5 Skills Every College Students Needs to Develop Now

By Amit Chauhan

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) identified the top personal qualities that employers look for in college graduates. Understanding what these are, why they are highly desired and how to cultivate them can make grads much more competitive once they enter the workforce.

Whether you’re entering your first year in college, or are closing out your last year, you still have time to work on each personal quality that will make you a more marketable employee. Here are some ways to begin cultivating these qualities immediately:

Ability to make decisions and solve problems

Although employers expect to more closely manage recent grads and new hires in the workplace, they hire under the assumption that it will not be a permanent situation. Demonstrating the ability to make decisions and solve problems based on knowledge obtained over time in a particular role is a critical skill to demonstrate growth and competence in a job.

In school, you have a lot of important decisions to make and problems to overcome. Whether it’s deciding on a major, choosing a good course schedule, or dealing with a difficult professor, these are all experiences that will help you build this personal quality.

When you find yourself dealing with a difficult situation or coming to a decision, it’s wise to document what made it challenging, how you came to your final conclusion and what came of it. Not only proving you can make the hard decisions and solve problems, but also showing you learn from each of them is a key trait employers look for.

Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization

Switching tone, demeanor and even messaging is an important skill to have in the professional world. While you may talk in a more informal, even joking tone with colleagues within the company, you need to know how and when to switch over to a more formal tone with clients and upper management.

As a student, become more aware of how you interact with peers, professors and friends. If you have the same tone for every interaction, you need to begin to cultivate an awareness of how you’re presenting yourself in formal and informal situations. From there, taking a more active role in listening and finding a good way to approach different personalities will help you become a much stronger candidate for the workforce.

Ability to obtain and process information

Learning doesn’t stop once you leave college. Once you enter the workforce, you are expected to stay abreast of everything from the latest trends within the industry, to the inner workings of the company you work for. Additionally, applying this information to your role is critical to offering value for your employer.

During your time in school, there is plenty of opportunity to obtain and process information. The key will be in how you transfer that information into your school work, your interactions with your peers and professors, and your professional experiences. Use this time to figure out how you consume information and then apply it to practical applications and situations in the real world.

Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work

Working hard is important, but working smarter is even more important. As your responsibility grows within a position, you will need to be able to prove that you have the organizational skills to get everything done that needs to be. Additionally, the ability to differentiate between what tasks take priority over others is key in moving up the ladder and making sure you’re tending to the most important aspects of your role.

As a student, you have to juggle homework, studying, group projects, work and socializing. There is no question that you are naturally given the ability to cultivate planning, organizing and prioritizing in your everyday college life. So all you have to do to cultivate these skills is be aware. Pay attention to what comes naturally and what may be more difficult. For some, planning out their day and keeping everything organized is easy, but being able to know when to say no can be more of a challenge.

Ability to analyze quantitative data

If you’ve spent any time reading mainstream publications, the term “big data” has likely come up in a couple of the articles. In a world that is putting increasing importance on data-driven statistics, the ability to understand and utilize quantitative data has become a highly desired trait for employers.

What does this mean for students? Enroll in more math and statistics classes! Even if your strong suit is not math, you need to be able to contribute to and decipher the amount of data that companies are now capturing. Taking classes and possibly getting involved in study groups or pre-professional organizations focused on this topic will help you gain a more thorough understanding of how to look at the numbers and turn them into useful business insights for companies.

Taking time to identify your future career path during college is important, but you should also be aware of how you’re cultivating these important qualities and skills along the way. If you do that, you can be confident you’ll walk into the workforce much further ahead of the game than your fellow job seekers.

What are some other ways students can begin cultivating these qualities and skills to become more competitive in the workforce? Share in the comments!

Amit Chauhan is the CEO and co-founder of Recroup, an entry-level hiring platform that allows employers to find the right talent by getting to know the person behind the resume. Connect with Amit and the Recroup team on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What Are Students Really Looking For In Their First Job?

By Amit Chauhan

With nearly half of college students and recent graduates feeling confident about their future job prospects, employers need to make it their goal to attract Millennial talent.

