Work-Life Balance for Small Business Owners

By Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Julie Parsons, owner of Premium Consulting. The firm provides recruitment solutions across industries such as transport, distribution, supply chain, engineering, manufacturing, food industry and operations/technical roles. Although Brisbane based, most recruitment involves regional and national roles, with some international work in Indonesia, Asia and Europe. Julie formerly served on the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

Starting and running a small business takes guts. It also takes a lot of hard work and long hours.

In the beginning, small business owners wear a lot of hats and put in very long days. Are you now caught in an endless cycle of long hours and moving from one project and task to the next with limited time off? Does switching off and taking a holiday seem like an impossible dream, you may think, “I don’t have time?”

Why work-life balance matters

The benefits of work-life balance start with having more hours in the day to spend outside the office, enjoying friends, family, hobbies, community work and free time, but that’s only the beginning of the advantages: Work-life balance is healthier and prevents burnout.

Consider a shorter workday

Experience demonstrates that shorter days can increase productivity. Just because you’re at your desk for eight hours doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Even the best employees probably only accomplish two to three hours of actual work. The five-hour day is about working smartly and managing your time and tasks efficiently over a shorter day. Small business owners can use some of the saved hours purely for strategic planning.

Automate and outsource

Let technology work for you. Use the latest tools; if you don’t know what they are, find someone who does. You don’t need an assistant next to you, find one online and pay them for the tasks you need. You can’t be an expert at everything.

Technology in the cloud

Move your data to the cloud. If you’ve used Dropbox to save a photo you took, you’ve already moved data to the cloud. Is your small business making the most of the cloud? Accounting, design, CRM, social media and other tools—these are all available in the cloud. The cloud is a fast-changing technology that can make your company more agile and you only pay for what you need.

Vacations, or work while traveling

When you see just how much can be done in less time than ever before, you should book a trip; you may need one. Most small business owners have a tough time taking time off in spite of the benefits to health, productivity, and possibly profit.

With the right technology and connectivity you can work remotely, and you should empower and reward your staff to manage the business while you’re away. You are one call or click away if needed.

As you implement these tips, you can streamline your business while creating a healthier, happier, and more productive work environment for you and your staff.

Independent Recruiter Blog

Tools For Uncovering Passive Candidates

By Liz Carey

When you’ve exhausted your candidate pool and need to find top talent for a job req, what’s your go-to for uncovering passive candidates? On a recent NPAworldwide trading group conference call, participants discussed tools used to uncover passive candidates. Here are a few popular with our cybersecurity recruiters:

Read the rest of this entry »

Recruitment Marketing 101: No Digital Sharecropping

By Veronica Blatt

I wrote a post a few years ago about digital sharecropping – the practice of creating content on a platform you don’t own. I was inspired to write it because of a phrase I’d heard which resonated with me as much then as it does today: “Never build on rented land.” As recruitment marketing becomes more and more important for both client and candidate acquisition, I’m reminded again that digital sharecropping is still a bad idea. Sharecropping, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a tenant farming practice that developed in the southern United States during the Civil War / Reconstruction era. It was also practiced in other parts of the world. Farmers who had no land of their own used some of the land that belonged to a wealthy landowner in exchange for a portion of the crops produced on that land. The practice was often exploitative, with sharecroppers indebted on a year-over-year basis with no real ability to ever earn enough money to purchase their own land (or even negotiate more favorable terms with the landowner). Landowners benefited from the arrangement because their fields did not lie fallow, they were not paying anyone to farm the land, and they were keeping a portion of the harvest for themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Recruiters, Do You Terminate Clients?

