BY:–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media

What do I blog about?” “how can I blog for search engine visibility?” and “how do you get your hair to do that?” are just some of the questions I field on a typical day. Luckily, there’s a simple trick I use that will help address the first two issues. There’s also a simple trick for the last item, but that’s between me and my hairdresser.

Never forget this: you are an expert at what you do. You have forgotten more than most people will ever know about cat training or electric boats or building a business.

Chances are that when you’re in front of a customer or prospect, most of the questions they’re asking have been asked before. I’m sure the same is true when it comes to the questions you get via email from prospects.

Well, if you’re fielding all those questions, how many more people are asking the same questions at Google?

  • How do I cook gluten-free meals?
  • What do I need to start an alpaca farm?
  • How do I survive a zombie apocalypse?

When you receive the next email asking for advice or help, don’t respond. Not immediately, at least.

Take the question and copy & paste it into your blog. You may need to doctor the question: broaden it to make it more helpful to a wider audience or remove any reference to whomever sent you the email in the first place. (They may not want to see their name at the bottom of a question about how to buy a toupee.)

Once you’ve crafted the question, go ahead and answer it in the most helpful, non-salesy way possible. As appropriate you can create keyword-rich links to a page on your website that offers a solution to the person’s need. Answering a question on closing techniques? Link to the page on your upcoming sales courses.

When you’re all done, create a keyword-rich title for your post. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Create a shortened version of the question: How do I choose the right DSLR for me?
  • Phrase it as a how-to: How to Coook for a Diabetic
  • Frame it as a tips post: Networking Tactics for Your Inner Wallflower

After you publish your new post, send an email with a link to the person who asked you the question, letting them know that it was such a great question you published it. I’ve never had anyone get upset with this, and almost everyone has been psyched to see their question get posted to my blog, even if I renamed them “Puzzled in Portland.”

What I’ve discovered is that it’s these posts that answer a specific question that often bring the most qualified traffic to our website and web marketing blog.

In Conclusion

To succeed online in a competitive industry, you need to create lots of quality content. To that end, don’t hide some of your best, most relevant material in an email that reaches just one prospect.

Leverage the power of blogging and SEO to attract, help and engage a wider audience, who will recognize you as the expert in your field.

If you have any questions on how to build a blog that attracts and converts more qualified customers PLEASE CONTACT US!!

Janet Furr and the Virtuale-Staff

Virtual Assistant Expert

                                              Virtual eStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in the Philippines. Virtual eStaff works with customers to identify tasks that are suited for out-tasking with our workforce skillsets. We recruithire and manage a solution team from our headquarters in the Philippines  and  United  States.  


Whether you’re looking for your very first job, switching careers, or re-entering the job market after an extended absence, finding a job requires two main tasks: understanding yourself and understanding the job market. Presuming you’ve already chosen a career and are currently searching for jobs, here are several ways to actually get a job.

Edit  Steps

  1. 1

    Network. The best companies to work for tend to rely heavily (up to 40%) on employee referrals.[1] Make a list of all of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Call each one and ask them if they know of any openings that they could recommend you for. Don’t be too humble or apologetic. Tell them what you’ve been looking for, but let them know that you’re flexible and that if they have any suggestions, you’re open to them. This is not the time to be picky about jobs; a connection can often get your foot in the door, and you can negotiate pay or switch positions later once you’ve gained experience and established your good reputation.

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     Earn ₱10,000 PhP per day We’re hiring Filipino translators
    • Touch base with all of your references. The purpose of this is twofold. You can ask them for leads and you’ll also be refreshing their memory of you in their mind. (Hopefully their memory of you is a good one, or else you shouldn’t be putting them down as a reference.) If a potential employer calls them, they won’t hesitate as much when remembering who you are.
  2. 2

    Volunteer. If you aren’t already, start volunteering for an organization that focuses on something that you’re passionate about. You may end up doing boring or easy work in the beginning but as you stick around and demonstrate your commitment, you’ll be given more responsibilities. Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll also be gaining references. You should emphasize your volunteer experience on your resume, as companies that treat their employees well tend to favor candidates who help the community somehow.[1]

  3. 3

    Work for the UN. The United Nations has a lot of organizations where you can work as an employee, volunteer or you may get an internship with them.
    There are many sites to start your job search there:

  4. 4

    Develop your personal elevator pitch. Many structured interviews, particularly those at large companies, start with a question like “tell me about yourself.” The interviewer doesn’t really want you to go back to grade school and talk about your childhood. This is a specific question with a specific answer…in two minutes or so, the interviewer wants to get you to relax and loosen out your vocal cords, understand your background, your accomplishments, why you want to work at XYZ company and what your future goals are.

  5. 5

    Prepare for a behavioral interview. You might be asked to describe problems you’ve encountered in the past and how you handled them, or you’ll be given a hypothetical situation and asked what you would do. They’ll basically want to know how you’ll perform when faced with obstacles in the position you’re interviewing for. Be able to give honest, detailed examples from your past, even if the question is hypothetical (e.g. “I would contact the customer directly, based on my past experience in a different situation in which the customer was very pleased to receive a phone call from the supervisor”). You might find yourself listing facts–if so, remember that in this kind of interview, you need to tell a story. Some questions you might be asked are:

    • “Describe a time you had to work with someone you didn’t like.”
    • “Tell me about a time when you had to stick by a decision you had made, even though it made you very unpopular.”
    • “Give us an example of something particularly innovative that you have done that made a difference in the workplace.”
    • “How would you handle an employee who’s consistently late?”
  6. 6

    Research the company. Don’t just do an Internet search, memorize their mission, and be done with it. If it’s a retail company, visit a few of their stores, observe the customers, and even strike up a few conversations. Talk to existing employees–ask them what it’s like working there, how long the position has been open, and what you can do to increase your chances of getting it. Become familiar with the history of the company. Who started it? Where? Who runs it now? Be creative, and out do the other candidates.

