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Ira Wolfe

Ira S Wolfe is President of Success Performance Solutions and author of several books including Perfect Labor Storm 2.0 and Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization.

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Who’s to Blame for the Perfect Fit Syndrome ?

by Mar 6, 2014, 5:09 am ET

An employer trying to hire the perfect candidate is in many ways a good thing. It’s a significant improvement from the days of hiring anyone who could fog a mirror. But has the pendulum gone too far?

The answer is a resounding yes. A perfect candidate does not exist. He never has, he never will. The best any manager could hope for is the candidate who has many of the essential skills and experiences, lots of potential, a willingness to learn and develop continuously, and is engaged with and by the culture. That’s a tall order — a very tall order and one that many managers take to extremes.

The result of falling victim to The Perfect Fit Syndrome is that sometimes these positions are never filled. I’ll admit that might be the extreme case but it’s also not so uncommon.  Many managers place the sole blame on the poor quality of job applicants.

But that’s a cop-out and one excuse that senior management has bought hook, line, and sinker.  keep reading…

Why Good Candidates Fail: Beware the 90 Percent Job Fit

by Feb 11, 2014, 1:20 am ET

I receive frequent requests for pre-employment tests that provide a job fit score. These scores provide a pseudo “Dummies Guide to Hiring” — a lazy manager’s approach to screening job applicants.

Make no mistake about it: assessment systems that include a score make it easy to screen out high-risk candidates.  They are a time-saver and reduce the assessment learning curve for recruiters and hiring managers.

But the inclusion of a job fit score or “hire/don’t hire” rating is susceptible to abuse and misuse. It’s not the inclusion of the score that is inherently bad. The problem arises when Mike the Manager hires or rejects a candidate based exclusively on the score alone. keep reading…

Where to Find Dependable, Intelligent, and Hard-Working Employees

by Jan 17, 2014, 6:26 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 1.25.30 PMSay hello to your newest employee Baxter.

He stands three feet, one-inch tall and weighs 165 pounds. He’s dependable and works well on teams and alone. He’s very productive especially performing tasks most employees don’t like to do such as stocking shelves and order picking. He doesn’t take breaks or vacation and doesn’t require health care and retirement benefits. He costs only about $3 per hour, less than half a minimum wage. Best of all he can work 24 hours per day, and seven days each week without violating labor laws! keep reading…

8 Questions You Need to Ask to Turn Around Employee Turnover

by Oct 15, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Some of you like turnover, I realize: after all, you’re recruiters. But others on this site are in-house recruiters who’d like to keep who they’ve recruited. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are a small company or multi-national, selling food, clothes, or technology, or servicing patients or homeowners. Employee turnover is affecting every organization in every industry from New York to California, from Canada to Japan. Even India and China are beginning to experience high rates of turnover.

That begs the question: Why do employees leave? keep reading…

How Capable Are Your Employees? 4 Indicators to Get the PICK of the Litter

by Feb 1, 2013, 5:12 am ET

commodoreHave you ever been stuck using a painfully slow and inefficient computer because it still worked?

Just a few weeks ago, I emptied my garage and office of over a dozen CPUs, printers, and monitors. The cargo area, back seat, passenger seat, floors of my SUV were filled with equipment and components. During the short drive to the local computer recycling center, I was struck by a strange thought: the similarity between these still working working-but-outdated computer hardware and many employees in jobs whose best days have passed.

The simple truth is these functional, reliable, and hard-working computers were no longer able to keep up with the tasks I needed them to do — and when they did, it took too long. Booting up took 5 to 10 minutes, sometimes longer. The operating systems — you know the Windows “stuff” like Windows 98, Vista, and even XP — kept crashing. The CPUs took too long to process information. They couldn’t handle new software upgrades. The hard drives were full and the boards couldn’t support new ones. The modems needed to be replaced because good, consistent high-speed connections required new versions. And let’s not forgot the 15-inch black-and-white monitors. Need I go on?

