5 Crucial Steps to Build Your Culture Strategy

How to Create and Execute a Company Culture Strategy and Why You Need One

company culture
by Tasia Allison

Are you seeing what we’re seeing? Culture strategies and engagement plans are booming across every industry right now. So if you’re here, you’ve probably decided it’s time to start figuring your way through the world of developing a culture strategy.

What is culture, exactly?

In the workplace, these are your social norms and habits of employees, but they can also be how decisions are made, how people respond, and what’s acceptable and what isn’t; they can also be written or obvious or subtlety woven into a more political or gamified work environment.

So why do companies have culture strategies?

Typically, we see them when organizations want to preserve that environment and hone in on its strengths, or they’ve got a major opportunity and they want to make some workplace culture shifts.

How to Execute a Culture Strategy

You can do countless hours of research and webinars to figure our the best culture or the type of culture you want to build—but ultimately, we think a more simple approach to building a culture strategy wins out every time. We’ve combined our years of experience and that of our best mentors and friends into 5 crucial steps to build the best culture strategy.

  1. Alignment at the top! We’ve seen some amazing cultures built organically from the bottom up—but it’s ruthless, tiring, and held together by core business leaders who were determined to make a difference. So, if you’ve set out on the journey to change your culture and set a culture strategy, get commitment from the top of the organization. The best commitment comes with a few key elements:Psychologically, we unconsciously resist change to self-preserve—and that’s a lot to unpack. But that means that even if people say they are committed to change, they may not be self-aware enough to notice they are resisting. You’ll need a plan of attack early in your process and an agreement of how you will move forward as a team when progress stalls. For example, we encourage a round-table executive meeting to discuss how each person would like feedback in the process if they are the ones causing an impasse. If your company regularly practices premortems for strategic objectives, we’d recommend including this session into your practice.Get alignment and agreement on what’s broken in your existing culture. Note that this may come from your executive team but should also include a comprehensive analysis of feedback from across the organization, too.Discuss and isolate what you’re not willing to change at an executive level, too. Elements of your culture may be uncomfortable, and people may not like it, but it may serve your business quite well. Your culture won’t make everyone happy and if that’s your strategy, you’ve set yourself up with an impossible goal. Think of Southwest Airlines. Many of my friends love flying Southwest, they love that they can pick their own seat! But for me, personally, it’s on my loathe list—I think I’d rather walk than choose my own seat! That culture isn’t for me—and that’s ok and if you asked them, Southwest would agree—we are not a good fit, for each other.Set a SMART objective. Discussing culture change and actually changing your culture are two very different things. Getting some time-based objectives is crucial and some milestones of progress and change will help keep everyone’s expectations in line.
  2. Start with vision and values. Your culture should be a product of your vision and values. Everyone should know them and use them! How do you “use” your vision and values? They should be at the core of every decision that is made in your entire organization. If your vision and values aren’t clear or aren’t being used to make decisions, you’re probably seeing a LOT of micromanaging and a top-heavy span of control – aka – a worn-out leadership team. Your values should be so strong and prevalent that if a new employee was asked to make a major decision, they could turn to your values and make the right one. If your values and vision aren’t this strong. This is the first step in your culture strategy. Revamp, rewrite, reeducate—whatever you have to do to get your vision and values realigned to your organization’s decision-making process. And if this is where you’re getting started, one of my favorite books on the topic is Smart Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey.
  3. Define the culture you want to achieve. All your employees should know the direction you’re heading and the behaviors that are key to achieving your culture. Document them, share them, and continuously weave them into the day-to-day. When you document the behaviors of your culture, make sure you define them, too. For example, if a core behavior of your culture is “empathy” what does that really mean? What does that really look like? Semantics can play a dividing role in the development of a culture strategy. Remove that barrier but clearly defining the behaviors or your culture and what they mean!
  4. Set a “Culture List” of everything culture can and should impact. Now that you’ve defined your culture, your strategy needs to include changing processes and procedures that are counter to your culture. We recommend doing this by listing all your processes, procedures, and employee initiatives and offerings. Then, work your list. Start evaluating each one through feedback cycles and testing it to see if it adds or takes away from your culture. Here are a few examples for a company testing their “family-friendly culture”:
    • Benefits – Does our benefit plan exclude spouses? Are the family plans affordable? Do you offer adoption assistance?
    • Time and attendance policies – Do your policies offer excused absences for spouse or dependent’s doctor appointments? Can employees buy additional vacation time? Can they submit field trip forms or volunteer in their children’s classes for additional time off?
    • Cafeteria – Does your lunchroom welcome guests to visit during lunches?
    • Leave – do you offer paid paternity leave? Does your bereavement leave really support your employees’ needs?
    • Nursing moms – do you offer comfortable lactation rooms or the bare minimum? Do you cater to their needs?
    • Work-life balance – is this praised and encouraged? Or is leaving at five o’clock seen as “slacking?”
  5. Get champions and feedback loops! Use people who are excited about the direction your culture is headed to champion the dialogue and encourage people forward. Continually test the behaviors of your organization to the culture you want to achieve. You may find it’s always a little bit of a moving target—we find culture development is an iterative process that always needs refining and tweaks.
  6. Be ready to say “goodbye.” As we mentioned earlier in our Southwest example, the vision you have for your culture may not be for everyone. You may have long-term employees and leaders of your organizations that can’t or won’t go where you’re going—and that’s ok, you’re no longer a good fit for each other. We’re all about helping people grow, evolve, and change, but be ready to part ways with team members who can’t be a part of your new culture. Set clear expectations and hold people accountable. The worst thing you can do for your culture strategy is to keep people on the team who are preventing your organization’s goals from moving forward. 


