Hire Millennial Superstars – 10 Interview Questions

interview3When I work with business owners regardless of their industry, one of the issues that seems to cause deep frustration is hiring good employees. With the face of the workforce changing so drastically, hiring and retaining quality people is not simple.   You have to take into account the background of this newer generation and really explore what kind of person is sitting in front of you with their resume in-hand.   The average Millennial (person born between 1980 and 2001) does not stay at one job more than 23 months.   That rate of turnover is unproductive and costly to business owners.

interview1I have 10 interview questions that I suggest using when you are trying to recruit new employees. These questions should help you in identifying Millennial Superstars that will not only work hard for you but also stay around.

 1. If you were starting a company tomorrow, what would be its top three values?
Every good relationship starts with trust and aligned values. Insight into a person’s priorities — as well as honesty and integrity – usually emerge in the candidate’s answers.

2. Tell me about a time you were passed up for an award or promotion you felt you deserved.  Millennials can get frustrated if they don’t achieve quickly. Seeing how they respond to this question will give you an idea of their commitment and resiliency. Knowing up front that a person was shattered that he or she didn’t get a promotion in their first year of work at their last job gives you the opportunity to assess whether they will fit into your company’s culture.

3. Would you rather be an inventor or a leader?  There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It will simply help tell you where their passions lie and if they like to build things or build people. Depending on what the job is, you can determine the fit.

4. Who inspires you and why?  The job candidate’s answer often gives the interviewer a peek into who the interviewee models him or herself after. The response can also highlight the sorts of behavioral patterns the interviewee respects.  A response of Miley Cyrus compared to one of Princess Diana gives you a world of insight.

5. How do you like to receive feedback?  Millennials are a group that desires frequent positive feedback. Balancing this against your internal culture will be important. While baby boomers generally only desire a yearly performance review and Gen Xers like to hear feedback at least quarterly, the next generation needs much more constant and real-time praise and/or critique.

6.  Which book are you currently reading?  Passionate people tend to read books or listen to audio books to improve their skills. Whether the books are specific to a skill such as sales and marketing or they’re reading a book focused on self-development doesn’t matter, they are all good signs. If they’re reading a fiction book and haven’t read an educational book for a while, that’s may be a red flag. Superstars are always looking to better themselves, and the smartest people I know are always learning and absorbing new information.

interview27. Tell me about a time when things felt helpless but you knew you would pull through. Millennials are an optimistic group, and you want to be sure you are bringing that into your organization. Hire people with optimism and you will find they reach for big goals and try to change the future for the better. This question should be a deal breaker if they do not convey a positive attitude.

8. Give me an example of a situation when you worked in a diverse group with different opinions.  Millennials are the most inclusive generation, and it would be a flag if they did not have good examples of inclusive behavior and collaboration. I consider this to one of the best traits about our next generation. I am happy that my kids are growing up in such diversity.

9. Tell me about the volunteer or charity work you do.  The new generation is famously passionate about giving back, whether through missionary work, the Peace Corps, military service, or local charities. Giving and selflessness are hallmarks of great leaders. Having no answer here may indicate someone who is not very well-rounded.

10. “What do you think this job requires?”  While a Millennial may have a fantastic work ethic, and work harder than older employees, he doesn’t necessarily approach a job willing to do whatever it takes to get it done. The new age worker wants to know specifically what he is expected to do. He’ll also want to know when he can expect a promotion or a raise. The candidate’s idea of what it will take to do the job may be very different from what you know it requires. How many hours is the candidate prepared to work? Is he willing to take the time to learn new skills that the job will require? Be sure to give the candidate an idea of how long he would probably have to be at the job in order to get a promotion or a raise based on what it took the people who previously held the job to advance.

Sources:
http://www.inc.com/david-van-rooy/9-interview-questions-you-should-always-ask-millennials.html

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248524

https://www.mediabistro.com/recruit-hire/interview-candidates/4-questions-managers-must-ask-millennials-during-a-job-interview/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241524

CPA Tidbits – “I’m more than a bean counter!”

beancounterSure, you have your trusty calculator by your side most all of the time, but this derogatory phrase – “bean counter” – doesn’t mean you slave over spreadsheets every waking second. You are much more than that – and your clients NEED to know that!

