5 Reasons You Need Video Cover Letters

How many times have you read “extensive experience” or “great communication skills” on a resume? Then, brought the candidate in for an interview to find out the opposite was true. So much wasted time! So many unexpected surprises!

The good news is that new applicant tracking functionality may allow you to minimize surprises with a video cover letter. During the online application process, companies can now ask candidates to submit a video about how they heard about the position and their qualifications. The video may allow candidates to:

  • Become more personable
  • Show their creativity
  • Build rapport by highlighting their experience
  • Reduce data entry (and saves you from reading their stock cover letter)
  • Develop trust

Do you allow candidates to submit video cover letters? With myStaffingPro, you could. myStaffingPro offers this functionality free to all of our standard and premium customers. For more information about video cover letters, please contact us at http://lp.mystaffingpro.com/coverletter/


A Day in the Life of a Paychex Recruiter

Recruiting is changing at an unprecedented pace, and businesses must quickly adapt to keep pace with the competition for top talent. We sat down with Debra, a Paychex recruiter, to learn more about the changing dynamics of the recruiting environment and what these changes mean for today’s recruiters.


What is your number-one source of hire and how do you promote it?
Since I predominantly recruit for areas outside of my home geography, it’s imperative that I build a virtual network to open up new avenues for identifying top talent. I have found the most success on LinkedIn. In my 10 years in recruiting, LinkedIn has evolved from a nebulous website that very few professionals use, to my first stop when recruiting for a new opening. I not only use it as a starting point, but I also use it to cross-reference candidates found elsewhere.

As far as promotion, other than posting positions, I connect with every candidate with whom I speak and spend at least 3-4 hours a week building my network for future opportunities. LinkedIn works much like the Kevin Bacon game; the more people you’re connected to, the more individuals you’ll be able to reach for sourcing.


How do you interact with other departments and hiring managers?
I recruit for our Major Market Services division and cover an area ranging from Maine to Virginia and Ohio. As a remote recruiter, I don’t have a lot of opportunity to work face to face with my hiring managers, so the bulk of my communication is written and over the phone.

Paychex also uses an inter-office instant messaging (IM) program that allows me and my hiring managers to have more impromptu conversations throughout the day. I also work closely with our training, benefits, and compensation teams to assist my candidates throughout the interview and onboarding processes.


What tools make your life easier?
Once you find great candidates, you need a system to house their data, reference back to them, and share with fellow recruiters on your team. Our team recently migrated our applicant tracking system to myStaffingPro. With this migration, we had the capability to customize the system to our needs, as opposed to using a vanilla “out-of-the-box” program that would require us to shoehorn our business requirements.

In addition to being able to search resumes easily, keep notes from prescreens, and upload documents, myStaffingPro is integrated with our assessment program, our onboarding/background-check screening service, and our back office/payroll. This makes everything seamless and efficient. Not having to bounce in and out of multiple programs to workflow a candidate is a huge time saver.


How has recruiting changed in the last 10 years? What impact has social media had on recruiting?
Let’s put things in perspective. Close your eyes and imagine your social media footprint in 2005. You may have used AOL or their instant messenger, AIM. You probably still had a MySpace page or a Friendster account. Facebook was only a year old and had only 6 million monthly users. LinkedIn was still relatively obscure and Twitter wasn’t even born yet. Instagram was five years away from its debut.

When I started recruiting temps in 2005, often I was looking for people who were actively seeking work. I had a few options — job boards like Monster or HotJobs, job fairs, and walk-in applicants. But when you are looking to fill permanent positions, you must not only consider people who are looking, but also people who are currently employed and happy where they are. Passive candidates aren’t typically on job-posting sites, at job fairs, or stopping by your office to say hello. How did you target passive talent in 2005? Cold-calling into companies and networking events.

Now consider your social media footprint today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, the list goes on. There are nearly 1.3 billion people accessing Facebook monthly, with 728 million of them using their account daily. LinkedIn now has 260 million members, Twitter has close to 240 million, and Instagram has over 200 million. Those numbers are staggering. People are connecting in unprecedented volume and frequency because of social media. Candidates are more accessible today than ever before; you just have to know how and where to search.

Today’s recruiter needs to be social media savvy, diversified, and nimble. We need to have our finger on the pulse of whatever new avenue is just around the corner and how today’s sites are evolving. What will Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter look like in 10 years? What will inevitably replace them?


What task absorbs most of your time?
This is an interesting question and the one that took the most rumination to answer. I could easily say that recruiting and sourcing activities take up the bulk of my time, and that wouldn’t be a lie. But what do those terms mean? For me, it’s a combination of scouring my networks for candidates and conducting screening.