Ready to dive into developing your culture strategy? Let us know, we’d love to help! Reach out to a Talent Optimization Consultant today to talk through your challenges—we’d love to be a part of your journey. 

Current Trends in HR Hiring

What’s going in the HR hiring space? A lot!

by Tasia Allison

As an HR girl in the recruiting world, I seem to be having this conversation a lot: What’s going in the HR hiring space? A lot! In fact, I’ve had several sit-downs with amazing executives and HR professions who are befuddled at the current hiring climate. Let me share a few key trends we’re seeing in specifically, the hunt for Human Resources Professionals.

Shortage in production workforces has shifted the demand for a more strategic Human Resources function.

That’s a mouthful, but this one is key and has been the catalyst for the hiring shift in Human Resources. Small and mid-size companies, especially in manufacturing, are hurting for talent in general and now they need a strategic internal team with a plan to attract, engage, and retain talent. Unfortunately, many of those businesses in West Michigan have only ever known an HR team that is administrative-focused, and now they need more and need it fast. So, as a result, the search for more HR Directors with specific experience in the following: HR Strategy, Talent Acquisition Strategies, Engagement and Retention Strategies, KPI-based performance metrics (reduction in turnover, time to fill, and engagement scores). The lesson to learn here? Whether you’re an HR leader or a CEO, if you haven’t already, start shifting to a KPI-focused HR strategy.

Strategic is Queen, Payroll is still King.

This one is a little weird for us—right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s happening. CEOs, Owners, and Presidents love strategy, and they need it, but it’s not enough. The biggest request we see when hiring a “Strategic” HR Director? Payroll experience. The gut-checks we’ve had says this is more of a fear-based reaction. COVID caused a lot of unknowns and HR operations went a little sideways, they still feel like they need a leader who can do the day-to-day when needed. This causes quite the challenge in the talent marketplace. We’ve found there are amazing strategic HR leaders and amazing administrative HR leaders, but the talent pool of combined skills is fey and far between. The lesson to learn here? We think strategy should be King! If this is a concern, have your new HR leader learn to run payroll; great talent won’t have any issue learning a new skill and this shouldn’t hold them back either.

Talent Development Comeback

Talent Development, Training, and Organizational Development roles are all back on the rise. When businesses shut down and scaled back, these were the first roles trimmed and we’re quickly seeing organizations add them back. These are usually the key partners behind engagement and retention strategies. The best lesson to learn here? Get ’em and keep ’em.

Executive Search Partners on the Rise

A trend we couldn’t love more! While we always see the push of more for less (ie cheaper for better talent), CEOs are realizing what got them here, won’t get them where they are going. They can’t rely on their existing tools to get them next-level talent and they don’t have the time to sift through hundreds of resumes and phone calls. More than ever, we’re doing all the blocking and tackling for executive teams; while it’s worth their time, it’s far more worth their investment in the right recruiting partner. Our goal isn’t to send more resumes and more interviews, it’s actually less—but they are the right few, saving precious time and resources. The lesson here? Save yourself time and money by working with a recruiting firm, this is our wheelhouse, we’d be happy to keep things way simpler and your life easier.

Did we miss a trend? We’d love your thoughts! What do you see happening in the HR hiring space?

How to Write a Thank You Email (With Examples)

The Benefits of Writing a Thank You Email and Why Thank You Emails are Important
woman writing thank you email

By Nicole Degi

Writing a thank you note/email after an interview can be key to getting a job offer. It is important to express appreciation for the opportunity and the interviewer’s time. This is where you can reiterate your interest in the role and how you can be a great fit for the organization. It also demonstrates your skills with written communication and establishes your attention to detail and follow-through.

