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Talent Acquisition: A New Focus for 2017

If your company is not already investing in talent acquisition, make this your goal for 2017!  Unlike traditional recruitment, talent acquisition is a long-term strategy focused on identifying specialists and future leaders able to fill difficult, highly skilled positions that typically take four to six months to fill.  Since talent acquisition is more strategic than recruitment, it involves more introspection and an understanding of HR practices and functions across all corporate departments, which strengthens internal cohesion and reduces turnover.  If you’re considering moving to a talent acquisition strategy (or if we still haven’t convinced you that doing so is important!), here are five things to keep in mind:

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5 HR Technology Trends to Watch

Advances in technology have impacted every field, including recruiting.  We’ve put together a list of seven technology trends we think will change the way recruiters operate, as well as some suggestions for how you can leverage these developments to improve your company’s HR functions, positively impact company culture, and recruit (and retain) top talent. Recruiting Chatbots Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to hold text-based conversations with individuals who land on your company’s recruiting page, presenting a cost-effective way to provide real-time answers to potential applicants.  Some tech companies are also working on developing chatbots that can help new employees get set up after being hired, so they are not roaming around looking for someone who can answer their questions or frantically flipping through the employee handbook.  Integrating an AI chatbot can help attract potential employees, ease the transition for new employees, and increase productivity. Mobile Mobile app usage within...
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Self-Directed Learning in the Workplace

Getting employees to participate in training seminars (let alone actually pay attention to them) can be like pulling teeth.  No matter how important or relevant the training, there will be people who think it doesn’t apply to them, people who show up then sit in the corner and doodle, people who leave after lunch, and so on, which can create the impression that you’ve just wasted a lot of money trying to get people to learn a new skill or process that could help them perform their job more effectively.  One way to combat this is to implement a self-directed learning program that allows employees to pursue their own education, expand their skill sets, and improve performance on their own schedule.  Below, we’ve provided some insight into why self-directed learning can be of value and how to implement a program of your own.

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How to Retain Top Talent

After putting the time and effort into finding the best suited candidates for an open position, you will want to ensure that these candidates stay and continue to contribute to the current and future success of your company. Employers are always looking to understand what keeps top talent happy. Here at Potomac Recruiting we suggest utilizing the following tips to ensure that you retain your best employees. Job satisfaction is vital to increasing your retention rate. Failing to recognize what is important to employees will lead to lower productivity, and in turn a lower retention rate. While a competitive salary and good benefits are very important to your employees, there are many additional factors that your employees will value as much or even more, such as developing and maintaining a culture of open communication, ensuring that employees feel valued and understand the goals of the company and the expectations for...
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Why the Best Recruiters Have Learned to Love Data and Technology

Recruiters have embraced data and technology to employ a precision approach to hiring the best candidates—and they love it. Data and analytics in human resources play an increasingly important role in the way that companies approach candidate searches and the hiring process in general. Welcome to the era of digital hiring. What Makes It So Great Data and technology searches have become a primary method of recruitment for a plethora of reasons. It provides recruiters with tremendous insight into potential candidates, more so than a traditional resume can. Big data provides information about candidates that can be easily acquired, such as educational history or former jobs and titles, but also analytical information that recruiters can use to learn more about the trends within the profiles of top-performing employees. For example, an employer can see how a candidate’s career has progressed over time, or notice any patterns and similarities within a...
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Questions to Ask a Potential Employer in an Interview

Many people looking for a job put all of their focus on how to answer interview questions, but forget that they are there to ask questions too. When meeting with a potential employer, both you and the individual conducting the interview are there to ask questions. You may be asking yourself why you should bother to ask questions, when you should be preparing how to answer them. However, there are a multitude of reasons for asking the interviewer questions. It is important to show interest in the job that you’re interviewing for. No one wants to hire a candidate that isn’t dedicated to the job. Asking your interviewer questions shows that you care, and simultaneously enables you to learn more about the position to see if it would be a good fit. They are there to learn about you, but you are also there to learn about them. This communal...
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Shaping Your Personal Brand through Social Media

Social media has become a prominent source of information for both recruiters and potential employees. Not only does it provide a free, unlimited network of connections and possibilities, but it also provides users with the opportunity to develop and sustain a personal brand. Personal branding is the practice of individuals marketing themselves and their careers as a professional self. This entails creating a unique identity to be marketed to potential recruiters. This process includes establishing a reputation, and utilizing this information to gain attention from said potential recruiters. A key component of creating a personal brand is finding what distinguished you from other potential employees. What sets you apart from your competition? What makes you unique?  Remember, everything you do online is representative of your personal brand, so it is important to be proactive and consciously control these perceptions.  So, now comes the question of how to incorporate social media platforms into...
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How to Maximize the Value of an Internship Program for Your Company

