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Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Few Resume Tips


I will continue with covering the types of interviews tomorrow.  For now, lets discuss...

A Few Resume Tips

A friend of mine asked me to take a look at their resume for them.  This friend has been working for himself for over a decade, but has now decided to look for some different opportunities.  The tips I was going to give him seem appropriate for a wider audience.  Your resume is one of the building blocks of your career and you will want to be careful in its construction.  Here are some things that you want to keep an eye on when putting together a resume.  These are true whether you have been self-employed for a decade, stuck on unemployment for a year, or a week out of grad school.

Length

A good tip is to keep your resume to a length of one to two pages.  While there are some exceptions, most Recruiters and Human Resources reps do not have enough time to read through resumes longer than this.  A good rule is if you have less than 2 years of experience, a one page resume is fine.  If you have more than 2 years of experience, add a second page if you feel it is appropriate.  Remember to think of your resume as a summary of your work experience.  It is not intended to highlight everything, just a few key responsibilities from each job.

Gaps

Another tip is to never leave gaps of more than a few months unexplained on your resume.  If you have a gap, you should consider finding a way to address it.  Ideas include a long-term volunteer position if you have one, classes you may have taken towards a certificate or degree, or simply laying out your responsibilities while you were unemployed.  Another option is to use a different resume format.  While the most common resume format is one that is in chronological order, you can also choose to have a functional resume that highlights skills and achievements.

Timeframe

The typical resume should not include anything from 10 or 15 years ago.  Now keep in mind, this is a gross generalization.  If you had an internship working for the President at the White House, that is impressive enough that you would want to put it on your resume.  However, most of us have high school jobs and some college jobs that have no place on a resume.  I will use myself as an example.  I spent a summer stocking shelves at a retail store when I was in high school.  I spent also some time delivering newspapers as a kid.  For the most part I did a good job at both and was complimented by my managers.  However, I do not put that on my resume.  It is up to you to determine whether it is appropriate to be on there, but you may be wasting the HR person’s time by putting a high school job on your resume.

Education

Having an education section of your resume is a great idea.  This is a way to put all of your formal training in one place for a recruiter to see.  If you only have a high school diploma or GED, that is okay.  Go ahead and add that to your resume.  If you have any college degree, it is okay to drop your high school from your resume.  If your education is non-traditional, such as a military academy or an online certificate, try your best to formalize and summarize it. 

Formatting

Consistency is a key here.  You want to ensure that if you bullet one part of your resume, you bullet it all.  I might suggest having two different versions of the same resume; one that is properly bulleted, lined and paginated that can be used for printing, and one that is completely free of formatting that can be easily read by resume screening software.  If you are unclear of where to start with your resume formatting, a Google search of the term “Resume Template” can find you a number of good examples to start with.

Hopefully these tips are helpful for everyone out there.  If you have any tips of your own, please add a comment.  If you just want to talk about your job search experience, please feel free to add that too.  If you want to talk about the kinds of resumes that have come across your own desk, please tell us about it. 

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.




Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions.  The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

COACHING INTERVIEWS

We are going to discuss another kind of interview today, Coaching Interviews.  Have you ever had a great manager; one that was more of a coach or mentor?  Someone that always challenged you to do better?  As always, please use the “like” or comment about your own experiences at the bottom.

Coaching Interviews

Coaching Interviews are sometimes performed by someone in the Human Resources function, but they typically fall to the manager of a group to perform them.  These interviews are a unique animal in the types of interviews.  They are the only interview that is done for an employee with the express purpose of improvement without discipline.  These interviews are often provided to newer employees, but really should be expanded to all employees of any age or experience level.  The goal of these interviews is to find out what an employee needs and how to help them get it.  Sometimes the employee needs career growth; a manager will be able to help guide them and give them ideas about their next steps.  Other times, you will find out what an employee is missing a tool or skill that would help them complete their current job better.  This can help you as a manager or HR rep find new ways of assisting them.

Preparation

As always, it is a great idea come prepared.  Prepare a list of questions ahead of time.  Every employee is different, so it is natural that the questions will differ from person to person.  However, even with this in mind, it would be best to have a standard set of developmental questions that you ask of all of your employees to ensure that you are not being bias for or against any individual employee.  When performing a Coaching Interview, feel free to take notes and document your meetings with your employees.  One suggestion is that you keep your note-taking brief, as you do not want to “spook” your employee into thinking this positive time for improvement is secretly an opportunity for you to document their action for later discipline.  When booking a room for these Coaching Interviews, since you never know what kind of personal information might come out, it might be best to use a private room instead of a public space.

Developmental

Remember your goal is to develop your resources.  Part of this is making sure the employee knows what is expected of them.  While Coaching Interviews are not intended to be disciplinary in nature and should never be mixed with Counseling Interviews or Performance Evaluation Interviews (more on that in a future post), it is important to provide the employee with the benchmarks that they will be judged against.  In providing them with the benchmarks for satisfactory performance, it may be most useful to give them goals with specific numbers.  Why use a generic benchmark like, “Sales reps need to bring in money” when a specific benchmark will motivate them better; “Sales reps need to produce $30,000 in revenue per month”. 

