green beans blog interviewing

Tips on Interviewing Employees

If you look online, you’ll find hundreds of pages that give you interview tips – what to wear, how to act, when to arrive, and what kind of questions you need to be prepared to answer. It’s much harder, however, to find tips when you’re doing the interviewing or hiring. If you’re a small business owner with little HR experience, conducting your first interview can be a little bit daunting. You have to skim resumes, conduct interviews, and choose the perfect candidate. Whether you’re hiring your first employee or an additional one, we’ll tell you all you need to know when interviewing employees.

Set the Scene

The first thing to do is decide on the interview format. One-on-one, in-person interviews are the norm, but they aren’t your only option. If you’re hiring a sales rep who lives across the country, or you’re out of town on business, phone or Skype interviews are also a great option. Phone interviews can also be a great screening method. You can conduct phone interviews with 5-10 candidates first, then bring in the top 3 for a face-to-face interview. Depending on the nature of your industry, group interviews might also be an option to consider. These are helpful for project-based positions where working with a team is essential. Decide if you want anyone else sitting in on the interview with you. If you’re part of a small team where personality is important, you might want to consider having your whole team present.

Know What You Want in an Employee

As the interviewer, the most important thing that you can do is to be prepared: know exactly what you’re searching for. Think about education, experience, and skills. Make sure that you have a detailed job description and a list of the expected roles and responsibilities. Think about personality – do you need someone outgoing? A team player? A leader? You can also prepare by being familiar with the candidate you’re interviewing. Go over his or her resume and be ready to ask questions if you have any. Check references, look at the candidate’s LinkedIn profile, as well as their social media.

It’s important to have a list of questions before the candidate even comes through the door. The two most important kinds of questions that you want to include are fact-based questions and behavioral questions. Fact-based questions are often easy for you to come up with and easy for the candidate to answer, but they’re important nonetheless. Examples include: Tell me about your most recent internship. Can you explain this responsibility further? Behavioral questions are much more open-ended and usually begin with the phrase “Tell me about a time when….” You can tailor these questions to fit the qualifications you’re looking for in your employee: Tell me about a time when you made a mistake and how you overcame it. Tell me about a time when you took the lead on a project. Tell me about a time when you had to multi-task and how you handled it. Make sure that you have plenty of questions planned and rank them in order of importance in case you can’t get through all of them in the time allotted for the interview.

Hold a Conversation

Even though you probably have a lot of questions that you want to get in during the interview, make sure that you’re having an actual conversation, NOT an interrogation. You’re not the one being interviewed, so don’t spend the whole time talking about yourself or your company. Instead, listen hard! Take notes and ask for clarification when you don’t understand. Experts suggest that the interviewer only speak 10-20% of the time, or else you’ll interview yourself. Make sure that you also leave time so that the interviewee can ask you questions. These questions are a great way to gauge his or her interest in the company and how much he or she prepared for the interview. Conclude your interview by thanking the candidate for his or her time. Tell them your hiring timeline, and when they can expect an answer from you.

Analyze Your Options

The final thing to consider when conducting your first interview is how you’ll decide whom to choose. Many experts suggest that you use a rating system. Write down notes and rate each candidate on qualities that matter to you after their interview. Although personality is important, you’re not hiring someone to be your best friend. You’re hiring someone who can fulfill a necessary role in your company. Rating forces you to consider whether or not someone hits the important marks rather than getting distracted by someone who is friendly, but might not be the best choice for the job.

When you decide which candidate to hire, welcome them enthusiastically. Let the other candidates know of your decision, but tell them how much you appreciated their time and let them know that you hope they’ll keep your company in mind for potential future opportunities. Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed the interview process and have (hopefully) hired a wonderful new addition for your team.

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millennials at work

8 Things You Should Know about Millennials at Work

Millennials, those currently in their 20s and early 30s, are nearly the largest part of America’s workforce today. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that millennials will make up 75% of the US workforce within the next 15 years. Millennials are more likely to be entrepreneurs than their parents or grandparents, and they’re also more likely to have multiple jobs and even careers. Read on for eight things you should know about millennials and their role in today’s workforce.

Millennials Understand Technology

Millennials grew up with technology, and are used to adjusting and advancing along with it. They are far more likely than their parents to see its value and importance in the business world. Studies show that 9 out of 10 millennials believe that they can access information at any time, whenever and wherever they need it. They’ve grown up in the era of google searches and instant gratification, and they’re likely to carry these qualities and skills into the workplace. Millennials are a generation of “digital natives”, and they can be instrumental in helping organizations update their technology.

Millennials Will Work for Many Employers

Millennials are more likely to change jobs and careers at an unprecedented rate. They’re not likely to work for one company for an excess amount of time, as they are more open to changing jobs and careers than previous generations. This is notably different from the Baby Boomers, who often believe that they should stay with an employer for a substantial amount of time before searching for a new job.

Millennials Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Millennials are more likely to start their own businesses than elder generations. They’re also more likely to study majors that are related to entrepreneurialism, and to want to be their own boss. At the same time, the costs associated with starting a business have gone down drastically, allowing this surge in the number of millennial entrepreneurs.

