Hiring? Get Strategies for Improving the Interview Process

May 22nd, 2018

The job interview is your ticket to finding the best candidates to hire. The more effective it is, the better your hiring decisions will be.

Sounds simple enough, right? And yet, according to statistics, nearly half of new hires fail on the job within the first 18 months. All of those might not be due to weak interviews. However, as one of Houston’s seasoned staffing firms, we know that many hiring mistakes can be avoided by a sound process that helps you interview more consistently and effectively. To help improve yours, here are a few strategies to put to use:

Make sure interviewers are trained

If the people conducting interviews aren’t on the HR staff – and are managers in their departments instead – make sure they’re thoroughly trained on interview best practices. For instance, you want to instruct them to evaluate candidates more on facts, not on hunches or impressions. Likewise, you can provide behavioral based interview training so they have the tools and tactics needed to take a deeper dive into a candidate’s background and experience.

Be transparent about the opportunity

Talk to every candidate about what the position entails and what it’s like to work at the company. When they ask about challenges that come with the role, be honest. Don’t try to sidestep these kinds of questions. Also, don’t make claims that aren’t true. If a candidate does accept the job based on inaccurate information, they probably won’t stick around for long.

Offer a positive candidate experience

The interviewer isn’t the only doing the evaluating. Candidates too are sizing up your organization and the opportunity. It’s important not to lose sight of that in the interview process and to create a positive candidate experience as a result.

When candidates are left in the dark after an interview, are treated rudely by a staff member, or aren’t given the time to ask questions during an interview, it’s going to impact their impression of your company. Even if you don’t end up hiring them for the current position, they could be the right fit for one down the line. So you want to put your best foot forward with each one.

Ask candidates why they want to work for you

There are plenty of candidates out there looking for just any job. You want the ones who have a strong desire to work at your company and land this opportunity. To find them, ask why they want the job. If they don’t have an answer, then they’re probably not the right fit.

Schedule two rounds of interviews

It can be tough to tell whether a candidate is right for the job after just one interview. That’s why it’s important to schedule a second one. Interviewers can take the time needed to regroup and reflect on candidates. In addition, a second interview offers an opportunity to get behind the candidate mask and dig deeper into each one’s background.

Get better hires with Murray Resources

Don’t have the time or resources to devote to the hiring process? Let Murray Resources help. As one of Houston’s top staffing firms, we can deliver the talent you need through a rigorous sourcing, interviewing and hiring process. We can even conduct skills testing and background checks, all to ensure you get the high-quality people you need. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

Helpful Hints on How to Make a Successful Career Transition

October 28th, 2012

Making a career transition can be an exciting opportunity to do new things and accomplish bigger goals. Before you make the leap, however, it’s important that you prepare yourself for this important change in your life.  Murray Resources—one of the leading Houston staffing agencies—has assembled 7 tips to help you make a successful career transition.

1) Do Your Homework

Prepare yourself for your new career by doing as much research as you can. A new career path may require you to develop new skills or learn new technology, so start researching and following industry publications, blogs, and thought leaders. The more you read, the more comfortable you will be with industry specific news and jargon. If there are particularly companies you’re interested in following, set up a Google alert to notify you when those companies are in the news.

2) Discuss the New Career With Other People

Start talking to friends and acquaintances in your target industry to learn as much as you can about the business. Ask for introductions to contacts who are on similar career paths and offer to take them to lunch. Learn about their day-to-day life and the pros and cons of their position. The more data you have about the industry and your potential career path, the more likely you are to make an informed decision.

3) Prepare yourself mentally

Most Houston staffing agencies advise their clients to prepare mentally before attempting a career transition. Have a clear idea of the steps you need to take to move seamlessly into your new role. A new position may require more responsibilities than your last one, added pressure, and an steep learning curve. Be prepared with an effective strategy for tackling the additional workload.

4) Be Prepared for Uncertainty

Even the most successful career transitions come with a period of uncertainty. Your new company may do things quite differently than the last one you worked for and it takes time to learn new policies and procedures. If you prepare yourself for uncertainty, you’ll be more likely to adapt to unfamiliar situations.