  7. 7

    Settle down. If you’ve moved around a lot, be prepared to offer a good reason for it. Otherwise, you’ll need to make a good case for why you want to stick around in the area where the job is located. A company doesn’t want to hire someone with wanderlust who still wants to relocate. Be prepared to outline why you are where you are today, how long you intend to stay there, and why. Give specific reasons like “This county has the best school systems in the entire state, and I have a daughter who might find the cure for cancer” or “I was drawn to this area because it’s at the cutting edge of innovation for this business and I want to be a part of that.” The more details, names, and specifics, the better.

  8. 8

    Make a list of work-related skills you’d like to learn. Your employer will be interested in hearing about how you intend to become a better employee. Think about which skills will make you more competent in the position you’re applying for. Public speaking, project management, team leading, and computer programs are usually beneficial. Find some books and upcoming conferences that would significantly improve your abilities. In an interview, tell the employer what you’re reading and learning, and that you’d like to continue doing so. This is a list of the 7 most important job skills, wanted by employers, that a job seeker must have to be sure of landing a good job and just as importantly, keeping it.

    • The ability to find relevant information: Research Skill Job seekers should possess the ability to systematically find relevant information through research not because they want a research job, but in order to do effective searches for the data needed by a particular activity.
    • Logical thinking: Information Handling. Most businesses regard the ability to handle and organize information to produce effective solutions as one of the top skills employers want. The ability to make sensible solutions regarding a spending proposal or an internal activity is valued.
    • IT Skill: Technological Ability Most job openings will require people who are IT or computer literate or know how to operate different machines and office equipment, whether a PC or multi-function copier and scanner. This doesn’t mean that employers need people who are technology graduates. The simple fact that job seekers know the basic principles of using the technology is sufficient.
    • Getting your words understood: Communication Skills Employers tend to value and hire people who are able to express their thoughts efficiently through verbal and written communication. People who land a good job easily are usually those who are adept in speaking and writing.
    • Efficiency: Organizational Skills Organization is extremely important to maintain a harmonious working relationship in the company and the opposite, disorganization costs money. Hence, most employers want people who know how to arrange their work through methods that maintain orderliness in the workplace.
    • Getting on with others: Interpersonal Skill Because the working environment consists of various kinds of personalities and people with different backgrounds, it is essential to possess the skill of communicating and working with people from different walks of life.
    • Career Advancement: Professional Growth Employers prefer to hire people who are able to create a plan that will generate maximum personal and career growth. This means that you are willing to improve yourself professionally by learning new skills to keep up with developments in the workplace. These are just some of the top skills employers want. Take note of these skills which demonstrate how to get the job and be successful in your every job seeking endeavor. From
  9. 9

    Cold call. Locate a specific person who can help you (usually the human resources or hiring manager at a company or organization you’re interested in). Call that person and ask if they are hiring, but do not become discouraged if they are not. Ask what kind of qualifications they look for or if they have apprentice or government sponsored work programs. Ask if you can send your resume indicating what field you want to go into. Indicate whether you would accept a lesser job and work up.

    • Reflect after each phone call on what went well and what did not. You may need to write out some standard answers on your list of skills so you can speak fluently. You may need to get some additional training to break into your chosen field. None of this means you cannot get a good job, only that you need to become further prepared to do so.
  10. 10

    Change your attitude. There’s a difference between making phone calls and going to interviews thinking “I’m looking for a job” versus “I’m here to do the work you need to have done”.[2] When you’re looking to get a job, you’re expecting someone to give something to you, so you focus on impressing them. Yes, it’s important to make a good impression, but it’s even more important to demonstrate your desire and ability to help. Everything that you write and say should be preceded silently by the statement “This is how I can help your business succeed.”

  11. 11

    Fit the job to the skills rather than the other way around. Many people search for jobs, then try to see how they can “tweak” the way they present their own skills and experiences to fit the job description. Instead, try something different. Make a list of all of your skills, determine which kinds of businesses and industries need them most (ask around for advice if you need to) and find businesses that will benefit from having you and your skills around. It’s important the nature of the job fits your personality and salary requirements, otherwise you’ll have spent a significant amount of time to find a day job you dread getting up for every morning.[2]

Janet Furr and the Virtuale-Staff
VirtualeStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in the Philippines. VirtualeStaff works with customers to identify tasks that are suited for out-tasking with our workforce skillsets. We recruithire and manage a solution team from our headquarters in the Philippines.

by Myron Curry
Contributing Author

Hiring good employees is not only important to business, it is essential. Employees are the heart and soul of a business; they are the mechanism that makes a business run; they are the breath of life that enables a business to be something more than an idea. A business cannot run unless someone (employees, in this case) is doing the work. Any intelligent business owner should want good employees.

Employers Not the Only Ones to Feel the Effect

Bad employees not only affect an employer by driving down sales, costing the company unwanted expenses due to negligence or simple lack of motivation, etc, but they affect the customer as well. Of course, once a customer has experienced a bad employee, it automatically affects the employer in obvious ways. Although this seems like common sense to most people, it is uncanny how most employers will overlook this fact, whether it s because of time constraints to effectively deal with the problem or lack of better judgment. Whatever the case, it is a fact that sales get driven down and production slowed for a reason. That reason could very well be because of the customer s lack of satisfaction with whatever service he or she had received and that lack of satisfaction stems from bad employees.