Millennials Face High Rates of Underemployment

Millennials are not only unemployed, but they are also underemployed. Underemployment means that millennials are underpaid for their education; they’re taking jobs where their education isn’t needed, or they’re only able to find a part time job. In fact, they’re 8-9% more likely to be underemployed than their parents, regardless of their education level.

Millennials Want to Give Back

Millennials love to make a difference! They enjoy working for businesses and organizations that care about their community and give back to it. They appreciate community service days and philanthropy events, as well as corporate values. They want their work in a company to serve a greater purpose and meaning than just bringing in profit.

Millennials are the Most Educated Generation

Over 79% of Millennials hold at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 69% of Generation X members and 62% of Baby Boomers. These millennials are brimming with talent and education, and are often excited to get started and take on the world. It’s worth noting, however, that these millennials also have more student debt than any generation before them. Overall, millennials are educated and ambitious to work, regardless of the need to pay off debt.

Millennials Value Flexibility

Millennials love jobs with flexibility, such as telecommuting options and the opportunity to get their work done at unconventional hours. They consider job flexibility when applying and interviewing for positions, and they sometimes decide to start their own business instead in order to get the flexibility that they’re looking for. They have to be technological savvy to accomplish this, but are likely to do whatever they can to hold a flexible job and schedule.

Millennials Seek Happiness

Above all, Millennials want to be happy and fulfilled. Approximately 2/3 of millennials say that they would rather make $40,000/year at a job they love than $100,000/year at a job they don’t. As a result, it’s important for millennials to find jobs that are rewarding to them. Millennials want to be satisfied and feel accomplished with their work, so it’s important for them to be challenged and excited by it.

If you’re a millennial, you probably identify with most, if not all, of these qualities. If not, you might see these qualities in your kids or your younger co-workers. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, it’s important to keep these millennial characteristics in mind. Challenge your millennial employees and nurture their entrepreneurial spirit. By doing so, you’ll be able to help millennials find happiness and feel fulfilled in the workplace.

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green beans blog email testing

A/B Testing For E-mail Marketing

A/B testing: an effective way to gauge how to distribute your most important business information via email.

A/B Testing comes in handy when trying out new email formats and techniques. Without testing out your options, you won’t be able to determine what works best. If you have two options and neglect to test them independently, you may accidentally choose the worse option- the option that receives fewer opens, click-throughs and conversion rates. Let’s focus on the better option and give A/B testing an honest effort!

So how does A/B testing work?

It’s simple, really. You have two versions of an email you’d like to send. The trouble is that you are unsure which will be the most effective. Refer to these versions as Version A and Version B for the sake of the visual. Version A is sent to group A while Version B is sent to group B. As seen above, Version A only received 1 click, so this will be the version you discontinue. Version B received 25 clicks, meaning that 24 more people viewed your email. Clearly, Version B won out, and now you can confidently send this email to the remainder of your email list. By doing this, you will be certain of which email will produce better results, and clicking send may not be so daunting anymore.

So what all should I test?

There’s plenty of different things to test in your email. There may be many things you’d like to test, but it’s important to narrow it down to one specific thing in order to produce accurate results.

Here are things you can produce two variations for:

Subject Line: Your subject line is likely your most important piece of email info. The subject line is what the customer uses to decide whether to open or trash. Your subject line should use wording that attracts opens, while still remaining truthful. The body of your email and the subject line must be consistent.

Call to action: From:Person’s name or Company/Organization name?
The “from” part of your email is also important. Does your name or your company’s name provide more credibility? Which boosts click-rates?

Body Text:We suggest keeping your body on the shorter side since your customers are probably too busy to read a extensive email. Try to narrow it down to the main chunks in order to avoid clouding the email with unnecessary detail.

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Delivery Dates/Times, Weekday or Weekend?, Morning, afternoon, evening?

Which time is the best to reach your customers? Do most of your customers check their email around the beginning, middle or end of their work day? Or do they put off personal email checking until after dinner? Gathering this information will show which time is the most viewable time for your customers.

What do I do with my results?

Your focus should be on 3 areas of your email. The open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate once they’re on your website. Your aim is to get people out of the email and onto your website and place of business. If your email is allowing for many click-throughs but little conversion, then you’ll have to go back to the drawing board. If your email is eliciting higher conversion with less click-throughs, then maybe something has to change in the subject/from part of your email. There will be some trial and error taking place here. Make sure that while doing all of this, you are testing a large sum of people to produce accurate results. Also, make sure what is written in your email is affirmed by your website. Viewers should never wonder if they have landed on a wrong page. If your information is inconsistent, this breaks down the trust, credibility, and professionalism that is shared between you and your customers.

What is the easiest way to conduct an A/B test?

There is always the manual route. Split your current lists into two separate lists, and then send out one version of your email campaign to one list and the other to the other list. Compare the lists manually but exporting your data to a spreadsheet.

The easier route would be to use an email campaign software that has built-in tools for A/B testing. A few examples are MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and Active Campaign.

~Happy emailing!~