Internship programs are ubiquitous around the beltway (and around the world), but few employers approach these arrangements as ways to attract, develop, and retain top talent.  A well-designed internship program will not only help the student or young professional learn valuable skills that will help them in future endeavors, but will create a talent pool of qualified candidates who already have an understanding of your organization and its culture.  We asked our experts to come up with some ideas for employers looking to leverage their internship programs – or start one – to attract fresh talent and expand their candidate pools. Give Interns Real Work  – This tip is the most obvious, but definitely worth bringing up.  An internship is about much more than fetching coffee or making copies, and giving interns real assignments that will help them build their skills while learning about what type of work is expected...
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Professionalism and LinkedIn Profiles: Presentation Still Matters

LinkedIn was launched in the early 2000’s as a networking site where business people could connect and make new contacts, and, while it did retain that professional edge for quite some time, it’s difficult to log in to LinkedIn now and see that same level of decorum.  As more users sign up (LinkedIn has over 400 million users around the world), people are seeking new ways to distinguish themselves from the crowd, and, as a result, some of the professionalism around the platform has deteriorated.  Headshots of people on vacation or at a party are not uncommon, taglines are often aimed at being clever or funny rather than describing an individual’s profession, and there has been a rising trend of people treating LinkedIn’s messaging service as a dating app.  If you’re using LinkedIn to look for a job, though, you need to make sure that your own LinkedIn page demonstrates...
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Job Search Tips for Veterans

One of our specialties here at Potomac Recruiting is helping people looking to transition out of the military and into the private sector, so this week we asked our experts to put together some straightforward tips aimed at candidates with a military background.  Though transitioning out of military service and into civilian life can be daunting, conducting a job hunt as a veteran is not substantially different from any other search – but it does require a different type of mentality from what you might be used to in the military. Tip 1: Research Common Job Requirements Unfortunately, many of the jobs in the private sector will require qualifications that military veterans might not possess, which can make applying more difficult.  Before you start sending out résumés, do some research online and consult with career counsellors to find out what kind of qualifications you will need for the job you...
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How Women can Best Prepare to Sit on a Corporate Board

Getting a seat on a corporate board is a prestigious accomplishment, and, as such, requires a lot of careful planning and preparation.  This is especially true for women, who only hold approximately 20.2 percent of corporate board seats among Fortune 500 companies .  One of the key functions of an effective Board of Directors is representing company stakeholders, including customers, employees, and shareholders, therefore a diverse, inclusive Board that combines a variety of skills and viewpoints is crucial.  With that in mind, we’ve compiled some tips and advice on how women can prepare to sit on a corporate board. One: Develop your Personal Brand All Board candidates must have a strong personal brand and value proposition that differentiates them from the pack, and you must be able to articulate this both in person and through your board-specific résumé.  Identify your strengths and correlate them with the experience you have gained...
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Adjusting to a New Job

The end goal of any job hunt is, naturally, to accept a position at a new company – which means adjusting to a new company culture.  This can lead to a difficult transition period, during which time you might feel frustrated or like you’ve made a mistake.  Don’t get discouraged, though!  We’ve put together some tips for dealing with an unfamiliar environment and company culture. One: Don’t Panic It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when starting a new job, especially on your first day.  Everything is different: the people, the location, the work, the coffee, and you’re struggling to take it all in and remember everyone’s name and role.  Step one is not to panic.  Yes, it is a lot, but over time you will get everything down – and no one expects you to remember everything right off the bat.  Getting confused or overwhelmed at the beginning is normal,...
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Six Ways to Ace a Phone Interview

Last week we wrote about six ways to bomb a phone interview , so, as promised, this week we’re going to provide some tips for acing a phone interview!  Phone interviews are becoming more and more common as companies and recruiters try to weed out poor applicants before spending the time and resources to bring in candidates for an in-person interview.  They have become an inescapable part of the modern job application process, so all candidates need to be familiar with the do’s and don’ts of a successful call. One: Use an Appropriate Greeting As we mentioned in last week’s article, answering the phone in an inappropriate manner can set the interview off on the wrong foot before it’s even officially begun.  When you answer the phone, make sure to use your own name so that the interviewer knows they have reached the right person, and, if possible, reference the...
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Six Ways to Bomb a Phone Interview

