The HIRECLICK Team’s Thanksgiving Reflections

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, schools and restaurants closed, lost joyful routines of life and millions out of work or under-employed, a holiday about gratitude might feel a little off.

No in-person Turkey Trots. Empty place settings. Fewer side dishes (but, also fewer dishes to clean). No backyard football at halftime of the NFL games. Virtual hugs and Zoom get-togethers with extended friends and family. Thankful still? You bet.

If you ask folks here at HIRECLICK if they have anything to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, you’ll get a surprising wealth of words:

“I am always thankful for family and friends. Especially this year, with all the things that have gone on. I am also thankful for the many clients that I get to work with on a daily basis and a job that I really enjoy.” – Glen

“I am thankful that my family has been safe and healthy.” – Manda

“I’m thankful for a healthy family. Also that the kids are still living about as normal of a life they can in these times. They still go to school, plays sports and participate in activities and see their friends.”
– Matt

“During the holidays, it is always nice to reflect on what’s truly important.  This year, I am most thankful for the meaningful connections I have with my family and friends, my pets (two dogs + two cats) and my mentors/co-workers/acquaintances/associates.  The people in my life bring me great joy, and I feel extremely blessed and grateful to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.  I am also grateful for good health, and the unlimited opportunities to obtain the highest level of abundance and happiness this life can offer!” – Sam

“Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday since childhood. Two most important things I have always been thankful for is family and friends. And this year even makes that even more intense as I have missed out on so much time with both! Here is to a great 2021!” – Rich

“I am thankful for my health, family, and my job.”
– Jordan

“If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s not to take anything for granted. There are plenty of reasons to want to wish this year far—far away, but I want to focus on the silver linings. I’m thankful for my health after my own bout with COVID-19 and for the good health of my family and friends. I’m grateful for technology like Zoom and GoToMeeting (yes, I know everyone is really tired of staring at people on a screen, but hear me out), which has kept us safe and made it possible for me to complete the first semester of my PhD program even though I never stepped foot on campus. I’m also so grateful for the resiliency and ingenuity of all the small business owners out there during this most challenging year. However you decide to be thankful, keep it going throughout 2020 and beyond.”
– Steph

“I’m thankful that my family has remained healthy, employed and relatively unscathed in these trying times. I’m thankful that the end of the pandemic appears to be in sight, and for the science that makes that possible.”
– Jim

“I am thankful for the opportunity to help clients solve one of their largest challenges. I am equally thankful to work with an amazingly talented team that are driven to be the best.”
– Scott

Looking for ideas about how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving this year? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have excellent resources available on their website.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hiring Tip: Are you “Always looking for good people”?

In operating several local job boards in the upper Midwest, we have had the pleasure of engaging with thousands of local employers. While much has changed through that last 15 years, two common themes have stayed the same.  We consistently hear the following statements from employers:

1) It is getting harder and harder to attract quality workers.

2) We are “Always looking for good people”.

Both statements speak to the fierce competition for local workers. However, the “always looking for good people” statement intrigues me the most.  I am always surprised how many companies indicate that this is the case, but do not have an actionable plan to support it.

A common way to tackle hiring is to address the hiring needs only when the openings arise.  Typically, companies would identify a need, then advertise the job openings in various sources. This generates applicants and hopefully leads to a hire within 60-90 days. 

After the hire, job postings expire and, typically, recruitment efforts go dark until the next job opening occurs.  As employers, we should be leery about this on again/off again hiring strategy.  Top Resume indicates that the average U.S. Job Search lasts for 5 months. So… if your job listings last for 60-90 days, but the average search lasts for 5 months, a dangerous gap is created and could be costing you quality local employees.

Hiring platforms such as HIRECLICK fill these gaps by allowing your business to have an “Always On” careers website that not only lists your open positions, but one that tells your story and provides valuable information to jobseekers that are trying to research you.  LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions group indicates that 75% of jobseekers will research you online prior to applying for one of your job openings.  If a jobseeker researched your company, what would they find?  If you did not have any active job postings, how would they learn about you as an employer or fill out an employment application? 

Just as your company web site has elevated in importance to your customers, a careers site is essential in providing potential jobseekers with the information that they need, when they want it. HIRECLICK is a turnkey hiring system that includes a careers web site that you can be proud of. It hosts all your open job positions and submits them to all the 3rd party job search sites that matter. Last, rather than facing unpredictable costs for advertising job openings, HIRECLICK operates on a low monthly flat rate… starting at only $99 per month.