These interviews are an opportunity for managers to find out what makes an employee tick.  You can find out what best motivates them.  Then managers can give gentle suggestions as to which areas could use improvement.  Positive motivation without the threat of negative disciplinary action is what you want to aim for.  Challenge and excite your employees.  You want to foster a good working relationship based in mutual respect looking towards professional growth, not create a culture of fear. 

Give Thanks

Another aspect of the Coaching Interview that is frequently overlooked is the opportunity to give thanks and compliment the employee for the good things that they are doing.  It always seems to be easier to criticize than to praise, but managers would do their workforce a great service by motivating them with it.  When you are providing compliments or praise, be sure to get specific.  A generic “good job” attaboy will not let the employee distinguish between what they have done right and what might need improvement.  Try to be specific with your praise, telling the employee exactly the item that you are referring to.  An example might be, “Tom, you are really doing a great job picking up the phone and reaching out to more customers this month.  You have called and spoken to 139 clients, which is far above the average of 72.”  In this example, a generic, “Good job, Tom” could have left Tom in the dark as to what he had done right.  Thank the employee for what they do too.  Let them know that you value them as an employee and you appreciate their work.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

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Disclaimer:
The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions.  The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

HHS Rolled Out New Guidelines For PPACA


I would like to discuss another portion of the Patient Protection Affordability and Care Act (PPACA) in this post.  I will return to my posts about interviews tomorrow.  There is some additional guidance that was just released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with the rules that will govern these areas:  Denying Coverage, Essential Health Benefits, Benchmark Plans, Wellness Programs and Unfair Underwriting. 

Denying Coverage

There was some additional clarification about how this would work.  As of Jan. 1, 2014, insurers will not be allowed to prevent care based on pre-existing conditions.  The insurers will also not be allowed to charge a higher premium based on gender, occupation, or employer.  The insurers will be allowed to charge a higher premium based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography.  In the event an individual is denied coverage for some reason, they will be allowed access to the healthcare exchange.  Individuals will be required to purchase their coverage during open enrollment periods.

Essential Health Benefits (EHB)

All insurance plans, including those on the Healthcare Exchanges, will be required to provide these 10 items at a minimum:
·         Ambulatory patient services
·         Emergency services
·         Hospitalization
·         Maternity and newborn care
·         Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
·         Prescription drugs
·         Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
·         Laboratory services
·         Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
·         Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Benchmark Plans

The new rules require that each state selects a “benchmark” plan that offers these EHB services in quality and affordability.  All other insurance plans will then be rated and judged in comparison to that plan.  The rules governing the benchmark plans are still up for public comment.  Some additional items that may be added or changed including a Drug listing benchmark, preventive care benchmark, and a mental health standards benchmark.  If a state fails to; or refuses to select a benchmark plan, the HHS will select one for them.

Wellness Programs and Unfair Underwriting
New guidelines were release regarding employer based wellness programs.  Insurance plans will be required to offer coverage of programs designed to reduce disease and promote health.  These plans must be reasonably expected to be effective, cannot be overly burdensome for an employee to use, must be fairly and equally offered, with accommodation offered for those who cannot medically participate in the primarily offered wellness program.  Any health problems revealed in the course of a wellness program cannot be unfairly used to increase premiums.

Additional rules that were rolled out for the PPACA also include actuarial value rulings with regards to “Medal” levels and rules on Accreditation standards

There really is much more to the PPACA and these rules than I have the time to put down here.  There is so much; I certainly do not understand it all.  I suggest you do your own research to learn more. 

Relevant Links:
http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/11/20121120a.html
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/market-reforms11202012a.html
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/ehb11202012a.html
http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/data/ehb.html#review benchmarks
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/wellness11202012a.html


Disclaimer:
Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions.



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Monday, November 26, 2012

REFERENCE CHECK INTERVIEWS

REFERENCE CHECK INTERVIEWS

Let’s take a moment to discuss Reference Check Interviews.  These interviews tend to be brief in stature, lasting only 5 to 15 minutes long.  The interviews are typically conducted by a recruiter, HR rep, or hiring manager over the phone with declared references or former employers of potential candidates.  The goal of these interviews is to confirm information from the resume and employment interview.  Additional information about a candidate may also be revealed in these discussions.

Some Basic Guidelines

·         Non-Discrimination:  Be sure to be consistent in your reference checks.  Checking some individuals and not others may be viewed as discriminatory.

·         Document, document, document:  To ensure that you are covered from potential legal action, be sure to document any details of a negative recommendation.

·         Permission:  Be sure to have an applicant’s permission before contacting former employers.

