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February 25 2014

January 30 2014

5 Interview Skills That You Need to Know

Job interviews are arguably some of the most important meetings you will ever have in your life. The outcome of an interview can greatly affect your career trajectory, whether it means you continue along your planned path or start a new one to find a more fulfilling occupation.

Regardless of the position you're trying to get, it's important to thoroughly prepare for the interview. In addition to knowing why you're a good fit for the job, brushing up on basic interview skills is always a good idea. Hiring experts shared five of the most important skills to focus on if you want to get hired. Read more...

Clarifying Interview Questions

More about Interview, Hiring, Business, Jobs, and Work Play
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January 29 2014

How Big Data Is Influencing Hiring

We've been hearing a lot these days about how Big Data will change business. Its impact on the marketing and media world is being felt throughout the industry. Data collection and predictive analytics are being used for everything from hyper-local targeting to drafting baseball players. That's old news.

What's new is the impact of Big Data on hiring and recruiting. For most media companies, human capital is the biggest expense — and the most competitive asset. Estimates put the human capital costs in the U.S. at $1 trillion a year. "People Analytics" holds that making the best possible personnel decisions are among the most important issues a company faces. I'm not just talking about head count here, but hiring, evaluation, promotion, retention, and corporate culture. In today's competitive market, your managers need to be making the best possible decisions on their human capital deployment. Every decision in your company — including R&D, finance, and technology —is made by an employee. Read more...

More about Hiring, Big Data, Business, Apps Software, and Jobs
11 Reasons Employers Should Request Cover Letters

When you’re hiring for a new position, it’s tempting to go straight for the most impressive resume or portfolio. With dozens of applications to read and not much time to make a decision on who to interview, the cover letter often gets overlooked in the hiring process.

But the truth is, cover letters can reveal a lot about a candidate (both good and bad), and it’s worth taking the time to read every single one.

Take it from this panel of 11 successful entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council, who share the reasons they ask for cover letters.

  1. They Test for Fit

  2. Resumes are a really easy way to bulk-spam a lot of potential employers. Cover letters aren’t. By asking for a cover letter that includes certain information, you’ll be sure to get fewer candidates of much higher quality. Only the ones who really want to work with you will apply.

    Wade FosterZapier

  3. They Tell You Who Is Serious

  4. I always look at candidates who write a great cover letter much more seriously. Taking the time to do a custom one signifies that the candidate has a high interest in your organization and pays attention to detail. Those who only send a resume or a template cover letter are clearly indicating they are applying for numerous jobs at once, and you didn’t deserve an individual email. Read more...

More about Hiring, Cover Letter, Business, Jobs, and Young Entrepreneur Council

December 29 2013

10 Hiring Tips for Your Small Business

Hiring is one of the most important things an entrepreneur will do to grow her company. For a small business, each new hire has a tremendous impact and influences the company's culture far more than a new hire at a 200- or 500-person company. The stakes are high, so you need to ensure that each of your new hires is a passionate, engaged and committed team player

"Great people versus okay people is the difference between success and mediocrity," says Brett Lewis of Skillbridge, who says hiring is something founders spend too little time on in the early days, and believes your sixth hire should be a recruiter. Read more...

More about Business, Hiring, Small Business, Startups, and Supported

December 15 2013

3 Hiring Lessons From Your Holiday Shopping List

With the holiday season in full swing, your shopping list has probably grown impressive in size. While the economy might be tough and the job market even harder to navigate, people across the country are still flocking to stores to make holiday gift purchases. Last year alone, holiday spending grew 14% to inject $42 billion into the economy. So what does this have to do with hiring?

Just like finding the perfect holiday gift, finding the right employee for your company can be tough. Walk into any mall and there are thousands of potential gifts for your friends and family, but finding the right one takes work Read more...

More about Hiring, Job Search Series, Business, and Jobs

November 20 2013

9 Tips for a Better Company Culture

Companies aren't built by individuals, they're built by teams with complementary skills. But recruiting good talent is half the battle — you also need to foster an environment in which your employees can flourish and grow.

We spoke with nine entrepreneurs to get their tips for building a great team and retaining the talent. Have any more tips? Let us know in the comments below.

1. Always Be Hiring

"Hiring is a continuous process, not a punctual hunt," says Alexandre Winter, founder and CEO at Placemeter, who advises you to avoid specific job descriptions. "Hire in tech, product or business, but only take people that really wow you." It's important to think about the person's career path, too — let them adjust to new responsibilities and be mindful of where they are and where they're going. Winter says one of the biggest mistakes you can make with bright and talented employees is burning them out by giving them too much work too soon. Read more...

More about Hiring, Company Culture, Business, Small Business, and Startups

November 11 2013

Meet the Robots Reading Your Resume

It's important to stand out with an impressive resume, but who, or what, should you be trying to impress?

Most big companies use applicant tracking system (ATS) software to sift through online resume submissions. It's mainly used as an initial screening tool to analyze titles, dates and descriptions from resumes to evaluate a candidate's depth of experience (or rather, to see whether it's fit for human eyes).

Our friends at HireRight put together a handy infographic about what you should be doing — and, more importantly, what you should definitely not be doing — to make your resume as robot-friendly as possible Read more...