Learn more about HIRECLICK by taking a self-guided product tour or receive a price quote for your business.

Writing Job Ads that convert quality candidates.

The process of announcing job openings has been in existence for nearly 100 years. What started as posting job openings on an internal break room wall rapidly changed to creating job notices that were listed in various advertising formats, from newspapers, to digital forums, to today’s multi-platform digital environment.  Through this evolution, most Employers have refused to change the way in which they “announce” their job openings and struggle to attract quality job applicants for their open job positions.

Sadly, many employers are still using their internal job descriptions to distribute their job listings on job boards and national search sites.  While this practice allows us as Employers to “check the box” of getting jobs posted, it simply is not conducive to the competitive hiring landscape of today.  Employers must recognize that while there is not a shortage of good workers, there is a fierce competition for them.  These “good workers” are highly coveted by nearly every employer in town and will need to be nurtured, convinced, persuaded, and informed on why they would want to work for you. 

This competition or battle for local talent is real and should be motivation for your company to overhaul the way in which you communicate your job openings.  Your internal job descriptions are great for hanging on your breakroom wall; however, they will fall short in delivering quality applications in the digital ecosystem of today. 

Chances are that your job descriptions were written for defining basic requirements that are needed for the job. Most of the time, they are internally focused, as opposed to being informative to a company outsider.  A good amount of job descriptions contain “internal jargon” or perhaps acronyms that mean nothing to a potential jobseeker.  How many times have we seen, ” This position is within the PKA Division and will report directly to AVM.”  These internal acronyms are a huge turn off to potential jobseekers as they convey a feeling of exclusion.  Ask yourself, is it fun to be at a party with a group of people constantly telling inside jokes and telling you, “You had to be there”.

Job Announcement versus Job Advertisement. 

First and foremost, please understand that as a recruiter, you are selling…. not announcing.  The purpose of an advertisement is twofold: to inform and to persuade.  In order to write an effective job advertisement, you need to define the audience that you are trying to reach. Who is your ideal employee? What skills does this person truly NEED to have? What are the drivers that would get this person to leave their job and work for you?  Your job advertisement is a promise to its readers, so make sure that you are including the information that your audience wants to hear AND that you are confident that you can live up to.

Stop counting the people you reach and start reaching the people that count

Whether your company is using HIRECLICK or any other Applicant Tracking Software, your jobs will be distributed to dozens, if not hundreds of online destinations.  This mass distribution makes it easy for you as an employer to instantly gain visibility of your jobs. However, your ability to generate qualified applicants truly depends more on the message of your job ad, not simply being listed on a hundred job search sites.  When posting jobs in HIRECLICK, on average, our clients’ job listings are seen over 15,000 times in a 90-day period!  Getting sufficient eyeballs on your jobs is not the challenge. The determinant of success in driving quality applications is about the content of your job listings. Is it informative? Is it persuasive? Does it “sell” the opportunity to your target audience? 

Optimization for National Job Search Sites

National Job Search sites can help to provide maximum visibility of your job listings. However, to achieve success with them, you must first understand the difference between a Job Board and an Information index site such as Indeed. Simply put, Job Boards categorize job listings based upon an employer’s choice. Index sites categorize job listings based upon the content of your job ads.  In other words, they will decide what category your job belongs to…. regardless if that matches your preference.  Worse yet, if your job ad is not clearly written for index sites, you may not really show up in any category at all.  Through HIRECLICK’s partnerships with the major Job Search index sites, we have gleaned 3 Best Practice tips for writing job ads to maximize results.

1) Keep your job titles common.  Choosing the right job title is critical.  Choose “common” job titles that you think your target audience will search for. Leave any “internal” descriptors out of the Job title as they will have a negative effect on how they are indexed. For instance, is you are looking for a Property Manager for your Commercial Properties Division, you may use a title such as “Site Manager – Commercial Properties”. While this job title makes perfect sense to you, it does not convey to a Job Search Index site the category of the job. In this case, use the job title, “Property Manager” and use the job description to clarify the division or type of focus.

2) Keep your job titles clean. Let your Job Titles speak for themselves. Additional descriptors will “water down” the job’s true focus. So, if you are looking for a part time Retail Associate and are offering a $500 signing bonus, you may feel the need to list your job title as, “Part Time Retail Associate – $500 signing bonus”. Our advice is to keep it simple. Remember… What will your job seekers be searching for? In this case, your job title should simply be, “Retail Associate”. Again, use the job description to provide necessary detail to the job’s specifics.