Also, maybe equally importantly, is reading articles about other companies within our industry, making note of changes to other organizations that may avail us of talent on the move, and sharing that information with my teammates while receiving similar competitive intelligence from them. Becoming more informed is a cornerstone to successful recruiting. Knowing the ins and outs of my own organization and what the responsibilities of the job are will absolutely help me talk to a candidate about what they can expect here at Paychex. But does it help me understand them as a candidate? Does it help me understand how to target a particular market, what’s in it for the candidate, or what might motivate them to seek new opportunities? That’s the differentiator in a candidate-driven market.

Applicant Tracking System for Microsoft Dynamics

Although ERP systems are typically used for financial and inventory functions, Microsoft Dynamics® has HR functionality that can be integrated with applicant tracking systems. Applicant tracking systems can provide recruiters and HR professionals with:

  • Paperless application and new hire process
  • Prequalified applicant pool
  • Historical data and up-to-date analytics
  • Integration that transfers applicant and requisition data

Human resources can integrate an applicant tracking system to Microsoft Dynamics to better streamline business processes, minimalize data entry, and maintain accurate and current information.

“A great deal of time has been saved by not having to manually enter all applicant info into Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains (GP), which used to take as much as four hours to complete daily.” – Recruiter, Health Care Company

Interested in learning more? Stop by booth #659 at Microsoft Convergence to learn how to extend your HR functionality with the ISV, myStaffingPro, or visit http://mystaffingpro.com.

Improving the Recruitment Process: A Look at Agile Hiring

A new trend, agile hiring, is changing the way that businesses think about the recruiting process. The “Agile philosophy” has its roots in the software development world, and has subsequently been introduced to a wider business audience with the popularity of the recently published book The Lean Startup. Overall, the approach focuses on defining essential high-value activities, eliminating administrate work, using well-defined targets and making data driven decisions. The goal is to eliminate waste and increase effectiveness. Here is a closer look at the concept of agile hiring and how to apply it to your business.

Defining recruiting process benchmarks

One of the essential elements of implementing agile hiring is shifting your perspective to recruiting as a quantitative process. The ability to take the 30,000 foot view of your recruiting process and determine what’s successful and what’s not is key to this hiring philosophy. Recruiting has a wide variety of metrics that can be considered: the number of applicants a job receives, how effective your screening process is by reducing the number of interviews with unqualified applicants, and the number of days it takes to fill an open position. By determining what your core measurements of success are, you’ll be on the way to eliminating inefficiencies and operating a lean, effective recruiting organization.

Establishing clear job targets

Agile hiring takes a distinct approach to drafting job descriptions. Job descriptions are more than just a list of general roles and responsibilities. Instead, they provide a data-driven map to help recruiters identify and hire the best candidates for the job. The right job description will contain everything from quantifiable requirements such as minimum education and years of experience to a very specific list of qualifications that can sharpen the effectiveness of your screening process. Clear job targets benefit everyone throughout the recruiting process, from HR staff that wants to increase their effectiveness in screening applicants to candidates that have a clear understanding of a position’s criteria for success when considering a job offer.

Choosing the right technological support

The right applicant tracking software is essential to implementing agile hiring techniques. Look for a system that’s highly customizable to your company’s process and can evolve over time as you migrate toward better recruiting approaches. For example, select a system that allows you to establish screening questions and only pass qualified applicants through to the next stage. Functionality like this can eliminate the administrative burdens that can pile up during the recruiting process and allow your recruiting staff to focus on high-value activities. The best systems allow your HR team to quickly access information about the recruiting process, to automate some important screening processes, and get great candidates into interview more quickly. Systems should also offer the capabilities to track specific performance metrics and monitor improvements or other changes over time.

Is your company ready to streamline its recruiting process by implementing agile hiring? Contact myStaffingPro today to learn more about applicant tracking software to arrange a personalized software demonstration.

How to Build an Onboarding Experience

Recruiting and employee management don’t end when an offer has been accepted. In fact, the new employee’s first days and weeks on the job are critical to establishing a strong foundation, ensuring that the employee will thrive, and laying the groundwork for what you hope to be a long-term employee engagement. Today’s leading companies are building successful recruiting processes designed to attract the best candidates through well-structured recruiting initiatives, targeted job openings, marketing, and the latest in HR and recruiting technology. Your company’s onboarding process should continue that carefully crafted and branded process to help launch motivated and informed employees into the workplace.

Streamline the Benefits and New Hire Paperwork Process

One of the most important aspects of onboarding new hires is processing their employment information. For many new employees, this is one of the first on-the-job interactions and may be the first thing that they tackle on day one in the office. Candidates that are handed an intimidating package of information and told to bring it back when it’s done rarely have a good experience. Instead, companies are taking two steps to streamline and improve this aspect of the onboarding experience.