More about Software, Features, Business, Hiring, and Resumes

July 07 2013

3 Startup Hiring Lessons from 'Duck Dynasty'

Duck Dynasty, a reality show on A&E, might seem like an odd place to acquire tips to hire a great startup team. The reality program focuses on the backwater Robertson clan as they juggle a multi-million dollar duck-call-making business with their own natural inclination to just spend all day hunting

Last season, the finale of Duck Dynasty drew 9.6 million viewers, putting it on the charts as the third most-watched show on television — even the broadcast networks. More impressively, in viewers ages 18 to 49, the little reality show could beat out Fox’s American Idol

The Robertsons have arrived in a major way

More about Startup, Hiring, Careers, Job Search Series, and Business

August 13 2012

4 Hiring Tips for Your Lean Startup

There’s a ton do when you’re first starting a company. Each co-founder or employee executes several job descriptions jumbled together, and it seems a simple solution to just hire a new person and delegate away responsibilities, never to be worried about again. This becomes especially relevant post-funding, because it suddenly becomes plausible to hire with the intended result of getting more done faster.

But this isn't necessarily true, according to Eric Ries, creator of the Lean Startup methodology. “As you add people to a team or project, there is an increase in communications overhead that makes everyone slightly less productive,” he explains.

It may seem counterintuitive…
Continue reading...

More About: Artsicle, Bootstrapping Business Series, eventbrite, features, hiring, mashable, startup

February 27 2012

4 Reasons Your Startup Needs a Better Job Applicant Tracking System

Matthew Ogston is the founder and CEO of JobPage.com, a hassle-free social recruiting and applicant tracking system for hiring managers and recruiters. Connect with Matthew and JobPage on Twitter and Facebook.

Building your own startup means you can get great people involved in your business from the beginning. These individuals help you get your business off the ground and set a precedent for the way you plan to manage your business in the future. In order for your startup to be successful, you have to start off with the right people. So, where and how do you find quality people to help get you up and running?

According to another Mashable article, the top three ways to find great talent are by attending networking events, working within your personal network, and making your company a great target. Other means to seek out the best of the best? Utilize social networking to make sure that your job gets under the noses of the right candidates on job boards and career networks.

However, you must keep in mind finding candidates is only half the battle. The other half starts with the screening process. I’m sure you can relate to the archaic process of manually sifting through hundreds of resumes, trying to decide which candidates have the qualifications to go to the next step in the interview process and which candidates don’t. Think of all of those hours spent trying to fill each open position!

As you may know, there’s a much easier, more efficient way to get through all those resumes, but you may have only thought it was reserved for big companies. The solution? An applicant tracking system. Applicant tracking software has been around for some time now, but was utilized mostly by larger companies in the beginning.

Well…not anymore. According to research by Bersin & Associates, the market for talent acquisition systems (including applicant tracking) is going through a revolution, which resulted in an 11% increase in growth of the industry in 2010 alone. With an expected 12% increase for 2012, there are now more opportunities for smaller organizations and startups to find an applicant tracking system that works for them.

Still not convinced? Here are four great reasons why your startup should start using an applicant tracking system (ATS) right from the beginning.

1. It is Intelligent Enough to Help Find Candidates

As Bersin & Associates noted:

“As in the other HR software markets we study, the applicant tracking systems market is being transformed. Today’s ATS is really an ‘integration platform,’ which not only is used to track incoming resumes, but also connect to sourcing tools and services, assessment tools and services, video interviewing platforms, background checking, job boards, and recruitment outsourcing companies. All these business areas are like planets in the solar system of Talent Acquisition, and to some degree the talent acquisition system is the sun.”

Applicant tracking software is quickly evolving — some ATS platforms pro-actively go out and hunt for the candidates for your positions. Getting your business on this track now will ensure that you find great people in the future. Get started by researching some of the many online providers. Many will offer such features as:

  • Automated job postings (to social networks and job boards)
  • Application screening, scoring and ranking
  • Centralized dashboard of positions and applicants
  • Automatic communication and tracking
  • EEOC compliance and tracking
  • Integrated background checks and personality assessments

2. Screening and Filtering Tools Make the Process Much Easier

ATS services do all the sifting and sorting work for you, so you can avoid the feeling of resume overload. You set up your application for potential candidates to fill out and the software will scan and separate them using a grading system that identifies the top candidates.

How does screening work? By using the data available on social networks and pulling all of the information available on a candidate, an ATS can build up a sort of virtual CV that gives a more accurate and in-depth view of the prospective employees.

3. It Saves You Time and Money

If you are the one doing the initial recruiting, then you really don’t have the time to sit and look through every resume. With what you have learned here so far, it is clear that ATS really takes much of the reading and sorting out of your hands. You can then focus less time and funds on recruiting and more on getting your business up and running.

Let’s take a look at some real cost numbers that Grad Staff came up with for the cost of hiring:

Recruitment & Staffing – According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average cost to make an entry-level hire over the past few years has ranged from $5,700 to $8,900 including college recruiting salaries, expense reimbursement, travel, relocation, etc.

Training – Training costs vary widely by organization. Our research shows that average annual training costs per employee range from $1,000 to $1,500. We would expect that training costs for entry-level employees would be somewhat higher than the overall average.

Also, you can use the cost per hire calculator at HR World, which breaks down each part of the cost for you by:

  • Advertising Fees
  • Agency Fees
  • Employee Referrals
  • Travel Expenses
  • Relocation Expenses
  • Internal Recruiter Costs

As you can see, the time spent will really come from the internal recruiting effort through selecting resumes to look at, making calls to set up interviews, interviews, reference and background checking, etc. Much of the initial screening time (and, in turn, cost) can be eliminated with an ATS.

