За Maxim Krizhanovsky

have been involved in development, support, sales and management of software products for the last 10 years. In 2011 he started the ansperts blog.

The job offer

After you have conducted an interview (or more than one, if there are multiple interviews in your hiring process) and you have selected your top candidate, you are sending your job offer. This is your last chance to make the wrong move and to provoke rejection. This may happen if you didn’t do the job offer well or if you send it too soon – before you have actually won the candidate. Following are few advises that will help you to close the position successfully.

  • The job is not only a position and a payment. Nevertheless, too often the job offers contain only the position the person will be hired for, and the salary she will receive. Start with a short introduction, explaining how your company will help for a great career, and what the employee will bring to the company.
  • When you get to the salary, describe the review process – in what timeframe the salary may be reviewed, and what specific conditions are to be met. Make sure to include the whole package as well.
  • You should not offer the minimum salary the candidate have requested. It’s well known that employees are often not that good in salary negotiations and that’s one of the hardest parts of the interview for them. Employers on the other hand often ask what is the minimum wage the employee would accept and they have their reasons for that. Make sure you know not only the minimum, but what payment will make the person happy, as well as what are her expectations for future raises.
  • Requiring immediate response is also a mistake. Give the candidate day or two to consider the offer, letting her know that you’ll call to clear any questions she may have, then call to discuss it. After the offer is accepted verbally, you may send any documents the candidate needs to sign.
  • Some companies first call to tell the offer. Although this gives the chance to discuss it in advance, it’s better to call after the candidate had enough time to consider your offer.
  • Setting expiration date for the offer is not a good thing to do. I have seen job offers which expire in 3 days. Any attempt to apply pressure for the candidate to accept the offer is hurting your business. Instead of this, call the candidate and ask when you can expect a decision to be made, explaining that you depend on this to continue with your hiring process. Use this to learn as much as possible about what prevents the candidate to accept the offer immediately.
  • Even if it’s discussed on the interview, include what expectations have to be met in order for the candidate to be considered a successful hire. This is extremely important if you have a trial period – it’s better for both parties if it’s clear under what circumstances the trial will be considered successful or not.

There’s always a chance for the offer to be rejected. You have to call and to ask for the reasons. Maybe the candidate is still not sure about the position. Never forget that the candidate may have multiple offers to chose from. And if she is currently employed, it’s even harder to chose your company. In that case it would pay off not to apply pressure, but to invest in longer relationship and approaching the candidate when she is ready to make the switch.

Always provide feedback

If you reject a job applicant, you have to explain the reasons to the candidate. No matter if you reject the application after a test or an interview, or you decide the candidate do not meet the requirements right after receiving the application, you should always send an e-mail a short explanation why the application have been rejected. The reasons:

  • You build positive relationships with the candidate. If you chose another one, but there’s a chance to hire this one in the future, this is a sure way to create good impression and to leave the door open for future collaboration.
  • You may even inspire her to take action. When the candidate knows the reason why she was not chosen, she may work to improve herself and next time you have a position open she may apply again.
  • More important, you open a communication channel. You may receive feedback in return.
  • You give the change to the candidate to prove you are wrong, or to apply for more suitable job at your company. Hiring is a hard job and anyone is prone to mistakes. If you think the candidate do not meet the requirements, say so. There is a chance the CV is not good, but the candidate may be able to show her skills and experience.
  • Last, but not least, this is a good marketing for the company as an employer. You’ll leave a positive impression, and you can be sure she will mention this when asked about the company. The rejected applicant may refer other candidates, and may turn into your client or partner into the future.

Sure, answering to every candidate requires your time, and your time is precious. But this is an investment in building relationships with potential employees and building a positive employer branding. The thing is, if you want to be successful in the long run, you have to develop your environment. If you receive CVs that do not give you any useful information to decide on the candidate, educate your candidates how to write a CV. If the candidates do not meet the requirements listed, there have to be reason for this. Sure, there always will be some candidates that obviously do not fit – some job hoppers, applying for any position, but it pays out to be kind with them too.

Take your time and make that investment!

Happiness at work

Last week in Sofia Alexander Kjerulf and Nic Marks spoke about happiness at work. Both of them stated that the happy employees are most productive. And if this is not enough of a reason to do something about your employees, I would like to list few more reasons not only to care about happiness at work, but to demand it!