If your interview is in person, phone, or online video-send a thank you. With the conversation and excitement still fresh in your mind start working on the thank you email right away and send it within 24 hours.

What to Include in the Thank You Email

1. Express your gratitude
2. Reinforce why you are interested in the role and what you can bring to the table
3. To make it more personal add something that you and the interviewer discussed in the interview
4. Close the email by reiterating your appreciation for the interview and asking about the next steps

Thank You Email Tips

Send separate emails to each interviewer: If you have interviewed multiple people, ask for their business cards during the conclusion of the email so you will have their contact information or ask your recruiter for their contact information if you did not get it directly from them. Then send an email to each person that you interviewed with separately, do not copy each person on one email. Personalize the email and individual thank them for their time and reiterate your interest.

Send the email within 24 hours: It is important to stay top of mind with the people that you interviewed with.

Spellcheck: Everyone makes mistakes when writing so triple check with spell check &/or ask a friend or family member to look things over for you.

Be Genuine: If your thank you feels insincere, it could turn off the hiring manager. Be yourself & add something that you genuinely remembered or enjoyed about your interview.

Do not overwrite: Get to the point. Keep your message short & focused, no need to write a long-drawn-out email if you do that the point of the message could get lost.

Follow up at an appropriate time: Do not hound the interviewers. If you asked for a timeline during the interview process, then follow up within that time frame.

Subject-Line Examples

Ready to send the Thank You email? But stuck on the subject line? A few examples we suggest are:

Thank You- Your First Name & Last Name
Thank You-Job Title
Thank You- Job Title & Your First Name & Last Name
Interviewer’s Name, Thank you for interviewing me for the “Role.”
Great to meet you yesterday, “Interviewer’s Name.”

Email Examples

Example 1:

Dear “Name”,

I enjoyed speaking with you today about the “role” at “company”. The position seems to be a great match for my skills and interests. In addition to my excitement, I will bring to the position my drive, assertiveness, and ability to collaborate with others.

I appreciate the time you took to interview me. I am extremely interested in working with “company” and look forward to hearing from you regarding this position.


Your Name
Phone Number

Example 2:

Dear “Name”,

Thank you very much for the time you extended to me yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and learning more about “Company”. Your description of “Job Title” reiterated my interest and excitement for the position.

Thank you again for interviewing me and I look forward to hearing from you regarding this position.


Your Name
Phone Number

Example 3:

Hi “Name”,

Thank you so much for meeting with me today. It was a pleasure to learn more about the team and position, and I am excited about the opportunity to join “Company” and bring my B2B sales and relationship-building background to your team.

I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process.

All the best,

Your Name
Phone Number

Many candidates forget the thank you part of the interview process and the importance of this step. It shows a lack of follow-through to the hiring managers if you do not send one and could negatively impact your chance to land the job. This will set you apart from other candidates and puts you one step closer to receiving the job offer, do not miss this simple but crucial step in the interview process.

Venture Logistics – Talent Optimization Success Story

Venture Logistics used Predictive Index and talent optimization to streamline hiring and management.

Venture Logistics is one of the Nation’s largest full-service logistic companies. With an ever-expanding network and a strong dedication to improvement and over-delivering, the team needed a talent optimization that could keep up, and they chose to partner with Hire for Hope to implement Predictive Index (PI).

Real Data & Improved Accuracy

Choosing the right candidate the first time around saves time and money for companies. Looking for more higher-caliber candidates than their current applicant tracking system was producing, they switched to Predictive Index.

PI gave Mary Campbell, Venture Logistic’s Talent Acquisition Specialist, more data to hire the best fit for the role. “I like to think I’m a good judge of character but honestly, this gave me more actual data,” said Campbell.

Coming from a larger company in her previous role, Campbell is no stranger to different assessment tools used to screen candidates. She noticed that with other assessments, “it took a lot to get to essentially the same answer that we got out of a 10-minute assessment with Predictive Index.”

The behavioral assessment helped Mary confirm her gut feeling she had on candidates and gave her a better feel for the person as a whole. “I felt like it really helped zero in on a more qualified candidate,” said Campbell.

The candidates also agreed that the data PI gathered from their assessments were reflective of their hardwiring.

“One of the things that I do with my candidates and when I’m interviewing is I’ll go through the PI results with them because I want to let them know this is how we’re using it as a hiring tool,” said Campbell. “I’ve made sure to say, ‘After you’ve read through it or after I’ve explained it, do you feel like that explains you pretty well?’ I confirm with them that it’s accurate and I’ve done it with hundreds of people now. I’ve never had someone tell me that it’s not accurate.” 

Clear Job Descriptions and Expectations

PI not only helped Venture identify high-caliber candidates, but it also helped their managers better identify what they needed in the role through the Job Assessment. 