Find the Right People to Start With

This is one of the most important things you, as an employer, can do. Getting the right people into your company to start with gets things moving in the right direction at the very beginning.

According to Chairman and CEO, Hal F. Rosenbluth, and Consultant, Diane McFerrin Peters, of Rosenbluth International, the third-largest travel management company in the world, most of us choose our spouse with care and rear our children with nurturing and compassionate attention. Yet, we tend to select the people who will join our company on the basis of an interview or two, and once they have joined, they often find that they must fend for themselves.

This contrast illustrates the disparity between the environments of family and work. But, given the amount of time we must spend at work, wouldn’t we all be happier if we took as much care at the office as at home to create a supportive environment? Wouldn’t we also be far more successful?

The answer is yes.

The Customer Does Not Come First

It s important to remember that if you want quality employees, your company must be of the same caliber. If you expect to attract an employee who thrives to be as dedicated to the business as possible, doing more than what is expected, and putting forth 110% without any consideration being given to the employee s personal needs, thoughts, and desires, you are truly fooling yourself. And, eventually, your business will suffer for it.

It s obvious to most, by now, that benefits and perks play a large part in attracting employees. I need not explain the many benefits that a company should make available to attract a good employee because it should be common sense to most, by now. I will say, however, that attaining a good employee must go much farther than just having a great set of benefits. After all, does a wonderful benefits package actually attract only good employees? Of course not. There must be more to it than that.

For the customer to be served with the best results humanly possible, a more modern approach to the theory of customer satisfaction must be realized which is that the customer should not come first; the employee should. Therein in itself is one of the most successful ways to attract a good employee.

When a business puts its employees first, many things can happen. To begin with, the employee is happy. If the employee is happy, the service that the employee provides to the customer will be far more outstanding than if he or she were not happy. If the service is outstanding, the customer will be happy and that only spells successful results for the business.

This does not mean that an employer must wait hand and foot on the employee. No, it simply means that careful consideration to what an employee thinks, wants, and suggests should be considered. Do not treat an employee as if he or she is a factory robot working on a clock. Treat them as people. Treat them with respect by talking to them as people and not talking down to them as employees . In fact, a good idea would be to remove the term employee all together. One successful company I know of refers to its employees as associates , thereby empowering their associates with a feeling of more respect and purpose.

Employee Leadership and Flexibility a Must

An open, friendly atmosphere is a must in a workplace. Micro managing, as most already are aware of, is frowned upon. This is for a reason. When a work environment is open enough for all employees to contribute and offer ideas and suggestions, without ridicule or negative response, this sparks creativity in an employee and, again, empowers them to contribute more to the business. If everyone feels as though they are a part of the leadership process and not just a worker bee, they will have a satisfying feeling that can go a long way. Micro managing completely kills this system.

An employer must be flexible. Does there really need to be a rigid schedule? Does lunchtime really need to take place at a specific time? Who actually needs a clock to tell them when they are hungry? This line of thinking is what is needed in every faucet of business, as simple as it seems. It makes an employee feel more like a human; it makes them feel as though the business respects them as a person and will put them first. Once that consideration is instilled in an employee s mind, there isn t anything that he or she wouldn’t do for a business. And, when a person looks forward to waking up in the morning to begin working in a place where they feel management gives them respect and thinks highly of them, they will put forth the effort to show appreciation.

Hire Nice People

Experience and degrees are great ways of measuring employees qualifications and potential but ask yourself, are they nice people? A person can be the most qualified, educated, and experienced possible employee on the planet but if they have the personality of a wet paper bag or of a caged wolverine, it s guaranteed they re not going to do much for your business. Those that have to work with them will be disgruntled on a daily bases and begin putting out a poor performance. The customers that receive service from them will be unhappy and I need not say what happens after that.

Hire nice people. Nice people can do wonders for a business. Sound picky? It is. But, when it comes to your business, can you afford not to be picky?

A nice person can learn anything. Nice people are pleasant to be around and are easy to teach. They are notoriously quick to learn. So, even if your nice person does not have the skill set that you are looking for, one might consider the possibility of training. Think about the potential, especially if nice people seem to be rare in your neck of the woods.

How Do You Find Nice People?

This should be obvious. During the interview process, were they down-to-earth or were they focused solely on success, success, and more success? As crazy as it may seem, the total, success driven fanatic may not be the best option. Again, the person who seems more like a person would be the best candidate for hiring. In the long run, they will make your business more successful because they would make the customer, as well as those that have to work with them, happier.

Conduct tests and unconventional interview methods.

Why should an interview consist of one or two meetings in a stuffy room? How can we really find out about a person that way? The answer is that we can t. Instead, how about combining the stuffy office interview one day with another day of playing a game of softball with other, current employees, as Hal F. Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin tend to do within their company? This would be great for company moral and, at the same time, provide a chance to see how the potential employee reacts in a team environment. If the person is bent on nothing but winning and becomes angry when other teammates drop the ball or do not hit as far as they should, perhaps this person is not the best employee to have around. Chances are that their performance on the softball field will reflect their performance in the office. (31-32).

Go for a drive.

As again explained by Hal F. Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin Peters, the way a person drives an automobile says a lot about a person s personality. Are they overly aggressive and speed through traffic, weaving in an out of other cars, determined to get to the point of destination no matter what the cost? Or, are they assertive drivers who consider the safety of their passengers and think of alternate routes when confronted with a traffic jam, focusing more on the drive than the destination? (31). Which person would you rather have working for you? Which person would you rather have serving your customers? If you were a customer, which person would you rather have serving you?

Invite your new, potential employee to a company social event. Are they the type of person that talks only of themselves and continuously brags about all of the wonderful things that he or she has done? Do they even talk to anyone at all? These are the folks that either want to gain far more than they are willing to contribute or aren’t willing to gain or contribute. These are the type of people that will bring your company down.

