the applied companies best questions to ask interviewers

Assumptions in the Hiring Process Using Occam’s Razor

Too often candidates and employers make the hiring process much more complicated than it should be. The principle that more job seekers and hiring authorities should adopt is Occam’s razor, which advocates for simple assumptions to be used in the hiring process. Not only will this principle simplify the entire recruitment process, but it can also help employers find better candidates, and helps candidates better prepare for interviews. However, if you need further assistance in the hiring process, utilize our human resource consulting services which help candidates and employers find the best option for employment. Or, take a look below to learn more about how you can simplify the hiring process for yourself by not making complex assumptions.

Occam’s Razor and Making Simple Assumptions 

William of Ockham created the problem-solving principle known as Occam’s razor, a theory that expresses a simplified way of coming to a more beneficial conclusion. His theory states that when considering the best possibility, the one with the fewest, or most simple, assumptions should be chosen. Today, this principle can be effectively used in the hiring process because it acts as a model for both candidates and employers to follow. For example, if more people made fewer assumptions during an interview, they would be able to get to key details more quickly and with less frustration. Not only would the recruitment process and interviewing be much more simple for both parties, but it would also provide better results.

Making Assumptions  

Both the applicant and the hiring authority can benefit from making simple assumptions during the hiring process. Here’s how: 

Candidates 

Typically candidates make too many assumptions about their resume. These commonly incorrect presumptions are that their resume will be read, the person reading the resume will already know what to look for, and lastly that the reader will understand the message they are trying to convey. However, using Occam’s razor will allow candidates to better prepare their resume for what employers are actually looking for. Candidates should write their resume with the simple assertion that “I am a good employee and this is why.” This uncomplicated assumption will make their resume more clear and garner them more interview opportunities. 

And when it comes to the interview process, applicants should remember to also keep things simple. Your main goal as a candidate is to sell yourself to your potential boss. By straightforwardly explaining “here’s what I’ve accomplished and done for others and here’s what I can do for you,” you’ll easily get the attention of your interviewer and have a better probability of being considered for the job.

Interviewers

Using the simple assumption theory also helps interviewers, or hiring authorities, make uncomplicated assumptions that alleviate the stress of recruiting a new employee. Employers should consider these four simple assumptions:

  • Can the applicant do the job?
  • Do I like the candidate?
  • What are the risks associated with this applicant?
  • Can we come to an agreement for compensation?

These questions are uncomplicated and direct which allows hiring authorities to make better decisions in a shorter amount of time. This simplifies the entire process and typically provides better end results as well. 

Critical Thinking 

Another crucial way to find the best candidate for an open position is to test their critical thinking skills. To do this, start by giving your prospective candidate a business-related problem that would pertain to your company. Then ask them to solve the problem and analyze their results. When doing this you want to look for two key things – what their answer is (if it’s right or wrong) and how they came to this solution. The most important thing to figure out is how they think, so look for creative and surprising responses that you think will be a good asset to bring to your company. 

Also, don’t be afraid of politely pushing back during an interview. A critical thinker will defend their answer and give reasons to back up that defense. This shows the type of personality that is beneficial to have on your team and displays whether or not the candidate is confident in their own abilities.

Utilize Effective Human Resource Consulting Services

If the hiring process leaves you feeling overwhelmed, then connect with the experts at The Applied Companies. Our human resource consulting services are designed to help candidates and employers alike throughout the recruitment process. We help candidates find their ideal job and assist businesses in hiring appropriate employees. Whether you’re looking for a career or searching for the right candidate, we’re here for you. Connect with us today!

HR and Politics: Should Your Company Take a Political Stand?

HR and PoliticsDetermining whether or not a company should take a political stand is a common concern among businesses. Companies often ask themselves what consequences they might face from taking a political stand, and how their business might benefit from making their voice heard. But, how do you decide if becoming involved in politics is the right decision for your business or not?

How Businesses Get Involved in Politics

Generally, private sector employers may limit political discussions as well as asking for political donations in the workplace. Often, employees will confuse their First Amendment rights with rules inside the workplace. Rules regarding these issues are state-specific, and employers who seek to limit solicitation are encouraged to incorporate rules into a policy. However, employers may contribute what they want to political campaigns. But, is this a wise choice? Read more

What Do We Do at TAC?

