Interview Questions to Evaluate a Candidate’s Skill Set

February 27th, 2018

As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources knows that in the recent past, there’s been a big focus on evaluating soft skills during the interview process. While that’s important, don’t also lose sight of assessing each candidate’s technical skills too. They can have a personality that meshes perfectly with your culture; but if they can’t do the job, then they’re not much use to you. That’s why it’s critically important to ask the right questions during the interview.

Before you create a list of questions, though, identify the specific skills each candidate should have. Also, think through the gamut of answers that would make the most sense for each question. To help you in the process, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Describe the most recent project you worked on. What were your responsibilities with it?
  • Describe the project you are most proud of. Why?
  • Do you hold any technical certifications?
  • How do you maintain your technical knowledge and skills?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses in terms of your abilities?
  • What kinds of challenges do you think you’d encounter in this position?
  • Tell me about the most difficult technical challenge you’ve encountered and how you resolved it.
  • What technology is most important to you in your everyday work life?
  • Have you ever been asked to do something you didn’t know how to do? What was your response?

When you’re asking these questions, it’s not only important to assess the answers, but also be on the lookout for certain red flags. For instance, if answers are vague or not clear, dig deeper and ask follow up questions. If the candidate still struggles to answer the question, it could be due to a lack of technical expertise.

Likewise, look for those candidates who are flexible and willing to learn from their successes and failures. As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, we know you don’t want those people who think they’re always right and rigid about how they approach every project. Those who are will be far less likely to collaborate well with your existing team.

Finally, during the interview process, evaluate not just what the candidate says in their answers, but how they say it. For instance, do they seem bored and tired, or full of energy, enthusiasm and passion for their field? If it’s the latter, you’re far more likely to hire a candidate who will become a committed team player.

Need more help interviewing and hiring top technical candidates?

Call the experts at Murray Resources. As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, we can get to work sourcing, screening and vetting high-quality candidates, all while you focus on other business priorities. Contact us today to learn more.

7 Retention Mistakes Employers Make

March 5th, 2013

Millions of capable people are out there, unemployed and looking for work. As a result, your employees aren’t going anywhere, right? After all, who would want to risk taking the plunge to a new company in such an uncertain economy?

Wrong! In fact, according to a 2012 survey by Jobvite, 3 out of 4 workers (75%) are actively looking for or open to new jobs. So retention is a serious issue for every employer!

Unfortunately, as a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources knows that too many employers are just sitting back, assuming it’s a buyer’s market and they don’t have to do much to retain their top employees. This is a huge – and ultimately costly – mistake.

So what are some other mistakes employers make when it comes to retention? Here’s a look at 6 more:

Mistake #1: Thinking no one else is hiring.

Your company may not be hiring. But that doesn’t mean your competition isn’t. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean your competition isn’t trying to woo your top talent away from you with all kinds of perks and offers.

Mistake #2: Not investing in retention.

During tough economic times, it’s tempting to cut areas – like retention strategies – that don’t seem like a priority. Don’t do it! The first employees to leave during tough times can often be your best ones. Then, not only will you be battling a difficult economy, but you’ll be doing it with your B-team, not your A-one.

Mistake #3: Assuming unhappy employees will speak up.

Do you say something every time you have bad service at a store or are disappointed with a product? If you’re like most people, probably not. You simply stop patronizing the store or buying the product. Employees are the same. They’re not always going to speak up when they’re unhappy; they’re just going to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

Mistake #4: Not holding managers accountable for retention.

Most employees don’t leave because they don’t like the company; they leave because they don’t like their boss. That’s why it’s important to tie employee retention to incentives for your managers and ensure it’s a top priority for them, just as productivity is.

Mistake #5: Failure to communicate.

A failure to communicate clear goals and expectations is a retention killer. Employees will wind up feeling confused, uncertain, and ultimately unmotivated and disengaged. This is especially true for new hires; so make sure you communicate early, often, and clearly about your expectations for each and every employee.

Mistake #6: Assuming employees are loyal to your company.

Employee loyalty is a thing of the past. In fact, employee loyalty is at a seven-year low, according to a March 2012 MetLife survey of employee benefits, trends and attitudes. So don’t think you can rest on your laurels when it comes to retention; it’s something you must be aware of and actively invest in on a regular basis. If you don’t, it will cost you.

Need Help With Your Hiring & Retention Process?

If you do, let Murray Resources know. As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, we’ve delivered extraordinary recruiting and staffing solutions to Houston’s leading employers for over 30 years. Let us help you too! Contact Murray Resources today to learn more.

7 Signs Your Leadership Skills Need Some Work

January 8th, 2013

You show up to work each day, ready to hit the ground running, manage your team, and deliver results. And yet, for some reason, your efforts are falling short, whether it’s a lack of respect from your team or less-than-stellar productivity.