·         Two Reference Minimum:  To rule out bias, be sure to check with at least two former employers.  This can also be helpful in spotting patterns.

·         Personal References:  You should check them, but you can almost guarantee that a personal reference will be a positive one.

·         Scripting:  Similar to the other interviews discussed thus far, having a script handy will keep your interview more direct and likely to result in useful information about a candidate.

As I am sure some of you have experienced these kinds of interviews, please feel free to share with the rest of us in the Comments.  And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.



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Sunday, November 25, 2012

PPACA - The Medical Loss Ratio


Good afternoon.  I am going to take a break from discussing Human Resources Interviews to talk a little bit more about an interesting aspect of the Patient Protection Affordability and Care Act (PPACA), also known in some circles as Obamacare or the ACA.  I was looking over the government’s healthcare website www.healthcare.gov and picking up some information.  The aspect I want to discuss is the Medical Loss Ratio. 

This is the Medical Loss Ratio calculation:  Divide the amount spent on mediacl care divided by the amount spent on premiums.  This ratio calculation, in effect since 11/22/2010, states that insurance companies are required to use 80% to 85% of all premium dollars directly on medical care.  This is intended to provide consumers with more value for their medical dollar, as premium dollars will no longer be allowed to be allocated to administrative costs, overhead, marketing, or executive salaries.     In the event that an insurance company spends more than this premium percentage amount on non-medical costs, that money will be rebated back to the customers after the end of August each year.  As of the end of 2011, average rebate per person that could be expected was $164.  However, most insurers reduced the rate of premium growth rather than be forced with giving rebates after the fact.

Starting last year, insurance companies had to begin reporting total premiums, total reimbursement for medical service, spending on quality improvement programs, and administrative costs to the Health and Human Services (HHS).  These reports are then publicly posted by HHS.  At the moment, I am researching where you can find that on their site.  In the meantime, you can view the link at the bottom of the page for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).  The insurers will be able to deduct the taxes that apply to health insurance coverage from the insurers revenue when calculating the Medical Loss Ratio.  There are accommodations, exceptions, and waivers that may apply to your individual organization, be sure to check with a lawyer and/or tax accountant for an expert opinion.

Finally, keep in mind that there is a financial penalty that may be imposed for insurers failing to meet the Medical Loss Ratio percentage.  There will also be penalties that may be assessed for failure to supply accurate or timely information about plan coverage to the HHS.  The penalty assessed for each instance of non-compliance will be $100 per day for each person in the plan.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Relevant Links:
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/11/medical-loss-ratio.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_6460957_calculate-medical-loss-ratio.html
http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/health-insurance-medical-loss-ratios.aspx


Disclaimer:
Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions.




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Saturday, November 24, 2012

EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS: LEGAL ISSUES


We are going to discuss a few legal concerns when it comes to employment interviews, because it can be easy to say the wrong thing if you are not careful.  Because there is so much information for this topic, I have broken this Interview topic into a few parts.  We already covered the Basic Interview Stages and Preparation.  Legal Issues will be the third part discussing this.  As always, please use the “like” or comment about your own experiences at the bottom.

Document, document, document...

That is an important phrase in an interview setting.  It seems very important in the context of an interview to document everything your candidate says, because that will clearly help you out when making a hiring decision.  However, what if your interviewee expresses a religious preference or a family situation?  Should you write that down?  The answer is NO.  If a candidate volunteers personal and irrelevant personal information, do not write it down, as it could be used against the company in litigation.  If your company goes to court against a candidate, your notes could be used as evidence.  It will fall to the Employer to prove that there was nothing that was discriminatory in the interview.  Do not ask any follow-up questions with regards to that information.  Also, be sure to tell the applicant that the personal information they provided is not job-related and you only want to discuss information relevant to the job interview.

Legal Way to Discriminate

You can discriminate legally.  However, you may only discriminate if it is related to a “Bona Fide Occupational Qualification” (BFOQ).  An example of this is the Apollo astronauts - the space capsules were small and therefore only shorter people were considered for flight.  Was this discriminatory?  Yes.  Was it legal due to the type of job?  Yes.  Per the Cornell University Law website:
Title VII permits you to discriminate on the basis of "religion, sex, or national origin in those instances where religion, sex, or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business or enterprise." This narrow exception has also been extended to discrimination based on age through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This exception does not apply to discrimination based on race.
If the position you will be bringing candidates in for has a BFOQ, you will want to ensure that this limiting qualification is laid out in the Job Description and also the job posting.  The most common BFOQ defense relates to safety.  Be very careful with BFOQs as they can open you up for litigation.  If you are ever in question, I would suggest consulting with a lawyer for an expert opinion.

