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Human Resources

Interview to Understand Aspirations

Peer into the Future to Retain Employees Better

Written By: James Aiken

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Depending on the hiring manager, recruiter or human resources department – interviewers may not necessarily have as much time to interview as they wish. I’ve seen interviews that last from thirty minutes to a chain of interviews lasting eight hours. Regardless, interviewers need to make sure to take advantage of the time spent interviewing. More often than not, they ask questions that don’t necessarily give a real understanding of the candidate.

Reading the Future: Crystal Ball Questions

In a previous article, the importance of understanding a candidate’s foreground, or what they understand as their near future (aspirations etc) was put into consideration. Technical questions are absolutely critical in the process. However, time needs to be taken to interview for personality and aspirations. When a hiring manager doesn’t understand a candidate’s aspirations, it makes it much harder on the firm to retain an employee since they don’t know what would actually make them happy!

Interviewing on Past Behavior

Some do not necessarily put a huge deal of weight on the new fad of “behavioral questions” in human resources, although some firms do put a lot of confidence behind these questions. These are often more reactive questions and certainly help hiring managers understand a candidates reactions and past actions. They are also likely to hear the highlights of that candidate’s career versus everyday interactions. In this case, it may not necessarily be the most accurate representation of the candidate. If someone is interviewing to be a fisherman, they’re more likely to tell you about the time that they saved a coworker from going overboard than the time they tossed another fisherman overboard. These are good questions to ask, but the answers should certainly be taken with a grain of salt.

“I’m Best When I’m at My Weakest”

An interviewer could technically flip the questions to make them a negative as in “What are your weaknesses?” but you’re likely to get a less extreme version of Michael Scott’s answer when he said:
“…my greatest weaknesses? I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes I can be too invested in my job.”
 All the more reason to focus on the candidate’s aspirations and what they see as their future to see if it matches up with the future an interviewer sees in the possible associate.  More importantly, down to the questions:

1. What do you see as the next big step in your career?

This is nearly always the first question a good recruiting firm will ask a prospective candidate. Before speaking about the job opening, the company or details on what the candidate does – a candidate’s aspirations must be addressed. If the opportunity doesn’t match up with what they realistically see as their future, it probably isn’t the best fit. Not to say this is a disqualifier, but you can be assured that the candidate will not be as enthusiastic about the opportunity than someone else who really matches up as far as aspirations go.
In addition, this gives the interviewer or company as a whole a clearer image of the candidate in order to emphasize the parts of the job that do line up with their aspirations

2. If you could change one thing about your current employer, what would it be?

 Associates always have some type of idea or suggestion to make their workplace better. They may be in an environment where there are already so many processes they don’t have an opportunity to implement anything. This question gives an interviewer an inside look at a candidates analytical thinking as well as how well they can put up with not being able to implement/influence a change.

3. Being from a (small/large) company, do you prefer an environment with established processes or an environment with more opportunity to implement processes?

This is an important question to ask due to polarization. Associates from small companies gripe that there aren’t processes in place, that software isn’t sophisticated or that things are inefficient. Associates from large companies gripe that they are being drowned by processes. They mention that there are many things they would like to change, but can’t. On occasion associates believe their employers strategies “can’t see the forest for the trees”.
This gives a hiring manager another opportunity to sell to strengths. Many times, an associate from a large process-oriented firm will be very excited to join a smaller firm if they have the opportunity to implement processes of their own. On the other side of the coin, associates from a smaller more liberally run firm may be excited to join a large firm where they can learn processes, techniques and strategies that they didn’t previously have the opportunity to be a part of.

4. What accomplishment in your current role makes you most proud? 

This may seem like a background-searching question as the setting is in the past, but its actually forward-looking as the interviewer is figuring out what drives pride behind an associates work. An interviewer is greatly benefited by understanding what makes an associate happy with their work, go figure!
The interviewer may also be surprised, as the answers aren’t always profit or process-driven. Occasionally there are answers focusing on healing fragmented teams, improving employee pride or team engagement.

5. If you had to train someone in one of your current work-related skills, which would you be most enthusiastic about?

Teaching is a key factor behind leadership. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” According to my application to Harvard’s Law Department, you can’t teach something you don’t know! In addition, this again explains the passions behind an interviewee’s background in order to more accurately predict their future.

Understand Employees to Better Motivate Them

Some of the most important information to understand about a candidate is what drives them. An interviewer should understand what their passions are, as well as where their pride and enthusiasm lies. When a company can line up the succession plan of their open role with the future aspirations of a current candidate – they will greatly increase their average employee tenure.