That same resourceful philosophy for many of us, my friends, doesn’t stop with computers. Many workforces today are filled with loyal, dependable, hard-working employees whose skills don’t match the needs of the organization anymore. keep reading…

2 Things You Should Know About the Skills Shortage

by May 30, 2012, 3:18 pm ET

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t read a blog, LinkedIn discussion, or business article challenging the existence of a skilled worker shortage.

Just last week I presented a keynote address to the Executive Women’s Roundtable in Dallas, Texas. Most of the attendees were shocked by the statistics and trends I presented about skilled worker shortages. As suspected, I encountered a few objections. Most of the arguments targeted employers. The antagonists say that management in many companies simply refuses to pay qualified workers what they are worth. I can’t argue with them on that accusation. That is absolutely true.

Some employers still don’t get it — that high unemployment does not equal more qualified workers in this new global and technology-driven economy. The bar for minimum requirements has been raised substantially. Many previously employed and experienced workers now fall under the bar. To recruit and retain skilled workers, employers will need to re-examine how they compensate their workforce.

Supply and demand also plays a part. The supply of workers — domestic and international — available to do many task-oriented jobs far exceeds demand. Jobs that were once a sure bet to middle-class wages can now be performed at a fraction of a cost in developing countries or by automation.  For those workers holding a high school diploma or less with no secondary education or trade school experience, I see low-wage, low-skill positions in your future.

But none of these arguments negates the fact that the U.S. has a significant and growing skills shortage. You need look no further than educational attainment, high school dropout rates, and basic literacy to see that U.S. employers are facing an acute shortage of skilled workers.

I can summarize my “case” for skilled worker shortages with two points. keep reading…

Colonoscopies and Pre-Employment Tests Have a Lot in Common

by Feb 21, 2012, 5:24 am ET

What I learned recently is that colonoscopies and pre-employment testing have a lot in common. First of all, managers and employees dislike, maybe even detest, the seemingly invasive nature of both evaluations. Second, you can’t fake out the results — what physicians see and personality tests reveal is simply “what it is.” Both assessments, when properly administered, are objective and neutral. Finally, both the colonoscopy and personality tests are critical for detecting or preventing “cancers” from spreading in your body and organization respectively.

How did I come up with this crazy comparison? I’m not sure. Let’s just say the analogy just appeared — one of those “aha” moments — during a conversation with a client. She had just completed an evaluation of several employee assessments for her company.

Here’s a little background that prompted her search. keep reading…

Economy: Heal Thyself Is a Foolhardy Approach

by Jul 18, 2011, 3:38 pm ET

Following the release of the June unemployment figures, House Speaker John Boehner released a statement that began with: “The American people are still asking the question: where are the jobs?

Boehner is not alone. A lot of people of all political, economic, and social persuasions seem to be asking the same question. But because many of us have been exhorting for years that such a scenario was inevitable, the current job crisis should be no surprise. More importantly, it should be more than obvious that strategies that worked in the past would not work in the future. As Peter Drucker once said, “the greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”

A new report released by McKinsey Global Institute seems to confirm that political rhetoric and populist driven strategies won’t be enough to see the United States return to full employment before 2020.

The report includes quite a few compelling statistics that I hadn’t seen before, at least not in these terms: keep reading…

Are Your Employees Cut Out for Virtual Work?

by Jun 28, 2011, 5:50 am ET

Telecommuting can attract and retain employees. It can even save you money. But not all employees or companies are cut out for virtual work.

Providing the tools and technology are easy. The tough question an employer must answer is: how do we hire and manage the right teleworker?

Like employees who fill every other job, some workers are natural fits, while others seem to be the square peg forced into a round hole. Telecommuting requires different skills than working out of an office, even if the job responsibilities and requirements are exactly the same.

Recent research out of Global Integration Inc. identified the traits of successful virtual workers and telecommuters. The most successful virtual workers are self-reliant and self-motivated. That sounds like the perfect fit for an ambitious introvert, but the “lone wolf” tends not to perform very well on virtual teams. keep reading…