Finding a job or hiring the right candidate can be a job. Whether hiring new employees or looking for a job, it’s vital for both the candidate and the employer to be honest when finding the right match.
“The ‘no-filter interview’ is the best way to recruit the right candidate, where the employer portrays the authentic work culture to get the right hire,” explained Kelly Marinelli, an HR consultant and a volunteer member on the Society for Human Resources Management talent acquisitions special expertise panel.
“Employers can be so desperate to recruit someone that they don’t portray the details of what the job is really like or what the culture is,” continued Marinelli. “Employers need to solve the problems they’ve been meaning to deal with it but haven’t, so that people will be attracted to the culture.”
Employers need to show potential hires examples of real work.
“Show interviewees what it’s like in the position by having them job shadow, spend downtown with the staff over lunch, and have them talk to people already in the role,” Marinelli advised.
For those seeking a job, Marinelli says it’s also important to be honest. “It doesn’t pay to be the perfect interviewee, if the job isn’t right for you. The interview process is for you to figure out if you want to be a part of the team,” Marinelli explained.
She also suggests doing the homework on the position. “Look at the websites, understand challenges the employers are facing, talk to people in your network who’ve worked there already, and get information on Glass Door to see what people are posting about the employers,” she said.
Then, when interviewing, ask the right questions.
“If you’re concerned about flexibility and work-life integration, ask if working from home is allowed, for example,” she said.
On both sides, being authentic is crucial. But the secret on both sides is preparation. “If a job seeker goes in blind to an interview, he or she won’t get what’s needed to evaluate the opportunity. The same goes for the employer if they haven’t looked closely at what they need in the role and what they have offer,” Marinelli explained.
“It’s the beginning of a relationship so you want to be yourself and tell people what they need to know,” she said.
Jennifer Abshire of Savannah-based Abshire Public Relations says that as an employer, her ideas about finding the right match has changed over time.
“I used to see a candidate’s moving around from job to job as a red flag. I saw the person as a ‘jumper.’ Now, if the candidate is a positive person, I see it as a positive thing. I see them as an experience gainer,” Abshire said.
Abshire hires many contractors to work for her, including graphic designers, website designers, writers, and consultants.
“In general, I think we need to rethink employment. Millennials want different experiences. They have a fear of commitment with their first job because they think they’ll be stuck here forever. So that’s why they jump,” Abshire continued.
“To me when the candidate is positive, each job position can be a brushstroke. It’s important to explain in the brushstroke very succinctly what you did to the interviewer- whether it was long term or short term. In a job for twenty years, we really only do two or three key things of what we’re responsible for.”
“Whether you’re hiring someone who’s jumped around from job to job or been dedicated to one or two jobs her whole life, you want to hire someone who brings a positive experience to your team. If they have a negative energy you shouldn’t be hiring them anyway. Make sure the person exudes, ‘I want to help you and I want to work,’” Abshire said.
Trace Staffing Solutions is a Savannah-based job placement company that connects qualified candidates with reputable positions. Trace’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Roth, explains their job at Trace is to match the personalities and skillsets of the applicants to the employers.
“We want to fully understand the environment of the business, and then do our due diligence on the employee,” Roth explained. “We then want to find good candidates and find out what interests them and what’s important to them.”
Trace finds job applicants who are looking for jobs in all industries, including jobs in healthcare, clinical and clerical, general office services, specialties, hospitality, and engineering.
“We want to understand what the candidate’s background is and what their qualifications are,” Roth continued. “What’s important to them? Is it stability? Financial? Benefits? Growth? Relocation? Their answers determine where we go.”
In this job market where there is a low unemployment rate, Roth explained his employees have to locate good candidates and seek them out. “It involves a lot of networking. We’ll have periodic job fairs throughout the year.”
“If a person doesn’t fit anything we have specifically, we’ll offer them career advice. Our role in the staffing world is to help with interviewing skills, resumes, general career advice,” he said.
Craig Jeffress, general manager of The Olde Pink House in Downtown Savannah, is also responsible for securing the right hires. He ensures certain staffing levels are met in order to offer a fine dining experience for guests.
When Jeffress came to the Olde Pink House in 2010, the restaurant had half of the employees it has today. Now the Pink House employs 280 employees and an additional 130 employees at the Pink House’s sister restaurant, Garibaldi.
Jeffress, who works with 23 leaders and 250 employees at the Pink House, said its vital as a business owner and leader to give back and be involved in the community where one wants to do business.
“For the last four years, several of our Pink House leaders have taught classes at the Moses Jackson Community Center, a city initiative that offers continuing education and classes to the public. People there now know to turn to the Pink House when they’re looking for a job,” Jeffress explained.
To date, the Pink House has hired 10 people from Moses Jackson.
“For those of us who do business in Savannah, it’s a shared responsibility,” Jeffress continued. “We need more staff because more people are discovering what a gem Savannah is. If you’re looking to pull people from the community to work with you, it’s crucial to be involved in the community.”
Additionally, employers and leaders need to create environments that people want to work in. “I have a sought after job in Savannah’s restaurant industry. But if it weren’t for the great working environment and the culture I exist within every day, I wouldn’t want to come. I’m treated well and I respect other, which creates a fluid, organic environment of taking care of each other. I understand that I can make mistakes, learn from them, and grow to be a better leader. Every employee needs to feel the same way.”
Jeffress adds that without employees, the workplace is just an idea. “Employees put the workplace, the dream, into action. You have to find people just as passionate as you about what you’re doing.”
Marquelle Jones applied as a dishwasher at the Pink House in 2011.
“As a kid growing up in a low income neighborhood, you don’t know what to look for, especially with your first job. I was high school football player and a dad. I needed money,” Jones said.
Jones learned about the job opening from his neighbor, who was a bartender at the Pink House. “When I came in for my interview, Miss Bianca [the interviewer] and the staff already knew who I was. We sat in the restaurant and I was myself. I made them laugh. I was just being seventeen, trying my best, and being real.”
Instead of being offered the dishwasher position, Jones was offered the position of host at the Pink House.
“Now I give history tours and welcome the guests. I recently won the Service Star Award for the Most Recognized Face in Savannah. It was a big moment for my mom and my dad,” Jones said.
“It started off as a job to make a few hundred dollars help take care of my son who was just born,” he continued. “I guess God had a different plan for me. It turned out to be a lifetime experience for me,” he said. “I use the Pink House as a platform to learn how I can be better.”