3) Use the K.I.S.S. philosophy for your Job Descriptions. Properly written job descriptions should seek to provide clarity of both the position and your company… and nothing else.  Clear, concise language that describes the job and work environment, followed by the qualifications that are needed for the job. Last, a short paragraph describing you as an employer… your mission and how this role fits into your bigger picture. When writing the ad, be mindful of including specific keywords that you feel jobseekers are searching for. Remember, you are indicating to the Job index sites what categories this should be included within.

4) Read it in the eyes of a jobseeker. Ask yourself, does this job sound interesting? Does this company sound passionate about what they do? Does this job ad differentiate this opportunity and give reason to why the best local candidate would want to leave their current position and company to take this job. Include the items that make this opportunity unique and focus on “what’s in it for the future jobseeker”. Remember, there is no shortage of talent… but there is a competition for it.

Job Distribution is moving from an art towards a science. Hiring systems such as HIRECLICK can save you valuable time by casting your job listings out to multiple Job Boards and Job Search Index sites. Just know that the content of your job listings is the most critical component to attracting the applicants that you are seeking.

HIRECLICK is a full featured Applicant Tracking System that any business can afford. Starting as low as $99 / month, HIRECLICK will allow you to compete with the large companies and to help you to build a quality candidate database.  Get started by Taking a 5 Minute Product Tour or Request a Price Quote today.

When choosing interview questions, stay away from weird.

In one of my PhD classes last week, a classmate mentioned that he’d probably interviewed for more than 150 jobs in his life. This led to a brief discussion amongst the cohort about our best (and worst) interview experiences. I did some quick math and concluded that I’ve interviewed for approximately 100 jobs in my life, the bulk of those coming in my last semester of graduate school or during a span of roughly three months after I had quit a particular job more than a decade ago.

I have interviewed for jobs in some of the best times (had four offers upon completion of graduate school) and the worst times (the Great Recession in 2008-09, when I had to take a job—and a pay cut—more than 2,000 miles from my hometown). There was that time a sports organization in North Carolina that I was interviewing with forgot to book my flight, called me the day before my scheduled in-person interview and basically said “Oops, our bad. But if you feel like driving down here, we’d still love to talk to you.” And I did drive down. All night, from Michigan to North Carolina. I didn’t get the job; probably because I could barely keep my eyes open during a conversation with my potential supervisor.   

My strangest interview questions – A personal jobseeker memoir.

I thought it would be appropriate to share five of the worst/weirdest interview questions that I have been asked in my life as a marketing professional. I’m sure others have been asked some pretty odd questions as well.

  1. If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be and why?

Yup, this happened during an in-person interview for a non-profit marketing position. A classmate said that she had been asked a similar question once, but the vegetable was replaced with a box of cereal. I stammered something about being a carrot since I ate so many as a kid that I was frequently compared to a rabbit, but the question definitely made the rest of the interview a fairly painful experience. 

I recommend not using these wacky, meant to catch a candidate off-guard, types of questions. It’s a waste of time and there are better ways to ask questions that allow the interviewer to learn how a candidate sees his/her self.
  1. Are you comfortable working with mostly men?

I got this question more than once, because I worked in college/professional sports for several years. And I hated it. It’s a no-win situation for a candidate. What are you supposed to say? Sure, I love men! Or, actually, I’m still of the belief that boys have cooties. Of course the candidate is going to respond that they have no problem working primarily with men, they want the job and will say anything to keep the conversation going in the right direction. I always mentioned in my response that I had two older brothers and that the bulk of my youth sports playing experience was coed because of the small size of my hometown, but the question left me uncomfortable and feeling as though I was getting boxed into a corner. Part of me wanted to say, “I don’t have a problem with guys…why, do you?” While there’s nothing wrong with being clear that a company has men in several leadership roles, you don’t want to phrase the question in a way that makes the place sound like it has a glorified boys’ club culture.

  1. If you are hired for this position, you need to be aware that women in the office are not permitted to wear open-toed shoes until they have at least a one-inch heel.