“It really forced our managers to dig into the positions and really figure out what those non-negotiables of the roles were,” said Campbell. “It allowed us to hone in on our job descriptions and what the expectations were.”

Growth Opportunities & Candid Conversations

For Stephanie Hack, Venture’s Director of Employee Development, PI has helped shape a variety of conversations with employees from opportunities for growth to identifying contributing factors to any performance problems. 

“I use PI within the organization for anything from a performance review process to determining where people would be a good fit within the company, as far as growth opportunities are concerned,” said Hack.

PI gave Hack and her team a language for conversations about hardwired personality traits that add to or interfere with job performance. “Behavioral Assessments make it much easier to have candid conversations with employees about certain characteristics and traits they possess and where we can focus on improvements or where they have strong, positive characteristics related to their current role.”

“PI highlights some of those hardwired characteristics that an employee possesses and that feature has made it easier to be constructive with an employee regarding performance concerns and improvements. The Behavioral Assessment objectively and clearly focuses on where candidates will be the best fit for our company,” said Hack.

It also helped give much clearer reasoning behind poor job performance. “If they’re not an ideal fit for a particular position or if there are performance concerns the BA helps highlight some of the reasons why,” said Hack.

PI has helped Venture identify positions within their company that may be a better fit for some employees and gave them an easy way to have those conversations. Hack explained, “Maybe with the way a person is wired, they’re just not fit for their current role, but they may have the ability to successfully contribute in another division of the company. In that respect, our people leaders are better prepared to communicate with their team and address some of those tougher issues around performance because PI focuses on suggestions for improvement and also gives valuable coaching tips for improving the morale, culture, and working relationship between the employee and their team or manager.”

The Hire for Hope Difference

“The Hire for Hope Team has been very attentive to our needs as a company and they are always willing to meet with us and provide additional refresher training when we’ve needed it.

Hire for Hope has invested in us as a company and taken the time to ensure we were familiar and comfortable with the PI content, so we can maximize the product and features available to us.  I can’t say enough about the positive experience we’ve had working with H4H in particular. It’s been a really nice partnership.” – Stephanie Hack

What is the Cognitive Assessment?

The Effective and Quick Test that Measures Cognitive Ability
predictive index cognitive assessment

by Regan Lang

Have you ever wondered whether or not your candidate’s cognitive ability matches the requirements for the job? By implementing the Predictive Index Cognitive Assessment, you can minimize this risk when hiring and ensure your candidate’s cognitive ability matches the demands of the role before hiring.

Measuring cognitive ability is scientifically proven to directly correlate to a candidate’s success in the workplace. Who wouldn’t want to predict a candidate’s potential success? Cognitive ability has been scientifically proven to predict employee success more than ibuprofen’s scientific ability to heal a headache. * Now that’s good data!

What is the Cognitive Assessment?

The PI Cognitive Assessment is a short, 12- minute, multiple-choice test that is designed to test cognitive ability. The test includes a mix of questions from three content categories; numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning. These questions are designed to measure an individual’s capacity to learn, adapt and grasp new concepts in the workplace. The PI Cognitive Assessment is not the same as an intelligence test, but rather one that helps us understand one’s general cognitive ability. It is often recommended over other valid or measurable cognitive tests due to the amount of information collected when applied with additional Predictive Index resources.

Assessment Scoring and Reliability

Numerous studies have been done to examine the internal consistency and test-retest reliability of the PI Cognitive Assessment as well as its reliability, validity, and fairness. The results have shown a rather high level of reliability, validity, and fairness. Predictive Index now has over 8,000 clients across 142 countries and is trusted to deliver reliable tests with helpful information. Based on the fact this assessment is used as a single piece of evidence in recruitment and talent management decisions, the Cognitive assessment’s level of reliability is considered highly reliable in comparison to other methods.

All Predictive Index Cognitive Assessments are also statistically equivalent, which makes it possible to compare scores among different administrations. Each test is graded on a scale from 100-450 in order to ensure the ability to easily compare and contrast scores of the potential candidates. This assessment has test-retest reliability which means an individual may retake the test if given the opportunity, but it is not likely their score will increase due to the level of consistency from test to test.

This information is necessary for the workplace because it is a clear representation of their ability to absorb and process complex information. This score is going to determine whether or not they are able to complete the tasks needed for a given job. This assessment also is an indication of their ability to catch on quickly and figure things out on their own. Every position is in need of someone qualified and capable that will either meet or exceed performance expectations.

How the PI Assessments Work Together

The Predictive Index is a company that offers assessments in order to determine an individual’s behavioral drives (Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, and Formality) as well and their cognitive ability in the workplace. The PI Assessments work together in order to understand the type of person needed for a specific role or strategy by collecting “people data.”

