Tag: Human Resources

Best Practices for Creating a Job Description that Stands Out

Post: Aug. 1, 2019


With low unemployment rates in the United States, employers need to find innovative ways to win over candidates. This starts with job descriptions as they are often the first thing candidates will come across when interacting with your organization. Just how employers look for a candidate who sticks out from others, applicants look for the same when researching companies. Luckily, with some best practices; job descriptions can help you target the perfect candidate.

Don’t Underestimate the Job Title
Job titles are pretty self-explanatory and often times, not much thought is put into them. However, if numerous companies in a given area use the same generic title; it will do little to make your organization stand out. Instead, take a moment to think of a way for your job title to differentiate from others. For example, changing Machinist to CNC Operator I. Small changes like these, will catch the eye of a candidate looking in that field. In addition, key words like CNC Operator will help career platforms such as Indeed to put your posting closer to the top of the open jobs list.

Relate the Job Description to your Company Culture
Job descriptions give a sneak peak to candidates about what they can expect from your company. There should be emphasis placed to make sure there is no disconnect between the company mission statement and what the role entails. For example, if your mission statement highlights taking challenges head-on; consider writing a job description that describes projects employees work on for company/personal growth. Connecting your mission statement with a job posting will tell the candidate that your serious about achieving your goals.

Don’t Overload the Requirements Section
In an effort to deter unqualified candidates from applying, many hiring managers will create a laundry list of qualifications needed for the position. Unfortunately, this can backfire by deterring candidates who have the drive/ambition but lack extensive work experience like college graduates. Instead, try creating a separate list for minimum and preferred qualifications. This will help hiring managers go through an applicant pool that has the necessary skills but also is not too restrictive.

Short and Simple
In the age of smartphones and social media, many candidates are ditching a traditional desktop and instead using their phones to apply for jobs. If you ever viewed a poorly designed webpage on a mobile browser; you’ll notice all the text crammed into a small space making it confusing to read. Avoid the same result by creating short paragraphs and utilizing bullet points to get the message across.

Research the Competition
Having difficulty creating an interesting job description? Google can quickly become your greatest asset; simply search for the same job title and compare other companies job postings with yours. This is a great way to determine if your post stands out from the rest and to learn what benefits/compensation are other organizations offering. Salary and perks like vacation time/health insurance are key things that today’s candidates are looking for.

While creating job descriptions can be tedious, spending the extra time to ensure your posting is unique can help you reduce the amount of time the position is up for and attract qualified candidates. Best practices like these, demonstrate how today’s workforce is evolving and employers need to align their business models to benefit from that.

Recruiting Best Practices from the Perspective of an HR Intern

Post: Jun. 6, 2019

Ah summer, the term synonymous with beach weather and vacation. It’s also a time when HR staff look into recruiting college graduates and assessing the company’s needs for the remainder of the year. While the task may seem challenging, our HR Intern sheds some light on important tips your organization should consider when you’re ready to start the candidate search.


Know your audience

Every organization needs a workforce, however if you’re catering to the wrong crowd; you can say goodbye to hiring the candidate of your dreams. The first step is determining how you’re going to reach out to your target audience? Simply having paper applications on-hand in the office won’t entice anyone to stop by. In the digital era we live in, more organizations are turning to social media to promote their open positions. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook let you connect with thousands of individuals with just a few clicks. Small investments into digital recruitment efforts can easily pay off as the number of applicants to choose from goes up. In addition, online job descriptions act as brand advertising for your organization; helping individuals know exactly what products/services you offer.

An applicant tracking systems will become your best friend

With all the digital applications coming through to your organization, you’re going to need a system in place to manage all of that. Software companies like iCIMS which is used by the Council of Industry, easily allow hiring managers to create digital applications with ease and categorize candidates on different criteria sets such as if they should move forward to an interview or not. Need to make a change to a specific job description? No need to re-print paper applications, with a few clicks edits can easily be done. The best part of these system is that all the necessary information HR and business executives need is online 24/7 meaning you can view real-time data on how people are interacting with open jobs.


Digital job descriptions are important but they won’t gain much attention if they’ve been sitting there for months. Research has shown that candidates are less likely to apply for a job once they see it has been open for over 30 days. This is because people will assume the company has found someone or is ready to close the job when that may not be the case. A good practice is to refresh a posting once a month in order to get a steady flow of applicants. Want to look at applicants from prior postings? No worries, iCIMS for example lets you view applicants who applied to the earlier versions of your job description so they don’t just disappear.