The happy employees talk about what they dislike in the company. For a lot of managers the lack of feedback from the employees is a serious problem. The employees does not share ideas, does not tell their problems and accept everything with indifference. Those are not happy employees – the happy ones want to keep their workplace happy and will never be silent if something is keeping them from being happy. If your policy is “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions”, you won’t receive a lot of feedback. But if you are policy is one that people must be happy, be prepared for a lot of discussions.

The happy employees find ways to do their job more effectively. If part of the job is boring you can be sure that they will find a way either to automate it or to render it completely obsolete from the process. The happiness at work is directly connected to the creativity, so if you want your workforce to produce innovative solutions, it’s a must that the people are happy.

The happy employees won’t accept mediocre work. All people want to do a decent job – at least according to their own perception of a good job. One of the greatest demotivators, listed by Tom DeMarco in his excellent book “Peopleware”, is the impossibility to do a high-quality work – either because of tight deadlines, lack of resources or something else beyond employee control. The employees often keep silent about defects in the product, hoping they will be able to fix them afterwards or just knowing it’s not their fault. The happy ones will bring the problem to light and will seek a solution.

The happy people will help you to recruit employees they want to work with. They won’t just participate in the hiring process, they will recruit their acquaintances and well-known professionals to join the company. If your employees are not willing to recommend you their friends or to participate in the hiring, they are not liking their job much. There is no better argument to recruit someone to join your company than the fact that your people are happy in their job!

If you want your business to advance, and not only to offer high-quality products or services, but constant innovation as well, make the happiness at work a company policy. Hire people that will feel great in your company, and demand happiness from your employees. When people are not enthusiastic about their work, that’s a sign of underlying problems in the company – problems you may not learn about for months.

Welcome bonus

You are trying to fill a position, but there are no candidates. The reason is that there is shortage of talent. Or is it? I doubt it.

The IT is full of so called passive candidates. There are enough jobs for everyone, so nearly everyone is by definition employed. Moreover, even the ones that actually want to switch their jobs are not applying for a job. There are plenty of reasons for this. Starting a new job is a risky business – the company may not be better, the job may not be what you have hoped for, you may even fail and be in a position to actively look for a job – something most people in the sector are not used to. With so many offers available it’s hard to choose which one to pursue and which not, and just going trough the interviews to find out can be exhaustive process.

How can you help to your candidates to apply for the job in those circumstances? You can make failing on the new job safe by paying the employee even if she does not keep the job – either because she didn’t like it or because you have made a mistake hiring her and decide to let her go. That’s what Zappos do – they have a 4 week training, and if the new employee decide to leave during this training – they not only pay her for the time, but pay additional $2000 bonus. That’s lowering the risk for the employee, who can take her time to search for a new job. More important, it allows the employee to quit as soon as she decided to, not being on the job while searching for another one.

Still, losing a job – even if you decide to quit – doesn’t feel quite well. The employee has lost her previous job, and while she may not be in the worst situation from an economic perspective, she is forced to search for a new one. Maybe still not worth taking the risk?

What if you pay the $2000 or whatever amount you decide, no matter if the relationship will work or not? First, you will be the only one with such an offer, at least for a while, and this will grant you a lot of attention. It may play a good role in deciding if the risk is worth taking – if the job turns out to be the right one, the employee wins the next step in her career and some extra money; if she fails, at least she gets the money. Often you will pay a premium to someone who just referenced a candidate; why not pay to candidates themselves and let them apply. It makes sense to me. Some companies pay for relocation, defining it as changing the area the employee lives in; why not paying for relocation, as in changing the company?

Sure, this will make hiring mistakes more expensive and you have to be sure your candidate is not applying just to get the extra cash, in case she is already leaving the company. But that’s the case with paying higher than average salaries too. You have to be sure employees are not in the company only because of the paycheck, and if the salaries are really high, you may have employees that won’t leave the company for only one reason – no one is offering them such high salary. Paying once for the wrong hire is much better than paying each month! And Zappos have decided that its cheaper to pay people to leave than to have people, who will leave anyway, or who have mentally left, but still are on the job.