The Predictive Index offers a Job Assessment, Behavioral Assessment, Cognitive Assessment in order to evaluate the potential individual’s behavioral and cognitive fit for the responsibilities set in the Job Assessment. The PI Cognitive Assessment is built into the Predictive Index platform and is created to provide a scientifically validated measure of general cognitive ability that you can benchmark against your target score. Without these assessments, there is a higher risk this candidate will go through the entire onboarding process, only to then realize they are not a good fit for the position.

Key Takeaways

There is ample evidence to demonstrate that the assessment is carefully constructed and is valid, reliable, and fair for workplace decision-making. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. The Cognitive Assessment is a 12-minute assessment with 50 questions, which effectively measures general cognitive ability in a short amount of time.
  2. The Cognitive Assessment shows sufficient test-retest reliability and strong internal consistency and is scored to allow you to compare individuals’ abilities.
  3. Construct validity evidence shows strong correlations between the PI Cognitive Assessment and other valid, reliable measures of cognitive ability.
  4. The PI Cognitive Assessment is a fair assessment, demonstrating minimal to no score differences based on age and gender.

Are you interested in learning how Hire For Hope can help you with your team building and hiring process utilizing Predictive Index? To learn how to implement Predictive Index assessments into your talent program and chat with one of our team members, reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.

*Reference: Science Behind the PI Cognitive Assessment, The Predictive Index, 2019

Best Practices for Employee Onboarding

by Nicole Degi

Let’s chat about the importance of employee onboarding. Studies have shown that new hire productivity comes faster with an efficient and exciting onboarding process. Employee onboarding is going to be different for every company and position but one thing that remains the same is the significant role it plays in all organizations. Surprisingly, many new hires decide if they are going to stay with a company within the first six months of starting a new role, so this is the time to put your best foot forward as their new employer.

Employee onboarding should be customized to your culture, team, and industry. When creating the onboarding process, picture yourself as the new hire. How would this experience make you feel, is something you should be asking yourself when creating an employee onboarding process.

Below I have outlined some of the best practices to follow when onboarding a new employee:

  1. Visualize and communicate with the employee before their arrival.

    It is important to remember that onboarding starts before the candidate’s first day! Every new hire wants to know what to expect on their first day. Communicating things like where to park, office hours, dress code (if there is one) can all make a new employee’s first-day experience more comfortable. Everyone gets first day jitters so help ease their mind by clearly communicating with them from the moment they sign the offer to the moment they walk in the door. We also suggest getting the pre-hire paperwork out of the way before day one, this will help focus on the engagement side of onboarding.

  2. Be prepared & welcoming.

    An employee’s first day and the onboarding process can be fun! This is your time to show off your culture and be engaging with them. Make sure that you have everything ready to go for the new hire when they arrive. This will mean different things for different industries & organizations but a few important things to think about are:  Is their office or workspace clean and tidy for them? Do you have computer logins and access codes ready to go, or equipment they may need set aside for them? Being prepared makes them feel welcome and excited for what is to come.

  3. Involve the team.

    Getting the team involved in the onboarding process will increase employee engagement and team building. Including managers in the process of onboarding will set a valuable rapport for the new hire. It will also make the manager feel more involved in the process which can positively impact the new hires’ journey. A second way to involve the team would be assigning the new hire with a mentor or peer contact. Oftentimes people feel most comfortable asking questions to a teammate rather than their direct report. This will also help them to build relationships with their new coworkers.

  4. Share information that will impact the new hire.

    Use frequent and clear communication to be transparent with the company expectations. Reinforce the culture and values of the organization, people want to feel that the decision they made to join the organization is validated. A few things we suggest including in the onboarding process are:

    1. CEO welcome
    2. Company vision & values
    3. Team introductions
    4. Clearly defining company lingo & terminology
    5. First day/week schedule
  5. Provide a training guideline & expectations.

    Provide them with a training guide and clearly outline expectations about the position and company. Make them feel comfortable with the guide by asking questions and scheduling daily check-ins with their direct report. It is also important to talk to them about goals, KPI’s and expectations coming up, so they are clear on how to achieve them.

  6. Engage with the employee after day one/their first week.

    Something I find that is important to remember is that the onboarding process does not end on day one or week one, it needs to be ongoing and continue throughout their first year. A few things to consider through the first year are:

    1. How are you connecting with the employee months in?
    2. Are you providing them with the opportunity to give feedback?
    3. Have you asked them what they are liking/disliking about their current role?
    4. Have you provided them with continued training/education?
    5. Have you asked them what you can do as their employer to help them better understand their role?
    6. Do you have one on ones or quarterly, and annual reviews set up?
  1. Celebrate wins/first anniversaries.

