Hiring volumes are back to pre-pandemic levels, leaving a high level of competition for great candidates across a variety of industries. Believe it or not, one of the deciding factors in landing a great hire is your hiring process. What may appear to be small missteps can result in companies losing out on top talent to the competition.

Take a look at the following common mistakes and our tips to help avoid them and land that next hire.

Dragging your feet

Taking too long to engage in or continue the interview process can result in candidates moving forward with other opportunities. Always assume they are fielding multiple opportunities at once.

Keep the dialogue going. Schedule interviews promptly–don’t wait a week or two in between steps if you are interested in the candidate.

Outlining the interview process in advance is helpful. This allows candidates to know what to expect and how much time will be needed to round out the process.

Lowballing the offer

Offering a candidate below what they need to see in compensation shows that you don’t value their experience. It’s like asking them to walk away.  If compensation is going to be a key factor in the offer, have an open dialogue about it in advance and see if other benefits can be added that are attractive to the candidate.

One-way Evaluation

Today’s market is candidate-driven. Candidates are evaluating you and your company just as much as you are evaluating them. Prolonged interview processes and slow communication will reflect poorly on your organization.

Murky Expectations

Set clear expectations about what the interview schedule will look like for candidates. Outline a simple interview process and stay consistent (whether the steps are a phone, video, or in-person interview). If it is in person let candidates know what your COVID protocol is so they are prepared.

Also, be ready to speak to expectations around the role being remote, hybrid, and/or in-office as well as part-time or full-time.

By following these steps, you will immediately strengthen your hiring process and ultimately support your team in landing the ideal candidate. If you’re looking for assistance as you upgrade your process, CSP can support every step of the way–from outlining the interview process to sending qualified candidates, managing both candidate and client responses, interview scheduling, maintaining relationships with candidates as they navigate other opportunities and offers, all the way to the delivery of offers, negotiation processes, and onboarding.

Contact us today for help with your hiring needs – info@chesapeakesearchpartners.com

 

Some would say the first hire for a startup is often the hardest–there is a fair presumption of risk on both sides. Looking back more than six years ago, we’re so glad we took the “risk” of hiring Patrick, our first full-time hire at CSP. And we’re honored he took the leap with us and continues to elevate our company as he takes on the new role of Senior Search Consultant.

Recently we sat down with Patrick to reflect on his time with us and what his vision is for the future of CSP.

What drew you to a position here at CSP? 

I had recently graduated from Towson University with a degree in Communications and completed my collegiate baseball career. With no set job in mind, I was a “free agent” so to speak.

One day in the fall of 2014, John Geraghty reached out to me for a sales position he was recruiting for a friend of his. After learning about the sales role, I realized I was not interested in moving forward with it. However what stuck with me was the connection I had with John–we shared similar interests, and he seemed to really love his new role, working to grow CSP alongside Rick and Johnny.

Soon after, I approached John and asked if they would be open to hiring me, despite me not having any recruitment experience. They invited me in for a shadow day and I got to see what a typical day was like. The passion, the hustle, dedication, and camaraderie drew me in. I was offered the role of a Junior Search Consultant and the rest is history.

What was the process like — training under three founders of a professional search “startup” firm? 

The strategy was to enable me to learn by doing and absorbing everything I could from Rick, John, and Johnny. I would bring a pen and paper with me everywhere, listen to how they talked with candidates and clients, and learn how they built and nourished relationships. Eventually, I was able to start calling candidates myself to help update our contact lists and begin to make connections.

This built up my confidence tremendously. I improved my communication skills and got more comfortable on the phone sparking conversations and relating to people I had not met before.  I was making about 10 new connections a day.  The process came with rejection too but that’s a valuable lesson in and of itself in this business.

When you describe what it’s like to work at CSP to your friends or family, what do you say? 

Chesapeake Search Partners is a professional search firm located in Towson. I was their first full-time employee, and have been there about six years. The work environment is fun and feels like family–the owners truly care about their team. We have a work-hard, play-hard mentality–the owners treat us often to happy hours, lunches, and events. Today, my bosses are some of my closest friends and mentors. I couldn’t be happier.

What does the future have in store for you? 