What gives?

As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources knows that, for many managers, problems with effective leadership come from a lack of people skills.

So what are some of the people-related mistakes you could be making? Here’s a look at 7:

Sign #1: You don’t listen to your employees.

An employee comes to you for advice, guidance, or to air their frustrations…and you can barely look up from your computer to give them the time of day. You may think you can multi-task – listen and check your email at once. But what you’re communicating to your employee is that their problem isn’t really important enough to require your undivided attention.

Sign #2: You’re always negative.

Being a good leader requires you to be realistic…even when it means you have to tell your team things they don’t want to hear. But always bombarding them with pessimism and negative news – and not balancing it out with anything positive – is a recipe for a deflated and unhappy team.

Sign #3: You’re always positive.

On the flip side, if you’re always looking on the bright side of the situation, and glossing over any potential negatives, you’re not doing your team any favors either. When there are clearly issues or problems going on, employees expect for you to acknowledge them and put forth a plan for dealing with them, not repeat a bunch of empty affirmations.

Sign #4: You micromanage your team.

You are responsible for your team and the results – or lack of – they deliver. This, however, does not mean you should be a helicopter boss, constantly hovering over your employees.

Sign #5: You’re cold.

You show no interest in getting to know your employees on a personal level. You never crack a smile or demonstrate any warmth. Worse, you don’t offer any praise…even when an employee knocks it out of the park. But while you might think you’re simply calm and cool, you’re really coming off as impersonal and detached, impacting employee loyalty.

Sign #6: You’re a slacker.

You’ve earned your spot at the top, so now it’s time to take advantage of the perks in the form of two-hour lunches, leaving early every day, and delegating all your tasks to your team. But your employees aren’t going to respect you and likely aren’t going to work very hard for you as a result.

Sign #7: You’re two-faced.

You treat your boss and your clients like kings and queens, but behind closed doors, your employees must deal with your wrath. Or, perhaps you’re nice to an employee’s face, but then turn around and complain about them to one of their co-workers. This kind of treatment simply undermines morale and is a recipe for high turnover.

Every leader makes mistakes at one time or another. But most employees are smart – and if you’re regularly demonstrating the signs above, then they won’t respect you and will likely move on when an opportunity comes along. So work to sharpen your people skills!

Are You a Leader in Need of Hiring Help?

If part of your leadership issues come from not having the right people in the right positions, Murray Resources can help. As a top staffing agency in Houston, TX, we will partner with you to learn about your staffing needs and unique culture. We’ll then source and screen candidates with the right skills and personality to excel at your company.

Contact Murray Resources today to learn more.


Are You Making These Common Reference Checking Mistakes?

January 1st, 2013

As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources knows that reference checking is one of those steps in the hiring process many managers would like to avoid altogether. After all, what kind of candidate would give you a reference that wasn’t going to offer a glowing or positive review in the first place?

The answer: a lot.

In fact, one quick phone call could help you uncover lies or other unsavory information and take a candidate out of the running. And so while it does certainly require some legwork on your part, it’s well worth it in the end.

To help you get the information you need to make a smart hiring decision, here are some reference checking mistakes to avoid in the future:

Not Digging Deeper By Asking Good Questions.

Many companies have policies that don’t allow a manager or HR representative to do more than confirm an employee’s job title, salary, and tenure with the company; however, many also do not. As a result, you could be leaving vital information on the table if you only ask “yes/no” confirmation questions to candidate-supplied information.

Instead, take some time to dig a little deeper. For instance, ask questions like: “Would you employ John again in the future?” or “What are the top two areas John need to improve in?”

Not Getting References from Managers.

If a candidate gives you references from co-workers only, that could be a sign that they don’t want you to speak directly with past supervisors – a hiring red flag. That’s why it’s important to require that candidates give you two or three references from managers.

Again, even if the manager can simply only confirm employment information, the willingness to offer you a manager as a reference on the part of a job candidate indicates a lack of fear about what you will uncover.

Not Applying the Process Consistently Across All Job Candidates.

When it comes to reference checks, consistency is a must. Not only will it enable you to more accurately evaluate and compare candidates, but it also can help you avoid a claim of discrimination that could result from selective reference checks. So be sure to apply the same reference check process to candidates applying to the same or similar positions.

Not Checking References for Temporary or Contract Workers.

More and more companies are relying on temporary and contract workers today – and yet they neglect to require reference checks as a part of the screening process. But this adds an undue level of risk and liability to an organization.

Need More Help With Your Hiring Process?

If you do, give Murray Resources a call. As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, we can help you find and evaluate today’s top talent – including conducting thorough reference checks, whether for full-time or temporary positions. Contact Murray Resources today to learn more.


Hire Now!