By Marketing Coordinator, Candice Vialpando

When is it Time to Outsource Recruiting?

By Marketing Coordinator, Candice Vialpando

Why outsource your recruiting needs?

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management the average cost of hiring a new employee is $4,129. The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California at Berkeley reported the average cost for managerial and professional employees could run as high as $7,000. Additionally, Dun and Bradstreet’s Business Research states that employers pay as much as 150% of an employee’s salary to replace a management position.

A priority for business owners is to keep up with sales leads and consumer needs. If a business owner needs more manpower to fulfill this need and doesn’t want to spend a ton of money, they should look at outsourcing.

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generation z

Enough with the Millennials Already – Gen Z to the Rescue

By CEO Jim Annis

Millennials are no longer the newbies. As HR experts, we are “over” over-analyzing this generation. We’re also tired of everyone blaming them for whatever ails us at the moment. It’s time to press the refresh button.

Welcome Generation Z! This generation is the largest on the planet, numbering 72 million and counting. Ages 25 and younger, they represent 25.9 percent of the population and by 2020 they will account for one-third. Every generation looks down their noses at the young upstarts. In order to succeed together we want to change this.

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Success Insurance

By CEO Jim Annis

As a business owner, how do you ensure (and insure) your business will work and be successful? Put your risk management hat on. Identify each risk and decide what to do about each. There are four main strategies: avoid it, reduce it, transfer it and/or accept it. Buying commercial business insurance is obvious. The tricky part is how to ensure that your business decisions are the right ones. Start working on your business versus in it.

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conference attendance

Selecting the Right Employee for Conference Attendance

Conference attendee selection might be agonizing at your organization because 1) everyone wants to go, or; 2) it’s just the opposite and you resort to drawing straws and the short one is sent off. Budgets are tight, you’ve set goals as to what you want to accomplish and you want the most out of your resources — financial and human. What do you do? Work backwards. The secret is to have enough managerial insight to envision that ideal attendee’s behavior pre-, during and post-conference. When deciding who to represent your organization for conference attendance, select someone who just gets giddy over the end result that you want and the expectations set forth. Here’s how to picture them:

Read more

Conducting workplace in-house investigations

By Jim Annis

 

The words, “in-house investigations,” might lead to CLUE board game flashbacks like: Case File Confidential; suspects that begin with names like Colonel and Professor; Rooms and Weapons; and “Who dunnit?”

Failing to perform in-house investigations will not result in fun and games — that’s how employees win lawsuits. Why do an investigation? The onus is always on the employer. Ignorance equals risk. Begin an investigation when the gossip starts, before you receive a complaint and before you are sued. The three most common issues involved in an investigation are harassment, whistleblower, and discrimination. Whatever the issue, following the suggestions below can help manage the risk.

What should be investigated? All gossip, what you hear through management by walking around, subtle “please do not tell anyone” conversations (then do not promise confidentiality — you must address a problem) and comments in anonymous suggestion boxes. Small bumps can become a cancer. Assume each issue is legitimate and drive that type of cultural commitment daily.

When should it be investigated? Immediately. No exceptions. Look forward and reason backward. Go big-picture and follow the trail, with an eagle-eye view. Imagine the timeline spread out from when it happened to two or three years down the line if you wind up in court. If an employee put you on notice Monday, October 1 and then you did not do anything for three weeks, you’re toast. If you took action Monday afternoon upon notice, then you should be evaluated more positively.

Why would you investigate it? You have a responsibility to employees. You’ll lose them is they perceive a lack of commitment to a healthy work culture. Response to an investigation is generally positive: “Management is handling the issue.” If you get rid of the issue, good job — shareholders will be happy.

Who should do the investigation? Investigations are hard. Period. Who you assign to do them is crucial. Options include in-house HR, a PEO, outside HR consultants, an objective person in leadership with no direct reporting, or a person who is not highly emotional.