Asking Legal Questions

Continuing with the idea that in a court, you will be required to prove that the employer was not discriminating in the interview, the recruiter or hiring manager will need to be sure that the questions that they ask are legal.  Be sure that your questions are relevant and speaks directly to the job description.  If a candidate may be groomed for other positions later in their career, some interviewers may be tempted to ask questions related to that future job position.  This would be a mistake as those questions may not be relevant to the position that the candidate is immediately interviewing for. 

When developing questions and when asking them, be sure to keep in mind the effect your questions will have on the composition of your workforce.  There is a term known as “Disparate Impact” or “Disparate Effect” where a policy or set of questions may appear neutral, but disproportionally affects one legally protected group more than another.  You want to ensure that you are not unintentionally discriminating against any group through your questions.  Imagine that if you were called to court, how would your questions sound to a group of jurors.

Key Legislation You May Want to Consider Reviewing:
·         Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm
·         Equal Pay Act of 1963 - http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm
·         Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 - http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adea.cfm
·         Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/ada.cfm
·         Civil Rights Act of 1991 - http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/cra-1991.cfm

Other Relevant Links:
Cornell University Law, Bona Fide Occupational Qualification:  http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/bona_fide_occupational_qualification_bfoq
Cornell University Law, Disparate Impact
http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/disparate_impact

Disclaimer

Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek legal counsel before making business or personal decisions. 




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Thursday, November 22, 2012

EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS: PREPARATION


Before I begin, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  Now, to continue with our discussion of Employment Interviews, our next topic will be interview preparation.  Because there is so much information for this topic, I have broken this Interview topic into a few parts.  We already covered the Basic Interview Stages.  Later we will touch on Legal Issues.  As always, please feel free to “like” or comment about your own experiences at the bottom.

EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS:  PREPARATION

So you found the perfect resume, the screening interview went well, and you have the perfect candidate.  Interview time! ...  Whoa, hold your horses for a second.  Stop and think.  Are you prepared for your interview?  Is it even scheduled?  You had better back up a moment and make sure that you have everything in order first.

TIME SCHEDULING

It is important to allocate enough time for your interviews.  You do not want to rush; short-changing the candidate and your organization.  When thinking about the scheduling process, consider all aspects surrounding the meeting.  Consider that people are more sluggish on the days after holidays.  I am not saying that you should not schedule an interview on this date, but keep this in mind when determining how many interviews to schedule, as they may take a little longer and the candidates may seem less focused.  You will want to allow adequate time between interviews to organize paperwork, reflect on notes, and set-up additional appointments.  For non-exempt employees, expect the total face-to-face interview to take up to 45 minutes per candidate.  For managers and exempt employees, expect it to take up to an hour and a half.

REVIEW PAPERWORK

Resumes (and sometimes portfolios and cover letters) can provide a lot of information for an interviewer.  It is suggested that you look over the resume a few minutes before meeting with the candidate.  This will act as a reminder of what specific skills and experience they may be discussing in the interview.  As I am sure you are aware, the paperwork surrounding a candidate’s interview is usually more than just their resume.  You may want to have applications, background checks, job description print-outs, a copy of the company policies and salary surveys easily accessible if you need it.  It might be a good idea to fit the information in a binder and bring it with you to the interview.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

You will need to prepare your questions in advance.  During the interview, you should expect to use about 70% open-ended questions and about 30% closed-ended questions.  Keeping that in mind, prepare your list of questions around the job description.  You will want to elicit responses that reveal if a candidate has the necessary skill set for the position.

Here are a few good examples of open ended questions:
> Can you tell me about a time when you had to manage a group of people?
> Could you walk me through a typical day at your current employer?
> If a coworker asked you to assist them with a project, even though you might have to stay late or over the weekend, how would you respond?
> Can you give me an example of something you were tossed into where you had to pick up something quickly, without training if necessary?
> Please tell me about a time when you had to produce something on a deadline; and how you adjusted your schedule to deal with competing priorities
> Can you give me examples of your past experiences dealing with a difficult coworker and how you handled the situation?

Remember when preparing your questions, be sure to remember to keep the questions legal.  We will discuss the legality issues on my next post on interviews.



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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS: BASIC INTERVIEW STAGES

It is time now to discuss Employment Interviews.  These are the interviews that are most common; we have almost all experienced them multiple times over our lives.  Because there is so much information for this topic, I will be breaking this Interview topic into a few parts.  This Part will cover Basic Interview Stages.  Later parts will include Employment Interview Preparation and Legal Issues.  As always, please feel free to comment about your own experiences at the bottom.

EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS:  BASIC INTERVIEW STAGES

Your typical job interview is going to pass through a number of stages.  To be able to take a candidate through these stages successfully and to get the necessary information you will need to be able to make an employment decision can be tricky.  You want to make sure the candidate feels comfortable enough opening up to you, but you do not want them to feel so comfortable that they take over the interview.  Following this basic interview structure will help you to maintain control.