So, some key points to consider thus far:

Consider your employees before your customers. Not only will the employee put out a far better performance due to feeling respected, but your company will also build a reputation as being the company to work for , which will attract other, good employees.

Be flexible. Constraints in the office constrain creativity and work performance. Go for casual clothing, if possible. Let your employee decide when it s time to eat and take a break. Be flexible on your employee s schedule, catering to his or her personal needs. The employee will show appreciation in return, by supplying a good output of production.

Hire nice people. Not one customer in the world, no matter what business you are in, enjoys service from someone with less-than-appreciative attitude. And, your other employees will not enjoy working with them either, bringing down moral and production drastically. This kind of person will not be willing to strive at contributing to your company; they will strive to contribute only to themselves.

Consider the unconventional when interviewing an employee. The more often you can set a scenario that a potential employee will not expect or could find to be an unusual method of interviewing, the better. It will give you a chance to see what that person is really capable of, as a person.

Retaining Good Employees

As important as attracting good employees is, it is just as important to retain them. As always, benefit packages help to retain employees. But, again, this is something that most people are already aware of. Sure, there will be those that will want to stay for the great benefits. But, is that all you, as an employer, can offer? No.

After spending as much time as you should have in attracting good employees, it only makes sense that you would go to certain lengths to keep them. Chances are, if you really attracted a good employee, it wasn t just because of the benefits. And, chances are that your good employee will not stay just because of the benefits. Benefits, although a positive force, are not the end all and can, at times, be a false sense of security to an employer. Not everyone develops his or her retention decision on a benefits package, at least not the smart employee.

Let Them Change it Up Now and Again

Let your people explore your company. Don’t lock them into one, specific type of work, especially if they express desire to try other things. In today s job market, job-hoping, as it is known, is a regular occurrence. If you provide your employees with the chance to job-hop within your company, this is one way of keeping them there. Give them the opportunity to gain new experience, knowledge, and skills. This will only enhance your company anyway, by having an employee that can do and handle more. It also increases confidence in the employee and makes their work more satisfying. The United States military and civil services such as police and fire departments have already figured that one out. They call it cross-training and fleeting-up and it s a great idea.


Communicating is very important, not only in day to day business, but in retention as well. People need to feel as though they have a grasp on what is going on within the company. They want to know where the company is going and how they will be part of that process. They need to feel they are involved in the company. Being part of any planning processes, being able to contribute ideas for the company, and essentially being heard is all part of communication. Again, this is emphasized in most of the U.S. s military forces as well, even though they conduct themselves in more of a dictatorship.

Know why your people wanted to join your company in the first place and hone in on that. Keep that priority of the employee in consideration, always acting on it and developing it, and the employee will want to continue that purpose with a strong sense.

Talk to your people. Not only should you get to know them, you should get to know what they continue to want and think. And, don t think for a minute that a person s desires and thoughts on particular matters will be the same later down the road as they were when they first joined the organization. Things change, including your employee s thoughts and desires. Keep up with those changes.

Get feedback from your employee s. Find out what they think is right and wrong with the company. Provide a feedback forum. And, most importantly, act on the information you receive from this feedback.

In summary:

Let your employee job hop and provide an opportunity to let them do it within your company, instead of having to go outside the company. More than likely, if they can t do it in the company, they will venture outside to a place that they can. Take advantage of the multiple skills your people can learn within the company. This not only helps your company out, it gives the employee a feeling of more purpose and he or she will enjoy not having to go far to expand their skills.

Keep your people in mind when it comes to information on where the company is headed and what it is doing. If the employee does not feel informed on what is happening, they will not feel as though they are part of the company and, therefore, will not want to stay, in the long run.

Get to know what your people want, when they first enter the organization and periodically throughout their tenure. People s motives and desires change. The good employer is the one that can keep up with those changes. Offer feedback methods and make sure you act on the results.

Above all, remember what it was that got you that good employee in the first place. The concepts mentioned in this article that enable an employer to attain a good employee to begin with are basically the same principals of retaining them as well. It s that simple. Anyone who works for a company that considers their needs, is just, and can remain flexible, as well as provides other good employees to work alongside, will want to continue working in that company. Hiring and retaining good employees goes hand in hand.

Janet Furr and the Virtuale-Staff

Virtual Assistant Expert

VirtualeStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in the Philippines. VirtualeStaff works with customers to identify tasks that are suited for out-tasking with our workforce skillsets. We recruithire and manage a solution team from our headquarters in the Philippines.

14 Jan

Earlier this week, I attended an excellent training session run by Cathy Hamer at the Bodleian Libraries.  Here is my summary of her presentation and my own notes.

What is the purpose of a job


  • Gives clear outline of the job
  • Helps applicants decide if the job would be suitable for them
  • Helps applicants apply for a job (suggests what skills/experience they need to demonstrate in their statement or covering letter)
  • Forms the basis of the recruitment and selection procedure (gives clear criteria against which to judge applicants)
  • Helps managers with appraisal of the post-holder

The job description is also necessary when grading the job, and forms part of the contract of employment.  At the University of Oxford, jobs are graded using Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) – an analytical job evaluation scheme which is used by the majority of universities in the UK.  Here are some other useful documents on the University of Oxford website which may be of interest to a wider audience too: UAS Job Description and Person Specification TemplateGrading Review Request – notes for guidanceRecruitment procedure – guidelines for managers.