By Dave Nerz

A recent report in Staffing Industry Review listed the top reasons for staffing firms to turn down a potential business opportunity. Here is what topped the list:


  • 54% Pricing too Aggressive
  • 52% Poor Communication/Lack of Responsiveness
  • 33% Software Interface Issues
  • 29% VMS/MSP Requirements
  • 28% Terms too Risky
  • 23% Difficult Positions to Fill
  • 22% Lack of Trust

Read the rest of this entry »

Standard Rejection Lines in Recruitment

By Sarah Freiburger

In the course of day to day recruiting activities, many enjoy the high points of the job, such as informing a candidate they are going to be hired, letting the client know the candidate is accepting the position, or even landing a new search you know you have a few good options for. A standard low point of the job is the rejection line to a candidate. You know the one, where you really got to know them when you thought their resume was going to be an excellent fit but then during the interview your hopes started sinking by minute two or three realizing this was a giant time suck as they just were not the purple squirrel you had imagined you were connecting with. Usually, the client passing on them is an easy out to maintain a good relationship and seek out a new opportunity for them, but what do you do as a recruiter when you realize you will not even end up submitting them for the job you just pumped them up for? Here are some of the best options to take down for a standard rejection line to a candidate.

  1. At the beginning of the interview, let the candidate know you have several other interviews and so they are aware, you will only be submitting the top three that are the closest match to the requirements laid out of by the client. If they are not chosen to be submitted, you will work with them on the next opportunity they may be a match for.
  2. Place the blame on the client. Send an email after the interview informing them that the client has chosen to go in a different direction or the requirements have changed. This way, they do not assume you wasted their time or ask for feedback you would only be able to give with a cringe.
  3. Make it about them. Let them know that after getting to know their goals and aspirations, you just do not believe this is the right fit for what is best for them. You will let them know when you believe their best opportunity is opened to you.
  4. Be a representative of the client, not the candidate. In the rejection email, be upfront as positioning yourself as a representative of the client and needing to find the most qualified match for the company. Mention you will not be submitting them for this particular role but will keep them in mind for other opportunities in the future.
  5. Use a white lie to keep the relationship light. Something like, the opportunity is no longer available or I’m sorry we got in a little late. Tell  them they are on your radar and you will definitely keep in touch. Maybe even throw in a smiley face, you know they are a good person just a poor match.
  6. Finally, the safest and shortest line there is, “The company went with an internal candidate.” The one everyone is sure to groan about but understand without much push back.

It seems through listening to other recruiters share these notes many agree that being up front and truthful without being in a position to turn into a career counselor or feedback loop is the route most strive for. Any of the above options should accomplish this to some extent. What are your best rejection lines that you use?

Run Your Desk Like a Team, Not a Business

By Veronica Blatt

Today’s blogger is Judy Collins with Evergreen Contract Resources, which becomes the employer of record  with complete back office services.  Judy helps recruiters start and expand their temporary and contract placements throughout the US. Evergreen Contract Resources is an NPAworldwide Endorsed Program.

Your Reputation…

Your reputation will make you more money in the long run than a one-time deal. Reputation is built on trust, good judgment, diligence, and attention to detail. Part of the building process is developing good long-term relationships based on these high professional standards. To build these relationships you should treat your clients like they are part of a team and they will realize that you have their best interest at heart. Read the rest of this entry »

Resolutions: Problem, Solution, or Both?

By Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Patti Steen with The Pelsten Group located in Seattle, WA. The Pelsten Group is a recruitment firm that focuses on all levels of positions within IT. The majority of their clients are in the Seattle area but they actively support NPAworldwide across the US. Patti is currently serving on the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

As each New Year begins everyone always talks about making a resolution. What are resolutions? The dictionary defines a resolution as the following:

  1. Defining and solving a problem to come to a resolution
  2. A firm decision to do or not to do something
  3. The action of solving a problem, dispute or contentious matter

I think most of us think about resolutions as an action – I am going to exercise more, lose weight, give up something, etc. Are we setting a resolution without thinking about defining and solving the problem to come to that resolution? We can all say we are going to lose weight, but it is pretty easy to lose focus by February.

Each New Year is a good time for an annual check-up. How are we doing in three key areas – self, family and professional life. Depending on the year, some areas may take a bit more focus than others.

If we really want to have the potential for fulfilling our resolutions, we may want to put a bit more thought into the resolution and the process it takes to be successful. Treat this as a strategic planning session for your life.

Decide what is important to you: Focused time with family, 10% increase in profit, lose 20 pounds, etc.

Decide what you want/need to do to make this resolution attainable: Monthly dinner with a child, add 5 new customers, determine how much weight to lose, etc.