Categories
Human Resources

Interviewing for Red Flag Identification

Getting the Right Candidate Means Identifying the Wrong Candidate Early

Written By: James Aiken

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You have a vacant position. You need to fill it. Yet, you need to fill it with the right candidate. The interviewing process, notwithstanding whether you love it or hate it, is costing you both time and lost productivity due to this gap. However, hiring can go wrong. This article will help you avoid “toxic” candidates and help you source the right talent for your business.

This article will give you a new approach. Don’t waste time on the wrong candidate. Learn to quickly recognize signs of a mismatch so you can focus on the right candidate for your urgent vacancy. The latest academic research along with industry best practice all point towards the centrality of nurturing good talent. However, the converse of this outcome is to quickly move on from talent that doesn’t align with your candidate profile.

BABY STEPS IN RECRUITING

It is all about knowing what you want. You should know what the position entails, what the duties are and the responsibilities therein. You need to understand how that role interplays with the wider business. This way you can take small steps towards getting the right candidate first, without being bogged down with candidates that do not match what you’re seeking.

According to Harvard Business Review, in a paper entitled Toxic Workers, the cost associated with hiring the wrong person can exceed $12,489 – excluding litigation and regulatory costs. Furthermore, some academics believe hiring the wrong person can also decrease organisational productivity by creating a negative influencer within the organisation who will counter the wider business goals and objectives through their negative psychology.

There is a dilemma and a conundrum here. Getting the wrong staff member can cost a business a lot of money. However, the metrics and benchmarks used to target the right member of staff can sometimes be gamed by the right ‘negative’ influencer. The research above highlight this reality and as such it is crucial that businesses plan their recruitment processes on the assumption of such negative counter-experiences.

PLANNING AHEAD

It is crucial that your job advertisement is curated to define the full range of employment and role experiences. This way, the candidate, can be sure the role suits their skills sets and experiences. However, as a business leader, your role is to focus, with laser pointed clarity, at the wider issues.

As a business leader, when looking at candidates, you need to focus on a nuanced reality. All the candidates can do the role – they’ve curated their own resumes in order to highlight this certainty. Therefore, you need to ask yourself whether the candidate should do the role. This is not about employment history or qualifications but about a wider array of intersectional experiences from emotional intelligence markers to outside workplace interests. These diverse metrics can help identify crucial markers. As a leader, you need to be able to understand the team you lead.

 


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Human Resources

Six Markers of a “Toxic” Employee

There are six ways, as a business leader, you can avoid the hassle of recruiting a toxic employee. This section will explore a series of useful processes that can help to nurture an environment in which recruiting a toxic employee is difficult. The six stages are as follows:

  • MULTIPLE INTERVIEWS AND DIFFERENT ANGLES

Get two or three stages of the interview process – you can offer a telephone interview, followed by a face to face interview and perhaps a test-based interview. This myriad of diverse investigation will be able to help identify flaws in the candidate’s personality and whether their personal values would impact on your business.

  • GET SOMEONE ELSE TO INTERVIEW

You have been fooled many times. You know it. Your colleagues as individuals have been hoodwinked. However, getting a team to interview a candidate, whilst daunting for the candidate, can help to create a group mentality around the recruitment process which can lead to a group attitude towards the candidate’s suitability.

  • TOXIC MINDS THINK TOXIC THOUGHTS

Ask the crazy questions! Think outside of the box. Ask a question like; “can you think of six issues relating to your previous employer?” This question is a leading question designed to get the candidate to not just answer a singular question but to explore a myriad of themes within the confines of a singular answer. If blame is appropriated into this experience, you can understand how this person endeavours. So, ask a crazy question.

  • CRYSTAL BALL GAZING

The dreaded question, “where do you see yourself in ten years”, is the ultimate question for discerning the narcissist toxic employee. The purpose of the question is to understand the long-term goals of the individual within the context of the organisation. This tricks the individual into providing information about their values and the worth they have placed on their prospective employer.

  • DON’T LET HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF

There are lessons from history you can learn, as the maxim goes. This is so true when it is placed alongside the context of recruiting individuals. Bad and negative experiences are central in deconstructing toxic future employees. You can ask questions that force the candidate to explore their past. If patterns begin to emerge, there is a chance this could happen again – within your organisation!