5) Have a Clear Idea of Where You Want to Go

Another way to ensure you will have a successful career transition is to map out your desired career path. If you are moving on to a different career track entirely, you should have a good idea of what that work entails. Sitting down to work out a 1, 3 and 5 year plan for yourself is a great way to be sure you are working towards your long-term goals.

6) Make Sure Your Finances Are in Order

Before you make a big change in your professional life, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have your financial situation under control. As soon as you can, build a savings fund that you can rely on during this transition period. Keep any debt under control as well. If you keep your finances in order, it’s one less thing to worry about during your transition.

7) Stay on Good Terms With Your Former Coworkers and Employer

In addition to just being the “right thing to do”, it makes good business sense to stay on good terms with your former employer. You’ll likely find yourself in need of a professional reference at some point in your career and you want your future employers to hear glowing testimonials about your performance.

Making a career transition can be the start of an exciting new phase of your life and the more prepared you are for this change, the less stressed and happier you’re likely to be. Whether or not you’re working with one of the leading Houston staffing agencies, following the above 7 steps will help ensure a more successful career transition.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top Houston staffing agencies – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Also, if you’re in the Houston area, be sure to attend the  Murray Resources “Resume and Cover Letter Tips and Techniques” workshop November 8! Receive individualized feedback and advice on how to craft an effective cover letter and resume that will successfully convey your interest to prospective employers.

Advance tickets are being sold for $25 through November 7th, and tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $35. Purchase your tickets online with a friend and receive a 20% discount for the both of you!


How Loyal Are Your Employees?

August 2nd, 2011

Less than you might think.

In fact, according to a recent MetLife study, only 44% of small business employees feel loyal toward the company they worked for in 2010. That might not sound so bad, until you consider the fact that that number is down from 62% in 2008.

So why the drastic drop?

While there were a variety of reasons stated, the primary one was dissatisfaction with employee benefits. Approximately 50% of those surveyed who are not very satisfied with their benefits hoped to be working for another employer. On the other hand, 72% of those who were very satisfied with their benefits also felt a very strong sense of loyalty to their employer.

But, according to data gleaned from the survey, when it comes to benefits programs, it’s not necessarily about spending more in order to achieve more loyalty. It’s about optimizing your offerings, understanding your employees’ needs, and communicating openly and often.

Offering Non-Medical Benefits

The study showed that about half of the employees surveyed found it important to offer a comprehensive benefits program that included access to life, dental, and disability insurance, even if the employees themselves had to pay all of the costs. Wellness programs were another benefit that employees expressed serious interest in.

Understanding What’s Important to Your Employees

There seems to be a gap between what drives loyalty for employees and what employers think drives loyalty. For example, 38% of employers believe that retirement benefits are important loyalty drivers, while 64% of employees believe they are. Quite a difference!

What’s more is that in this economy, the stress of struggling with financial concerns has taken a toll on many employees, contributing to a rise in health-related costs and a decrease in employee productivity. As a result, 52% of employees reported being interested in receiving financial information and advice through a workplace education program.

Ramping Up Communication Efforts

According to the study, approximately 55% of all employees do not find their benefits materials to be clear and comprehensive. In addition, only about one in four were satisfied with their benefits communications. Among the changes employees wanted to see most were:

  • Information available on the Internet
  • More frequent communication
  • Information tailored to life events

While changing the way you communicate about benefits may not seem like a major priority, it can have a big impact. In fact, it can be the difference between benefits that are clearly understood and valued, and benefits that are overlooked or underutilized.

The bottom line is that in this economy, employee loyalty is more important than ever – especially among your star performers. However, if you are experiencing more turnover than you’d like, Murray Resources is here to help. As one of Houston’s premier staffing firms, we can partner with you to not only attract and hire the best talent, but also develop strategies for reducing turnover and maintaining employee loyalty. Contact us to learn more.