    As I mentioned before, the best onboarding process takes employees through their first year, which also turns out to be a great time to celebrate. Reflect on accomplishments and wins the new employee has achieved within their first year and make them feel valued and appreciated.

  2. Continually optimize your employee.

    You and your new hire have made it through the first year, congrats! Does that mean you stop optimizing your team? No. Continue to do so by utilizing employee feedback surveys and reviews.

No matter what type of business, industry, size, or employee type you are, onboarding is equally important across the board. By utilizing the practices above, you can create best practices that align with your companies values and mission for onboarding a new employee. When creating this process a few things we suggest to remember is that all onboarding journeys should include an element of; Culture, Objectives, Administration & Team.

Confused on how and where to start creating your efficient employee onboarding? We are here to help. Reach out to one of our top talent advisors and get your talent team and onboarding practices right!

The Ultimate Interviewing Guide

How to Refocus Your Recruiting Efforts and Revitalize Your Interview Process

Interview Guide
by Tasia Allison

Ready to beef up your recruiting process? As we see more teams shift their emphasis from layoffs and restructuring to recruiting again, we want to share a few ways you can refocus your recruiting heading into Q2! Use our short guide of best practices to get the most out of your recruiting process! 

Start With Culture

Always start and end with culture and engrain it along with values into every step of your process! 

  • Establish a defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and share it with every candidate and your internal team.
  • Create a process for candidates to experience your culture first-hand.
  • Regularly re-define talent and skills gaps in your organization and make sure you’re looking to add those skills during your hiring process. 
  • Incorporate your performance review process into your interview process. Using a competency model to reward employee performance? Great, use it to assess your candidates too! 

Always Improve

As you redesign or revamp your process, here are a few of our favorite tips:

  • Establish goals for each phase of your interview process and then train on your process. 
  • Keep it consistent (and legal) from candidate to candidate. 
  • Perform regular assessments of your process. Does it work for you? Your candidate? Try sitting through a few interview experiences from beginning to end and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. 

Stick with Structure

Improving your interview structure and adding resources can enhance your candidate experience and your outcomes. 

  • Create a structured interview guide for each interviewer in each step of your process establishing what questions they should be asking. 
  • Create a scorecard to complement your structured interview guide for each interviewer in each step of your process so they know how they should be evaluating each candidate (consistently and fairly). 
  • Establish which assessments you will use in your interview process and when—maintaining consistency to insure EEOC compliance.
  • Establish an assessment philosophy, for example, we recommend using assessments to prioritize candidates (not disqualify them) and for context to ask behavior-based interview questions. This way, you’ll maximize your organization’s time and move each candidate quickly through the process.
  • Establish who needs to be present at each phase of your process before the first candidate ever walks through your door.

On the fence about adding an external resource to your process? Check out investment benefits here.

Create a Good Candidate Experience

Sometimes we find organizations are so focused on meeting their need and filling a talent gap, they forget they should still be trying to impress candidates and sell their organization.

  • Participate in the experience before and after your revamp with a real candidate to see if the experience meets your expectations. 
  • Offer a tour of the workspaces and facilities. This may be a big factor in your candidate’s decision-making progress.
  • At the end of every interview, communicate the next steps and when you anticipate those next steps taking place. Make sure to actually follow up during that time frame, even if it’s just to check in and keep communication lines open. 
  • Have a plan when real life happens. If someone on your team is late or can’t make the interview, use that as an opportunity to share your culture with the candidate. (Example: Interviewer cancels because their kiddo is sick. Use that as an opportunity to share with your candidate your culture’s focus flexibility and work-life balance)
  • Keep candidates in the loop—even if the loop is letting them know things are at a standstill. Candidates shouldn’t be waiting for weeks for feedback after an interview. 
  • Ask for feedback. Don’t wait for an online review to go live. Create a cadence for asking your candidates how their experience was and if they have recommendations. 

Decline Candidates the Right Way

Hiring someone is easy, declining is definitely a different challenge.

  • We recommend the hiring manager decline candidates. They have the most context for the decline and it continues to develop their skill set of delivering difficult feedback. This keeps the process personal and still allows a positive experience. 
  • Give clear, specific feedback for the reason. If they weren’t a “culture fit” tell them why (ex: “You made a few inappropriate jokes that made others feel uncomfortable, our work requires a high level of professionalism, and I believe you would find it quite difficult to navigate and we don’t believe you would enjoy working here”).
  • Never decline based on experience or something not on the job description. This is every candidate and recruiter’s biggest frustration. (Ex: If you decline a candidate for not having a specific degree after an in-person interview, that’s a cop-out and diminishes your credibility since you had their resume in advance and would have known they didn’t have the specified degree.)
  • Never argue with a candidate! It happens, emotions run high and a candidate may disagree with your decision not to move forward with the offer. Thank them and close out the conversation. 