One is to use an integrated onboarding technology system that allows new hires access to online forms. In an online platform, it’s possible to offer additional help through chat features, customized videos, and direct links with an HR rep. The second is providing dedicated HR support to review all aspects of the onboarding paperwork process with candidates, from employment verification to basic emergency contact information. The right technology reduces the time that your team spends collecting new hire forms

Have the Appropriate Materials Available for New Hires

According to the Candidate Experience Awards, almost 50 percent of candidates review a company’s materials to determine if they’re a good fit. In particular, they’re looking at your values and assessing your brand. Companies that are committed to building a successful onboarding process should consider conducting an audit of their materials. In particular, it’s helpful to understand what messages your recruiting materials, websites, and other collateral are sending.

During the onboarding process, it’s important that new employees be introduced to company policies and procedures. It is also a good time to reinforce the company’s culture, the kind of work environment that you strive to have, and how to work to improve the employee experience. One key document that can help is presenting and reviewing your company’s employee handbook.

Think About Making Onboarding a Personalized Experience

Certain administrative and policy steps need to be completed during onboarding. But many companies are realizing the value of making onboarding an experience. What steps can you take to help get people excited about the company? Can employee ambassadors from different departments join the group for lunch or give short presentations about how individual areas of company operations work? Can a key executive stop by and answer questions? Small branded gifts, team building exercises, and similar steps can help quickly bond new hires to the company.

Finally, don’t forget to arrange follow ups with your new employees during their first few weeks or months of employment. A member of your HR team can send a follow up email to new hires to make sure that everything with benefits and payroll is going smoothly. A meeting four or six weeks after hire over lunch or coffee can give your human resources team an idea of how new employees are settling in and help proactively address any problems that could affect long-term retention.

The Top 5 Skills Every Recruiter Should Possess

Recruiters play a vital role within organizations: sourcing and cultivating the key talents needed to make a business thrive. Yet recruiting is a multidisciplinary career path. There are a range of skillsets that serve recruiters well, from the ability to navigate the latest applicant tracking systems to great people skills. Here’s a closer look at the specific skills that today’s recruiters need to thrive as they help build successful companies.

Strong technical skills

Increasingly, recruiting demands advanced technical skills. Job hunters are relying more and more on internet-based job listings to find opportunities. Recruiters promote positions through a wide variety of methods, including web job boards, social media, professional groups, and targeted online headhunting. As a recruiter, it’s important to be comfortable with the technology behind applicant tracking systems, which manage the recruiting process. Not only is this function essential to the recruiter’s job, but understanding how to make the most out of an online recruiting solution can help better candidates and reduce administrative load.

Understanding business operations and internal relationships

Successful recruiters understand the specifics of the business that they’re recruiting for. Positions are more than just a list of skills and required education and experience. Each role plays an important part in moving a business forward. The ability to understand each business’ needs will help in every stage of the recruitment process, including consulting with hiring managers, developing job descriptions, and interviewing candidates. Recruiters must take the time to understand as much as possible about the industry that they’re in, and the company’s unique value proposition. By using this approach, recruiters are also better positioned to promote their companies to interested candidates.

People and relationship building skills

Recruiting is a very person driven field. Developing the ability to connect with and be trusted by a wide range of individuals serves recruiters well in a number of capacities. It helps HR professionals connect more effectively with hiring managers to clarify their needs. Recruiters with friendly, professional, and approachable demeanors make a positive impression on candidates and build the kind of relationships that lead over time to attract top talent.

Process-oriented approach

Recruiting great candidates is a science. The best recruiters understand this and take a process-oriented approach to how job ads are developed, how they’re marketed, how candidates are vetted, and structuring the interview process. Taking a process-oriented approach keeps all recruitment activities focused, objective and scalable across the organization. It also offers a consistent experience for candidates and internal stakeholders, which is important for both external brand building and employee morale.

Strong professional judgment

Recruiters make decisions every day that affect the future of a business, from which candidates to interview to making recommendations on who to hire. They also handle a wide variety of highly sensitive information, from candidates’ personal information to internal salary information. Strong professional judgment is essential, to ensure that recruiters act with discretion and make the kinds of decisions that lead to strong hires.

Even the most talented recruiters work best when supported by the right technology. Contact myStaffingPro today to learn more about this industry-leading applicant tracking system and arrange for a personalized software demonstration.