When college students search for their first job, they’re looking for positions that match their interests and skills. Unfortunately, Accenture claims 46 percent of 2012 and 2013 graduates feel they are underemployed. This is why employers need to offer opportunities that match what college students and recent graduates are looking for in their careers.

To help ambitious and talented college students find the first job of their dreams, here are five things to keep in mind when recruiting Millennial talent:

1. Offer employee training and mentorship.

According to Accenture, 80 percent of 2014 college graduates expect employers to provide formal training during their first job.

To ensure new professionals have a positive onboarding experience, give them the training and resources they need to be successful in their new positions. For example, provide each new employee with a mentor and a series of classes to transition them into their new position.

2. Use their passions and interests to their fullest potential.

The Millennial generation is filled with passionate professionals. In fact, 53 percent of Millennials desire a job where their talents and passions are used to their full potential, according to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report.

When hiring new professionals, be sure to choose candidates who display a genuine interest in and passion for your company. Once hired, give your Millennial employees projects that are best suited for their strengths and talents.

3. Give them the opportunity to make a difference.

In today’s workforce, Millennials want to accomplish more than adding another line to their resume or earning a raise. According to a Millennial Branding survey, 30 percent of Millennials say they want a job that provides meaningful work.

To attract Millennial talent, give them the opportunity to volunteer with an organization or host service days. Young professionals want give back to their communities through their jobs and make a positive difference in the workplace.

4. Provide flexibility.

Today’s workforce is quickly shifting to a new lifestyle for young professionals. Harris Interactive discovered that two out of five working adults would take a pay cut if it meant having a more flexible schedule.

If you truly want to reel in Millennial talent, provide them with perks such as flexible work schedules or the option to telecommute. In a new study released by Stanford, worker productivity increased by 13 percent when employees had the option to work from home.

5. Encourage creativity and innovation.

Millennials possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit and want to opportunity to use their creativity each day the workplace. According to the March Creative Jobs Report, four out of 10 respondents said they would quit their current job for a more creative career path.

How do you cater to the needs of Millennial job seekers?

Amit Chauhan is the CEO and co-founder of Recroup, an entry-level hiring platform that allows employers to find the right talent by getting to know the person behind the resume. Connect with Amit and the Recroup team on Twitter and LinkedIn.

5 Secrets of the Social Job Search

By Michele P. Dambach

If you’re still reluctant to use social media during your job search, you’re missing the boat — and plenty of job opportunities — as other job seekers land the position of their dreams.

According to our 2014 Mobile and Social Medical Sales Job Search survey, 42 percent of medical sales professionals said social media led them directly to a job opportunity.

Through social networking, job seekers can make valuable connections that can lead to interviews and even job opportunities. It’s time for you to add this important tactic to your job search strategy.

If you’re looking for some new ways to freshen up your job search, here are five secrets of the social job search every job seeker should know:

1. Follow niche sites on social media for opportunities.

Niche sites are a great tool for finding job postings exclusively in your industry. Whether you’re in healthcare or marketing, there are niche job boards and blogs available to help you discover opportunities.

There are thousands of niche job boards on Twitter for practically every type of industry. Marketing/PR Jobs and Jobs in Tech are just a few of the niche job sites you can follow on Twitter for relevant job postings to your career.

2. Use Twitter to position yourself as an expert.

Twitter is an excellent social network for job seekers because it connects you with professionals and companies in your industry. According to Jobvite, Twitter is the most popular social media platform to ask for career help and advice.

Not only is Twitter a great tool for obtaining career advice, but you can also use it to position yourself as an expert in your field. Use Twitter to share relevant content regarding your industry and spark conversations with professionals during Twitter chats.

3. Become an active participant in online communities.

Another great way to build your connections and discover job opportunities is through online communities. In the survey mentioned earlier, 46 percent of respondents said they use social networks to communicate with recruiters.

Once you find a community that fits your career needs, be sure to actively participate. Share your passion for your career by creating and sharing content about your industry. Not only will you become a strong contributor this way, but you will also grow your personal brand.