5 Ideas for Employee Recognition

December 14th, 2010

Handing your top performing employees a catalog in which to choose a variety of useless tchotchkes emblazoned with a company logo isn’t exactly the best way to recognize them for a job well done. That said, as a Houston staffing firm, we know that employee recognition is important to the success of your organization. When you recognize people, you reinforce the behaviors and actions you most want them to repeat. In addition, employee who feel appreciated, produce better results.

So how can you best recognize employees for their work at your Houston company? Here are some ideas:

1. Offer praise.

Praise is probably one of the easiest, most effective – and underutilized – forms of recognition. Be generous with your praise and offer it regularly. And don’t just praise your star performers who deliver on important projects or help you increase sales. Make sure you also praise those employees who are dependable and consistent team players.

2. Write a thank you letter.

Writing a thank you letter that recognizes the specific contribution an employee made will go a long way in making that employee feel appreciated. It may sound overly simply, but a letter will generate a feeling of goodwill and loyalty. Not sure where to get started? Here are some tips:

  • In your letter, describe the employee’s behavior or actions, and thank them for the contribution they made.
  • Make sure you give your employee the letter near the time the event you’re praising took place.
  • A handwritten note is great, but an email is also effective as long as it doesn’t come off like a form letter.

3. Give bonuses.

End of the year bonuses, attendance bonuses, or performance bonuses are great ways to say “thank you.”

4. Give gifts.

Know your employees’ interests enough to give gifts that will mean something to them. So if you know an employee is a foodie, give him or her a gift certificate to a hot new restaurant in Houston. Or, if you know your employee enjoys playing golf, a certificate for a free round will be much appreciated.

5. Present the recognition publicly.

Magnify the value of the recognition by naming the employee publicly, putting the employee’s name in a company newsletter, or sending out an email announcement.

What about you? Do you have an employee recognition program in place? If so, how do you recognize and reward your employees? We want to know!

Should You Consider Behavioral Interviewing?

November 2nd, 2010

Does past performance indicate future performance? That’s the theory behind behavioral interviewing. The logic is that by asking questions about how a candidate acted in very specific employment-related situations, you can gain more insight into a candidate’s track record and how their past behavior has contributed (or not) to their success.

With traditional interviewing, a candidate can get away with telling you what you want to hear. On the other hand, with behavioral based interview questions, it’s much more difficult for a candidate to dole out the typical interview rhetoric because you’re asking for specific examples.

That said, behavioral based interviewing isn’t your best option for every position you’re trying to fill. For instance, if you’re looking to fill an entry level position, candidates probably won’t have enough experience to draw on in order to answer your questions. That’s why behavioral interviewing is better for professional level and management positions.

So what are some examples of good behavioral based questions to ask? Here are 17, organized by category:

Problem Solving

1. Describe a time when you had to quickly assess the situation and develop a plan, or respond immediately to a problem.
2. Tell me about a situation where you missed an obvious solution to a problem.
3. Tell me about a time when you anticipated a potential problem and created and implemented preventative measures to deal with it.


4. Describe a time where you were able to motivate staff to achieve positive results.
5. Have you ever made a mistake when delegating work? Tell me about it.
6. Describe a project in which you took the lead and produced good results.

Team Work

7. Have you ever had to deal with a difficult co-worker? How did you handle the situation?
8. Describe a situation where you were able to achieve good results even though team members had different view points.


9. Describe a situation in which you were able to successfully sell your idea to someone else.

Work Quality

10. Tell me about project you were involved in that had positive results.
Tell me about a project you were involved in that did not deliver. What would you have done differently?

Decision Making

12. Tell me about a time you had to make an unpopular decision.
13. Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with very little information to go on.
14. Give me an example of a decision you made that you regretted.

Working Under Pressure

15. Give an example of a time you worked well under pressure.
16. Tell me about a time when you missed a deadline. What would you have done differently?


17. Describe an example of a time in which you were able to use your creativity to solve a problem.

If you’d like more information on behavioral based interviewing questions or techniques, or you need help with the interviewing and hiring process, please contact Murray Resources. With more than 20 years of experience as a Houston staffing firm, we can help you source, screen, and hire the proven people you need.

Hire Now!