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Hiring Superstars

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012
GAIN partnered with The Management Center to bring you a webinar on Hiring Superstars. Jerry Hauser, CEO of The Management Center and author of the book Managing to Change the World provided tips and insight on hiring strategically. Just in case you missed it, we're happy to provide it below!

Hiring Superstars from Democratic GAIN on Vimeo.

Tags:  hiring advice  skills building 

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Want Better Results For Your Organization?

Posted By GAIN STAFF, Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Management Center is now accepting applications for this spring's four month long management training program, "Managing to Change the World.” The program is five Friday morning sessions in DC for a small group of people with other activities between sessions. The goal is to instill great practices of management into non profit leaders and their organizations to help them get better results in pursuit of their missions.

Visit their website for more info: http://www.managementcenter.org/trainings.html

Applications are due April 2nd.

Tags:  employers  hiring advice  skills building  training 

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How to Hire Great People Webinar with Jerry Hauser

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Please join Jerry Hauser, CEO of The Management Center and author of  the book Managing to Change the World, for a webinar focusing on How to Hire Great People.

In a variety of contexts, the best staff members outperform average employees not by 10% or 20%, but by an enormous margin – like 500%!  Given the difference it makes when you get a great person on your team, every ounce of energy you put into hiring is likely to pay off many-fold - if you know where to put that energy.

In this session, Jerry will discuss the most strategic way to hire, including how you can:

    * Build a strong pool of applicants so you can choose from among the best;
    * Ask interview questions that reveal how applicants really operate;
    * Structure job simulations to get beyond the hypothetical;
    * ...and more.

This 60-minute webinar will be geared toward those individuals who ever have or ever will need to hire staff - whether it's one team-member, or 100.  We hope you’ll join us!

The date is October 22nd at 3pm EST.

This webinar is FREE, but you must register here in order to get call-in instructions. 

Tags:  hiring advice 

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Peer to Peer Hiring Advice from Jon Vogel

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Jon Vogel currently serves as the Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career path, and your current job.

I currently serve as Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), where I provide strategic advice to Chairman Chris Van Hollen and oversee the Democratic Party’s efforts to protect and strengthen their House Majority.

I spent the past two election cycles at the forefront of the unprecedented back–to-back Congressional gains resulting in the largest Democratic House Majority since 1992. During the 2008 election cycle, I served in two senior roles at the DCCC and helped guide House Democrats to their second consecutive wave election victory. I served first as the DCCC’s Political Director where I oversaw candidate recruitment and campaign planning and strategy. I then finished the cycle serving as the Director of the DCCC’s Independent Expenditure Program, where I directed the $85 million effort that played in over 67 districts and tracked 135 races. With wins in every corner of the country, I have a unique understanding of America’s changing electorate.

I have worked extensively on Capital Hill and for Democratic Campaigns across America. In 2000, I helped elect Congressman Steve Israel in a Republican open seat in New York. I then served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Congressman Israel. In 2004, I was Midwest Finance Director for the Gephardt for President Campaign, developing a high dollar fundraising program in 11 states. From 2004-2005, I served as a Vice President at Winning Directions, a leading Democratic direct mail firm. I am a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Connecticut College with a degree in International Relations.

What do you feel is the most important information to include in a job description?

1. Job title and who they will be reporting to.
2. Description of the organization.
3. Areas of responsibility and skill sets looking for.
4. Years/cycles of experience looking for.

What steps do you generally take to find a pool of talented, qualified applicants?

I find that it is best to cast a wide net using both professional contacts and advertising on our website and at times through paid sites. That said, the best 2/3 of applicants usually come through people I know, but its worth the extra effort to get good applicants though a broader reach.

In general, which do you feel is more important in an employee:  good personality or specific experience?  Why?

Experience gets you in the door, while personality gets you hired.

What are your three favorite questions to ask in an interview and why?

1. What makes you qualified for the job? It is a good question to learn more about he applicants background while seeing if they understand what the job is.
2. What do you see as the biggest challenges of the job? This question helps me determine if they truly understand the job they are applying for.
3. What separates you from other applicants? This allows applicants to brag a little and separate themselves out.