4. Create lists of target companies.

When you explore social networks, keep your eyes peeled for companies you’d like to work for and follow them online. According to our survey, 56 percent of medical sales professionals use social networks to research employers.

When you follow a company on LinkedIn or “like” them on Facebook, this allows you to keep track of what the company is doing. As you continue to follow employers on social media, consider creating Twitter lists or using the interest list feature on Facebook. This will help you keep important information regarding your job search all in one place!

5. Make sure you are searchable.

Finally, if you want to become discovered by recruiters and employers, you need to make sure you’re searchable online.

Be sure to check out the variety of social networks available that can help you build your online presence. Networks such as Google+ and LinkedIn can help you get noticed online and build a brand for your name. You should also maintain profiles on niche platforms within your industry.

Use the exact name on your social networks as you would on job applications. For example, you don’t want to leave your last name off of your Twitter profile because employers wouldn’t be able to find you.

As job search tools continue to evolve, social media will always serve as a powerful tool for job seekers. Social media will enable you to connect with recruiters, discover opportunities, and land the job you’ve always wanted.

What are your best secrets for using social media during your job search?

Michele P. Dambach is the Digital Marketing Specialist at MedReps.com, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Michele and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

4 Lessons from Top Companies About Recruiting Millennials

By Amit Chauhan

A study released by LinkedIn found that the most in demand employers for students in 2014 included Google, Apple, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever. Take a closer look at each of these companies and you’ll see why they are on this list: they understand it takes more than just a good paycheck to recruit today’s top Millennial professionals.

Although this generation has not rejected the corporate world, they will go out and start something on their own if they can’t find something that accommodates their own personal values.

To keep up with the Googles and Apples and attract top new college grads, you need to evolve.

Create An Inspiring Office Environment

Creating an office environment that is not only innovative and inspiring, but also fun and joyful is important in today’s workplace. Although this trend began with the big tech companies like Google and Facebook, other larger companies have followed suit. For instance, Chesapeake Energy Corp. built an on-site 72,000-square-foot fitness center with an Olympic-sized pool, a sand volleyball court, a rock climbing wall and a walking track.

While a full fitness center may not be an option, try to incorporate fun and inviting elements into your office environment that are conducive to brainstorming, collaborating and even resting when it is needed. Try adjusting the lighting, adding plants around the office, moving desks so they are facing windows, or even add more natural light with additional windows.

Think Differently About Company Perks

Although money is important, this generation doesn’t place as much emphasis on their paychecks. This is partly because a tough economy has forced them to become very deal-savvy and conscious savers. For that reason, you need to think beyond compensation and monetary perks.

DPR Construction offers wine bars and saloons for socializing and brainstorming, while DreamWorks Animation offers art classes and movie screenings and Genentech offers daily dog sitting to all its employees.

Something less costly that you can offer might be unlimited sick days in order to show the importance you place on personal health and wellness. Many companies are also beginning to offer more flexible schedules since Millennials appreciate the ability to pursue passions outside of their work.

Cater to Entrepreneurial Change

Making a difference in the lives of others is very important to the Millennial generation. They also appreciate being able to play an active role in change — whether it’s within a company, their community, or the world.

When Millennials look for potential employers, they want to know that their thoughts and aspirations will mean something and be heard. Zappos held the Zfrog awards, which let employees pitch their own business ideas.

By showing you appreciate everything your employees bring to the table and support their entrepreneurial drive, you will be much more likely to appeal to Millennials.

Rethink Social Media and Interactive Recruiting

The term “social recruiting” has been used a lot recently, and for a good reason. According to a 2013 study by Jobvite, 94 percent of companies are using social media for recruiting, and companies have reported a 49 percent improvement in candidate quality through this type of recruiting. Whether big or small, companies of all sizes should be active on social media in order to recruit top Millennial talent.

Additionally, with a younger generation of recruits, it may be time to adjust your recruiting strategies to interact with them on a more personal level. Job boards and professional networking sites are the most commonly used forms of recruiting, but finding a cultural fit is difficult to do through these.

With new graduates who have very little experience to pull from, it’s important to know they have the soft skills that can’t be taught, and make sure they are open and able to learn the hard skills that can be.