These are the 5 stages of an interview:

·         Rapport-Building
·         Introduction
·         Core
·         Confirmation
·         Closing

RAPPORT-BUILDING
This is a brief, but very important part of the interview.  During this part of the interview, a candidate will be brought into the interviewing office or area.  You want to ask a few non-work related questions to help put the candidate at ease.  Questions you would ask at this icebreaking phase of the interview are, “How was your ride in?” “What was the traffic like?” “Weather sure is nice today.”  These seemingly innocuous questions could make or break the effectiveness of the entire rest of the interview.  Your goal is to take some of the tension off the candidate so they will feel more comfortable answering the rest of your questions.  If you forget to go through the Rapport-Building stage, your candidates may seem more edgy and nervous throughout the interview.

INTRODUCTION
This is second stage in an interview.  During this stage, the interviewer will tell the candidate a little about themselves and the company.  You will want to keep this brief, as a good candidate will have done their research and should already know about the company.  You want to provide the interviewee with a bit of a softball question first continue helping them get comfortable and providing you with a springboard to enter the Core stage of the interview.  An example of a good question would be, “Tell me about what got you interested in this field” or “How did you find out about our company?”  The idea is to keep these questions low stress.

CORE
The vast bulk of your interview will take place during this stage.  More stressful questions can be implemented here to find necessary information.  About 70% of your questions should be open ended.  These should be questions that were prepared in advance.  The point of these questions is to determine job suitability.  You want to determine if the candidate has certain skills and qualities, check prior work experience, see whether their style of working is compatible with your organizations, and determine if there are any reasons they should not be hired. 
While asking questions, remember to consider whether you are asking safe questions.  It falls on the Employer to prove that there was nothing asked that could be perceived as discriminatory.  Be mindful that if an interviewee volunteers irrelevant personal information, do not write it down, as it could be used against the company in litigation.

A good place to end the Core Stage is to ask the candidate if they have any questions.  Be prepared to provide additional information about the company and the position during this part of the interview.  A good candidate will want to confirm that the company is a good match for them as well.  Be sure to answer as clearly as possible.  If a candidate has questions about salary, vacation, benefits, education reimbursement, job posting, flex-time, be sure to give the candidate the information that may help with the decision-making process.  Be sure not to lead the candidate on... you do not want to give the impression that a candidate will be offered a position if a final decision has not been made.

CONFIRMATION
Towards the end of the interview, you will want to check facts and verify statements.    The goal of this stage in the interview is to clarify any questions you have about the candidate and to ensure that the candidate has not contradicted themselves.  You should ask a few closed-ended questions to confirm some facts on the resume match what the candidate is telling you.

CLOSING
This is your last opportunity to ask the candidate a question.  If there is something important that was skipped or missed, you should circle back and revisit those areas.  Otherwise, you should provide the candidate with the next steps in the interview process.  You can let the interviewee know it there will be any additional interviews or documentation that will be needed.  While being non-committal, let the candidate know when a decision might be made about the position.  



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Sunday, November 18, 2012

States and Healthcare Exchanges

Good Evening Everyone!  I will try to get back to the posts about interviews tomorrow.  I wanted to take a second out to touch on the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA) again and an interesting article I stumbled on over at www.lifehealthpro.com.  The article is about the Healthcare Exchanges that are being put together in preparation of Jan. 1, 2014, the date on which every American will be required to have health insurance.  The Exchanges will be there for those that do not have employer offered healthcare or for those that think their employer’s healthcare is not affordable.

This article is interesting because it discusses some of the differences across states.  Under the PPACA, states have three options:  They can run their own state-run healthcare exchange, they can enter a shared-responsibility partnership with the Federal Government, or they can allow the Federal Government to take full responsibility.  At this time, 17 states (plus Washington D.C.) have decided to set up state-run exchanges.  There are 20 states that are asking for the Federal Government to take full responsibility; plus 5 that are forming a shared partnership.  The remaining states, including Pennsylvania, are waiting for questions to be answered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, states are required to declare their intent to run their own exchange by Dec. 14, 2012 or they will forfeit that responsibility to the Federal Government.

 One of the challenging items for Governors and state governments in their decision process is that the regulations governing the operation of the exchanges are incomplete.  Joel Ario, the former director of the Office of Insurance Exchanges at the HSS is concerned that the Federal Government may not be able to meet the PPACA deadlines for setting up the exchanges.

Link to article:  http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2012/11/16/who-will-start-a-ppaca-exchange




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Saturday, November 17, 2012

CAMPUS INTERVIEWS

I hope that all of you enjoyed my last post about the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA).  Now I would like to turn our gaze back to interviews.  Specifically, I would now like to take a quick look at Campus Interviews.  As always, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post, relating to your own experiences.

CAMPUS INTERVIEWS

The Campus Interview is similar to the Screening Interview with a twist.  Like the screening interview, recruiters are interested in finding candidates with a specific skill set.  However, they are also looking for students with great potential.  It is understood that students brought to a company straight out of college will not have the same level of skills as those already in the workforce.  It is the role of the recruiter to prospect or students that have the greatest capacity to learn and grow into the human capital assets the company needs. 