As a team, we are growing, which is exciting to say after a challenging 2020 due to the pandemic. We are hiring Junior Search Consultants who I will get to oversee. I’m really excited about the opportunity to mentor and manage a new hire.

I will continue to support Rick and John with the growth of the Accounting & Finance practice. I’ve found the more I am involved with the industry, and key companies and talent within it, the better I am at my job. It’s motivating for sure, and I appreciate the ability to focus here in a smaller firm. Similar to my days playing baseball, the more you train and practice, the better you are.

And beyond CSP, I’m excited to get married next year to my fiance.

What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a career in professional search? 

No matter what, if you put in the time and effort, you will be successful.

Prepare yourself mentally for losses. They will happen, but you need to come back the next day ready to move on and win.

Look for a firm that cares about your career and growth. Part of this is reflected in compensation. Ideally, a firm will not make you lean solely on commission. To grow, you will make mistakes and you need to feel comfortable making them and learning from them.

Lastly, look around. Absorb what is working for your team around you. Everyone has their own method that works well for them. Take pieces of what works and make it your own. At CSP we’re a bit of a melting pot of expertise, but we all ladder back to our core values and relationships.

 

Today is Maryland Day, an official observance to honor Maryland history. To celebrate, the Founding Partners of the CSP team enjoyed a Maryland-themed bagel brunch thanks to a special delivery from our neighborhood bagel shop, THB Bagelry & Deli.

While it seems so simple–bagels and coffee in our office–it’s really the first time we have done this in several months. So in a way, we made history this Maryland day with our first “mini” in-office team breakfast.

While enjoying New York-style bagels, we got to discussing the great “return to the office” debate many companies are facing right now. Our team connects with experienced job candidates and successful small to mid-size companies every day, so it was interesting to talk about the perspectives candidates and companies have been sharing with our team members.

Here are just a few of the insights and predictions that came up during our brunch–from the future of in-office requirements, to reopening timelines. The one factor that resonated throughout was the need for flexibility.

The current landscape: remote work vs in-office  

We are seeing a pretty even split between in-office versus remote work requirements today, with many workplaces having adopted a hybrid model as well.

In regard to company expectations of remote work moving forward, we’re seeing some take a firm stance, requiring on-site work full-time and limited flexibility, which has ultimately limited their candidate pool. Clients who are requiring 100% on-site work but allow greater flexibility versus having a blanket policy for the whole organization are seeing more interest from a broader candidate pool for open positions.

From the candidate perspective, the majority want the opportunity to find an operating rhythm that works best for them and have the support of the organization they work for to do so. Even if they are not satisfied with their current role, many are staying put as a result of uncertainty about what a new company may require them to do when things open up. Even if a new role allows them to begin remote, they are not sure about future shifts to in-office requirements.

Reopening timeline

We are seeing the timeline of reopening offices be based predominantly on size and perception. Small to mid-size privately held organizations appear to be on a faster timeline, with some of those organizations having already reopened for normal business hours. It appears that the majority of these organizations will have put some type of reopening procedures in place by the beginning of Q3 at the latest. For larger and most likely public companies, they seem to have a much longer reopening plan in place, extending till beginning of Q4 if not January of 2022. While the health and wellbeing of employees remains priority, companies are using this time to evaluate their office space for the foreseeable future. Do they need less space or more space? Do you have a traditional office layout or more open space?

Flexibility is key

Some candidates are adamant about remaining remote and will not consider an opportunity if it requires in-office work. Meanwhile, we hear others miss the collaboration and interaction and are eager to get back into the office.

More often than not though, most candidates want some level of flexibility to work from home a few days a week or adjust their schedule to meet personal obligations such as virtual learning for their kids or care for an elderly family member, or simply they have found themselves to be more productive when they are working from home with less office distractions. If a candidate has flexibility in their current role and a new opportunity doesn’t offer it, they’re more likely to opt to stay in their current role to maintain that flexibility.

Companies that prioritize flexibility will see the greatest opportunity in terms of candidates who want to work there, and employees who want to stay. As we saw in the market in the past decade with healthcare benefits and costs being evaluated by candidates considering a move, we are now seeing remote work flexibility being another aspect of evaluation for a potential career move.