Dos and Don’ts for job descriptions


  • Be specific about the duties associated with the job
  • Break down the list of duties into sections.  Bear in mind how each can be measured – at interview and at appraisal.  Distinguish between regular, occasional and emergency duties, and those tasks for which the post-holder is involved in or responsible for.  Include the line “such other comparable duties as may be required by the Head of Department”
  • Be as honest as possible (no point in describing the job as other than its true nature, as the person you appoint may quickly become disillusioned and leave)
  • Use verbs when outlining the job holder’s duties e.g. “resolve enquiries in person and by email” is more descriptive than “communication”


  • Use jargon
  • Use acronyms or abbreviations – spell these out in full
  • Use names of other post-holders – use job title instead e.g. “reports to Library Manager” is more meaningful than “reports to Sue Denim”, especially to an external applicant who probably isn’t familiar with the organisational structure and the names of people already working there
  • Include details of how tasks should be carried out

What information to include

  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Job purpose/aim
  • Reporting lines
  • Key responsibilities and duties
  • An organisation chart if possible
  • Could include why the job has arisen e.g. funding for a specific project has allowed the creation of this post to manage the project…

The HERA Summary of Elements provides a useful list for describing the different areas of a person’s role.  It lists the following 14 elements:

  1. Communication
  2. Teamwork and Motivation
  3. Liaison and Networking
  4. Service Delivery
  5. Decision Making Processes and Outcomes
  6. Planning and Organising Resources
  7. Initiative and Problem Solving
  8. Analysis and Research
  9. Sensory and Physical Demands
  10. Work Environment
  11. Pastoral Care and Welfare
  12. Team Development
  13. Teaching and Learning Support
  14. Knowledge and Experience

Working through each of these, decide what is required of the person for each element and use this to create the job description.  Some examples:

3 Liaison and networking – are they involved in any committees?

10 Work environment – only necessary to include if the post holder has responsibility for Health and Safety

13 Teaching and learning support – include frequency and scale e.g. annual induction to 5 students or weekly presentations to large groups?

Aim for a maximum of 15 duties.

Selection criteria

Why are selection criteria important?

  • Allow the candidate to match up their skills and experience to the job and assess its suitability
  • Enable the panel to evaluate candidates and shortlist for interview
  • Form the basis of the selection decision
  • Using selection criteria makes shortlisting easier – use a matrix to evaluate the applicants (can also give different weightings to different categories)
  • Enable a focused approach to interviewing – can identify areas where skills/experience need to be explored
  • Provide a basis for feedback to candidates (especially if they were unsuccessful – you can explain that in their application, they did not demonstrate [skill or experience])

When deciding if a selection criterion should be Essential or Desirable, consider if the skill can be taught on the job.  If not, make it Essential.

Ensure that all criteria are justifiable, non-discriminatory, objective, realistic and measurable

Don’t specify age limits or physical fitness.  Instead of asking for “10 years’ experience”, focus on the type of experience, not the time.

Janet Furr and the Virtuale-Staff

VirtualeStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in the Philippines. VirtualeStaff works with customers to identify tasks that are suited for out-tasking with our workforce skillsets. We recruithire and manage a solution team from our headquarters in the Philippines.

Basics Understanding in Recruitment and Selection and  Assessments

An assessment centre is a way of selecting candidates for a role. They might be internal candidates for promotion, external candidates for a job, or it may be internal candidates being assess for their suitability for roles within a new structure. Basically an assessment centre is a number of different ways of assessing someone’s ability to do a job.

Based on the person specification a trained and qualified assessor will choose a number of tests or events that can be assessed. They may be psychometric tools that measure your ability to reason with numbers, or words, they may be problem solving exercises, they may be interactive exercises with other people. Sometimes actors are used to do work simulations. Sometimes you have to do a task in a group. You may be asked to do a personality questionnaire, a presentation or have an interview.

They key thing is that you should be given more than one opportunity to demonstrate your ability of each competence, so if you do badly in one exercise you may pick up on another.

Sometimes an assessment centre or number of psychometric tools are used to pre screen out applicants who do not meet certain criteria. For example if you need to be very numerate to do a role, all the applicants may be asked to do a numerical ability test and only those who score above the cut off point will get to an interview.

A full assessment centre lasting over a day or several days is more likely in a senior role, where organisations like to collect a lot of information about a candidate before making a decisions. They are also used in graduate selection where fewer candidates have work experiences to draw on. Using an assessment centre in this way means that candidates will be screened on their applications before they get invited to attend. You may be asked to do some on line questionnaires before the day; usually this would be a personality questionnaire.

At an assessment centre you will be working with other candidates and doing the same exercises as them. Don’t think that you shod try to compete with them and be overly competitive. Most organisations value team work and interpersonal skills; they will be looking to see how much you are cooperating rather than trying to ‘win’.

What do they do with the results? The assessors on the centre should be pulling together all the information into a report for the selectors to review. Sometimes this report will recommend whether you go further in the process: sometimes it is there just to inform the selectors about your competence. Some reports will give numerical scores to all the exercises and then give the assessment centre as a whole a score. That would enable the selectors to have a very clear ‘merit order’ of candidates. Some firms have a profile of their ideal candidates, based on those who they have appointed previously and who have done well, they will be looking for people whose profiles are similar.

In other assessment centres the report will focus on a narrative report stressing your strengths and areas that need further exploration. This would enable the interviewers to ask you searching questions about those competencies that you have not fully demonstrated in the centre. This gives you another opportunity to demonstrate your competence. This approach is more about recognising that individuals bring different strength and weaknesses and that choosing someone is about getting the skills that compliment those of other team members, or that might be specifically needed at that point in time. A year later they might chose someone with a different profile.