Um, OK? I have no problem with company dress codes (if you think about it, most workplaces do have some sort of dress code policy), but this was such a poorly-worded question (and more than a little discriminating, if you ask me). The sarcastic voice in my head wanted to ask the human resources manager if this meant that men were allowed to stroll about the office in Birkenstocks. Full disclosure: this was for an internship with a professional sports team that I needed to graduate, so I bit my tongue and bought a couple new pairs of dress shoes.

  1. What do you think would be a fitting epitaph on your gravestone? Yikes.

And imagine being asked this question when you’re in your early 20’s and fresh out of college. Double yikes. I remember being very creeped out after being asked this and suddenly aware that this was NOT a place where I wanted to work. There’s got to be a better way to have a candidate share a positive message about themselves. In case you’re wondering, I believe I went with the tried and true Kurt Vonnegut quote: “so it goes.”

  1. Tell me about the worst boss you’ve had.

Warning! I sense danger on par with a group of teenagers splitting up in a horror flick. Don’t do it! There’s no way out. If you go into detail about a former nightmare of a boss, you can appear to be whining or a potential “difficult” employee. Respond that you’ve never had a bad boss, and you’re either lying or being insincere to give the interviewer the answers you think they want to hear. I went with option two: “I’m really lucky, I’ve never had a bad boss or worked for a terrible supervisor” response. And I could feel my imaginary Pinocchio nose growing with every word.  

I should mention that most of these questions were not asked by human resources personnel, but either a potential supervisor or high-ranking member of the company’s marketing/public relations department.

Now that I’ve shared my awkward interview moments, why not take a minute to reflect upon your past experiences as a job applicant. Do you remember any particularly bad (or good) questions that you were asked in the interview process?

At HIRECLICK, we recognize the importance of the jobseeker experience. We encourage our clients to treat potential employees just like potential new clients. Whether they are hired or not, these potential employees make up your jobseeker funnel and may re-apply in the future (if you avoid asking them crazy interview questions).

If you are looking for a truly powerful, yet affordable hiring system, we invite you to try HIRECLICK. Starting as low as $99/mo, it will simplify your hiring process, organize your applicants and save you a ton of time and money.  Take a product tour or contact us to get started.

Successful hiring starts with your careers website.

applicant tracking system

The digital recruitment landscape is ever changing.  The ecosystem is dominated by dozens of local and national job search sites.  Social media builds exposure for your job listings and influences how you are perceived as an employer. Enter job aggregators, review sites, employee referrals, and good old -fashioned foot traffic to your location… you have a complex web of options to consider when trying to get maximum exposure for your open job positions. 

When considering your options, you need to identify the common thread among ALL these options…. Your careers website.  Just as your corporate website looks to provide information, answer questions, extend support to it’s audience, and generate leads, your careers web site needs to do the same for the segment of your audience that is looking to work for your organization. Some job seeking visitors may be far enough down their process that they view and apply to an open position.  Far more of these coveted visitors, however, are simply looking to better understand whom you are as an employer, what it is like to work there, and inching towards a decision of whether to consider you as a future employer.

It is critical to understand the value of these visitors. Perhaps they have noticed a job listing on a local or national job search website, a recent corporate social media post, or simply spoke to a friend who currently works for you.  Either way, they represent the segment of the jobseeker population this is most valuable to your ability to fill jobs with quality candidates. They are doing the research that you would hope every jobseeker would do when considering employment with your organization. If they apply for a position, they have made an informed decision, not only on the job in question… but on you as on employer.

Despite popular opinion, there is not a shortage of talent in your local community.  Rather, most employers have not made a compelling argument on why they are the employer of choice within your field.  Think about it… if you are looking to fill a job for a plumber, a business banker, or shift manager, you are looking for 1 quality candidate, not 100.  Yet, we as employers focus on how to get our jobs in font of thousands of jobseekers.  Your future success is more about telling a compelling story to a smaller, more qualified audience…. The visitors of your careers website.

HIRECLICK is an all in one hiring system that provides ALL clients with a beautiful, mobile friendly careers site.  It will host all your job listings and valuable information on why it is great to work for your organization.  HIRECLICK also submits your job listings to all the job search sites that matter and collects ALL your applications in to an easy to use employer dashboard.  Starting at only $99/mo, HIRECLICK will help you to tell your unique employer story, solve your hiring challenges, and save you valuable time and money.

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HIRECLICK adds to powerful Midwest Job Network with the launch of

The Lincoln, Nebraska area has just gained a valuable resource for connecting local jobseekers with area job listings. is now live and includes thousands of the best and latest available jobs in the Lincoln area.