Some options for this may be to utilize tools and job boards that allow for video resumes and provide interactive and real-time correspondence between employers and candidates. This could be something such as a mobile phone messaging capability or a platform that coordinates tests and feedback between employers and candidates.

Taking a closer look at what you’re doing to attract Millennials and what leading companies like Apple and Unilever are doing will help you improve your recruiting efforts and allow you to make your workplace more desirable to college grads. It takes more than just a good paycheck to recruit top talent within the Millennial generation, so make sure you evolve to think differently and offer an innovative, creative and inspiring workplace.

Amit Chauhan is the CEO and co-founder of Recroup, an entry-level hiring platform that allows employers to find the right talent by getting to know the person behind the resume. Connect with Amit and the Recroup team on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3 Ways To Take Advantage Of The Boomerang Hiring Trend

By Robyn Melhuish

At the height of the recession in October 2009, the national unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent.

Now that the worst is behind us, we’re starting to see a “boomerang” hiring trend emerge. Companies that laid workers off in recent years are now able to start hiring again, and many are eager to hire old employees.

For employers, hiring former employees who left on good terms is a no-brainer: They know their past experience and assume they picked up some new skills to bring to the table during their time away.

Employees who did a good job keeping in touch with their former employers are likely to be on the top of the rehire list — and there are a number of additional reasons you should keep in touch with your former employers:

Reason #1: Confidence In Your Recommendations

If your next step is to attend grad school, you will need solid recommendations to get accepted into a strong program. If it is a new job opportunity you’re looking at, recommendations can make or break your chances for landing the position. You want to feel confident you left a good impression on your former employer and that they will have plenty of positive things to say, including confirming you performed any required tasks for the position or program.

Reason #2: You Never Know Where Your Next Opportunity Will Come From

Whatever your reason for departing from your former employers, you never know what the future will bring. Your dream job may come up within one of your former companies, or through connections formed in them. Keeping in touch and reminding your former employers of your positive experience with them will in turn emphasize the positive experience they had with you. This could determine whether you actually land your dream job or not.

Reason #3: People In The Industry Talk

During networking events or conferences, your name may come up in conversations between your former employers and others in the industry. This could lead to some truly great opportunities and recognition. However, if you aren’t making it a point to keep in touch and stay top of mind, you could miss out.

How can you make sure to stay in touch without seeming desperate or annoying? Consider these tips:

  • Don’t just reach out when you need something. Make it a point to contact your former employers two to three times a year just to see how things are going. If you only reach out to them when you are looking for something, you can bet you won’t continue to hear back from them.
  • Connect through social media. It is likely that your former employers are somewhere on social media, whether it’s LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Twitter. Keep your profiles professional and use these channels to connect with them in an informal way by retweeting or commenting on something they post.
  • Get face-time. Stop into the office periodically or invite former employers to lunch or dinner. This is a great way to get to know your former employers on a more personal level and keep you top of mind when opportunities come up.
  • Keep an eye out for news about your former companies. When something comes up, send over a nice note with a link to the news. It doesn’t have to be anything extensive, but showing you’re keeping an eye on their successes is a great way to show you still care and have them top of mind.

Many times, keeping in touch with former employers can be awkward for people. However, if you’re able to exit each of your positions gracefully, it will help to make the situation much less awkward and give you the chance to reach back out to them. If you leave on a bad note, you can bet that you will never be able to secure another opportunity there and it may damage your chances for opportunities outside of that company as well.

Robyn Melhuish is the Communications Manager at MedReps.com, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Robyn and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

How to Nail Your Interview, Even if You Were Fired

By Robyn Melhuish

Getting fired or being asked to resign is one of the worst things to happen to your professional life. After you’ve gotten over the shock of being fired, you’ll need to pick up the pieces and move on. This can be difficult, however, when you know you’ll be asked about your firing in your next job interview.

Before you go into a stress spiral, remind yourself of your skills and abilities. It’s still entirely possible to nail your interview, even if you were let go from your last position. You need to think about how you can talk about your firing as a challenge, not as a defeat.