There are no hard and fast rules about exactly how the results should or are used. Sometimes failure in one exercise can be the end of the road for a candidate. In another organisation the selectors may decide to ignore the test results altogether and appoint someone they ‘like the look of’. (OK that begs the question why do the tests at all if you are going to ignore them, but I have seen it happen!)

Are the tests always an accurate portrayal of an individual’s skills and capabilities? Well yes and no! Performance in tests can be an inaccurate predictor of performance for many reasons, not least if the candidate has never done anything like this before. However the people who design the tests spend huge amounts of money and time to get them as good at predicating as possible. Don’t think you are a failure if you do badly.. just get some help to learn how to improve.

VirtualeStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in the Philippines. VirtualeStaff works with customers to identify tasks that are suited for out-tasking with our workforce skillsets. We recruit, hire and manage a solution team from our headquarters in the Philippines.

President Barack Obama presented his American Jobs Act of 2011 subsequent to months of rising National Unemployment Rates of 9.1% in July and August of that year. America asked the question: Will the AJA help create new jobs and will it do so quickly? Some Americans asked if the act was viable and necessary or more simply a prelude toward a platform of campaign promises in the upcoming 2012 Presidential Election.

Related to 2012 and the predicted jobs market, GOP POTUS candidate hopefuls like Mitt Romney, businessman though he is, did not offer viable complete plans for job stimulus in their bids for candidacy. This did not help cure a growing distrust among the unemployed toward business in general. Eugene Levy’s used car salesman character on Second City TV, with his plaid suit, dance, and slogan that every car has a story, seemed more believable to some people than did the Romneys of the world. This group saw Mitt as a used car salesman in slick hair, smug expression, and expensive suit, selling an auto whose engine will fall out as you turn the first corner after purchase.

Similarities: FDR’s Jobs for All Bill of 1935

Under the New Deal, the Works Progress Administration created jobs for three million men in America and aided in providing infrastructure and national parks development duringThe Great Depression.

US States Created Jobs

While opinions varied on the American Jobs Act in early days, certain US States were creating jobs on their own, under Stimulus Funding and other federal monies. One was Ohio.
Under Governor Ted Strickland (2006 – 2010), the northeast and southwest quadrants of the state were targeted for improvement in education and jobs creation. In the north, the University of Toledo provided free tuition for area residents to pursue studies that could lead to long-term employment. In the south, from Cincinnati north to Westchester, Dayton, Fairborn, and New Carlisle, focus was directed on boosting the Ohio Space Corridor industries. Improvements to the Dayton-Fairborn Avation Heritage Region also helped jobs as related tourism grew.
Even though Columbus was named the Number 1 High Tech City in the US later in these years, young professionals oftne moved to 1) Florida and 2) the Space Corridor. In Cincinnati, these workers found jobs not only in electronics/computers and aerospace/defense manufacturing, but also in a number of retail management positions.
Through the efforts of both Strickland and Governor John Kasich (2011 – 2014), manufacturing jobs increased in Northeastern Ohio, while Kasich made plans to improve jobs creation in the remaining quadrant. These latter jobs would come from a massive Ohio River Bridge Project and a uranium enrichment project in Piketon some 60 miles south of the state capital. In addition, the Governor explored expansions in natural gas and shale oil production. At the same time, Kasich seemed in general to work against labor unions, which are active in connection with new jobs creation in infrastructure and energy sectors.


Job sharing came to a brighter light in the 1980 Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton. Lily Tomlin film 9 to 5. Pairs of working moms each worked half a day, AM or PM, to accomodate care of their families. According to the film, it worked. Given the rise of freelance writers and others today that need to supplement their incomes while their businesses build, taking half-day jobs within work sharing measures sounds like a workable arrangement.

Jobs and a Jobs Act

In September 2011, a year and one quarter before the 2012 elections, where were the jobs in America and what sort of work did they entail?
Throughout 2009 to 3rd QTR 2001, job openings listed across all Internet sources totaled from 4.5 Million to 6+ Million available. Still, at least twice as many Americans were looking for work. However, in mid-September 2011, only 3.6 million job listings could be found – a significant reduction in available jobs. At the same time, the American Jobs Act was introduced. The AJA Fact Sheet (linked to the right) states that 5 million people were looking for work when it was instroduced in Summer 2011. The figure may be low.
The act includes tax cuts, tax incentivesschool and infrastructure improvements,Unemployment Insurance overhauland worksharing, among other measures. Some of these may be effective measures; however, tax cuts and incentives to small businesses as a whole may need to be longer-term in order to produce enough jobs for American workers. We need to know much more about the UI overhaul. Worksharing might work in some metro areas.
Worksharing has been done in France and minorly in the USA (as job sharing). In this measure, the average work week is reduced so that others can work the remaining hours. For example a 40-hour week is reduced to two 20-hour jobs in the case of working moms in the USA. Generally, the trend seems to be to reduce full-time work to 30 hours, leaving 10 hours to place into another position. At the same time, Unemployment Insurance as it stood in 2011 covered only workers that worked 35 or more hours per week. Would the UI overhaul address this problem?
  • What job titles offered the largest numbers of jobs during this period of 9.1% Unemployment in July, August, and early September 2011?

History: November 2010 – May 2011

  • Part-Time jobs increased 16%
  • Contract jobs increased 70% – This is a huge increase. Contract jobs also save employer expenses.
  • Temporary jobs increased 28% – This suggests futher unemployment.
  • Permanent jobs decreased 30% – This is discouraging and suggests further unemploment.
  • Full-Time jobs increased 3% – This figure needs to rise substantially and is rising in some US States.
Source: Data provided by, a search engine for jobs.
Total Jobs Listed decreased 1.5 Million in August-September 2011.
  • If only 5,000,000 people were looking for work in September, as stipulated by the AJA, then millions of people must have been hired during the end weeks of the summer. This is because previously, 4 to 6 million jobs were listed, with twice as many people looking for work.
  • If 5,000,000 unemployed = 9.1% Unemployment, then the total number of workers employed in America was only about 55,000,000, which is incorrect. The correct number is far higher, nearly 154 Million in August 2011 (BLS). We must have had a larger number of people unemployed.