Applications: Short and simple

One of the biggest barriers to people applying for jobs is the application process itself. Ever take the time to carefully craft a cover letter and resume only to find out that the application also requires over 5 extended response questions and many multiple-choice questions? While this information is useful to employers; many applicants get discouraged and end up not finishing the application process. A typical application should not take longer than 30 minutes to complete. Simplifying the amount of steps needed to finish an application will help generate more candidates which gives employers more choices when it comes time for adding a new member to your workforce.


Next Steps 


The Council of Industry is dedicated to helping members achieve their workforce goals and can help your company implement these tips. Joining the Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruitment Initiative will give you access to our iCIMS applicant tracking system as well as digital advertising for your job positions on popular social media and career search platforms. For more information, please contact:

Johnnieanne Hansen
Director of Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Program Coordinator



HR Network Meeting Recap: Drug Testing

Post: Apr. 3, 2019

The legalization of medical marijuana and the increasing rise in opioid abuse has made drug testing a hot topic for human resource professionals. The Council of Industry HR Network met on March 27th for presentations by Kathryn Russo, Jackson Lewis PC, and Robyn Seidman and Jean Strella, RJS Solutions LLC, on both the legal aspect and the best practices for drug testing and dealing with substance abuse in the workplace.

Russo opened her presentation by discussing how even though marijuana is legal in several states for both medical and recreational use it is still illegal under the Federal Government. This means that if you are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, it remains unacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the DOT’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana, whether for medical reasons or not.

While medical marijuana is connected to an employee’s disability, it is permissible for employers to prohibit the use, possession and being under the influence of it while at work. The difficult part is when it comes to drug testing or if an employee volunteers that they use medical marijuana off-duty. Because the drug stays in the body for such an extended period of time after use someone using medical marijuana will test positive for the drug even if they never use it at work.

Whatever is affecting employee performance on the job it is important to approach the situation with documented observations of behaviors and the resulting effects in the workplace.  This, as Seidman and Strella explained, is true whether it is recreational drug or alcohol use or prescription medication that is affecting an employee’s performance. When discussing this concern with the employee it is also important to not make accusations of drug or alcohol abuse as this could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Following up with support such as a referral to an employee assistance program is very important. The key points for this interaction are to be tactful, ensure confidentiality and to refrain from being judgmental.

There was also discussion of what drugs are best to test for and whether testing for marijuana is even useful in the current climate. It is important to remember to consult with your legal counsel whenever you have questions on topics such as this because each situation is unique and the legal landscape is constantly changing.

With over 30 attendees this is one of our largest network meetings and Council member Access: Supports for Living hosted and provided a delicious lunch.  They delivered a presentation on the many valuable programs they provide the community such as: Behavioral Health Services for Adults, Family & Children’s Services, Foster Care/Child Welfare Services.

Council members may find that Access: Business Solutions which offers custodial services, facilities management and contract manufacturing such as assembly work, to be of particular interest. Members looking to expand their workforce may also want to know more about their Supported Employment program that is helping people with disabilities prepare for, get, and keep meaningful employment in the community.

What To Do About Millennials & Generation Z in the Manufacturing Workplace

Post: Jan. 29, 2019


By Guest Blogger: Skip Weisman 

I continue to hear complaints from business owners about the younger “millennial” generation in the workplace. I find it comical. I really do.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

1) The “younger” generation has always been a problem in the workplace. Even the more senior/veteran generation in the current workplace was the problem in the workplace when they were the younger generation.

2) This “younger” millennial generation is currently leading some of the largest, most highly valued companies in the world, so they can’t be all bad. I’m talking about people like, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and:

  • Lyft found John Zimmer, 34
  • Spotify founder Daniel Ek, 35
  • Instagram founder, Mike Krieger, 32
  • WordPress founder, Matthew Mullenweg, 34

Before you give me a hard time that it’s all men in that list, check out this list of 15 female millennial and Generation Z (the generation after the Millennials) entrepreneurs you haven’t heard of yet, but you may very soon.