Below are five ways to nail your interview when the firing question arises:

Be Honest

Honesty is perhaps the most important aspect of talking about your firing. The fact that you were let go from your last position is already a warning sign to any recruiter, HR manager, or employer. Whether you’re trying to break into medical sales or marketing, a firing on your record doesn’t exactly improve your image. Adding a lie on top is sure to mean you never progress onto the next stage of the hiring process.

Lying in the job search is much more common than you might think; in fact 47 percent of job seekers admit to fibbing on their resume. When it comes to facing your firing, however, head-on and honestly is really the only way to go.

Prepare Before the Interview

Going into the interview, you should be 100 percent aware how high the odds are your interviewer will ask about your firing. It’s not likely to be something they leave off their list of questions. Interviewers will want to know why you left your last position, and they’ll want to know the cause of your dismissal.

Don’t get caught unaware, especially when you can predict this outcome. Instead, prepare an answer to the question you know you’ll be asked. If you’re nervous and easily flummoxed, you might even want to consider scripting out a response to keep you on point.

Talk to Your References

Once again, honesty is important, which is why it’s essential your references back up your version of events. Talk to your references before stepping foot in the interview to make sure you both have a similar take on events. Otherwise the perfectly crafted answer you give could be undermined by a reference not on the same page.

Highlight the Silver Linings

There’s not much of a bright side to being fired. Few employers, however, want to hire someone who spends ten minutes badmouthing their former company. Instead of being defensive when explaining your situation, be optimistic instead.

Pull out a few positives from your experience, whether the firing gave you the opportunity to pivot into a new field or just that it was a big learning experience for you personally. Structure your answer to focus on the positives instead of the negatives, and you’ll impress with your upbeat attitude.

Keep it Moving

The more you talk about your firing, the more likely you are to trip yourself up. So while it’s important to clearly explain the situation, don’t linger longer than you have to on the subject of your firing. Instead, use your firing as an opportunity to talk about something more positive or a way you can add value.

Maybe you took an additional education class or professional development. Maybe you’ve used your time out of work to volunteer or give back to the community. Say what you need to say about your firing and then bring the interview onto more steady ground by underlining the potential value you can bring to the organization.

Getting fired is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be the kiss of death for your interview. Be prepared, tell the truth, and spin the situation in a positive direction and you just might be surprised at how impressed a potential employer will be with your confidence and honesty.

What do you think? How have you discussed a firing in a job interview? Share in the comments!

Robyn Melhuish is the Communications Manager at MedReps.com, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Robyn and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Interns in 2014 [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Heather R. Huhman

Does it make sense to take multiple internships, or is it smart to focus your energy on just one? How many of your fellow interns are getting paid, and does this payment affect job prospects? Students gearing up for internships and current interns have plenty of questions, and unfortunately, not many answers.

Search “internship” in the news and you’ll come up with stories of former interns suing their internship programs for lack of payment, but nothing like the answers to the questions most interns badly want to know. For instance, those who have done three or more internships are actually twice as likely to score a job. And if your internship is unpaid, you’re far from alone, since 48.3 percent of interns don’t receive payment.

InternMatch, a LookSharp company, conducted one of the largest internship surveys of all time in order to answer some of the most burning internship questions. Surveying over 9,000 students from all over the U.S. and from all walks of life, the state of the internship report paints a clearer picture of what it’s really like to be an intern in 2014.

Among the findings, here are some interesting statistics:

  • 97.6 percent of interns recommended internships to other students
  • As of April 15th, only 16.6 percent of seniors had received a job offer
  • 68.9 percent of college seniors have done at least one internship
  • Students with paid internships are three times more likely to have job offers than students with unpaid internships

Check out the full infographic below!

StateOfInternInfographic

What do you think? How important were internships in your career?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

Why Summer is the Perfect Time To Try Video Interviewing

By Josh Tolan 

As the summer heats up, it can sometimes feel as if hiring is cooling off. Your hiring team might be using the balmy summer months to take some much needed vacation, while job seekers could be spending more time soaking up the sun than hitting the apply button on your jobs.