 We’ll continue to keep up the dialogue around workplace expectations and employee values when it comes to how and where they work.  And for those wondering, our own office is in a flexible state right now, which is why you don’t see all of our team members enjoying bagels today. When it’s all said and done, CSP will continue to offer a hybrid work schedule with some in-office team meetings expected.

 

by Bryan Howe

In February 2020 I was packing to go to DC for a Washington Capitals game. Boomer swiftly stole my socks I had dropped on the floor and I chased after him. I caught him and reminded my fiancé Charlotte how nice it would be to have a night away from the “little man”. We left Boomer with Charlotte’s sister and were on our way to DC to enjoy the game.

On the drive home Sunday morning, we received an alarming call that Boomer had not eaten all weekend and was acting sluggish. We rushed home and whisked him to the local Pet ER. After a week of countless tests and visits to three different vet hospitals, Boomer was diagnosed with a very rare bacterial infection in his chest cavity, which was causing his right lung to collapse. He would endure three different procedures, including a five-hour thoracic surgery to open his chest and flush out the bacteria and abscess. Boomer slept in the hospital for six straight nights before he could return home.

After a traumatizing couple of weeks, Boomer settled in at home and we felt so blessed to have him back safe and on the road to recovery. As difficult as it was for our family, Boomer was resilient in keeping his smile and would always wag his tail when we would visit him in his kennel. Although a difficult transition at first, he returned to his normal self just two months later… when he brought my socks out from my room to chew on. 

Soon after this experience,  we were confronted with a global pandemic. Charlotte and I found ourselves  working from home. The upside–it gave us more time to be around Boomer. It was out of this pandemic, pushing us to spend more time together that “Boomer Mondays” was developed.

“Through these unprecedented times, Boomer remains positive. He still plays with his toys, chews his bones, loves his walks, and enjoys the extra time I have to spend  with him. He reminds me every day that positivity is what we all need right now.” – from the first Boomer Monday post.

We felt compelled to share his message of resilience and positivity as we knew he had been through hell when he was fighting his infection. Throughout his illness, Boomer was always smiling, and you would never know the pain he was facing. We were fortunate to be able to be around him as he recovered–even when all he asked for was a head scratch and blanket to sleep on. 

Remaining positive was all that Boomer knew to do. Simplistic in nature, he was a reminder that in a world out of your control, it could be easier to manage with a smile. We did not know at the time the magnitude of the pandemic and its impact on everyone’s lives but felt it paramount to remain positive. 

We wanted to thank everyone for their support of his posts and most of all the dedicated veterinary staff of the Towson Pet+ER and Animal Emergency Hospital in Bel Air for saving Boomer’s life and allowing him to enjoy Mondays and every day. Here we are in February 2021, nearly a year later to the day and with his tail wagging furiously, he reminds us to stay positive.   

 

by Johnny Black

For the longest time, I have always been inspired by a good quote. When I heard something that stuck with me I typically wrote it down on a Post-It Note or typed it into my iPhone.

When we started CSP in 2013, I knew I had to find a place to read them daily and so “The Wall” was formed. Today, I have nearly 100 quotes or sayings on my wall. The ones I am most fond of are typically from the people who have influenced me in my career and life. They span from sports figures to successful business leaders to musical artists and of course some originals as well.

I’ve never been a bookworm and as I get older and time gets shorter I realized all I need is 5-10 words to affect me tenfold. Below are some of my favorites from The Wall:

“You have to work hard to be lucky.”

~Umi Sake Fortune Cookie

“To make $1M, you have to have the shot at making $2M.”

~Original

“Life is too short to be living someone else’s dream.”

~Hugh Heffner

“Anyone can lead when the plan is working. The BEST lead when the plan falls apart.”

~Matt Doud

“You gotta love living baby. Because dying is a pain in the ass.”

~Frank Sinatra

“Toughness is taking the road less traveled and living by that decision day in and day out, 100% of the time.”

~Lynchburg Lacrosse

“Fear: Best motivator, worst distractor.”

~Original

As I reflect on 2020 and life slowing down due to COVID, I’ve appreciated spending time reading my favorite quotes on The Wall. As we look forward to a fresh start in 2021, I leave you with this quote and hope it inspires you.

“Your setback is just a setup for your comeback.”

~Ray Lewis

So next time you hear a motivating quote, shoot me a note and let me add it to #thewall…