organizational culture. Recognizing traits as valuable to the organization as any other skill shows job seekers you’re a well-rounded company, looking to hire individuals, not just resumes.

Weighing your options

It’s easier to teach someone to code than to be a leader. When you know what soft skills are needed, it’s easier to make the right hire. You may even find a diamond in the rough. This would mean a candidate with all the characteristics you need who could be your next rock star. It all begins with a job posting that appeals to personality as much as qualifications.

Read the full E-Book, The Definitive Guide to Recruiting & Retaining Top Talent by clicking here.


Sprockets’ cost-effective Applicant Matching System (AMS) uncovers the traits that drive success for the top performers in your company. A great job posting, with these traits top-of-mind, optimizes your interview and hiring processes for the best chance of success. Contact us today.

call center workers

How Pre-Hire Assessments Create a Long-lasting Positive Employee Experience

How Pre-Hire Assessments Create a Long-lasting Positive Employee Experience 460 385 Sprockets

Hiring can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Not to mention the stiff competition for top talents leaves you with little time to select ideal candidates. Luckily, pre-hire assessment tools for candidates come in handy to fasten the process and lower employee turnover. We have provided some tips below to enhance your employees’ experience.

Challenges in recruitment lead to better data management

Advanced assessment technology makes it possible to hire people who have the best chance of success in a given role. This produces employees who are well-suited for their jobs and demonstrate high levels of employee engagement — a critical factor that influences performance and productivity.

So, how can an organization use candidate assessments to achieve the above results? It starts with creating a long-lasting positive employee experience.

The crossroads of efficient hiring and the candidate experience

Prospective employees gain an impression of your business from the moment they first set sight of your company’s branding or job advertisement. Studies further indicate that 60% of employees report a negative impression of their employers. First impressions are vital, and they can determine whether the employee will stay for the long haul to become a company’s asset or quit for greener pastures elsewhere.

Some of the interviewees’ negative experiences include lack of frequent updates, discriminatory treatment by the hiring team, and long recruitment processes. You should eliminate these problems as you carry out your recruitment process.

Factors like candidate expectations and the interviewer’s needs also come into play. The interviewers cannot predict the success ability of the new employees because performance is in the past.  LinkedIn research shows that 63% of hiring managers are unable to gauge a candidate’s soft skills. Another 57% cast doubt on their ability to work out a candidate’s weakness.

Why leave things to chance? Invest in the Right Tools

The right candidate assessment tool has the potential to unlock a clear plan of action for recruiters, by using big data to select new hires. Pre-hire assessments provide deep insight into a candidate’s abilities, skills, values, and work style that an interview fails to shed light on. Using smart data gathering that relies on facts and not biased opinions about people is a far better indicator of success.

Recruiters can also improve the candidate experience by making it more personalized while respecting their privacy. This is something that more candidates are expecting. The candidate assessment allows recruiters to learn more about a candidate before meeting with him or her so that during any interviews, it’s not about the resume, it’s about the person’s goals and values.

Knowing these factors in advance helps recruiters make more accurate placements and it can also help build a talent pipeline. If the right job isn’t available now, candidates can rest assured knowing that the company has invested time in them and will be calling soon with a more suitable job offer.

Increasing employee engagement and professional development

In the long term, onboarding of employees can be designed around a customized plan for each new hire. The customized plan should be based on the data gathered during the pre-hire assessment. As an employee, any strengths revealed can determine the first tasks to be assigned. Any weaknesses that the assessment discovered can be used to develop training needs. Employees can self-assess to see their progress improve and this prepares them for advanced roles in the company. The goal is to give employees more control over their career growth. Assessments provide the data that proves they are ready for leadership roles.

There is power in data and candidate assessments help make sense of it all.

Millenials in the workplace

10 Statistics for Recruiting and Hiring Millennials

10 Statistics for Recruiting and Hiring Millennials 735 425 Sprockets

Millennials recently etched their name in as the biggest generation in U.S. history and, in the process, overtook Baby Boomers, becoming the largest demographic in today’s workforce. Millennials are uniquely their own and hold their own ideas of what work and a workplace should be. Hiring millennials also takes a unique approach.

Below are statistics about millennials you need to familiarize yourself with before recruiting and hiring.

Important Statistics about Millennials

  • 95% of millennials say work-life balance is important to them, while 70% say that it’s very important.

  • 19% say that flexible working hours is the benefit they would most value from an employer, compared with 4% who said they preferred higher wages.

  • 64% of millennials say they’d rather make 40k a year at a job they enjoy than 100k at one they don’t.

  • 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job.

  • The opportunity for personal development was the factor that most influenced their decision to accept their current job, cited by 65% of millennials.

  • 52% said career progression was the main thing that attracts to an employer, ahead of competitive salaries at 44%.

  • 75% of millennials believe that their organizations could do more to develop future leaders.

  • 59% said that an employer’s provision of state-of-the-art technology was important to them when considering a job.

  • 36% said the reputation of the organization influenced their decision to accept their current job.

  • 82% of millennials believe it’s easier than ever to start a new business.

Millennials are smart, technologically advanced, connected, and driven. They will liven up your workforce with fresh ideas but perform best with flexibility, fun, and a strong cultural fit!


Sprockets helps companies hire more top-performing people. Our assessment discovers the shared characteristics of your best people and sees that information to predict a new hire’s likelihood to succeed in a position before they’re hired.

Sprockets decreases the number of screening interviews you conduct, allows you to conduct candidate assessments, and reduces turnover through increased employee engagement.

Start predicting employee success with a free trial account today! No credit card required.