Congratulations: you applied for a position, your résumé and cover letter were well put together, and you have been asked to do a phone interview!  This phone interview is the crucial first test you will have to pass before you are taken seriously as an applicant, and, as such, requires a lot of preparation and forethought.  Unfortunately, we’ve noticed that many otherwise excellent candidates often do not take phone interviews very seriously, or don’t think they carry the same weight as an in-person interview.  In the hope of inspiring these job seekers, we asked our experts to put together a list of six common ways potential candidates can bomb a phone interview.  Next week, we’ll take a look at some ways to avoid these errors and ace a phone interview! One: Answering the Phone at an Inappropriate Place If you’re dealing with a recruiter or busy hiring manager, they may...
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Using Social Media to Source Candidates

Social media has become a recruiting buzzword; these days, it seems everyone is sourcing candidates through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  There’s just one problem: there are millions of people on these social networks, and finding the right candidate among the crowd can be difficult – if not impossible – leaving many recruiters and hiring managers wondering how, exactly, they are supposed to leverage this technology to improve their candidate searches.  We’ve put together some tips designed to help you get started and effectively utilize social media sites to identify and reach out to qualified candidates. Tip 1: Take Advantage of Niche Groups So you’re on Facebook and LinkedIn and you want to find a specific kind of person to fill an open position – say a Java developer.  Where do you start?  By searching for relevant groups!  LinkedIn, for example, has hundreds of thousands of Groups professionals can join to...
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Networking over the Holidays

Last time we wrote an article confirming that the holidays are not a death sentence for job hunting , and outlining a few ways to use the festive season to your advantage when searching for a new position.  This week, we decided to take a deeper look at one area in particular: networking.  As we mentioned last week, the holidays can be an excellent time for networking, as there are a seemingly endless stream of parties and events to attend along with countless old friends, family members, and former colleagues.  These events are the perfect forum for you to announce that you are in the job market.  Networking over the holidays is a delicate balance, though: people want to have fun, catch up, and chat about their holiday plans, not spend the entire evening talking about career opportunities.  So, this week we’ve put together some tips for savvy holiday networking,...
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Job Hunting during the Holidays

The holiday season is officially upon us, and for many job seekers that means their focus tends to wane as they shift to gift-buying, decorating, and attending holiday parties and events.  Plus, we’ve noticed that job seekers often think that the holidays are a bad time to be in the market, since they assume everyone is equally distracted by the festivities and is not interested in setting up interviews or filling out paperwork.  While it may be true that you are less likely to get a formal interview or be hired during this time, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to keep yourself in the market and use the holiday season to your advantage. Tip 1: Use the Holidays to Reconnect with your Network The holidays are a time for merrymaking and reconnecting with friends and family, therefore they provide the perfect excuse to contact old...
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Coping With Office Politics

Unless you’re self-employed (and maybe even then!), chances are high that you will have to deal with at least some form of office politics.  Some people thrive on office politics and seem to be easily able to navigate the in-groups and out-groups, informal networks of influence, and dynamics of power that characterize office relations.  Others prefer to remain on the outskirts and focus on keeping their heads down and getting their work done without drama.  Whether you love or hate office politics, though, escaping is nearly impossible if you hope to move up within the company.  It isn’t enough simply to do good work – you have to make sure that the right people know about how good your work is, demonstrate that you can build team cohesion, and ensure that you are the one receiving credit for your ideas.  So, this week our experts have looked into some steps...
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Improving the Candidate Experience

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when in the midst of a candidate search, especially if you work at a small company that may not have a dedicated recruiter who’s been well trained and can manage every aspect of the search.  You may find yourself sending out brusque form e-mails to candidates who didn’t make the cut, or calling people in for interviews without really having a plan in place for what to do with them when they get to the office.  Spending some time thinking about the process of applying for a position at your company from the candidate’s perspective, though, can be very beneficial in the long run – applicants who had an overall positive experience, even if they didn’t get the job, will be more likely to keep in touch with the company and apply for future opportunities, and to recommend your company to their friends.  So, here...
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Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Good Impression at Networking Events

Does anything strike terror into the heart of a potential job seeker more than the idea of a networking event?  If you live in (or near) a city, chances are you could attend a networking event every single night, but there seems to be a tendency to build these events up in our heads until the idea of actually going to one of them and doing something other than standing in the corner drinking free wine and eating free hors d’oeuvres seems nearly impossible.  Unfortunately, networking is probably the best way to meet your career objectives, whether those are to get a new job, to build relationships within your field, or to attract new clientele.  Fortunately, however, there are some easy things you can do to make a good impression and achieve your goals.  Our experts have put together some do’s and don’t’s for networking events that will help you...
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About Us

Potomac Recruiting consultants are specialists in talent. Our experienced consultants are passionate about finding the right people for your business—that’s the Potomac Recruiting advantage. We specialize in finding the people who will help your business exceed its goals, and our success is measurable: in today’s fast-moving world Potomac Recruiting is proud that our retention rate is 93%.  

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