What’s the end game? Document the following in order:  failure, conclusion, report and follow-up. The most important point is to reach a conclusion. Write it all down on a factual basis, no opinions, based on tangible information. It’s harder to do than you think. Follow up with the complaining party by calendaring three months down the road, and develop a feedback loop. If you do wind up in court, this is what you want the suing employee to relay to the judge: “My employer followed up with me so I felt good.” You win. Investigation is not a dirty word. It’s clean and can help make your environment “sparkle.” You will almost always discover something in the process that will help improve the workplace.

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Applied’s COO, contributed to this article.

Change in the Workplace

By Anastasia Warren

 

The Applied Companies has been around for more than ten years. They have an established reputation in the Reno, Nevada community, a well-received message and a popular company culture among employees with proof to show it – they have been honored as one of the Best Places to Work in Nevada more than a few times over the years.

When I joined the team just out of college, I assumed it was safe to say the company was pretty set in its ways – that there wouldn’t be much room for culture change or workplace progression… or so I thought. Seeing as my personal values matched up with the present company values and practices, I was basically okay with that.

However, my assumption was incorrect – and that is why this company is successful.

In the short six months that I have worked at The Applied Companies, the company has changed their paid time off policy to better suit employee needs, implemented a “Go Green” initiative to decrease their carbon footprint, started a “Bring Your Pet to Work Day” every few months, changed their policy on business attire (yes, jeans are now allowed) and much more.

The leadership within the company recognizes the changing world of business and seeks to remain current and moving in the fast-paced culture. Established companies must continue to look for new ways to improve their organization both internally and externally, and stay up with and even sometimes ahead of industry trends.  

In an employee market, where good candidates can sometimes seem scarce, creating an innovative and collaborative company culture is essential to success and employee retention.  

As CEO Jim Annis often states, “the only constant is change,” and I am proud to be a part of a company that honors that progressive, innovative and forward way of thinking. 

The fly on the interview wall

By Jim Annis

 

The interview can be a game-changer in both the company’s and the individual’s lives. A fly on the wall would be a great judge as to the skill of the interviewer and interviewee…

Scene: Typical interview room. “A” candidate Rachael is very interested in working here. The busy HR manager, Bob, has had six interviews today and this, the most qualified candidate, is the last. The fly has been buzzing around for a few weeks.

Fly: Bob’s been primping for two minutes! Tie, check! Mouthwash, check! Nose, check!

Bob: (Leans on the desk, head on his hand). Hi Rachael. Thanks for doing the phone pre-interview. Summarize your sales achievements over the past few months.

Rachael: (Sitting at an angle)My team surpassed our quarterly goals by 300 percent in the accounting tech software market. I read in the Wall Street Journal that you are prepping for the launch of your new upgraded product. When does that hit the market?

Fly: There’s no I in team! She’s nailed the three Ps – planned, prepared and practiced. She is not rushed and confident. When a human sits directly across from someone he/she recalls less of what was said. It also causes a perception of negativity and opposition. By sitting at a slight angle she changes this automatic bias. And she’s done her homework. Questions are relevant. Smart!

Bob: (Sighs) We’ve been working overtime to get it out. Go live is March 1, but we’ll be lucky if it sticks.

Rachael: Tell me about the corporate culture. What are your expectations of the work week and hours? How do you incorporate green initiatives and volunteerism into your daily operations?

Bob: What do you mean?

Fly: He’s fumbling. Hope he can get a grip.

Rachael: What’s your company’s commitment to quality of life? Preserving natural resources? Do you encourage volunteer activities through corporate social responsibility?

Bob: Well, all that is on our website. Right here. (Points to the screen on his iPad). Is that really important to you? You are a salesperson. And a good one!

Fly: I better dive bomb Bob and get him out of his funk. He is going to lose her to the competition. Bzzzzz … incoming! Whack!

Bob: (Swats the fly and gets focused). Rachael, you’re the kind of person we’re looking for with this position. We’d like to begin negotiations today and get you on board.

Fly: Awesome, she’s got the job!

Rachael: Bob, I appreciate your time but I am not sure if it is the right fit. Best of luck.

Bob:(Shakes her hand, sheepishly). Thanks.

Fly: Too bad. She was a keeper. (Buzzes off, humming, “Nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, good bye.”)


Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Applied’s division director, contributed to this article.