Strangely, the summer doldrums can actually be the perfect time to find and hire the top-notch talent you need. The best, most motivated people will be ignoring the siren lure of Mai Tais on the beach to focus on their professional development.

Besides, summer is actually the hiring busy season for some industries. For instance, the end of the school year is the perfect time to hire in the education industry. Around July and August, teachers begin moving to different schools or positions, leading to open jobs and hiring woes.

Whether you need to hire a teaching position or a financial analyst, don’t shelve hiring until the fall. Thanks to the video interview, summer might just be your new secret weapon. Here are a few reasons why:

Wade Through Candidate Pools

Even during the slower summer months, there are plenty of job seekers flooding the market. While the candidate pool can be deep, the pool for highly skilled candidates can actually be quite shallow. For every corporate job opening approximately 250 resumes are zooming into inboxes, yet 38 percent of companies have open positions they cannot find the right skilled people to fill.

The one-way video interview can help you wade through the wrong candidates and focus instead on the right people. In a one-way video interview, employers and recruiters ask candidates questions that are then answered in short videos. These video answers can be viewed at any time, on any mobile device, and for any duration. If you know someone is immediately all wrong for the job, you can merely move on to the next person.

So, it should come as little surprise that research from the Aberdeen Group found employers could watch 10 one-way video interviews in the time it took to perform just one preliminary phone screen. If you can find the pearls among the oysters more quickly, you can snatch up the top talent before your competition.

Interview on Vacation

When the sun starts shining in the summer months, both employees and job seekers start dreaming about vacation. This can make interview scheduling perilously hard to coordinate. Your great candidate might be sitting on a beach somewhere, while the head of the department is traipsing across Europe. The video interview can help with this summertime problem by making it easier and quicker to connect. Now a candidate can use their favorite mobile device to answer your company’s one-way video interview questions, and then get back to the pool.

If you need to connect in real-time but scheduling has become a nightmare, you can utilize live video interviews. Connecting with a candidate live is just like sitting down for an in-person interview, except the candidate is on the other side of the webcam instead of the desk. If your all-star candidate is visiting family, out of the country, or just at the beach, you can still connect in person without waiting for the candidate’s return flight home.

Heat Up Collaboration

Collaboration is an essential part of every hiring process, but the vacation season in the summer months can make working together more complicated. Not only do more employees take vacation in the summer, but some companies even offer summer Fridays, half days, or other special out-of-office perks. This means it can be even more difficult to schedule the interviews you need around packed calendars in the warmer months.

The sharable nature of video interviews makes it easy to jump over this collaboration hurdle, connecting with clients, team members, and other departments even if they’re out of the office. One-way video interviews can be viewed at any time, even from your mobile device, and allow employers to take notes and share these impressions with the team.

Live video interviews might occur in real-time, but since they’re automatically recorded, they’re also highly sharable. This means collaboration doesn’t have to take a hit just because members of your team are busy working on their tans, instead of working in their offices.

Build Up A Talent Pipeline

Even if your company doesn’t have many open positions to fill, the summer months are a great time to start building up your organization’s talent pipeline. This is the time to build up an online talent community, connect with skilled candidates on social media, and use video interviews to form a more personal connection.

You might not be able to hire these smart and skilled candidates immediately, but you’ll have a depth of talent when a position at your company actually does open up. By preparing in advance,  you can jump the skills gap and find the highly skilled talent you need.

As the summer heats up, so should your hiring efforts. Now is the time to build up a dedicated talent pipeline, improve collaboration among your team, and find the most skilled people for your open positions. Thanks to new technology like video interviews, the summer months can be the perfect opportunity for your company to get ahead and lead the pack come fall.

What do you think? How do you improve summer hiring? Share in the comments!

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about using video interviewing for education hiring and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

3 Ways to Find the Right Candidate for Your Company Culture

By Robyn Melhuish

The success of a new hire is very important for the success of an entire company. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, once estimated his own bad hires have cost the company well over $100 million. Beyond monetary loss, a bad hire can also dampen team morale. According to Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, “one subpar employee can throw an entire department into disarray. Team members end up investing their own time into training someone who has no future with the company.”

