Hobson Associates


Growing Fast AND Smart: Hiring Tips for Your Small Business

Employee team

70% of CEOs say that “Talent” is their “highest priority”. 90% say Talent is their #1 asset, but almost no one LIVES it. We react when we have someone quit or behave badly, but do we really know what it takes to build and KEEP a good team?

It’s a no-brainer that the best way to grow your small business is to hire quality employees. While doing this will be one of your biggest keys to success, it is also the most difficult to achieve. One good employee can propel your company forward, while a bad hire can set back productivity, damage morale, and cost an employer both time and money.

Here are some tips to making your next smart hire(s) a reality:

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Hiring Tug of War

Tug of war The poet William Blake wrote, “Without contraries, there is no progression.”  This quote rings very true to my day-to-day work-life, as the job market shifts from the last decade’s client driven position, to a candidate-centric environment.

The job market is a very different place than it was 10 years ago, when the bottom fell out of the housing market and Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers disintegrated; ushering in the highest unemployment rates seen in a couple of generations. That era was a very dark time in the world of recruiting, when only the best and the strongest recruiters survived.

When the eventual recovery set in a few years later, finding a workable “hot” job was still very difficult.  As the laws of supply and demand would dictate, this allowed companies to be extremely choosy in the candidates they chose to interview, the recruiters they chose to work with, and with their contractual terms for agencies.

The situation is very different in 2017. The job market is roaring at, or close to, full structural employment. The BLS reported in April that the unemployment rate for candidates with professional degrees is 1.6%. The pendulum has swung to the other side, and I find that companies are struggling with some of the realities of this shift.

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Recruiters:The 'Big Kahunas' of Networking

RecruitersStatistics tell that 64% of executive positions are sourced and filled through executive recruiters. This is because networks are the lifeblood of recruiters. If you enlist the help of a few, talented recruiters in your area (geography and/or industry), you will have virtually connected with most every company you would be interested in!

Here are some benefits of linking up with a well-connected recruiter:

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9 Rules for No Excuse Business Traveling

roadI have published two books – one just hit bookstores – and have had several plays produced. I fly for a living, so most of that writing has been done on planes and in hotels.

I knew I was in danger. Biz traveling is exhausting. If I didn’t write while I traveled, 20 years would go by in a blink and I’d be “that guy” – the guy with the novel, essay, memoir in his head that never actually got written down, let alone published.

You have as much time as any other traveler. We all get 24 hours each day. Here are my rules for no excuse business traveling:

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Latest Trends That Are Shaping Workplaces

Workplace meetingFashion and technology are constantly evolving, and so is the workplace. In the past, fluorescent-lit rows of cubicles  implemented to save costs in an era when workers had no choice but to work at the office  have been replaced by a new generation of tele-able employees, young hires are looking for a workplace experience that is engaging and encourage the flexibility and movability that they had during college. 

Past common office layouts gave each employee his or her individual workspace, whether it was a cubicle or a standalone office. In the new millennium, the trend moved toward open-concept workplaces, with everyone working in an open space and sometimes even at one giant common table. In recent years, more businesses have been reverting to individual workspaces or a mix of common spaces and individual spaces to remedy the productivity concerns of putting everyone in the same room.

 According to Glassdoor, here are the latest trends that are shaping workplaces.

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Hiring: The More Human Way

Business Person As a technology recruiter, I have found that many of my clients rely so heavily on screening and assessment tools that they are doing themselves something of a disservice. You see, as great as modern hiring tools are, do you ever stop and wonder if they are taking the humanity out of the hiring process, causing you to lose out on great untapped talent?

Although there are the obvious boxes to be checked relative to training, aptitude, and skills for any position—there are some things you can do to instantly improve your interview process and hire kick-ass talent...the more human way:

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One of the Most Difficult Hires You’ll Make


Your company is growing, and your needs are expanding. You need to create a role you have never needed before. Sometimes these new positions are nothing more than a similar role with a different title, designed to appeal to the egos of potential applicants. But other times there is a lot more involved. You are bringing in someone to take on responsibilities that no one else in your company has experience in. Where do you start?

As a recruiter who works with companies in many industries at all job levels, I can impart some wisdom from my own experiences placing professionals in growing organizations. Hiring is challenging enough, especially today, so let’s consider a few important factors in making your new role as attractive as possible:

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Ace Your Next Phone Interview With These 13 Tips [Infographic]

Telephone InterviewPhone interviews can be weird and nerve-racking. You're trying to impress a stranger on the other end of the phone without the benefit of body language. 

But no matter how uncomfortable phone interviews can be, they’ve become a key part of the hiring process for many companies today. If you want a job, there’s a good chance you’ll have to kill a phone screen.

Check out the infographic below by NetCredit that narrows down the tips for a perfect phone interview. This includes pre-interview prep, phone interview best practices, and post-interview follow up. So don’t sweat your next phone interview – just follow the advice below! 

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Where’s the Urgency?

Businessman RunningA week ago I posted that the Unemployment rate hit a 16-year low. That means there is major opportunity for companies that can get and keep great people. So why aren’t we seeing more urgency around hiring!?... In a nutshell: There is a caution in this economy that was not in place during the last boom. Maybe it’s a ‘Great Recession’ hangover or hedging the next downturn. I don’t know, but as they say, “these ARE the good old days”, so let’s get at it!

Don’t let the “Perfect Candidate” syndrome slow down your organization's growth. Have the guts to hire by “gut feel”. It will save you a ton of time and produce some great results.  If you recall the action and reward impact: It’s not the leader who makes the fewest mistakes that gets promoted. (When was the last time you saw a “mistakes avoided” section in a resume?)

Since hiring is the only part of this economy I’m technically qualified to talk about, here are my suggestions to add some urgency to your hiring process:

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Golf Tournmanent

My mother has been the most extraordinary influence in my life, allowing me to grow up in a household of giving. She showed me this through her actions-always stopping to give to veterans outside our local Stop & Shop, donating to fund numerous mission trips from Haiti, to Guam, to Cameroon, to remote dental clinics down the Amazon River. Thanks for that life lesson, mom!

Emails. Laundry. Voicemails. Grocery shopping. Project deadlines. Mowing the lawn…it’s quite easy to get caught up in the minutiae of daily living. I’ve written a blog about finding happiness as a means to happiness, and naturally increasing productivity… Want another tip to be happy? Give.

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