Category Archives: Hiring

Nonprofits as First Steps

From The Wall Street Journal

By DENNIS NISHI

imagesWhile her friends interned at big investment-banking firms, Molly Heitzman chose a summer job in 2009 with Fundación Paraguaya, a microfinance company in Asuncion, Paraguay. She believed that giving the poor access to basic banking services was an effective way to fight poverty, and she’d also gain some global work experience.

The nonprofit was experiencing an abnormally high 13% loan default rate so Ms. Heitzman went out to investigate the problem. She discovered that many small businesses had defaulted because of poor to nonexistent accounting practices.

“I proposed a program that would school borrowers in the business basics of marketing, accounting and saving money,” she says, uncertain as to whether the organization used her ideas.

Ms. Heitzman’s efforts actually made a stronger impression on Deloitte Consulting in Minneapolis, which hired her for a full-time job as a business analyst a year later in 2010.

Although career experts say college graduates will continue to face a tough job market in the new year, volunteering for nonprofit work like the Peace Corps can fill an experience gap and provide a competitive advantage. That’s especially the case since nonprofit work can be like an accelerated management course. Volunteers are often pressed into management and administrative roles they might otherwise not attain for years at for-profit companies.

First, find a nonprofit organization that you’re interested in working with since commitment to the job and the cause is important, says Mark Lonergan, founder of the Redwood City, Calif.-based recruiting firm Lonergan Partners.

“Any way you can show that you genuinely applied yourself in a very important way can count as a very important component of any résumé,” he says. “Employers want to know that you were serious about the work.”

Seek out roles that offer transferable experience. Managing volunteers, for example, to build an irrigation system in Honduras is relatable to many different for-profit job duties. Working as a museum docent may be harder to sell.

Be prepared to aggressively promote and even defend your nonprofit experience during interviews. There is still a stigma associated with nonprofit work at some companies, career experts say.

Turn your more esoteric experiences into a narrative that illustrates how you overcame obstacles and achieved goals. People respond well to stories. Highlight the intangibles that employers are always looking for during interviews.

Emphasize your flexibility, communication skills and ability to deal with ambiguity, says Patricia Tourigny, vice president of talent acquisition for Avon, Conn.-based Magellan Health Services. “We don’t see a lot of entry-level résumés with that kind of experience, but when we do, we take notice. And we’re always looking for it.”

The pay for volunteer work may be negligible but full-time volunteers can defer or even have federal student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program from 2007. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t help with private student loans.

 

Interested in exploring non-profit careers?  Allied works with a wide range of not-for-profit organizations in the Lehigh Valley.  Check out our job openings and apply today!

First 90 days: Helping New Hires Start Off on the Right Foot

Setting an unachievable bar for new hires is unproductive for the long-term health of your company and your employees. While it’s reasonable to hope that new hires will hit the ground running, regardless of their skill level and experience, employees just starting out are entitled time to onboard — and will benefit greatly by you providing a career roadmap for their first 90 days on the job.

So how long is a fair amount of time to allow them to get up to speed?84619535-welcome-new-employee

A majority  (54 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for a recent Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey said they give new hires less than 3 months to prove themselves. Another 9 percent of respondents said they give new hires less than 30 days to prove themselves.

Clearly, the burden of success during the first 90 days doesn’t rest entirely on employees’ shoulders. It’s in your company’s best interest to set your new hire up with the tools needed to succeed and become a productive member of your team. Ensuring that you avoid the costs of a bad hire begins with the candidate vetting process long before a job offer is made.

Here are five tips managers can follow to bring new employees into the fold and help them thrive in their new role.

1.
    Make onboarding a priority

You worked hard with human resources to craft an accurate job description, sift through applications, interview candidates and negotiate an attractive offer. After you pause and pat yourself on the back knowing the hiring process is behind you, now’s the time to help the new employee get acclimated with the work environment, office technology and duties.

You’ve already laid the groundwork by having IT set up the work station and voicemail before they arrive. You’ve contacted campus security about scheduling your new employee to get a new ID badge and office keys. Onboarding is the component that continues your work and will help your new hire be more productive and, with any luck, more inclined to stay with the company.

2. 
   Elements of a successful orientation strategy
Structure. Onboarding periods vary depending on an individual company’s needs, but it’s wisest to begin with a schedule. This will enable staff members involved to understand their roles and budget appropriate time. You should also provide new hires with a schedule so they know what the expectations are for the first few days and weeks on the job.

A proper welcome. Make it a priority to introduce new hires to their immediate colleagues and others at your company with whom they will interact on a regular basis, and encourage tenured workers to reach out to them. This period of icebreaking will be beneficial to both sides.

Education. During the first 90 days, encourage new employees to learn as much as possible about the company, its history, priorities and best practices. During this time, provide new hires information in digestible bites on special initiatives, products and services, major clients, dos and don’ts, quarterly and annual goals, and, most importantly, how their role contributes to the overall organizational picture.

3.
    Set targets for success

During the starting weeks, provide new hires with tangible short- and long-term goals to work toward in their first 90 days. It’s easier for new hires to hit targets when they know what to aim for. Explain that this list of goals will be part of their 90-day performance review.

4.
    Provide regular feedback and an open-door policy

Don’t make new hires wait until their annual review for an assessment of their performance. They need praise and constructive criticism at regular intervals. Schedule frequent check-ins during the first 90 days to recognize successes and pinpoint areas for improvement.

Most new hires, especially members of Generation Z, crave consistent and frequent feedback. Envision this time as a training ground for your company’s future top performers. Encourage them to come to you with questions or issues.

5.    Be on the lookout for warning signs

In an ideal world, every new hire would be a perfect fit. In reality, that’s easier said than done. Even if you’ve avoided making hiring mistakes, sometimes you just don’t know whether an employee will work out until they’ve been tested in everyday work situations.

During the first few months, be on the lookout for red flags, which include:

  • Absenteeism
  • Missed deadlines
  • Poor performance on assignments
  • A negative attitude
  • Conflict with coworkers
  • Complaints

If you notice any of these characteristics in the first few weeks, don’t wait to see if things improve. Take action immediately if you want to salvage this hire. Poor performance could be an indication of either inadequate training on your part or a lackadaisical attitude on the employee’s part, but you won’t know until you dig deeper.

Meet with your new hire and construct a plan for improvement, with benchmarks. If there’s no improvement over a set period of time, then you’ll have to cut your losses and terminate them for the good of client relations and team morale.

It takes time and effort to get new hires off on the right foot. By providing them a clear roadmap, you and your team can help new hires quickly acclimate to the workplace culture and become contributing members.

 

Source: in2vate