If you try to explore this opportunity, do not fall in the trap to hire the best candidate you have, no matter if he is the right for the job. You should always seek for the right person in the right job; fast filling of positions may be just too expensive in the long run.

Не на overtime-a

Като мениджър, трябва да се стремите служителите ви да прекарват възможно най-малко време в офиса. В никакъв случай повече от предвиденото в работно време. И причините затова далеч не са легални, нито пък са за да ви направи „предпочитан работодател“. Основната причина да ограничите времето в офиса, е за да се върши повече работа. Ето защо:  Има още

Щастие на работа

Вчера в София Алекс Кеърулф и Ник Маркс говориха за щастието в офиса. И двамата лектори казаха, че щастливите хора са по-продуктивни. И ако това не е достатъчно, за да направите нещо за служителите си, то аз искам да посоча още няколко причини, поради които не само трябва да ви е грижа за щастието в офиса, вие трябва да го изисквате!  Има още

Удовлетворение от работата

Иронично е, че когато говорим за „удовлетворение от работата“, обикновено се засягат теми като заплащане, работна среда, отношения с колегите и със шефа, докато самият израз предполага да говорим за самата работа. Има множество изследвания относно взаимодействието между заплащането и мотивацията, както и между мотивацията или ангажираността на служителите, и постигнатите от тях резултати. Интересно е обаче какво в самата работа я прави удовлетворяваща или не удовлетворяваща. И докато хората са различни, и техните нужди са различни, вярвам че има общовалидни принципи, които могат да направят работата на всеки удовлетворяваща, или напротив – да я причислят в категорията „правя го, защото за това ми плащат“.  Има още

Не на изпитателния срок

Кодекса на труда не изисква трудовият договор да има изпитателен срок, нито определя в чия полза да е той. КТ единствено ограничава срока на изпитване да бъде до 6 месеца. Някои работодатели се възползват от това и сключват договори със 6 месеца изпитателен срок в полза на работодателя; други включват клаузата за срок на изпитване, но определят срока на 3 месеца. Очевидно, това предпазва работодателя от изплащане на обещетение, ако новия служител се окаже неподходящ за заеманата длъжност. Но каква е цената на тази предпазна мярка? Има още

Два компонента на рекруитмънта

Краткосрочно, рекруитмънта е въпрос на маркетинг. Маркетинг на компанията, а не на конкретната позиция. Привличане на вниманието на целевата група. Представяне на потенциалната кариера в компанията. Вече съм писал за това как обявите за работа всъщност не предоставят необходимата информация. Ако сте софтуерна компания, наистина ли това, заради което някой ще кандидатства на работа при вас, е че за вас работят 300 души, или че ваш клиент е Адидас? Компанията трябва да каже защо прави това, което прави, и защо хората работят при нея. И то не с клишета от типа на страхотен екип, възможност за кариерно развитие, добро заплащане. Защото тях всички ги използват. А за да привлечете вниманието, трябва да се отличавате. Обявите освен това съдържат куп изисквания, предназначени да спират кандидатурите. А след това компаниите се оплакват, че нямат достатъчно кадри. Но тъй като вече съм писал за проблемите с обявите, нека погледнем по-надълбоко, в основата на рекруитмънта, и в изграждането на така наречения „talent pool“. Защото когато имате хора, които искат да работят за вас, дори не е необходимо да харчите пари за обяви, камо ли да мислите как да ги направите по-добри от тези на конкуренцията.

Защото рекруитмънта всъщност е въпрос на взаимоотношения. Джак Уелч е казал: всеки, който напусне компанията, ще я представлява. И това може да е похвала или злословене. Това обаче важи не само за напусналите компанията, и дори не само за работещите в нея – всеки, който се среща с представител на компанията, ще изгради някакви впечатления за нея, и ако те са достатъчно силни – независимо позитивно или негативно – ще стане преносител на тези свои впечатления към околните. Когато търсенето на специалисти надминава предлагането, кандидатите обикновено – дори и ако са привлечени от обявата за работа – разпитват свои познати за компанията, и чак след това взимат решение дали да кандидатстват или да започнат работа. И дори не е необходимо този, който им предоставя информацията, да е работил там – „бях на интервю, не ми харесаха“ е достатъчно, за да откаже повечето кандидати.  Има още