It’s no secret that the market stage for job hunters is changing drastically and it’s important that business owners buy into that change and implement new approaches to reach today’s job seekers. The attitudes of the workers coming up today are different than the more traditional views in the workplace.  I know, I know. You really want to blame Millenials for all this change but honestly, changes in attitudes among the generations have been and will continue to be the constant. We can either resist them or embrace them. And truthfully, has there ever been an older generation that has totally approved of a younger one.  Work ethics are compared from generation to generation and always have been.

The job seeker of today doesn’t stay where he/she is unhappy.  They know what they bring to the table and they see their value and insist their managers do, too. If their supervisors don’t see their value or treat them as if they have value, they are fearless when it comes to walking away and moving on to the next best thing.  In the interview settings of today, applicants are interviewing you at the same time you are interviewing them. If they don’t feel you are a good fit, they are not afraid to let you know.

So, how can you snag the perfect candidates in today’s market?  

My suggestion would be to think outside the box. That old suit and tie, work like you have no life, give everything you’ve got to corporate America mindset is dwindling.  People are learning that the joy of life isn’t necessarily found in “the grind” but that the grind is there to help them enjoy their life. Therefore, vacation time is vital to them.  This is why a lot of companies have moved away from Paid Time Off (PTO) and have transitioned to unlimited Paid Time Off. They’ve done this for a couple of reasons. First, it sends the message that vacations are necessary, deserved, and supported.  Are you a parent who needs to stay home with a sick child? No problem here! Take the time you need because when you feel valued and can take care of your family without fear of punishment, research shows you work harder.  

Second, it’s been proven that the employees of companies who have unlimited PTO actually take LESS PTO than other companies.  They tend to compare themselves to their peers and think “Well, John has only taken three days off this year. I don’t want to ask for my second week of vacation in case they see me as less of a worker than John”.  It’s psychology at work but one that seems to be a win-win for both parties. Businesses who choose this route are encouraged to continue to track PTO usage to identify abuses of policies. It is also encouraged to make your policy “unlimited” so long as company goals are being reached.  In other words, if you aren’t performing to the standards and expectations set for you, then you can’t take the time. It has been seen as an added benefit to the overall health of your employees because people will not feel forced to come to work sick because they’ve run out of PTO. This means fewer people down with the same illness.

Next, many companies are moving to ten-hour days for four days a week.  Studies have shown that giving employees longer weekends gives them more time to rejuvenate, spend time with their families, get things done around their homes without the doom and gloom of Monday responsibilities hanging over their hands.  That extra day on the weekend does wonders for the mental state of employees and when employees are mentally healthy and well-rested and feel like they have a quality of life outside of the office, they produce. And they produce well. Amy Balliett, a CEO of a marketing firm out of Seattle, noticed that as the workweek went on, her employees were becoming sluggish and less productive while lacking the energy needed to finish the week strong.  She noticed that the workload on Monday doubled due to the lack of productivity on Friday. So, she made the change to a four day work week and ten-hour days where half her employees took Friday off and the other half took Mondays off. Now, she reports the following:

1). Giving her employees that extra day to rejuvenate themselves after the workweek has boosted energy levels and attitudes significantly.

2). With fewer days to reach goals, her employees work more efficiently.

3). This small change increased productivity by 25% with the same number of employees.

These are the benefits that today’s job seekers are actively looking for.  They know what constitutes a quality of life and the days of watching their parents and grandparents work themselves into the ground only to be laid off or denied promotional are not the paths they’re choosing.

In closing, I’ll also add that it’s probably time to shake up the questions you ask in an interview and get creative!  I’ve added a few awesome questions that I discovered are the favorite questions asked by top entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business owners in an interview setting.  Thinking outside the box can create some great dialogue and really give you some insight as to what your applicant brings to the table. Enjoy!

Tejune Kang who is the founder of Six Dimensions (an IT service firm) says to turn up the heat in the interview.  Tell them right there that you don’t see them being a good fit for your organization. He says that 9 out of 10 people will just accept that as truth and move on. You are looking for the 1 person who will stand up and fight for themselves.  

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, Inc, asks this riddle:  “You’re standing on the surface of the Earth.  You walk one mile south, one mile west and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started.  Where are you?”  He states he cares more about the applicant’s process to their answer than whether or not the answer is correct.

Billionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson recognizes that a resume only goes so far and asks  “What didn’t you get a chance to include on your résumé?”

CEO of Zappos, Tony Heisch asks “On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?” to help him gauge if they’d be a good fit with his organization.

Writer, Jeff Haden asks “What is your spirit animal?” and “What is your superpower?”

Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto wants to know what motivates his applicants to get out of bed in the morning.

Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon begins her interview process in the waiting area.  She asks one of her employees offer the applicant a bottle of water. What the applicant doesn’t realize is that they are being evaluated by that employee on their true level of gratitude over the water or lack thereof.  She also will leave a crumpled up piece of paper on the path from the waiting area to her office to see if any applicant shows initiative and picks it up. Her top interview question is: What would the closest person in your life say if I asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally dig about you, and the one that drives them insane?’ “

PayPal co-founder, managing partner of the Founders Fund, and president of Clarium Capital Peter Thiel is looking for employees that aren’t afraid to speak their mind by asking ‘Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.’


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