• Should We Still Write Cover Letters?

    by Susan Ruhl

    In a word? Yes. In today's world of increasing technology and decreasing human interaction, its easy to believe that a cover letter is noshould we still write cover letters? longer needed. However, if you stop to think about it, the number one way to get a job, by far, is still networking. Good old personal interaction. 

    Companies today are becoming aware of the downfalls of the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). However, they are not planning on getting rid of them. When you submit your resume to a company via an ATS, you probably can't attach a cover letter. These systems, in my opinion, do a better job of weeding out job candidates based on things such as GPA, minimum qualifications, bachelors degree, etc.  They are not designed to assess the positive attributes.  

    So if networking is still the best way to be successful in a job search, and the ATS is a necessary evil, it’s incredibly important that we use every tool at our disposal to help set us apart from the competition. One very powerful tool is the cover letter. Ideally, even when you apply using the Applicant Tracking System, you still want your resume and cover letter handed to the recruiter. Or even better, the hiring manager.  How do you do that? Networking. 

    Once you've been successful getting your information into the hands of the appropriate people, that is when the importance of your cover letter becomes clear. This is your 30-second commercial, the “Why Me” statement that tells the employer in your own words what you can do for the company. Remember, gone are the days of telling a hiring manager what you want out of the job. They want and need to know how you will make their jobs easier. What can you do that is better than ...

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  • Trust As A Key Value in Leadership

    Trust as a Key value of leadershipby Robyn Crigger

    The topic of “trust” may not be discussed in daily conversation; yet, when asking others if they believe most leaders are “trustworthy,” there would probably be a long pause. 

    Since the television started bringing live news into our homes, our parents or grandparents will probably recall the “fall of President Nixon” and “Watergate.” Later we experienced President Bill Clinton, whose presidency was highly investigated and scrutinized as another world leader received a “black eye” due to his behavior, which immediately removed our trust in him.

    As time continues, there seems to be more and more leaders of large companies and organizations who have lost the trust of their followers, employees, etc. Power and money have both been blamed for prominent leaders to tumble. Temptations and the lack of discipline and strong willpower have weakened many good leaders.

    In my own experience, I’ve seen business leaders try and take advantage of others, using their power/position to gain special privileges, etc. Once you have seen or experienced this in a person of authority, it can cause you to lose respect for that employer or organizational leader.

    An attorney relayed to me recently that when seeking good employees for his firm, “honesty or trustworthiness” are a priority in those he hires. It is the foundation of a responsible employee.

    Therefore, as a job search candidate is preparing for an interview, he/she is encouraged to research the company and learn as much about them as possible. This includes the history of the company and their leadership, as well as catching up on any news releases, etc. Find out about the leader of the organization and try to meet this person when possible. Ask others about the leader’s character.

    Of course, you will be interviewed and scrutinized, too, but do your best ...

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  • Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly

    by Susan Ruhl

    Hire slowly, fire quickly. Seems rather straightforward. But in reality, this is the exact opposite of how most companies operate.hire slowly, fire quickly

    And it can seemingly be for good reasons—at least the quick-hiring part. Companies may find themselves in high-growth mode, and may feel that they need to fill positions quickly to meet the customers’ demands.

    However, the cost of not taking the time to find the right fit for your company can seriously outweigh the benefits of a full staff. Consider the damage a bad hire can inflict. A 2013 report form The National Business Research Institute indicated:

    -      66% of employers felt they experienced negative effects of bad hires 

    -      37% of those employers indicated that the bad hire negatively affected employee morale

    -      18% felt that the bad hire negatively impacted client relationship


    In small- to medium-sized businesses, the effects of a bad hire are exponentially increased. 

    But, when you are under pressure to perform, slowing down and really taking time to find the right fit can be one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. The temptation to just add bodies is great. I know that I have learned this lesson over and over again, the hard way.

    In order to slow down the process, consider taking these steps in your hiring process: 

    First, develop an exceptional job ad by doing the work upfront to determine what success looks like in the role. Also, consider the competencies that are vital for the employee to fit into the role as well as the culture of your organization. Attract the right talent by creating a job ad that speaks directly to the skills and competencies needed to be successful.

    Second, develop a behaviorally-based interview program. Behavioral-based interviewing is dramatically more ...

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  • How to Show Employees You Appreciate Them

    by Robyn Crigger

    Today, more employees have called me, feeling frustrated as they no longer feel appreciated by their employers. The commentshow to show employees you appreciate them have included:

    -      “I’ve taken on more responsibilities after the company downsized, and yet my title hasn’t changed, nor my salary.”

    -      “With the tight economic times, I understood that the company couldn’t provide increases, but now it has been a few years and still no increases!”

    -      “Over the past several years my company has had to tighten their belts just to keep the company alive, but as some employees have left or retired, I am never offered growth opportunities or training to move up the ladder and have a chance to increase my salary. This doesn’t seem right, and I am ready to look elsewhere.”

    These are just some of the comments I have received from employees. More and more of “hard working and capable” employees are tired of not feeling appreciated. I have tried to relay to employers through my local blog and LinkedIn and Twitter that employers will be losing their “good employees,” not the slackers, if they don’t provide some type of “appreciation” practices to recognize the hard work and dedication of those good employees.

    There are a variety of venues to demonstrate an employer’s appreciation of his/her employees, and you are encouraged to begin doing this sooner than later. Here are a few ideas:

    -      From the feedback I have received from many employees, one effort that has been repeated is the request for training opportunities in order to expand their skills and possibly be considered for advancement.

    -      Another possible reward is regarding the fact that many of the employees are nearing retirement. Providing an “educational retirement workshop” that informs employees from an impartial source of vital ...

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The vOIce

The vOIce is written by many of the managing partners of OI Partners. Topics include our ideas on how you or your organization can be effective in areas related to career development, executive development, workforce development, career transition and more.

We welcome your comments!