To ensure the success of a new hire, you must find a candidate that is a good match with your company culture. To do this, you have to first understand your company culture and what you’re truly looking for in the candidate, and then determine the candidate’s personal attributes and how they will fit in.

Let’s say, for instance, we have an open sales position that needs to be filled. Here are some steps you should follow to ensure your sales hire will be a good one:

Understand your office culture and style

Take a look at how the team works together. Are they collaborative or independent with their work and decisions? If it’s generally an “every man for himself” situation, you need to find a candidate who can handle and thrive in this type of culture.

Consider the different roles within your workplace and figure out how those will impact the position you are looking to fill.  Many times a sales position requires a lot of time on the phone or on the road, so they may not interact as often with other teams. If this is the case, you may require someone who is very likeable and can easily jump back into the mix, even after being out of the office for days or even months at a time.

Define what you need beyond the job description

The job description is fine for giving candidates an understanding of what you are looking for, but to understand what you need, you have to dig a little deeper. Since this sales position may require a lot of client-facing time, the candidate’s personal style needs to not only mesh well with the organization, but also with the clients they will be interacting with. Note how sociable and agile they are and whether or not they seem to be open enough and able to get along with different groups of people.

Consider bringing in someone with a fresh perspective and a different approach. Hiring people with the same personality attributes may make hiring a little easier, but a new perspective could really make a positive difference within your culture. It is a good goal to find someone who fits well within the current culture of your organization, but you may decide to look for someone who is a little outside of the company’s cookie-cutter image.

Uncover the candidate’s attributes to determine a good fit

Once you have a thorough understanding of the needs of the position, you can then determine the specific personality traits or attributes for which to look. Referencing these attributes can help you make a successful hire, along with asking behavioral questions to determine a candidate’s personality.

In a sales position, the following attributes should be considered:

  • How do they conform to certain rules, situations, teams and individual people? Are they more comfortable following a certain set of rules, or can they manage themselves without strict rules to follow? Less conformity may be more difficult to manage, but can be a good attribute for a salesperson.
  • Can they make quick, intuitive decisions, or do they require time to process and build a good argument? If someone isn’t comfortable making decisions themselves, that could be challenging for someone in a sales position as there tends to be a lot of “on-the-fly” decision-making needed.
  • Can they be persuasive without being too pushy or abrasive? Those with true persuasive skills are typically able to stimulate actions in others, equating to closed deals. This attribute also requires good listening skills because you must have a good understanding of the initial concerns or arguments to order alter their decision.
  • Do they have an innate ability to be sociable with others and strike a conversation without making them feel uncomfortable? These skilled conversationalists can be very successful in a sales position.
  • Can they handle the competitive environment of sales, and are they motivated by incentives? Some salespeople are highly motivated by money, others by recognition, and others just by selling something they truly believe in. Whether it is one or all of these factors, try to determine what drives them and whether you can provide it.

Make sure you avoid the monetary and emotional loss your entire team or company could face by hiring the wrong person. Start by understanding your workplace culture and what you truly need from the position. That way, you can more effectively observe the attributes for each candidate that will be important to success on the job. This will ultimately enable you to find the perfect candidate for the position and your company culture.

Robyn Melhuish is the Communications Manager at MedReps.com, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Robyn and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

The Finance Industry is Coming Back — Here’s Why [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Heather R. Huhman

The finance industry has gotten a bad rap lately. Because of the mistakes of many people, the industry came to a halt, markets crashed, and our global economy came to standstill. While the finance industry still has its problems, things may be looking up. In fact, the latest data illustrates the finance industry is making a comeback.

This infographic, compiled by OneWire, the leading career site for finance professionals, illustrates why the finance industry may be on the upswing and where growth is at its highest. Among others, here are some key points to note:

  • 62% of people are very optimistic about the financial job market in 2014
  • In 2013, there were 75,000 jobs added — and the industry finished 2013 with its highest year-end figure since 2008
  • As opposed to larger firms, mid-level finance organizations are seeing the most growth

Check out the full infographic below!

What do you think? Do you believe finance is making a comeback?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.