The strongest message you can give your clients is that you aren’t there to count beans, you’re there to GROW the beans! Many accountants would have a hard time grasping this concept but the ones positioned for growth will embrace it with arms wide open!

So how do you change your image from a bean counter to a successful bean cultivator?

  1. It all starts with trust – you need a solid reputation for providing top notch advice. We all know that behind every good business is a great accountant. Make sure your firm emotes that sentiment in every encounter with the public.
  2. Have a little fun – People, in general, appreciate laughter, humor, and honesty. Your reputation for being a capable professional can still thrive even if you stop being so serious. Your goal is to be approachable, relatable, and sympathetic to your client’s concerns. You may just reach a bigger audience by being yourself and reminding people that you are more like them than the IRS.
  3. Find people who can help you – You can’t do everything alone and you don’t have all the answers! So why not find employees who can offer specialized solutions for your top client issues and who aren’t burned out on crunching numbers and memorizing excel formulas? Learn to become a leader and excellent communicator to your employees – that will afford you more face-time with the clients and prospects who will help grow your business.

For more inspiration and ideas on how CPAs can live on the north side of average, let’s connect!

Time Management Skills for Small Business Owners

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Time management is something we hear a lot about but never seem to get an understanding of what we need to do about it. In this article, you’ll get 4 time management skills for small business owners. You may not like them, but they work.

1) Log your time
Take a day or a week. (A week is preferable) Log all the time you spend doing all your activities. You can grab a sheet or use a spreadsheet depending on how analytical you are. Start from the moment you wake up and end when you go to sleep. Track every single thing you do in a day and the number of minutes it takes you to do it.

2) Go over the log and identify your big time wasters.
Categorize your activities. Figure out how much total time you spent on each activity. Determine the percentage of time you took to do each activity category. You want to find areas where you’re spending too much time like meetings, email, phone calls, etc.

3) Apply the 80/20 rule to your time.
The 80/20 rule says that 80% of your results come from about 20% of your activities. You need to figure out those activities that give you the best results and increase the amount of time you spend on them. You’ll need to keep analyzing this and keep increasing the time on the activities that only get you results. The rest is not important.

4) Delegate your time. 
If you spend a bunch of time on your email, find an assistant to handle your email responses and send you only the most important ones. Email is usually a big time suck. Give away those activities that don’t get results. Give them to an employee who can handle them for you and train that employee to do them for you. Then, trust that employee to do the job you’ve trained them to do and move along doing the things you need get you the best results.

I hope these tips have helped you with your time management. If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

5 Tips to Turn Your Dream into a Career

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It’s not considered work if you love what you do for a living, but could you actually make the something you love into a career? There are many career options out there, some you’ve thought of and some that are so bizarre might not have crossed your mind. There’s always a rising star popping up in the media, there’s always a new best-selling author, there’s even a guy who sells snow! The possibilities are endless as far as how you can make money and more importantly how you can turn your dream into a career. How exactly do you go about doing so? Use these tips to get started.

1.) Educate yourself: If you want to work in a particular field, you have to know it inside and out. Research what it takes to make it in your chosen profession, take necessary classes, or even find a mentor whose walked the same path and found success at the end of it. Educating yourself on everything involved in your dream will bring you closer to seeing it unfold before your eyes.

2.) Make goals: Once you’re aware of how to go about obtaining a position in your career choice, you can begin planning the necessary steps that’ll take you from where you are now to where you see yourself in the future. Setting goals not only pushes you through the journey, but allows you to see your accomplishments along the way.

3.) Work hard: As important as it is to set goals, there will be no progress if you don’t reach them. Put forth your best effort in any free time you can manage so you can achieve each goal and move on to the next one.

4.) Don’t make up excuses: Doubt will visit you without an invitation; it will lead you down a trail of thoughts which will have you questioning your worth, your talent, and your time spent. This is an inevitable factor. What is in your power is whether or not you let doubt consume you, and if you don’t want your hard work to go to waste, don’t allow it to stay. Maintain confidence, remain focused, and keep telling yourself you’re almost there.

5.) Don’t let failure stop you: Not everyone has an insane amount of luck to succeed on the first try. If you do, that’s great, but for the rest of us who have to face rejection, we must understand that it’s okay to fail. One or even multiple failures does not set you up for a lifetime of failing. You don’t stay on the ground when you fall, you get back up, brush yourself off, and keep going. So don’t give up; keep moving forward.