Track Your Data

We’re all about adding strategic value, so we recommend caution as you go down the metrics path—it’s easy to measure things for the sake of measuring and you want the right metrics to improve! I love the quote by Karl Pearson, “that which is measured, improves”.

  • Focus on only the metrics that add strategic value to your organization. 
  • Communicate and educate your KPIs to your team and your stakeholders and hold employees accountable for meeting them. 
  • Not meeting your goals? Great, now you know where you need to enhance or improve your process!
  • Remember, recruiting metrics evolve over long periods of time, don’t forget to focus on the big picture, too!

Tell us what you think! We’d love to hear your advice, tips, and tricks for revamping your recruiting process. 

Need a little help? Meet with a pro! We’d love to help you revitalize your interview process saving you time, money, and precious (perfect) candidates.

The Benefits of Hiring a Recruiting Firm

The greatest investment a company can make is in its team.
West Michigan Recruiting Firm Owner Ashley Ward

by Nicole Degi

The people that make up your organization are your biggest asset, which is what makes top-notch recruitment so important. Investing in effective recruitment strategies will set your company up for long-term success. Below are some top reasons why partnering with a recruiting firm can be highly beneficial.

Industry & Market Knowledge

Through conversations with both clients and candidates, recruiters gain a vast amount of knowledge of the job market and what employers are looking for. They can provide valuable feedback to both the candidate and the client and set expectations about necessary skill sets, career expectations, salary trends, and what catches an employer’s eye.

Qualified Candidates

As recruiters, we are already tapped into the market, so we have an extensive pipeline of highly qualified pre-screened candidates. We do our due diligence to match the best candidates for specific positions, this way you are not going through hundreds of applicants to find the one, the recruiter has already done that for you! We have already screened the candidate to make sure they are a great match for your role and organization.

The Focus is on You

We take our time to learn about the organization we are representing. From the culture to the values, mission, internal processes, and procedures, we do our leg work ahead of time so that we can accurately represent you as an organization and be your trusted partner in the hiring process.

Job Order Intake

After we have learned about the organization, we do our due diligence to get a deep understanding of the role itself. Who is your ideal candidate? If someone is already in this role and you are adding to the team who do you want to immolate? We learn the ins and outs of the role. From day-to-day job requirements, skills, experience, education requirements to understanding what will make this individual and the company successful to culturally what you are looking for. This allows us to provide you with the best possible candidates to interview that will meet your goals and objectives.

Passive Candidates

Oftentimes, the right candidate is not actively seeking new employment because they are already employed! We put a heavy emphasis on passive candidates who are not currently on job boards and provide you with an untapped market of rock star applicants. The right candidate may not even know an opportunity exists because they are not necessarily on the hunt for their next move. What a recruiter does is tap them on the shoulder to present them with the role.

Evidence-Based Selection Process

We use an arsenal of tools and resources that takes the guesswork out of hiring. Our evidence-based approach places the right person in the right seat. We find the person who will not just do the job but will thrive in the position and produce impactful results for years. We are here to help you align your talent strategy with your business strategy and build long-lasting teams.


By utilizing a professional recruiting firm the probability of filling the role with the right candidate increases. With our scientifically based behavioral assessment tools, we save you thousands of dollars by lessening the risk of not hiring the right person! Recruiters do the research ahead of time for you to ensure that you are only interviewing candidates that meet your criteria.

Faster Hiring

Did you know the best candidates are off the market in 10 days? A recruiting firm can find the best candidates & find them fast. From our large database of qualified and prescreened applicants to our network of connections, we have the right processes in place to fill your open role and fill it quickly.
Lastly, this is what we do! We are your experts in building winning teams. People problems are business problems, let us solve those for you!

Learn more about how Hire For Hope can help you place the right person in the right seat.

The State of Recruiting: Early Market Read 2021

“How is recruiting going? Must be really slow, right?”

West Michigan Recruiting Firm- Tasia Allison

By Tasia Allison

“How’s recruiting going? Must be really slow, right?” These are questions I receive every single day! I’m not sure if it’s true curiosity or if our clients are looking for more assurance that they aren’t the only ones hiring right now. It’s true, recruiting took a major pause in Q2 of 2020, but it’s been back to booming for the last several months. Here’s the skinny on what’s really going on in the recruiting world.

Executives and senior leaders are more engaged in the process than ever before. Instead of connecting through a telephone game of, “who’s looking for what,” we’re working directly with the hiring managers more frequently, as opposed to HR contacts. This could be because HR teams are running leaner than ever or maybe because leaders are taking more personal responsibility to get the right person in the right seat. Either way, we’re seeing a major shift in who is reaching out and recruiting.