4. You Will Have a Resource Database Built Up Over Time

When you need to fill a current position, or even a new opening, you’ll have easy access to quality resumes in your database collected through your ATS. Every company looks for ways to decrease costs and increase productivity, right?

Now that you have a better idea of how applicant tracking systems work, do you think you’ll utilize this type of software in your startup? Why or why not?

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tumpikuja

More About: applications, features, hiring, job search series, jobs, mashable, startup

For more Business coverage:

February 05 2012

How to Recruit with Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

So you’ve got a great job that’s waiting to be filled at your company, and you decide you want to tap into the already measured power of social media recruiting. You start to wrestle with the big kahuna, LinkedIn, and you’re also covering niche social media sites for your industry. But you may be ignoring an intensely powerful tool hiding right under your nose — Facebook. The social media mega-site has proven successful for snapping up young professionals, but it can be a great resource for finding talent at any level.

According to this infographic by HireRabbit, 48% of all job seekers (and 63% of those with a profile) did social media job hunting on Facebook in the past year. That’s a lot of eyes searching for opportunities, and if your brand is already active on the network, it could be worth engaging power users to recommend applicable candidates.

Take a look at the infographic below to learn more about recruiting on Facebook. Do you have a social media recruiting success story? Is it as effective as traditional recruiting? Let us know in the comments.

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

More About: Facebook Jobs, hiring, job recruiting, job search series, jobs, online recruiting

June 17 2011

Who Is Winning & Losing in the Tech Talent Wars? [INFOGRAPHIC]

In Silicon Valley, much is made of the fabled “A team” — the crack coven of gurus who can turn even the most suspect of ill-conceived ideas into a plausible web app and who can make a great idea into a wildly profitable company.

But as the best engineers, designers and marketers flock to this tech hotbed, the competition for the brightest minds heats up all the more.

Last fall, as anti-poaching agreements between top tech companies were dissolved by the U.S. Department of Justice, the door was opened for even more competition for the best tech employees.

In this infographic from online learning company Udemy, we take a look at the facts behind the tech talent wars, including which companies are building an all-star roster and which are seeing a not-so-slow brain drain.

[source: Udemy]

More About: digg, facebook, Google, hiring, jobs, poaching, talent, Yahoo

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

May 23 2011

5 Social Media Recruiting Tools for Small Business

Donna Wells is the CEO of Mindflash.com, a leading web platform for companies to easily share knowledge and train employees. It makes training easier, faster and more cost-effective than ever before.

Back in the day, I ran big organizations with fat budgets and spent a lot of money on recruiters — sometimes with good results. Now, in my fifth startup, I want and have to do recruiting personally.

Since time is the only resource more scarce than dollars, I’m always on the hunt for slick new tools and apps that can address the labor-intensive process of finding and hiring great people. With the advent of social media and cloud apps, there are some great new solutions out there. From automated applicant responses to upgraded versions of old recruitment standbys, there’s a new guard of socially focused recruiting tools designed for your every hiring need. Here are a five to take note of.

1. The Resumator

What it is: Applicant tracker, social recruiter, email replacer

How it works: This tool helps hiring managers keep real-time tabs on where their job listings are posted and who’s looking at them. Upload a job description to the site and it automatically posts it to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. After that, The Resumator tracks candidate resumes, and applies its own algorithm to rank applicants on a five-star scale. Better yet, it takes care of a part of the hiring process that often gets shortchanged — sending automated email replies when resumes are received and when a candidate must be declined. It also has a Twitter-like “What Makes You Unique” feature, where applicants describe what sets them apart in 150 characters or less. It’s a great way to quickly get a sense of the candidate’s personality.

Cost: $49 to $399 per month, based on volume

2. Jobvite

What it is: End-to-end social web recruiting and tracking tool

How it works: Jobvite is an SaaS platform that delivers a seamless and social recruiting process before, during and after the interview. It leverages the very best source for great hires — your own employees — by allowing them to see your company’s open jobs and send targeted invitations to their friends on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Once their friends or contacts get into the pipeline, the referring employee can track the interview process. The tool also matches prospective candidates with job listings based on matches found in their social profiles, providing a way to find qualified “passive” candidates that, frankly, are more likely to be the folks you’ll want to hire.

Cost: $500 to $10,000 per month, based on company size

3. LinkedIn Talent Pro

What it is: Extra access to the world’s largest professional network

How it works: If your and your employees’ networks come up empty on a key hire, it might be worth paying for access to qualified candidates that are outside those existing connections. Before you hire a recruiter, consider spending some money on LinkedIn Talent Pro. A Talent Pro account provides access to virtually everyone on LinkedIn and includes helpful extras like premium talent filters and expanded profiles. Subscribers can receive up to 15 notifications per day when Talent Pro finds a match among candidates that meet your stated criteria for the role. Because LinkedIn users consider their profile to be their “work self,” candidate searches based on job-related keywords can yield nicely targeted results.

Cost: $399 per month for an annual plan, or $499 on a month-by-month basis

4. BranchOut

What it is: A Facebook app that allows users to easily network within their social graph

How it works: Most businesses ask for references from candidates they’re considering for hire, but BranchOut users can get broader insights, since the app collects feedback from the candidate’s own network on questions like, “Would Jeff make it to work in a snowstorm?” or “Would you want Nina as a boss?” BranchOut also makes it easy to connect with people in your extended social graph, and tap into their personal experience with potential candidates. Although still somewhat limited by the fact that only a small percentage of Facebook’s 500 million users include their job history in their profile, BranchOut can help reveal helpful contacts in your network and lead you to your next great hire — or wave you off from a bad one.