There are many advantages for a recruiter performing their recruiting directly at a school.  Here are just a few:
·         A large pool of interested candidates readily available to pick from. 
·         It is convenient for the candidates to be able to attend the interview.
·         Opportunity to see candidates in an environment they are more comfortable with.
·         Diverse, high quality, well-educated talent is available
·         Brand extension
·         Build a pipeline of future leaders

When preparing for your campus interview, be sure to prepare beforehand.  As with any interview preparation, be sure to review the job descriptions that you are looking for and prepare a set of questions that you intend to ask of each candidate.   Look for students that are confident, prepared, and ready to speak about their experiences in and out of the classroom.  Consider the executive experience of those with leadership positions within student organizations and college athletics.

Campus Job Fair
 Students will attend these job fair events for a variety of reasons; sometimes they are looking for a job, sometimes they are looking for resume feedback; sometimes they are looking to practice their interview skills.  It is your job to separate the true candidates, and to spot the hidden potential in those that are just practicing.  Ask probing questions to see if the student has researched the company and the positions.  Ask questions to determine their interests and qualifications.  Finally, consider preparing a few extra “small talk” questions that you can use to converse with non-candidates that will occasionally visit between candidates.  


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Friday, November 16, 2012

A Quick Look at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)


I had the fortune of attending the Pottstown Society of Human Resources (SHRM) Meeting yesterday.  It was an informative and interesting look at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) presented by Charon Planning consulting.  I would like to share some of the highlights from that PPACA presentation, supplemented with some additional information pulled from the SHRM and IRS websites. 

PPACA Rollout

Now that the PPACA is the law of the land, there are significant changes that will fundamentally transform almost every aspect of pay and benefits in the United States between now and 2018. 

For quite some time, many businesses were holding off on making changes due to the possible change in the landscape.  However, the election is over.  There will not be any changes in leadership between now and the rollout of this plan.  It is imperative for HR, Payroll, and Benefits waste no time in starting the change procedure.  Be sure to communicate changes to your employees as they happen as they will need the information to make their decisions.

FSA Changes 2013

The PPACA limits pre-tax contributions to Flexible Spending Accounts to $2,500 for calendar 2013.  There has been some further clarification by the IRS on that limit:  Employers that offer more generous FSAs have until Dec. 31, 2014 to roll out the changes to existing employees, but no new employees can have the higher limit during 2013 or 2014.  As a result of the PPACA, the “Use it or Lose it” rule may or may not be lifted, pending resolution by the Treasury Dept and the IRS.

Full Time Employees

The definition of Full Time Employee is changing in 2014, starting with a required “measurement period” for existing employees on Jan. 1, 2013.  Full Time is considered any employee who on average works 30 hours in a month, or could reasonably have been expected to have worked 30 hours.  After the “measurement period” of 1 year ends, the employees will be eligible for coverage based on the calculation.  There is than a 90 day time frame known as the “administrative period” where employees will be notified of their status and options.  Following that comes a “stability period”, which happens concurrently with the next “measurement period”.  There is a more complicated calculation which will be required for new 2013 employees where a calculation of an overlapping “stability period” will be required for 2014 and after.

90 Day Waiting Period

Starting in 2014, Employers will be required to determine within the first 90 days following hire whether an employee will be eligible to enter the employer based insurance.  Since a “measurement period” will not yet have been completed, employers will need to base this determination on expectation of whether the employee could be expected to work full time over the next year.

Full Time Employee Penalties

Per IRS codes 4980H(a) and 4980H(b), companies with greater than 50 employees of any sort will be required to offer coverage.  Full Time Employees will be required to be covered by “affordable” medical insurance.  If you do not offer coverage to these Full Time Employees, a $2,000 per employee penalty will apply.  If medical insurance is provided, but it is determined that it is not affordable under Safe Harbor calculations and any single employee chooses to use a heathcare exchange, the lesser of $3,000 per employee using the exchange or a $2,000 per employee (every employee) penalty will be applied.  If a penalty is applied, the employer will also lose their 35% pretax corporate tax savings on the cost of the medical plan.  Additionally, if the penalty is applied, the employer will also lose their 0.0765% FICA tax break.  In the event affordable coverage is offered by the employer, affordability being determined per the Safe Harbor calculation applied to both the individual, spouse, and family; and the employee chooses to enter the exchange, then there will not be a penalty applied.

Healthcare Subsidy

An employee can decide for any reason that an employer offered plan is not right for them, whether it is due to affordability or other issues.  Should they choose to decline the offer, they may receive a government subsidy for their healthcare.  Individual employees making less than $44,680 annually will be eligible to receive a subsidy.  Employees with a spouse making less than $60,520 will be eligible to receive a subsidy.  There is a graduated scale of subsidies which will be provided from the government based on the number of children and marriage status.

