Hiring is hardly simple in most fields, but what's the trickiest part? Reviewing resumes to ferret out the best candidates, said 34 percent of executives in a survey. Posing the proper interview questions was the second most-difficult task, cited by 27 percent, and salary negotiation was next.
"Many executives receive hundreds of resumes in response to classified ads, for example, and may feel overwhelmed," said Tracey Fuller, executive director of The Creative Group. "An established evaluation system can make the task more manageable." Her company, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing service queried 250 executives on hiring.
The company offers a few tips for this area:
-- Use the correct criteria. Create requirements that will apply for the position you're filling, including technical skills, educational requirements and other skills for the job.
-- Make the system uniform. Review each resume against the criteria you've developed. Also, keep interviews the same length and ask the same questions of all the people you summon.
-- Prepare questions. Use a uniform list, without asking a variety of off-the-cuff questions for each interviewee.
-- Start at the end for resumes. Most people tend to bury or minimize the least flattering or useful data. Start there.
Note to boardrooms: More investors think the days of ineffective, compliant directors are coming to an end, thanks to the scandals and reforms that have rocked U.S. business the past few years.
A majority of investors, 76 percent, strongly or somewhat agree that corporate board members will take their responsibilities more seriously now than they did in the past, according to a shareholder survey.
Even more, 80 percent, thought potential board members would be more diligent about researching companies before assuming the responsibility of becoming a corporate director.
The February survey, by the National Association of Investors Corp. in Madison Heights, Mich., involved 1,175 shareholders of companies or mutual funds.
Job interviews can make even the calm and cool slightly apprehensive at times.
But your chances of landing that new position will be infinitely better if you avoid the following interview foibles, collected from more than 600 hiring managers by Chicago-based CareerBuilder.com, a job search site.
The following are actual accounts of what recruiters have seen:
-- Candidate admitted she would not pass the mandatory drug test.
-- Candidate disclosed she only wanted the job for the employee discount.
-- Candidate brought his mom.
-- Candidate asked for directions to another interview.
-- Candidate forgot what position she was applying for, but wanted to know how soon she could have my office.
-- Candidate came in wearing pajama bottoms and flip flops.
-- Candidate sang the national anthem to make himself memorable. Well, he was memorable.
-- Candidate brought wine to the interview and offered me a glass.
It's the season of the tax refund -- most of us still get one, taxation bellyaching notwithstanding -- and the money can be a perplexing windfall for many. The average return was $2,100 last year, a nice chunk.
Do you save it or spend it?
One thought, if your check is amounting to thousands of dollars: You're loaning the government too much. Talk to your payroll department to increase your exemptions through the year. This will allow you to take home more, instead of waiting for Uncle Sam to send it back in the spring.
As for what to do with the money, the Atlanta-based Consumer Credit Counseling Service has a few suggestions:
-- Start an emergency fund. The TV or radiator can go on the fritz, or your sister may need to borrow $1,000 for an emergency. Life is full of the unexpected.
-- Lose debt. Monthly finance charges are a complete waste. Get rid of credit card balances, or at least lower them.
-- College tuition. If you have children, a 529 savings plan is a smart investment.
-- Go half. If you have to blow some of the money, put away at least half and play with the rest.
-- Be charitable. Maybe you can't afford to donate to good causes through the year. But now you can.
-- Retirement. The government lets you put up to $4,000 yearly in Roth IRAs, the savings vehicle that will give you your money back tax-free if you keep it there long enough. Those over 50 can contribute $4,500 annually.
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