Cost: Free for users and recruiters, but charges $99 to post premium job listings

5. InternMatch

What it is: Match.com for companies looking for student interns

How it works: InternMatch is a recruiting service solely focused on part-time or unpaid internships. It’s a super-early stage company that debuted at a 500Startups demo day I attended last month, so be aware that they are only covering California, Washington and Oregon at this point. The service benefits from its tight focus, and also provides a lot of free advice and templates that can help any organization be more successful in recruiting and managing a college intern effectively. In my experience, the right intern can yield a really high ROI, but more often they become a very expensive “go-fer.” InternMatch raises the odds that you get the former.

Cost: $99 per listing, with a money-back guarantee if you don’t hire a new intern within 90 days

These tools make it easier to efficiently tap all of our increasingly digital networks and communication tools to find great hires. They should help you broaden your search, more efficiently harness your and your current employee’s social networks, and stay organized in the process. Whether you’re hiring for a startup or looking for summer interns who can do more than make coffee, these tools can help without costing an arm and a leg.

For more lists, how-tos and other resources on this topic, check out Mashable Explore!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, malerapaso

More About: business, hiring, jobs, Recruiting, resumes, small business, social media, startups

For more Business & Marketing coverage:

May 07 2011

14 Tips for Hiring the Perfect CTO

Scott Gerber is the founder of Sizzle It!, a New York-based sizzle reel production company specializing in promotional videos for PR and marketing professionals, and the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columnist, angel investor, public speaker and author of the best-selling book Never Get a “Real” Job: How To Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke.

Hiring the wrong person for key company positions can cost a business thousands — or tens of thousands — of dollars and man hours. This is especially true when it comes to tech companies hiring the wrong chief technology officer.

Today, CTOs are multi-taskers that aren’t just coders locked in some basement — they play a vital role in a tech company’s strategic plan and growth. Not only do they need to have a high level of diversified technical prowess and proficiency, but they also need to possess strong leadership and project management capabilities. With development teams often based around the world, being the center of communication and progress can either lead to a tremendously successful strategy or a bottleneck that can slow down an entire company.

I asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs what fledging tech startups should be looking for in a CTO hire to ensure founders get the right person for the job.

1. Leadership Abilities Are A Must

bell imageIt’s natural to want a tech savvy and competent CTO. However, it’s more important that the CTO have exceptional interpersonal skills and be able to manage a team effectively.

Be sure that the CTO is prepared to deal with a variety of personality and working styles. Solid leadership is essential to the success of any team.

- Lisa Nicole Bell, Inspired Life Media Group.)

2. Past Performance is Everything

gilbert imageFor the most part, our past performance indicates our future behavior. See what [your candidate] has done before you.

Actions speak a lot louder than words. However, if you must base it on words, look for curiosity, confidence, fearlessness and an ability to take ownership of failures.

- Adam Gilbert, My Body Tutor.

3. A Sense of Responsibility

cutler imageCTOs play a crucial role in company performance and effectiveness. It is essential to hire someone who is able to take on responsibility for the successes, failures and stresses of the entire company. They must exhibit a thirst for working in teams, helping others and being forthright. Nothing can be more damaging than a misleading or careless CTO.

- Zach Cutler, The Cutler Group.

4. An Eye for Business Development

nicole imageYour new CTO’s technology vision should fall in line with your overall business strategy. Therefore, strong business development experience coupled with excellent communication skills are essential. While many IT professionals can think technically, they have a hard time communicating it to a wide audience. Hire someone well-versed in communication between developers, customers and team members.

- Erica Nicole, YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self Employed.

5. A Painter With Programming Chops

wright imageWhat I usually look for is a developer who is creative. That’s not to say someone who could literally paint a picture (though it helps if they understand aesthetics). No, the idea is to find a CTO who can creatively solve problems and imagine new solutions, even if someone else hasn’t done it before. An innovator with “geek cred.” That’s what you’re looking for.

- Colin Wright, Ebookling.

6. Find Someone Who Knows

davis imageIf you’re asking this question, then it seems your first order of duty should be finding someone who can consult your hiring process. As a non-technical founder of an IT company, it’s important to know when to dish responsibilities off. When making technical hires, we always reach out to our network of programmer friends and ask them to sit in on interviews and review resumes with us.

Jesse Davis, Entrustet.

7. The Spare Time Test

healy imageStaying current on technology trends, breakthroughs and opportunities is more than a full time job. Be sure you find someone who is not just competent in understanding technology, but someone who is passionate about technology. There is a difference. In your interview ask, “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?” If it’s tech related, you might be getting even more than you’re paying for.

Kent Healy, The Uncommon Life.

8. Hire for Character and Integrity

witty imageHire slowly, fire quickly. There are tons of competent professionals that have the technical qualifications, but do they have character and integrity? Ask situational questions that reveal their true colors and do extensive background checks and reference checks. Most importantly, this individual must share your vision as to what the company can become.

- Adam Witty, Advantage Media Group.

9. Organization and Execution

wong imageYour new CTO should be able to handle your development team so that projects run along smoothly.

It will be important that your CTO can execute on big projects, too, hacking away to build an amazing product that is agile.

- Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.

10. Experience with Startups!

kabani imageDon’t hire someone who has never worked with a startup before, because the environment is totally different. A CTO at a major company has very different objectives than one who is helping a startup succeed. Look for someone who has experience working with a startup, and has an entrepreneurial attitude. This can’t be just a job for them. Look for passion and skill!

Shama Kabani, Marketing Zen.

11. Are They A Good Cultural Fit?

bodi imageWhat is the nature and atmosphere of your office or work environment? You want to make sure they fit into your office culture that you already have going for you. Bringing in someone who is a complete opposite can sometimes put a barrier up from the start between both the employee and the office. Figure out the best qualities your current employees have and go from there.

Ashley Bodi, Business Beware.

12. Pedigree is a Decent First Filter

bahn imageThis advice is for non-technical business owners trying to find a CTO. I know that this is an elite position, but as a non-technical person it’s very difficult to sniff out a good technical leader. Filtering your search by pedigree is a good start. If your candidate was good enough to get into MIT, Stanford, etc., then that’s one indicator that they could be good for you.

Eric Bahn, Beat The GMAT.

13. Will Not Stop Until a Solution is Found

schnurman imageThe most important trait I look for in a CTO is someone who will not stop until we find the solution to a given development problem. The CTO should always be looking for a better way to do things and inspiring the developers to do the same. From a technical standpoint, in addition to being a skilled programmer, the CTO should have a background in architecture and database design.

David Schnurman, Lawline.

14. Go Beyond the Code

gieser imageThere are many super hackers out there (especially in the Bay Area). To use “coding skills” as your primary criteria when hiring a CTO is the equivalent of not looking over your shoulder when changing lanes in a car. A great CTO thinks about product before code, they think of the value the product is creating, and they know how to effectively lead developers.

Brenton Gieser, Be Social Change.

Interested in more Startup resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ssuni

More About: business, CTO, hire, hiring, startup, startups

For more Startups coverage:

April 22 2011

Employment Boost: 83% of U.S. Startups Plan To Hire in 2011 [REPORT]

The U.S. unemployment rate may be 9.2%, but competition for talent among tech companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley remains fierce. Now a new survey reveals a vast majority of startups in the U.S. will likely be hiring in the months ahead.

Eighty-three percent of startups said they are likely to hire in 2011, according to the Startup Outlook 2011 [PDF] report released Friday by investment firm Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The percentage represents a 10% jump over last year, when 73% of surveyed companies reported they would likely hire.

SVB, by way of independent market research firm Koski Research, surveyed 375 venture capital-backed U.S. startups in February and found that most startups are optimistic about business conditions and are looking to hire to support growth.

“This new data … shows that technology companies met or beat their 2010 revenue targets, are still experiencing improved business conditions and are creating U.S. jobs,” says Greg Becker, CEO of SVB Financial Group and Silicon Valley Bank. “There is no question that the innovation sector is making a tangible impact on the U.S. economy and our ability to compete globally.”

The Startup Outlook report also includes data on overall startup performance and potential obstacles.

Twenty-three percent of startups exceeded their 2010 revenue, for instance. Still, respondents identified access to equity capital as the number one challenge — 39% of respondents reported that difficulty securing financing is handicapping their business success. Thirty-one percent of companies also expressed concern over the U.S. regulatory and political environment.

Even though 83% of companies are looking to hire, more than 25% are having difficulty finding the right talent.

Regardless, the survey’s findings suggest that the outlook is bright for America’s youngest companies.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Zach Klein

More About: employment, hiring, jobs, report, silicon valley bank, startups

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April 21 2011

5 Marketing Jobs Worth Paying For

idea hire image

Anna Lindow is the Director of Marketing Strategy and Audience Development for Bundle, a New York startup that uses data to help people better manage their finances. Connect with her on Twitter, or email her anytime.

Imagine a really nice wedding cake. Are you imagining it? Good. Now imagine how that cake would turn out if you tried to recreate it in your own kitchen.

You should be envisioning a finished product that, depending on your baking abilities, ranges somewhere from a total wreck to a cake that you could eat but wouldn’t enter into a professional cake contest.

That’s because you (presumably) aren’t a cake specialist. Pastry chefs are trained professionals who have the knowledge and tools at their disposal to create the best possible product — one that you’re willing to pay for and one that you’ll be proud of showing off.

Now, if you’ve started your own company, chances are you’re the type of person who is willing to roll up your sleeves and get things done yourself. But there are some areas of marketing in which the experience of a professional — administered at the right moment — can really make the difference between a polished, awesome product and a complete mess.

Here are five types of marketing professionals your startup should consider hiring.

1. Copywriter

Kids, don’t try this at home. Copywriting is no joke. Left to your own devices, you run the risk of accidentally neglecting key points even if you are a good writer.

You won’t have very long to capture new visitors’ attention. The same goes for FAQs. You understand the product, so it can be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t. An outsider’s perspective can really help identify the gaps in your content and then help to create that text.

2. Copyeditor

Okay, so you’re bootstrapping and you don’t have the resources to hire someone to write all the site copy for you. Understandable. But even if you write everything yourself, you should strongly consider hiring a copyeditor. You’ve put months, or potentially years, into creating a product you’re really excited about. Don’t take a chance on diminishing its impact by having typos on your site. You’re likely too close to your own work to notice mistakes, so pay someone else to do it.