Strategy and culture are key requirements for every position! If you thought that was the case before, you’d be surprised. Ever since the economy and our lives were upended last spring, leaders quickly learned they had to trim the fat as recruiting opened back, focus on filling their bench with more players that had skills and abilities for now and the future.

Engagement is playing another huge key in recruiting and culture. With the rise of remote working and businesses clinging to life, leaders are hunting to get engaged members on their team. Why? Because they know an engaged team member with a strong job fit means more discretionary effort. This means they’re looking for team members who do more than punch a clock, but rather put in extra effort because they enjoy their job—and that is carrying these businesses through changes and on to future prosperity. Right now, everyone wants these players on their team! This is one of the single greatest reasons we see a massive uptick at our firm; it’s because we recruit passive candidates helping you find those engaged players. Here’s the deal: engaged employees, are engaged! They aren’t looking for jobs and they definitely aren’t applying to yours—they have to be stolen, and you need a strong head-hunter who can do that for you!

Along the same lines of engaged candidates and strong culture fits, we’re seeing more confidential replacements. You’ve probably seen these super ambiguous job descriptions floating around out there. Confidential searches are utilized to handle sensitive searches without disruption to the organization.  They can be used to replace a current employee who is essential to the business but isn’t performing; a position the business can’t afford to have empty or they can be used to replace an employee who isn’t ready to share with the organization that they are leaving or why. While confidential searches can feel a little taboo, they can be an effective tool when handled by a strong recruiting partner.

So, what type of roles are we seeing early in 2021? Executives in HR, Supply Chain, Finance, and Sales have a lot of movement. We’re finding this is really going back to strategy. Here are some highlights on the function areas:

  • Human Resources: Every HR team was forced to tackle COVID regulations head-on, and just as many teams handled each approach differently. Now we’re seeking the focus shift back to strategy and there’s a big focus now on employee engagement.
  • Supply Chain: If your supply chain wasn’t heavily diversified prior to 2020, it should be now. Companies that thrived during the last 12 months had a strong strategic leader at the helm of their supply chain… and those that didn’t? Well, they’re looking for them now!
  • Finance: Finance recruiting has been heavy all throughout the last year. Teams are pressed for accuracy and financial acumen. Executives have leaned heavily on their finance teams and continue to make adjustments to their bench strength.
  • Sales: With all the pivots to markets and restrictions, companies are looking to bring the best sales hunters to their organizations bating them with uncapped earning potential and flexible schedules and work environments.

Lastly, but not surprisingly, we’re seeing tighter than ever budget constraints for top talent. Some organizations are shrinking their salary budgets while setting higher expectations for candidates and their employees. While we understand the dilemma and constraints, we continue to encourage clients to develop consistent compensation philosophies and external benchmarking.  As the adage goes, “you get what you pay for.”

If you’re looking for recruiting services, be sure to do your diligence with the goal in mind of identifying a trusted, long-term talent partner who understands engagement and culture fit. Click here to speak with me about your recruiting strategy and let’s work together to develop the best strategy for your team!

Currently Reading

The Books Our Team is Loving This Month
Currently Reading Hire for Hope - February

by Ashley Ward

At Hire for Hope, we never stop striving for better. Our team is dedicated to learning all that we can to be better leaders, talent experts and agents of growth for our organization and the businesses we serve. Here are a few books that we’ve been reading lately that we highly recommend!

Traction by Gino Wickman

Traction by Gino Wickman

Traction is my business bible! This book is a company roadmap to success. From the inception of Hire For Hope, I have followed EOS (entrepreneurial operating system). We are also endorsed by a Michigan-based EOS Implementer, Ken Bogard, for referrals of Visionaries to help them recruit and hire Integrators. At the top of each business, the EOS model requires a Visionary (the fast-paced, risk-taker and ideas person) and an Integrator (the execution!). Every great CEO becomes even better with the compliment of a methodical COO by their side. One of Hire For Hope’s specialties is finding that key individual for Visionaries.

How to Be a Great Boss
How to Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman

How to Be a Great Boss is a complementary book to Traction that coaches leaders on how to manage effectively and hold people accountable. This book helps round out my EOS toolset and gives additional information and context to this approach. It helped me get the most out of my people and improve my organization’s performance. This is a simple, quick read for entrepreneurs who want to be great leaders.

Further Faster
Further Faster by Bill Flynn

Many people who have read this book say that they wish more managers and business leaders would read this. This book helps remind managers to be empathetic and view their people as emotional beings who need care and attention. This is another book that has been instrumental for me in developing processes and organizing teams. It also gave great exercises that give actionable steps to take with your staff and take the guesswork out of growth.