Most Jobs

August 2011
  1. Transportation
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Construction
  4. Information Technology
  5. Media, Human Resources, Hospitality
  6. Healthcare
  7. Accounting
  8. Financial Services/Banking
  9. Education
  10. Real Estate

Top 10 Industrial Sectors Post

July 2011
  1. Transportation
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Construction
  4. Information Technology
  5. Accounting
  6. Media
  7. Human Resources
  8. Financial Services/Banking
  9. Hospitality
  10. Retail and Healthcare – tied
The top four sectors listing the most jobs remained constant for July and August 2011 during 9.1% national Unemployment: Transportation, Manufacturing, Construction, and Information Technology. Ranking come from BLS as well as and, which gather all positions open listed on all Internet sources.

Increases in Job Listings in August 2011

  • Healthcare experienced a record high for listings in July 2011, holding fairly steady in August.
  • Manufacturing jobs, by August, had increased a full 37% for 2011.
  • Education related jobs increased 10% over August 2010.
  • Human Resources jobs reached nearly 73,000 in August 2011 on SimlpyHired and Indeed.

21st Century Manufacturing

Laptop drives manufactured at Seagate.

History: Wage Distribution of Jobs in 3rd QTR 2011 at the Announcement of the American Jobs Act

The following sections comprise a summary of the most frequently advertised jobs for this time period, across the country, by pay range.
On September 15, 2011 New Jobs Listings increased by somewhat 500,000 from 9:00 AM to 9PM, to over 3.6 Million nationwide.

Highest Paid Jobs: $100,000/year or more – 440+K (over 440,000) jobs

  • Family Practice Physicians
  • Some Executive Positions outside medicine – Includes some Attorneys
  • Internal Medicine Physicians
  • Asset Protection Specialists
  • Hospitalist Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Travel Physical Therapists and Travel Occupational Therapist – The demand for travel healthcare positions like travel nursing, travel phsycians, travel physical therapists and others is growing. These jobs pay higher wages, provide up to a year of rent or mortgage payment, and additional fringe benefits. Watch for this field of work to increase further after 2020.
  • Hedge Fund Managers and similar
  • Risk Analysts
Next Highest Paid Jobs: $60,000 to 79,999/year – 231K jobs
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Registered Nurses – Licensed RNs, including supervisors
  • Some Pizza Hut Managers and Supervisors
  • Project Managers – IT and other fields
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Java Developers
  • Software Engineers
  • Business Analysts – IT-related jobs
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • .NET Developers
  • Some Family Practice Physicians
  • Some Office Managers
Next Highest Paid Jobs: $80,000 to 99,999/year – 345K jobs
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Java Developers
  • Project Managers
  • Software Engineers and Network Administrations
  • Business Development Executives
  • Market Data Infrastructure Engineers
  • Program Managers
  • Some Technology Positions
Next Highest Paid Jobs: $20,000 to 39,999/year – 1.12 Million Jobs
  • Shift Supervisors – Wide range of industries.
  • Pharmacy Technicians
  • Crew People – McDonalds, CVS/Pharmacy, other
  • Customer Service Reps
  • Assistant Managers
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Salespeople and Merchandisers
  • Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs)
  • Some Business Analysts
  • Pizza Hut jobs, crew to management
Next Highest Paid Jobs: $40,000 to 59,999/year – 671K jobs
  • Truck Drivers – CDL, owner-operators, company drivers, other
  • Physical and Occupational Therapists
  • Registered Nurses (RNs)
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Executive Assistants
  • Financial Analysts
  • Photo Lab Supervisors
  • Program Managers
  • Some Software Engineers
  • Some Attorneys

Lowest-Paid Jobs and Part-Time Jobs Grossing Less than $20,000 per year

Over 600,000 jobs fall into this category, September 2011.
Lowest paying jobs in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics include the following job titles that make Approximately $18 – 20K/year Full-Time ($346 to 384 per week, before taxes):
  1. Fast Food Cooks
  2. Food Prep and Service Workers (they both prepare and serve foods and beverages)
  3. Dishwashers
  4. Shampooers in beauty salons
  5. Counter Attendants – Food and Coffee Places
  6. Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants
  7. Dining Hosts and Hostesses
  8. Amusement Park Attendants
  9. Cashiers – especially in groceries
  10. Farm Workers

Which Jobs Will the American Jobs Act Increase?

Some jobs are increasing naturally in the national job market, many beingService Industry jobs that increase as the population increases. Not all US States enjoy the same rate of increase and some states do not increase in these jobs. These positions include openings in grocery stores, dining establishments, schools, daycare centers, hospitals and clinics, retail outlets, entertainment venues, a variety of sales venues, and others. Freight Transportation for sales should continue to increase as well.
It remains to be seen which jobs the American Jobs Act will increase long-term, but one prediction is that low-to-moderate pay ranges will experience increased jobs. The largest sector of Americans does not possess the education and certification required for most of the highest paid jobs advertised during this time period. Hopefully, tax cuts and incentives will spur the many imaginative and adventurous among these citizens to open their own businesses and create jobs for others.
As privatized space flight, singly and in partnership with NASA, more strongly targets retrieving natural resources from Mars, the asteroid belt beyond, and possibly from Earth’s moon, associated planning, manufacturing, and operations positions are likely to increase in number. Alternative energy production can create new jobs, as can accessing the oil and natural deposits in North Dakota, Alaska, Ohio and other states. Information Technologyis entering every industry and nearly every job and will continue to expand in jobs as it does so.Infrastructure improvements can produces 1,000s of jobs as it did in The Great Depression. The Ohio River Bridges Project is one example – each bridge involved needs replacement and the surrounding state economies need those bridges.