3) A generation is a very long window of time, between 15-20 years. As I have posited to my audiences in my seminars on this topic, “do you think an older Millennial at 35 years of age, has the same needs, desires, and interests as a 21 year old Millennial?” They all agree the answer is “no.”

My point is that there are good and bad people in every generation, there are wide variances in needs, desires, and interests across the timeline of people in each generation. It’s time to stop blasting an entire generation.

Do those in the Millennial generation and Generation Z have different attitudes, habits, work ethics, and interests than those in the older generation? Absolutely! 

Is the younger generation growing up without an interest in working with their hands beyond typing on a keyboard or using their thumbs to communicate? Absolutely!

Is this going to make it harder for manufacturing companies to find qualified, skilled, and already trained workers to step into roles? Absolutely!

Just like every younger generation always has different quirks than the older generation. 

Yes, it may be more acute than ever for manufacturers and other trade industries because of the dearth in fundamental skills required in those work environments, but it’s not impossible to overcome.

It starts with a mindset shift on the part of the leaders of the manufacturing firms. Instead of expecting ready made machinists, welders, and others needed in a manufacturing process, it may require an expectation of finding those who want an opportunity to learn a trade and invest in them first.

This may have some advantages:

  • They come with little or no bad habits in doing your type of work.
  • You can mold them to be what you need them to be and teach them your way from the beginning.
  • They become pretty loyal since you and those at your company gave them a chance and became their mentor.

Every generation comes into the work environment with some deficiencies that cause challenges for those in charge and need to get things done. It’s just our turn now to be on that side.

Some may remember that back in the 1950s and early 60s when the older generation was thinking Elvis Presley and the Beatles were undermining society?

At the beginning of the 1970s the flower children of the late 60s came into the workforce with an attitude to “not trust anyone over 30.”

Not long after I started my small business coaching and consulting,  about 10 years ago, I had a client who complained to me about the work ethic and the focus of his Gen Y employees.

His complaint was that they weren’t motivated enough for advancement. They were too complacent and comfortable and only wanted to focus on their personal life and family. They weren’t ambitious enough for him.

Now, this generation, for some, is too ambitious. They have an “entitlement” mentality, think they know it all and should be advancing before they’re ready.*

You can’t have it both ways.  And, I will argue you should want more of the latter and less of the former. They’re easier to mold and coach to become what they want and what you may need.

I say embrace that latter mentality and use it to your company’s advantage.

Every one of my clients has at least one young millennial who is a superstar at their company, pushing older generation folks to get better, faster, up to speed on technology.

I think that’s a good thing.

Maybe the problem isn’t the younger generation in the workforce but the older generation doing the hiring.

And, remember, if you’re still worried about the Millennial generation in the workplace, it’s too late. You better start learning about Generation Z, which is already starting to infiltrate the workplace.  

*(SIDE NOTE: You may also have the alternative “entitlement” mentality. That’s the other end of the generation scale with veteran employees who expect to have their job and their salary increases without improving their skills, keeping up with technology, not expecting to have to bring any additional value to the company as they wait for the calendar to turn the page to retirement.)

COI Collaborate Recruitment Initiative Success Story

Post: Jan. 8, 2019


Hiring competent, high quality candidates for open positions is a challenge for all organizations. In an effort to simplify the process for our members the Council of Industry recently began using the applicant tracking software, iCIMS. iCIMS allows Human Resource professionals to more efficiently manage the recruitment process, and helps lessen some of the challenges associated with filling open positions. Debra Sherman, the Human Resources Director at Fair-Rite Products for the last 19 years, started using the program about 10 months ago and is extremely satisfied with the results.

Prior to using iCIMS Debra was using Excel Spreadsheets to manage her applicants, and filed resumes manually. She noted the difficulty with sorting through paper resumes and trying to remember which candidates possessed the qualifications she was looking for. During her search to find an applicant tracking system that met her needs the Council of Industry introduced her to iCIMS. The ease of use, and ability to simply search for specific skill sets listed on candidates’ resumes, sparked her interest in the software. She posted her first job on the system 10 months ago, which also published the position to Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and several other employment-oriented platforms. Since that date Fair-Rite Products has posted 29 open positions, received over 560 applications, and filled 16 of those positions.