4 Mistakes Employers Should Avoid Making When Terminating an Employee

By: Suzanne Lucas

Absolutely the worst part of being a manager is terminating an employee. Even when you know it’s the right thing to do, it’s hard—and not being prepared can lead you to make errors. If you’ve got this task ahead of you, here are 4 mistakes you don’t want to make.

1. Terminating too quickly
Jill totally messed up on that project, so she needs to go. Do you expect this level of perfection from other people on the staff? Is this how Jill always acts, or is she normally a great employee who just made a big mistake? Take time to calm down and think through the consequences of firing someone. Will your business be better or worse off with this person gone? Has anyone else made a similar mistake and not been terminated? Employers should be consistent in their disciplinary policy to mitigate their exposure to discrimination litigation.

2. Terminating too slowly
What if Jill really is a problem employee? It’s not just one mistake, she makes multiple mistakes: she doesn’t respond to emails, she doesn’t return client phone calls; she comes in late, leaves early, and eats other people’s lunches. How long do you let this go on? Many managers ignore very real problems for a very long time. Often, they’ll “punish” their good workers by pushing the bad employee’s work off onto the other staff. When problems begin to manifest, it’s probably time for a formal Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). This should include a time line with goals and consequences for each stage.

3. Not Being Ready for the Termination Meeting
You’ve documented Jill’s poor performance; she’s failed to meet the terms of her PIP, and today is the day you intend to terminate her. If you just try to wing it, you may say something wrong. Instead, prepare what you want to say before you walk into the meeting. Have all termination paperwork ready and signed off on by all applicable parties. The termination meeting should generally be short, no longer than 15 minutes.

4. Not having a witness
All terminations require a witness, preferably someone from Human Resources or your manager. The witness should never, ever, be a peer or direct report of the person being terminated. If you can’t get a witness, hold off on the termination for a day. Why? Because terminations are often emotionally traumatic and what you say may not be what your employee hears.

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. Follow her at Twitter, connect with her at LinkedIn, read her blog, or send her an email.



Improve your employee retention when you select the best applicant for the position. Please visit http://mystaffingpro.com to learn more about our applicant tracking system.

Hiring with Onboarding

How much paper do you use on the employees first day of work? Let’s be optimistic, and assume that you have the W-4, I-9, employee handbook, and employment application down to 40 pages.

40 sheets of paper x 250 hires = 10,000 sheets of paper a year, or 20 reams, or two cases!

That’s a lot of paper, and that’s just one year.

At myStaffingPro, our onboarding system has collected more than 4.5 M onboarding documents. That is enough to fill the Capitol Rotunda with paper.

What is the carbon footprint of your hiring process?

Go green with an electronic onboarding system! Visit http://mystaffingpro.com/onboarding-software.aspx to see what myStaffingPro can do for you!

5 Tips for Onboarding Employees

The onboarding process is the candidate’s first look into what your company is truly like. The rose-colored glasses of the hiring process have been replaced with the fear and anxiety of starting something new.

Ease candidates into your culture with these five onboarding tips:

  1. Get the paperwork out of the way: The first day of work can be completely consumed by paperwork. Get ahead of the curve with an onboarding system that allows employees to complete key paperwork online.
  2. Communicate key information: Before they walk on the premises, give them an idea of what to expect. Provide key details such as when to arrive, where to park, what door to enter, who to ask for, and what to wear.
  3. Prepare for them: Make sure that YOU are ready for the employee. Setup their office, parking, and security protocol so that they can get in and feel like they have a place.
  4. Grab lunch: Lunch the first day can be worse than the politics in a high school cafeteria. Get to know them and eliminate the lunchroom quagmire by taking them out of the office for lunch.
  5. Give them a takeaway: After their first day of work, the employee is going to be peppered with questions by their friends and family. Give them something to brag about. If you are a restaurant, send home a meal. A bank, send them home with some cool swag. The sky is the limit. The important thing is that they feel like a part of the team, and that they are assured they made the right decision.

Get Employees Onboard with Onboarding

You did it. You got the candidate all the way through the hiring process, and now you just have that “small” stack of paperwork to get them through to start at your company. The list includes:

  • Employment application
  • State tax form
  • W4
  • I9
  • Employee handbook
  • Non-Harassment policy
  • Computer usage policy

The new employee only has to enter their name, address, phone number, date, and signature on every form, fill out every field; while you hover over them anxiously checking every field and watching the clock tick by.


The first day is the employee’s most important day of employment. Don’t break it by overwhelming them with paperwork and manuscripts of policies. Instead, create a welcoming environment by enabling to complete their paperwork online at their convenience with an onboarding system. To learn more about how an onboarding system can help, visit http://mystaffingpro.com/onboarding-software.aspx.