Out of Time

Okay, I am out of time to post for today.  There is really so much stuff here, I have barely scratched the surface of the PPACA.  I have not even gotten to the Heathcare exchanges.   If I have time, I will circle back around to PPACA in the future.  There is still so much information.

Disclaimer

Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek legal counsel before making business or personal decisions. 



Relevant Links:
http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/articles/pages/fsaguidance.aspx
http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/articles/pages/ppaca-full-time-employees.aspx
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/pdf/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleD-chap43-sec4980H.pdf
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr3590enr/pdf/BILLS-111hr3590enr.pdf

Organizational Links:
Charon Planning consulting group (http://www.charonplanning.com/)
Pottstown SHRM (http://gtrpottstown.shrm.org/)


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Thursday, November 15, 2012

SCREENING INTERVIEWS

This will be a post about Screening Interviews.  At the bottom, please feel free to comment about your experiences with this kind of interview.

SCREENING INTERVIEWS

To start things off, let’s take a minute to discuss screening interviews.  These are those initial job interviews that an applicant for a position takes.  The screening interview is sometimes through a phone discussion with a Recruiter, or other times it is a brief person-to-person interview at a job fair or open house.  The purpose of these interviews is to determine initial eligibility.  My brother-in-law once used the humorous term “Sanity Check” to describe these kinds of interviews.  You want to make sure the person you are bringing in is reasonably capable and might be a decent fit for the job.  You can weed out those candidates that are not qualified.

Prior to starting the Screening Interview process, you should prepare a set list of questions that you will ask of every candidate.  For legal purposes, it is important to stick to the questions and not to stray too far.  In the event of a future lawsuit by a prospective employee, it is helpful to be able to show that you asked them the same questions you asked of every other candidate.  This should be a mix of about 30% closed-ended questions and 70% open-ended questions.

Also prior to the interview, be sure to have a developed screening criterion prepared.  Typically, a recruiter ought to be able to review the job position description and have a list of key phrases and qualities that they are looking for.  This will provide you with a guide when determining who to hire later.  You will also want to prepare an introduction and closing for the interview, to ensure all aspects of the interview are ready.

During the Screening Interview - Document, document, document.  

You will only have a few minutes with each candidate.  It is important to take good notes as these will help in deciding who to bring back for a full Employment Interview later.  After conducting a brief introduction of yourself and the company, it is time to present a general overview of the open position; this will help the candidate self-select whether a position is a fit for them.  Next, ask the candidate some questions.  Ask a few closed-ended questions first to verify a candidate’s information and to loosen the candidate up.  You can then ask the open-ended questions, which should represent the bulk of the interview.  Finally, see if the candidate has any questions and then close out the interview.

After the Screening Interviews have been completed, you will be able to use the notes that you took to compare candidates to the list of key phrases and qualities.  Those that do not meet the established criteria will not move on to the next stage of the applicant interview process.

Here is a quick checklist that you can use in determining who to bring back:

·         Did the candidate appear to understand what job they applied for?
·         Have they expressed interest in the job?
·         Did the candidate appear to possess many of the qualifications for the job?
·         Did the candidate provide reasonable answers to questions which would help determine if further interest is warranted?
·         Is there consistency between the information on the candidates resume and what the candidate is saying in the interview?

If you have a large number of qualified applicants and only a limited number of positions available, with the aid of the hiring manager, the company may need to screen further selecting the best matches for Employment Interviews.

So this is intended as the first in a series of posts about the various types of interviews that an HR Professional may have the opportunity to use.  I hope you found this first one interesting and informative.  Please feel free to comment about your experiences with different kinds of interviews.




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TYPES OF INTERVIEWS

This will be a post about different kinds of interviews.  At the bottom, please feel free to comment about your experiences with different kinds of interviews.

TYPES OF INTERVIEWS

While most of us have sat in work related interviews before, it might surprise you at how many different kinds there are out there.  If you break it down into its core objectives, you will find 12 different types of interviews out there: 
  • Screening
  • Campus
  • Employment
  • Reference Check
  • Coaching
  • Counseling
  • Grievance
  • Disciplinary
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Change In Status
  • Termination
  • Exit 
I recently went through a class that walked through the methodology of each of these interviews.  I hope to take you through each of these interview types over the coming days and share some of the details of each of these.  




 Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions.  The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

TREVOR: PERSONAL BRAND AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY


I am attempting to develop a “Personal Brand” and then figure out a social media strategy for presenting myself online.  Later on, I would love some feedback.  Feel free to give me 4 or 5 words that you think best describe me.  At the end of my post, there are some links to articles that I visited and borrowed concepts from.  You ought to go check them out.

TREVOR:  PERSONAL BRAND AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

A personal brand is important in a career, regardless of whether you are looking to improve in the job you are at now, looking for a new job, or looking to branch out in your own business.  Personal branding is deliberately packaging yourself to create a specific perception about yourself; what I am known for and what people seek me out for. 