Debra knew that the software was going to be a success when iCIMS helped her fill a position that Fair-Rite had open for over a year. She was struggling to find a qualified candidate to fill an Applications Engineer position, and had little success uploading the job to LinkedIn and other platforms herself. Once she uploaded the job to iCIMS she finally found the right candidate for the position, and filled the job in just a few short months. Debra believes that iCIMS played a big role in finally finding the ideal person for the job.

iCIMS has vast capabilities, and the Council of Industry continues to assist its members in understanding how to fully utilize the software in order to get the best results. Debra described the system as “robust” and likes that it gives her the ability to easily weed out non-qualified candidates. She also commented on the convenience of always knowing the number of candidates who applied for a job, having the ability to sort candidates by their commuting distance, reviewing the number of days it took to fill a position, and quickly emailing applicants through the system’s email templates. Debra believes that the ability to notify rejected candidates when a position has been filled is a common courtesy that was difficult, if not impossible, to do before she had access to the iCIMS automatic email templates. Now she can easily contact all rejected candidates with just a few clicks.

The success that Debra has experienced at Fair-Rite is a prime example of how beneficial the collaborative recruitment initiative can be for our members. Debra stated that, “The Council of Industry’s solution to our applicant tracking needs has been a huge success and has far surpassed my expectations.” Moving forward she hopes to fully eliminate the paper application with the help of the Council of Industry.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Collaborative Recruitment Initiative please contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or (845) 565- 1355 to discuss your recruitment obstacles and decided if this initiative is right for you. We are always willing to set up a time to speak with you about the capabilities of iCIMS and provide a demonstration of the system.

Increase Hiring Success in 5 Simple Steps

Post: Oct. 18, 2018


Today’s job market is candidate-driven, and with the unemployment rate steadily falling companies need to competitively pursue quality candidates. Especially in the manufacturing industry where companies are struggling to catch these quality candidates before they’re snatched up. This means that old hiring practices must be updated to better suit the market. However, completely revising these processes takes significant time and money. Luckily there are five simple adjustments that hiring managers can implement today to increase success.

Accelerating the interview process can make a major difference. When the process gets dragged on candidates can lose interest or accept a position elsewhere. An easy first step to making this a reality is examining the current timeline and finding potential hold ups. A shorter hiring process can go a long way in the eyes of a candidate.

Consistent communication is also important. Communicating with candidates constantly will keep them engaged and reduce ambiguity. This is especially critical when there is a delay in the process. Communicating at least once a week is recommended, even when there is nothing new to report.

Posting jobs on mobile platforms is a more convenient way to reach candidates. When candidates have the ability to view a positions from a mobile devise they’re more likely to apply. Eliminating the need for candidates to access a computer will increase the amount of applicants.

Transparency is key! Be upfront with candidates about salary and benefits. Waiting until you extend an offer is too late to inform candidates of these details.

Finally, make a competitive offer. Do the research to find out what other companies are offering candidates for similar positions. It would be a waste of time to go through the entire interview process and make an offer that isn’t competitive. Being informed will allow you to make a competitive offer the first time.

For more details read the full article here.

Manufacturing Company Offers Drug Treatment Program to Applicants

Post: Jul. 27, 2018

Belden, a manufacturing company in Richmond, Indiana, extrudes, weaves, and coats wires that are used in television and Internet installation. The company has been in operation for over a century and is the second largest employer in Wayne County. However, more recently the company is getting attention for their drug treatment program. The program, paid for by the company, allows job applicants who fail the drug screen to receive treatment, and a job offer upon completion.

The drug epidemic is making it increasingly difficult for companies to find qualified workers. Specifically in the manufacturing industry it’s become a challenge to find skilled workers to fill open positions as the current workforce nears retirement age, and even more so when applicants cannot pass drug screens. This program, which is considered to be the first of its kind, gives applicants the chance to improve themselves and the company at the same time. So far they’ve experienced great success and have filled 17 positions though this program in just 4 months.

There are several challenges though, most notably the cost. The initial estimate for treatment was $5,000 per participant, but as with anything there were unanticipated factors that increased the cost further. Some individuals required transportation to the treatment, and participants can’t begin work until they’re drug-free for several months. However, the company is entirely committed to this solution and they feel that the benefits will soon outweigh the costs.

To find out more about the program, and how its help Belden’s employees, you can read the full article here.