3. Facebook Marketer

Facebook is a largely self-serve advertising platform, which means that customers have ample opportunity to create unstructured campaigns that won’t have the best possible ROI, and there likely won’t be an account representative involved to help optimize.

If you aren’t intimately familiar with the platform yourself, hire someone to get you set up. Have them take you through various different segments to target, and get their feedback on images, copy, and landing pages to test out. Work with them to set up a system for monitoring which campaigns are most successful as you mix and match different creative and targeting. If you want to see results from Facebook advertising, you’ll have to make it work for you, and this takes not only work-hours but also some knowledge of the platform.

4. SEO Consultant

Do you know how to structure your URLs so that they’ll be best positioned to garner search traffic relative to your competitors? What about how to populate your meta tags and keywords?

Yeah, me neither. That’s why I work with SEO consultants; getting into this type of nitty-gritty is their specialty. SEO is the kind of thing you want to get right the first time. Changing site architecture to make it SEO-friendly down the line can quickly become a hassle. Spend a couple of hours up front with a consultant who can help you make sure you’ve got everything set up properly. You’ll be glad you did.

5. Email Marketing Specialist

Remember the part about getting things right the first time in SEO? The same thing applies to email marketing. Once you’ve put in the time and energy to design and build an email template, you don’t want to have to migrate everything over to a different provider if you realize your current solution doesn’t scale.

If you think that email might be an important part of your business — whether through newsletters, alerts, or promotional messages — it’s worth it to talk to someone who knows the different platforms and can help you find what works best. Anyone who has had to migrate and clean lists of thousands of contacts will tell you that it’s a task best avoided.

As an entrepreneur, you probably have an excellent set of useful core competencies yourself. If you’re strapped for cash, see if you can barter your services. A front-end designer might create a simple personal website for a copywriter in return for his or her services — provided the work hours necessary for each project make it a square deal.

What marketing services are you willing to pay for, and what have you paid for that you wish you hadn’t? Let us know in the comments below.

Interested in more Business & Marketing resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, danleap

More About: business, hiring, MARKETING, social media, startup

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The 5 Qualities of Highly Effective Community Managers

Erin Bury is the community manager at Sprouter.com, an expert Q&A site for startup founders around the world. You can follow her on Twitter @ErinBury and read her blog at ErinBury.com.

Less than three years ago, community managers were a rare group of employees most often found at technology startups. Today, the role of community manager is common at companies of all sizes — from startups to multinational corporations. Despite their ubiquity, there is still a lot of confusion around what a community manager actually does and what employers should look for when hiring one.

Performable founder David Cancel recently wrote about the traits he looks for in potential startup hires. He placed the most importance on cultural fit and the least importance on previous startup experience. He also discussed why he hires people based on their personality, not their resume. Employers should take the same approach to hiring a community manager. It’s not necessarily about how many tweets the person has sent out, it’s about whether they’re passionate about your company and can become a brand advocate.

Here are the five qualities you should look for in a community manager to ensure he or she will be the right fit for your company.

1. Passion for Your Industry

A community manager is the face and voice of your brand, providing communications in both directions. If you’re a florist, it’s imperative that the person you hire is passionate about gardening. If you own a bakery, make sure the person either loves making or eating cake (shouldn’t be too difficult). This person will be living and breathing your brand, so you need an employee to take an interest in publications, key players and events within your industry. You can’t force passion, so find out in the interview if the candidate actually cares about what you do.

2. Varied Experience

A community manager is a jack-of-all-trades, especially at a startup. This person won’t have one specific role — like public relations or customer service — within the company. Rather, your community manager will have hands in different departments. The more varied the candidate’s background experience, the better they’ll adapt to the role. Look for someone who has a diversity of experiences on his or her resume — journalism will help him or her create amazing content, while PR and online marketing backgrounds will help him or her get the word out about your company and lead social media efforts. Look for experience with event planning, online analytics, SEO and customer service. You won’t find someone with experience in all of these areas, so rank your top three priorities and find a candidate with experience to match.

3. Resourcefulness

While past experience is great, it’s not a deal breaker for a potential community manager. It’s not whether this person already knows how to do something, it’s whether he or she can go out and find the answer without guidance. If you’re an entrepreneur, you won’t have the time to hold your new community manager’s hand while he or she learns the ins and outs of your business and your industry. And if you’re a big company, you need someone who can take the initiative to find answers and work independently with different departments.

4. Flexibility

Every day for a community manager is different. Whether attending events, working on a PR push for a product launch or creating content for your online properties, this new employee needs to be able to roll with the punches and adjust his or her schedule based on the news of the day — and that doesn’t always fall within the 9-to-5 workday. If a company crisis occurs on a Saturday or there’s an important event on a Thursday night, you need your community manager to be on top of it without complaining. Find someone who thrives on that variety.

5. Personality

It’s important for your new hires to have a great personality and to fit in well with your other employees. But when hiring a community manager it’s also important to find someone who has a vibrant personality that will resonate with your community. Your community manager is the first point of contact for customers and community members, and his or her interaction dictates whether your audience will have a positive or negative opinion of your brand. Find someone who knows how to communicate in a fun, interesting way; who knows how to be diplomatic when people complain or criticize the company; and who can meet strangers at events. Finding someone who’s a cultural fit internally is important, but finding someone who is a cultural fit with your community is imperative.