Here is my initial concept for my personal brand:  I want to be known as a highly organized, relentless pursuer of Human Resources knowledge; someone that people come to focuses on developing the potential of human capital; and a person that people can trust and people can come to for advice.  I also want to be a person that occasionally communicates their interest in the economy/politics and science-fiction. 

Please keep in mind - that was just a first draft of my branding message; part of an evolving process.  Please feel free to give me your own tips and advice.

So for my Social Media Strategy, I am looking at 6 primary focuses:  LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and my blog.  I am not exactly sure how to best use them.  My first thought is to put long form posts that are not necessarily topical on Facebook and on my Blog.  Then to use Google+ for notes that are topical and benefit from chonological release.  Twitter could be good for short reminders, motivational messages, and items to drive people to my other media.  Pinterest; I am not exactly sure how to incorporate that - maybe use more infographics.  On LinkedIn, I should try to find some questions that I can answer.

Anyway, let me know your ideas.  I expect this strategy to evolve and expand.


Interesting links to visit to learn more about Personal Branding:
http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/how-to-create-your-personal-brand-in-6-easy-steps/
http://smedio.com/2011/02/08/7-personal-branding-secrets-of-facebook-pages/
http://www.globalhrnews.com/story.asp?sid=1458





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Friday, November 9, 2012

Coming Soon...

New Blog Redesign Coming Soon...


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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back-Up Ad




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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why I Will Be Voting For Mitt Romney


Why I Will Be Voting For Mitt Romney - An Editorial
by Trevor Stasik, 11/03/2012

I feel that I should state why I will be voting for Mitt Romney in this election cycle.  Perhaps by putting this down in writing, it will help someone else with making a decision one way or another.  I feel that I should explain myself for friends and family that will be disappointed in my decision.  Furthermore, it will be useful for me to look back later on to remind myself why I decided to vote this particular way.

First, from an economic point of view, my vote makes no statistical difference.  The odds that my individual vote or voice will affect the outcome of the election are less than that of my odds to win the Powerball.  Understanding this, I still find the U.S. political process interesting and one that I want to take part in.  I do feel a duty as an American citizen to vote when it is possible to do so.  Thousands of people have died to give me the ability to have this right.  I also get a little “kick” of adrenaline when I get to push that little button; its fun to feel like I am a part of the process. Therefore, I will vote in this election.  

Let me also be honest that Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson is far closer to my personal policy positions than that of the two mainstream candidates.  Unfortunately, Gary has not garnered a large enough of a following for me to vote 3rd party this election.  This time I feel that one of the mainstream choices is acceptable-enough that I will vote for them.

I disagree with a number of Romney’s purported policies; many of which I feel will be a continuation of the failed policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  Romney will likely continue the expansionist, interventionist policies of the last two Presidents.  I do not expect him to reduce the use of military drones and I do not believe that he will reduce the number of foreign engagements that we are involved in.

I agree with some of Obama’s social positions more than I do Romney’s.  I am pro-choice and pro-gay marriage.  However, I also do not think that it is the government’s business to be involved in writing any legislation for or against either of these issues.  If the states want to tackle it, fine.  However, I do not think that the federal government should be in the business of telling people how to love or take care of their own bodies.  

Ultimately, I will typically vote on only two issues:  National Security and the Economy.  On National Security, any success this administration has had has been because of Hillary Clinton.  Obama has been a drone-king and he misunderstands the Middle East.   I think that Romney will probably be another interventionist trying to start wars.  I think that both Romney and Obama are too similar for me to base my decision on this.

Which brings me to one issue left that I am voting on in this election - The Economy.  President Obama has had 4 years to do something.  He has put in a disastrous Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, spent 2 years forcing an unwanted healthcare bill down the throats of Americans, and has generated trillions in new debt.  He has been unable to create any non-stimulus jobs.  I firmly believe that there is a 100% likelihood that if Obama is re-elected, our economy will continue to tailspin.  

That is not to say that Romney is guaranteed to fix this economic mess - I am afraid that he will be a big business Keynesian like George W. Bush.  Even the brilliant economic hawk Paul Ryan cannot convince me that they will be able to balance the budget.  However, I think that Romney has a fiscal competency and financial understanding that has been completely missing from the White House for the last 12 years.  There is hopefully a possibility of success with a Romney Presidency.  There is a possibility, however slim, that things will change; that things will get better, government will get smaller, spending will shrink, support of small business will expand, and jobs will return.   Hopefully.

In this election, I am voting for a mainstream candidate.  I am usually inclined to vote for a 3rd party, but not this year.  This year, I am voting for a chance that this candidate might fix this economy, because I do not believe that there is any chance that the current President will ever fix it.  I am voting for a chance of recovery.

I will be voting for Mitt Romney.  








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