Powered by HIRECLICK, an all-in-one hiring solution based in Sioux Falls, the new portal will help connect job seekers with the right career opportunities and information to help navigate their job search or a search for a new professional direction. Using an easy-to-use interface, job seekers can quickly refine a wide variety of job opportunities down to those that meet their criteria.

“Our new job board leverages our network to connect people in Lincoln and the surrounding areas looking for work with those companies whom are hiring. For area employers, we are happy to be adding a local recruiting resource in addition to the reach provided from our other job distribution partners.” said Scott Petersen, co-founder of HIRECLICK.

By utilizing, area employers can get their open jobs in front of the right targeted audience.

“Quite simply, we want to provide a complete hiring solution, including local and national distribution of job listings, for a fraction of the price,” Petersen continued. “Human resource professionals have enough on their plate, our goal is to provide an easy way to blast to all the major job sites and receive placement on this new valuable, local resource”

“Large companies have had the luxury of implementing turn key hiring systems for years. HIRECLICK aims to provide similar tools to small to mids at very affordable price point and no long term contracts,” he added. “We specialize in providing an All in One hiring tool to Midwestern based companies, and is a natural extension of our existing job network that spans across the upper Midwest.

HIRECLICK is happy to now offer a more robust online service to interested applicants in Lincoln that can be available 24/7 by smartphone, tablet, or computer.

The HIRECLICK team has been helping small to mid-sized companies with their hiring needs for more than 15 years. HIRECLICK launched its applicant tracking system (ATS) in 2017 and offers an all-in-one hiring solution that starts as low as $99 per month.
More than 1,500 small to medium sized, Midwestern companies use HIRECLICK and trust us with their hiring and recruitment strategy. Our local job network is backed by the power of our Midwest TV station partners, allowing you to reach and attract applicants that are in your community and ready to join your team.

From Sioux Falls to Bismarck and Fargo to the Quad Cities, HIRECLICK can solve your toughest hiring challenges. Beyond HIRECLICK’s own robust job network, jobs are also automatically posted to the national job search sites that matter, including Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Facebook, Google and hundreds more! The All in One hiring suite requires no long term contracts and starts as low as $99 per month, a price that any business can afford.

Do you know that 75% of recruiters and hiring professionals have been reported to make use of an applicant tracking system? In fact, applicant tracking systems are so useful that 98% of Fortune 500 companies use top applicant tracking systems in their resumes sorting. Until now, the use of Applicant Tracking Systems has not been affordable for small to medium sized business. HIRECLICK’s core hiring suite changes this by offering a full hiring software suite and auto submitting to all the job boards that matter for as low as $99 per month. Not using HIRECLICK? Want to learn more? Click here to request a demo and talk with a member of our knowledgeable team about your current recruiting needs.

To learn more about HIRECLICK, take a self-guided product tour.

Your Hiring Starts with a Plan, not a job ad.

Let’s face it, the current hiring climate is tough.  2020 has presented challenges for all types and sizes of organizations, including their hiring of new workers.  In currently working with over 3000 employers, we have most certainly learned that “having a plan” is of the utmost importance. 

Building a plan for your hiring does not need to be complicated, nor does it need to be executed by a team of strategic HR professionals.  Rather, it requires putting some thought into the end goal. For instance, your plan could concentrate on the skill set that you are looking to add to the team, the timeframe in which you want to hire, or what you value most in new employees.  Posting job ads without this plan will surely add extra time, busywork, and budget to your hiring effort.  Whereas being mindful of the end-result throughout the process will help to bring focus and a set of priorities throughout the entire hiring process.  Additionally, communicating this plan to others within the organization solidifies leadership and vision and helps to allow others in your organization to assist in identifying qualified candidates.

Hiring systems or Applicant Tracking Systems do not help you come up with your hiring plan. Rather, they simply help you to execute it.  The best ones can be customized to your existing hiring workflow, engage your job applicants, and should be very simple to use. 

Hiring is tough… particularly now in 2020. Do yourself and your company a favor by thinking through your hiring plan.  What skills are valuable to you?  What intangibles do your most valuable current employees have? What industries and/or other companies have produced the best employees for your organization?  No matter how simple the plan, take a couple minutes to create one.  You will be amazed at how much easier it will be to find your perfect candidate, once you determine the specifics of what and whom you are really searching for.