Every company has a list of projects and responsibilities they want their community manager to manage. But don’t just think about the tasks you want them to complete. Think about finding someone — with a personality and passion that reflects your brand — who can complete them in an independent manner.

Interested in more Social Media resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

More About: business, community management, community manager, hiring, jobs, List, Lists, social media, social networking, workplace

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April 03 2011

HOW TO: Land a Job at Facebook

So you want to work at Facebook, one of the world’s hottest companies — what do you have to get your foot in the door and get noticed?

It’s not going to be easy — you have competition. Facebook received 250,000 job applications last year and is consistently rated as one of the best places to work. And with Facebook’s IPO around the corner, the competition for jobs is only going to heat up.

There are plenty of ways to get noticed and stand above the crowd, though. I chatted with Thomas Arnold, head of recruiting for the social network, on what the company looks for and what it takes to get a job at Facebook.

What Jobs Are Available at Facebook?

Photo: Facebook HQ in 2009 at the launch of Facebook Usernames

Ever since Facebook announced it was moving to a bigger office and raised $2 billion in funding, it has been ramping up its hiring.

While there are many openings in legal, communications, HR, marketing, online operations, business development, IT, design, user experience and internationalization, the company is especially looking for technical talent, especially software engineers and product managers.

The Facebook Interview Process

I actually went through the entire Facebook interview process in 2008, before I joined Mashable as an associate editor. And while it’s definitely changed since I applied for a job on the company’s User Operations team, the basic format has remained the same.

The first step is almost always a recruiter phone-screening — Facebook will begin exploring your resume, asking you about your previous work, especially about what you’ve built and what leadership roles you’ve had in the past. Sometimes there’s a second screening, depending on the role.

If you pass the screening, the company will fly you out to its Silicon Valley headquarters for a series of on-site interviews with the hiring manager (your potential future boss) and a group of your peers — in other words, you will be interviewed by the members of the team you’re hoping to join. As Arnold explained to me, these interviews are designed to determine whether you have the skills for the job and whether you’re a cultural fit. The group then makes “a collective decision on whether you’re a great fit” for the position.

The process itself greatly varies from group to group — expect more technical skill challenges if you’re applying for an engineering job. Oh, and one extra piece of advice from me: Always put the user first in any scenario or interview question.

Standing Apart From the Crowd

With more than a quarter of a million applicants, how does Facebook whittle down the applicant pool?

“We’re primarily looking for builders,” Arnold says. He explains that Facebook has an entrepreneurial spirit and is a flat organization, and thus it’s looking for people who can thrive in that environment. Employees need to be self-starters who don’t need a lot of direction, so autonomy and self-motivation are highly valued.

Builders — especially engineers who like to build projects on their own and have cool, working products or apps they can show off — are sought after by the Facebook team. If someone builds a unique application and/or solves a problem in a way that hasn’t been done before, he’s going to get Facebook’s attention.

Strong applicants to Facebook also “just get the social space,” Arnold says. They not only understand the product, but can see the company’s vision. Even more important is that they’re active users of the product. This may seem like a no-brainer, but Arnold says his team finds a lot of applicants who haven’t used their Facebook accounts in weeks or even months. And that is a very clear sign to Facebook that the person won’t be a good fit.

Finally, it’s very helpful to know someone at Facebook who can vouch for you — this was true even when I interviewed with the social network three years ago. While I got special consideration due to my unique history with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, I still had a Facebook reference.

Final Thoughts

While I ultimately failed to secure a job at Facebook, you don’t have to let that be the case for you. For those of you applying to non-technical roles, be sure you’re active users, understand the company culture and have a resume filled with leadership and “builder” activities. It’s more impressive if you launched an organization or product than if you simply took it over.

For technical talent, the best thing you can do is build something. If you build a really impressive iPhone application that gains some traction, you’re going to get noticed. If you are a major contributor of open source code to various projects, you’re going to get noticed.

In the end though, the big filter is cultural fit. There isn’t really much you can do to prepare for that — the Facebook team simply knows if you’re going to mesh well with them or if you’re not going to be able to keep up.

And as I said before, be sure to have an employee refer you. Otherwise, you’re going to have a really difficult time just getting the phone screening.

Have you gone through the interview process and landed a job at Facebook? Tell us in the comments below.

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we put out a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we post a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

More Job Search Resources from Mashable:

- Top 5 Tips for Creating Impressive Video Resumes
- Are Cover Letters Still Relevant For Social Media and Tech Jobs?
- HOW TO: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile’s New Skills Section
- Top 5 Online Communities for Starting Your Career
- HOW TO: Land a Business Development Job

More About: careers, facebook, Facebook Jobs, hiring, job interview, job search, job search series, jobs

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April 01 2011

HOW TO: Recruit All-Star Employees on a Startup Budget

superstar image

Alex Berg is the Chief Product Officer of Bonanza and Bags Bonanza. Bonanza is a marketplace focused on creating a browse-friendly experience that helps you discover unique items. Prior to Bonanza, Alex served in leadership positions with Wetpaint, Expedia, and Blue Nile.

At a startup it’s painfully hard to make time for recruiting. Any time not spent advancing the product feels like a distant secondary priority. However, getting the right team in place is the most important thing you can do to make your startup successful.

Your first few hires set the tone for your culture. What’s more, it’s often said that A-level hires get you more top quality hires in the long run. You don’t just need to make time for recruiting — you have to be great at it.

What follows are my tips and tricks for finding and closing all-star hires on a startup budget.