What advice do you have for people who are hiring for the first time?

1. Check references that are not listed. In short, find people that have worked with the applicant but are not listed as a reference.
2. Ask for a writing sample. This could also include giving the applicant a written exercise of writing a memo related to the job. 

Tags:  hiring advice  interview advice 

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Peer to Peer Hiring Advice from Michael Wilson

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Michael Wilson currently serves as the Legislative and Political Director at the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW).  UFCW represents 1.3 million members work in a range of industries, ranging from retail food service to food processing and manufacturing.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career path, and your current job.

Hill staffer, ACTWU Leg Rep, USDOL Political Appointee, UFCW Chief Lobbyist.  Currently work with the UFCW as the Legislative and Political Director, where I Direct the legislative and political department of a major union, interact with local unions, other unions, non-labor allies, elected officials and staff.

What steps do you generally take to find a pool of talented, qualified applicants?

Always looking for good people; stock up on resumes even when you don't need them. Recognize up and coming talent from all over
You can expect a given candidate to do well - but never prejudge the process
Never have a pool of candidates of all one race and all one gender
To build a pool I rely on Word of mouth from my network, as well as Internet and Listservs to get the word out.

In general, which do you feel is more important in an employee:  good personality or specific experience?  Why?

Always is a mix of both - someone who is all exeperience or all personality won't solve your problem

What are your three favorite questions to ask in an interview and why?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What's the last great book you read?
What questions do you have for me?

What advice do you have for people who are hiring for the first time?

Don't rush - make a thoughtful decision about who to hire
Never let potential candidates dangle for weeks without a decision - or at least communication

Is there anything we haven't already covered that you'd like to share?

Every new hire starts with hope - but of course, they don't all work out. Try to make your best judgment, but nobody is perfect.

Tags:  hiring advice  interview tips 

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Peer to Peer Hiring Advice from Greg Speed

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Greg Speed currently serves as the Executive Director of America Votes, a coalition of the largest membership-based progressive groups in the country, representing a broad range of issues including the environment, civil and human rights, choice, education and labor.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career path, and your current job.

Over the past 15-odd years I've attained experience in nearly every aspect of campaigns - from communications/media to field to fundraising - doing work for candidates, Members, progressive groups and party committees.

I refer to myself as a Generalist and do not view that as negative in any way. I counsel my staff and those who come for informational interviews not to view their own career paths too narrowly and to sieze every opportunity to expand their skill set. This is especially important for young people who have the benefit of being able to take risks on varied experiences without worrying about 401ks, kids, mortgages, etc.

What do you feel is the most important information to include in a job description?

Obviously there are core responsibilities to every position that must be specified, but it's important to write the description in a way that makes clear that applicants are expected to contribute in a variety of areas. This is especially in a tough fundraising environment limiting staffing budgets and helps instill a broad understanding of responsibility in new staff.

What steps do you generally take to find a pool of talented, qualified applicants?

Job posting services like Democratic GAIN are essential resources and the first places to post positions.

However, distributing positions individually within your own network of contacts is also enormously helpful - not only for that particular position, but to remind friends and colleagues of your organization's mission (America Votes, in my case) and ongoing staffing needs. Tapping my own contacts has resulted in friends regularly sending great resumes they come across.

In general, which do you feel is more important in an employee:  good personality or specific experience?  Why?

I'll take strong personal skills and work ethic over specific experience every time. However, personality and work ethic themselves are a result of strong, positive experiences in the workplace. 

What are your three favorite questions to ask in an interview and why?

1) In past jobs, what have been your strongest skills and where have you needed improvement? (points against any candidate who can't articulate an area for improvement)
2) What do you want to be doing in ten years and how do you believe this position advances that career goal?
3) Why motivated you to get in Democratic/progressive politics in the first place?

What advice do you have for people who are hiring for the first time?

Be kind to everyone you come across in this business - many of us have had interns who are now running the world.

Is there anything we haven't already covered that you'd like to share?

Did I say be kind to EVERYONE in this business? I've never forgotten those who don't adhere to this rule...

Tags:  hiring advice  interview tips 

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