 

Your Brand May Need a Facelift

faceliftLet’s face it, we all want to develop a winning strategy! According to a recent Forbes article, “When it comes to building your personal brand, a coach can be a powerful resource who can help you get out of your own way, stand out, and take action to achieve the things that are truly important to you.”

1.) Developing a Winning Strategy: Although this article is specifically referring to personal branding, the same is true for what a professional coach can do for you. A coach can clearly set out a strategy that will help you achieve your goals by bringing an “outsider” in with an expert point of view. This can allow you to see strengths and weaknesses that you may have never considered previously. By identifying these items and setting a plan, you will be able to find your advantage in the market.

2.) Gain the competitive advantage: Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you will also be able to identify your opportunities and threats. Knowing the competition is key to knowing how to compete in your market. A coach can help you know what will set you apart from the competition and help you gain the lead over your competitors.

3.) Being free to focus: Another important advantage that coaching presents is the freedom to focus on what is really important. The same Forbes article warns folks that don’t take advantage of a coach, “you could be limiting your career success. That’s because coaches help you identify and focus on what’s important, which accelerates your success.”

A coach takes the pressure off by guiding you through the branding process. A coach can clear up the branding details for you so you can focus on your product or service and know that you have the tools you need to succeed and attract customers.

These are just a few reasons to love what small business coaching can do for you. To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us.

-Valerie

Deciding Where to Focus in Your Business

focus2I’ll never forget the one, gut-wrenching moment when a business mentor called me out on everything great we were doing at our firm. “Valerie, you keep telling me all the things you guys are but what I’m not hearing is who are you not?” It hit me like a bullet between the eyes! He was right! In fact, he was so right that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since where his words haven’t echoed like a freight train in my mind. We had grown an amazing business but were wondering why we couldn’t get to the next level and it had to do with one simple thing…we were focused but not focused enough!

Until that day, I thought I fully understood the power of focus, – in marketing, in strategy, in client service, in virtually every area of our business. For me, focus always came instinctively and, as a business owner, my nature has always been to question whether every action we take will lead to a nice return on investment (ROI).

Return-on-investment usually boils down to money; what will give us the best return for a given investment of resources. I believe you can only pay yourself in two ways: 1) by making more money, or 2) by finding more time to do the things you love. I think we often forget to focus on what parts of our business we find satisfying and fun because we’re too busy focusing on what the market looks like or on what types of customers we can reach.

So, for us, the question, “who are we not?” led us to the answer we’d been searching for all along. It redirected our focus to the opportunities we saw in the marketplace and away from the parts of the business we didn’t enjoy. Today, the payback has been exceptional, and I owe it to a perceptive, bold coach who was willing to risk telling me something I may not want to hear.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you could use some advice on keeping your business goals in focus.

 

Deciding Where to Focus in Your Business

focus

I’ll never forget the one, gut-wrenching moment when a business mentor called me out on everything great we were doing at our firm. “Valerie, you keep telling me all the things you guys are but what I’m not hearing is who are you not?” It hit me like a bullet between the eyes! He was right! In fact, he was so right that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since where his words haven’t echoed like a freight train in my mind. We had grown an amazing business but were wondering why we couldn’t get to the next level and it had to do with one simple thing…we were focused but not focused enough!

Until that day, I thought I fully understood the power of focus, – in marketing, in strategy, in client service, in virtually every area of our business. For me, focus always came instinctively and, as a business owner, my nature has always been to question whether every action we take will lead to a nice return on investment (ROI).

Return-on-investment usually boils down to money; what will give us the best return for a given investment of resources. I believe you can only pay yourself in two ways: 1) by making more money, or 2) by finding more time to do the things you love. I think we often forget to focus on what parts of our business we find satisfying and fun because we’re too busy focusing on what the market looks like or on what types of customers we can reach.

So, for us, the question, “who are we not?” led us to the answer we’d been searching for all along. It redirected our focus to the opportunities we saw in the marketplace and away from the parts of the business we didn’t enjoy. Today, the payback has been exceptional, and I owe it to a perceptive, bold coach who was willing to risk telling me something I may not want to hear.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you could use some advice on keeping your business goals in focus.