Do You Need a Recruiter?

While you’ll be tempted to outsource recruiting so you can focus on the product, recruiting starts and ends with you. No one can recruit harder than you. No one knows the right fit like you do. And no one can sell the opportunity like you can. Before you look for help, block out some time on your schedule and hit LinkedIn hard.

Get ready for an endless stream of coffees and lunches. Sound painful? It is. You have to do it anyway. What’s worse, many of these meetings won’t even lead directly to hires. They aren’t a complete waste of time however; karma has a good memory and the positive relationships you build now will pay off eventually.

Once you’ve exhausted the outer rings of your network, it’s time to get help. A great recruiter can be a tremendous asset. I look for folks who I can pay by the hour and offer them a nice cash incentive for a fast hire. Contingency recruiters, and their exorbitant fees, are a personal anathema of mine. Who has twenty grand to spend per hire?

Types of Recruiters

In my experience, recruiters come in three flavors: Lead generators (a.k.a. “sourcers”), Process Builders, and Closers. Very few people have all three of these skills. In fact, depending on your rate of growth, you probably only need a sourcer.

  • Sourcers get you leads. To paraphrase Glengarry Glen Ross, you want the good leads. A great sourcer has a knack for finding the hidden gems: Passive candidates. Top candidates aren’t typically combing Craigslist looking for their next gig and a good sourcer knows how to find them and open the door. Passive candidates are the hardest to close, but top talent is always worth it.
  • Process builders have their place. If you’re expecting explosive growth, you will need someone to create job profiles, manage candidate flow, and wrangle schedules. However, process builders aren’t typically great sourcers. Get an intern to play coordinator and hire a sourcer instead. You’ll know a process builder by the bullets on their LinkedIn profile. A great process will make you feel organized, but it alone won’t get those all-star butts in your office.
  • Closers are typically for executive hires and complex negotiations. Some recruiters will like to handle the negotiation for you and that’s tempting when you’re working nights and weekends. However, top talent is worth your personal time. You’re not just selling the role and package; you’re selling the vision and building a relationship in the process.

The Interview Process

Need more leads? Tap local professional associations or try hosting a meetup. My company recently hosted a meetup for Ruby developers. It cost us $200 in pizza but we had more than 40 developers right in our office. Thanks to several obnoxious “We’re Hiring” signs, I had six interviews scheduled in two days.

Interviewing can feel even more painful than generating leads. After all, now you’re tapping your team as well. However, the interviewing process is really where closing begins. And closing great hires requires a holistic approach in which you examine every aspect of the candidate experience.

Take a look at how your candidates flow through your interview process. Are your candidates greeted warmly and treated with respect? Is your office environment stimulating and welcoming? Talk to your team about how to close candidates, making sure they know that interviewing is about “buying” and “selling.” Have your team make sure candidates are appropriately handed off from interview to interview.

Finally, when your loop is over, make sure the hiring manager sees them out and lets them know precisely what’s next. The impression you make through the interview process can be the difference between getting that rock star software architect and another batch of painful first-round interviews.


Do you have a gap between interview rounds? Make it as short as possible and don’t go dark. At my previous company, we sent “swag” kits to hot candidates between rounds. It doesn’t cost much to toss some logo gear together. Include a note from the first few interviewers expressing excitement at the prospect of working together. The goal is getting your candidate feeling like they are already on the team.

In the end, you need to close and closing is an art. I don’t like making an offer without knowing it will be accepted. Understand your candidate’s hot buttons, if they have any special needs, and the role of their significant other in the decision. Here’s a quick list of the lengths I’ve gone to close all-star hires.

  • Dinner with the spouse. Chances are that half your candidate’s decision resides with someone you likely haven’t even met. Why leave such a huge factor untouched? Tell your candidate you’d like to take them to dinner and be ready to sell. I’ve heard SOs ask some delightfully blunt questions.
  • Special stipends. Sometimes candidates have special needs. One candidate I was interviewing had some special-needs pets. I tossed a small stipend on top of her offer that was specifically flagged for pet-related costs. Sure, I could have just raised the salary a bit, but I knew calling this out would have an emotional appeal. It let her know I was listening, it was a cinch to do, and most importantly it helped lock her down.
  • Press kits. For some candidates, particularly those with SOs, I’ll mail a press kit to his or her house. Print out some screenshots of press coverage or some compelling aspects of your product and physically mail them out. Anyone can send an email. Getting something at home feels special and gets a tangible asset in front of the spouse. Spouses can justifiably be gun-shy of startups. Press kits can take the edge off and give you legitimacy.

A Key Example

Sometimes you have to go over the top. A few years ago I was recruiting an absolute star. I had tried to hire her once before, but was turned town. A year later it became clear she was ready for an offer and I wasn’t going to miss out. Learning from my first attempt, I wanted to make sure that I built some momentum and closed the spouse too. So I created a campaign.

First she received a swag kit and card. Three days later she received a printed press kit followed by a nice dinner. By the time she got the offer letter, with a unique extra or two, she was overwhelmed. She joked that she might have to get a restraining order … and then she promptly accepted.

While this may sound like a big investment it doesn’t need to be. All-star hires are worth their weight in gold and the time spent closing them is time saved in eliminating future interviews for you and your team. Think about the last time you were recruited heavily. It’s nice being wanted isn’t it?

Interested in more Startups resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, purmar

More About: business, hiring, how to, MARKETING, Recruiting, startup, startups

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