For years, India has led the global outsourcing industry primarily through its huge pool of IT graduates and British-

influenced culture. Right now although, far more and more American companies as well as other multinationals are transferring their operations from India to a driven BPO competitor from Southeast Asia: the Philippines. While India still has the bigger share of the pie, the Philippines is rapidly catching up to the outsourcing giant due to the fact of its crucial key advantages: much better infrastructure, customer-service-oriented workforce, and deep appreciation, understanding and powerful practice of the English language and American culture.

We pit India and the Philippines head-to-head against each and every other to know which is the wiser option for outsourcing or offshoring operations and who has the future in their hands.

India: Losing Its Momentum in the Outsourcing Race?

Great Numbers – The major strength of India is its numbers. Every single year, 120,000 IT experts enter the Indian workforce due to the fact of the education system that emphasizes science and mathematics. Bandwidth in India is also commendable due to their private undersea cable and the state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited. Telecom rates are really low as a result of the industry’s privatization. Furthermore, software development remains a very lucrative organization in India, attracting established IT companies such as Microsoft, IBM, HP and others.

Suffering Top quality – For all its advantages, India may be speedily losing its momentum as the leader of the BPO business. According to a survey conducted by Kelly Services Inc. with headquarters in Michigan, India is losing its position as the number one selection of US companies for backroom operations. These firms are supposedly searching at the Philippines very first simply because of the country’s superior top quality in output. India also has a dilemma with its staff turnover at 31%, with 67% of its workforce transferring to other competing call centers. As a consequence, staff tenure in India is staggeringly low at only 11 months. South Korea has the longest staff tenure with 24 months, followed by the Philippines at 19 months.

Poorer English Accent – Far more importantly, although several Indians do speak English, their accent is still too thick, which may result in tough conversations with frustrated clients. This could be 1 of the factors in the choice by Tampa-based Sykes Enterprises to move some of its call center operations from Bangalore to the Philippines, as reported by The Motely Fool, a commercial web site about investment and finance, and the Tampa Tribune.

The Philippines: The New Destination for Outsourcing Businesses

Ideal Environment – The Philippines is fast catching up to India in terms of servicing the growing BPO market. Compared to India, the Philippines’ telecom infrastructure is vastly far better and organizations are much more safely set up and maintained because of the stable environment, growing economic incentives and extremely skilled human resources. American, European and Australian businesses that have already outsourced to the country are presently saving 40% to 60%, which translates to boosted profits and capacity for expansion.

Top-notch Workforce – There is also no debate over which workforce produces output with the higher quality. For instance, in terms of call center operations, Kelly Services in Michigan found out that the Philippines has the highest agent productivity in the region. Filipino call center agents manage an average of 107 outbound and 98 inbound calls in a day compared to Indian call center agents who can only manage 78 outbound and 73 inbound calls per day. In reality, looking at the bigger picture, the Philippines trumps India when it comes to the general good quality of its workforce. The Philippines is presently ranked number 1 in the availability of knowledge-based jobs and workers in the entire world. Moreover, in terms of labor good quality, the Philippines is ranked 4th amongst all Asian nations as a study by US-based Meta Group concluded.

More Westernized Experts – The key to the Philippines’ recent hammering of India may possibly be its deeply entrenched American influence. The country was colonized by Americans for 48 years and today, Filipinos live highly Westernized lifestyles, involving watching American TV shows and movies and speaking the English language in all its schools and branches of government. Filipinos are prized by their American employers by their excellent American accent, which is oftentimes indistinguishable from real American English. The customer-service orientation of the Filipino labor force also proves to be a large plus, as attested to by Mitchel Chang, Philippine internet site manager of Tokyo antivirus software program organization, Trend Micro, which employs over a thousand people in the country. According to him, Filipino professionals are service-oriented, responsive and passionate and speak powerful English.

High Literacy Rate – The high quality of the Philippines’ workforce is sustained by its impressive literacy rate of 93.four% according to the United Nations Development Programme. India pales in comparison with a mere grade of 61.%.

Diverse Outsourcing Opportunities – Like India, the Philippines delivers offshore software development, call center operations, Internet development, and other IT services. But it doesn’t end there. Over the recent years, the Philippines has been performing excellently in the global animation marketplace, which is growing since of the increasing popularity of 2D and 3D animated shows, movies and games. Main animation studios like Marvel, Disney, Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera have already established offices in the Philippines, as well as Japanese anime studios like Toei.

Yet another really promising business is outsourced medical transcription, which thrives in the immense medical talent pool of the Philippines. The huge number of nurses, medical technologists, doctors and specialized medical transcriptionists in the country has been able to meet the increased demands of US hospitals, which are now required by the law to convert medical records into information format.

Several significant firms have already set up operations in the Philippines, such as MSN-Microsoft, AT&ampT, IBM, Washington Mutual, Sallie Mae, Expedia, Intuit, Transunion, Alltell and Bellsouth. Far more and more modest and medium-sized American firms have also chosen the Philippines as their BPO headquarters of choice. With all of these positive qualities going for the Philippines, all signs point to the tide of battle shifting soon in its favour. Reading from all present indications, the future of outsourcing or offshoring is clearly not India, but the Philippines.

VirtualeStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in, the Philippines.