Break it down into steps: Schedule out who you will take to dinner one-on-one each month and get it on the calendar, set your strategic goals to increase your customer base, and sign up for a weight loss program and commit to it.

Instead of just stating what you want to do this year…treat each resolution as a goal. Goals require thought, commitment and focus. I think we are all used to setting goals at work. It is part of being successful in our profession. But how often do we invest the same amount of time in really thinking through what is important in our personal lives?

There are times we can barely do the basics in this fast-paced world, so don’t make it too complicated or it won’t get done. I generally choose up to 3 things I am going to focus on in a year. That is manageable for me. Yours may be more or less…but remember to keep it simple.

This is the year to not just state your resolution but to take the time to be clear what your resolution is, break it down into attainable goals and say at the end of the year…I did it!

image of button for free checklist to evaluate split placement networks

3 Things for Recruiters to Stop Doing This Year

By Veronica Blatt

Last year around this time, I blogged about New Year resolutions for recruiters. This year, I saw an article that opined that resolutions fail so often because it’s so difficult to form new habits. Therefore, instead of making resolutions about STARTING new things, it’s equally valid (and maybe easier to achieve) to make resolutions about STOPPING things that aren’t working. That concept really resonated with me, so here are 3 things I believe you should STOP doing this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Recruiter Offices: Open-Plan, Private, or Coffice?

By Dave Nerz

A study reported in Associations Now reports that some think the open-plan office is distracting and unproductive. Others have accepted the challenges.

The debate has been going on for years, and businesses have been built on filling office buildings with open-plan offices. If you go to law firms you will see lots of private offices, but if you go to recruiter offices, they will be open-plan except for the senior leaders and owners of the firm. Work-from-home recruiters have the advantage of private space, while others may opt to work from their favorite coffee shop. Read the rest of this entry »

Companies with Flexible Work Options Taking the Lead!

By Sarah Freiburger

Many people that are part of the baby boomer generation pride themselves in a strict work environment that keeps employees tight to their desk and offices 40 hours per week, and rarely steps away from the standard work week they are accustomed to since entering the work force. As work place culture evolves the past few years, we are seeing more and more large corporations get carried away with providing unique working environments for their employees that encompass anything from beer in the fridge, a foosball table, and work from home options. Recruitment firms have even started interviewing companies on what type of culture and flexible benefits they will be able to offer candidates to compete in this changing workplace. Here are a few suggestions you can make to a client or a few you can consider as a company to make small steps towards culture change.

  1. The work from home option. Micro-managers likely cringe at the suggestion of losing sight and in their opinion, control how long Sheila is sitting in her office by her computer each day. Reality of this is, Sheila is caught up on work from knocking out late hours on projects the past few nights and is now sitting staring at a computer with mental exhaustion counting down the minutes until she can leave. Many employees who have an endless task list and projects to get done need a little flexibility on when and where they crank out their work for peak mental performance. With a work from home option, even once or twice a week, Sheila could get up at 6am and crank out emails then take a break to make a healthy breakfast and start laundry before launching back into the next project.
  2. Non-standard hours. As many companies are starting to have a national or even global span, 9am-5pm is no longer as feasible for peak performance. Companies who instead determine how many hours make up a salaried role and then allow their employees the flexibility to report those hours in a week help an employee work during their peak times without feeling burnt out or overworked/underpaid.
  3. Overtime for salaried roles. This is a great follow up from point 2, where additional work hours should be reported and compensated accordingly. Travel time as well as night or morning meetings and calls should all be factored into an employee being allowed time off the next day, or extra compensation.
  4. Finally, consider part time roles for high level positions. For instance, a Director of Communications role for a smaller company may be able to work remote and part time and accomplish more than a full-time employee based on the latest tools and trends to speed up processes. Many parents who do not have the commitment to a full-time role but the talent to help a corporation immensely may be left behind due to a rigorous in office schedule.

If your client is looking to hire millennial talent they need to be prepared with options that appeal to their candidate to help them stand out. The above points are a good starting point to discuss as the work place continues to evolve and change.

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