  • THERE IS NO I IN TEAM, BUT THERE IS ALWAYS A WE IN RECRUITMENT

When sourcing, sorting and interviewing a candidate. There is one way you can identify a toxic employee and that is by discussing their work history and listening to their responses. Do they use the word “we”? Did they work in a team, but the interviewee sounds like it was a solo one-man project? These vanity responses hint at an altogether more troubling sub-dynamic and that is the presence of narcissism. Toxic employees are toxic because they’re more about themselves than the wider team or business goals. Listen for the “we” in candidate responses.

These six markers can help a business leader avoid the costly pitfalls of recruiting a toxic employee and by-pass the ancillary costs of such a mistake. This article has identified the science surrounding toxic employees. It has discerned the real problem a toxic employee would create and how this would impact your own business goals and objectives. Therefore, as a business leader, you need to plan. You need to strategize your recruitment process. You need to understand the vacancy. You need to understand what that role will entail. From this knowledge, you need to approach the selection as a wider team effort.

THE NEXT STEP

The six markers herald a more collaborative approach to recruitment that can help you to find the right candidate for your business. By following these six metric markers, your business can save tens of thousands of dollars and hire the best staff for your business needs.

Categories
Human Resources

Find a Job Like a Recruiter in 4 Strategic Steps

Finding the next step in your career can be a lot less stressful than applying to job postings and hoping for the best. If a job-searcher takes a more active approach, they can guarantee a higher level of success and have much more control over their future. It’s overused, but most agree, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

1) Create your job profile

I like to think about a job profile as location, industry, function & scope. If I sell insulation across the southeast from Greenville, SC – then I would likely be looking for a job within sales in the southeast (preferably Greenville) in the building materials industry. At this point you start making your company target list. A good number is around 20 with your top 5 segmented out.

2) Sweep through applications

Go on to the popular websites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster & ZipRecruiter and apply to all of the applicable positions according to your job profile. Do not limit your companies, however. That list is to be used later. When you’re applying for jobs, you’re best off spending maybe 4-8 hours applying for all of the jobs you possibly can. Afterwards, forget you even applied. After you do this (once every two weeks max), you should only be waiting for phone calls back. Focus on phone conversations, if they call you, the relationship can be on your radar, otherwise its not worth the brain strain. Apply liberally, this can also be used as a networking tool. If something seems a bit too high, apply anyway. Applying above your pay grade is obviously much more productive than applying below it.

3) Connect with applicable recruiters

Connect yourself with recruiters that apply to your job profile as far as location, industry & function go. For example, a company/recruiter that works exclusively in your city/metro/target area. If you’re in IT, you’re probably going to work best with an IT firm like MDI Group. If you’re in building materials, sales or manufacturing operations, you’ll do great with Legacy.

4) Network and Grow Your Niche Like a recruiter

At this point you’ve clearly stated exactly what you’re looking for, you’ve got your eye on the prize. Now its time to get out and spread the story. Don’t wait for new jobs to get posted, don’t rely on the recruiters to find you a job, it’s time for you to really get to work. Here you should be chatting and getting introduced to anyone and everyone that falls within your niche, more specifically your top 20/5 list! Stay focused and continue to build out your network within your target job.

Taking an active approach and tracking relationships will help you greatly in finding a job. Treat it like a sales job. You’re selling yourself! Build your network, gain trust and offer solutions. Remember, there’s a job opening because there’s something that needs to be addressed, sell the solution. As much as you’re going to be concerned with what the company is going to do for you, you need to have a clear idea of the value behind what you’re able to do for the company. This will make you much more confident and clear-minded during interviews. Follow these steps and you’ll have your next job in no time!

Categories
Human Resources

Why College Kids Hate Recruiters and How We Can Solve It

I recently read through Elana Goodwin’s article on ERE Media titled “Why Students May Not Want to Work with Recruiters”. It seemed pretty important to me because if students aren’t interested in working with recruiters, I need to know why and I need to figure out how to fix these issues. If students feel a certain way – I’m sure there are others outside of University that feel the same way.
At the same time, I wanted to be able to provide a look from a different angle at the objections towards working with a recruiter and explain some of the stemming causes of these points of conflict. Elana covered multiple issues, the four strongest arguments I believe she made were the lack of transparency, lack of response, lack of activity and lack of reliability.
“Students feel working with a recruiter can be challenging as you can’t always be sure that what they’re telling you is the truth… Whether students work with an external or internal recruiter, they may end up being lied to — and while it may sometimes be ‘for their own good’ or to soften a blow, it’s still a lie.” (Goodwin)
This is a common issue raised by candidates working with recruiters. As Elana mentions, we see this with internal as well as external recruiters. I think the issue here stems from two things: a recruiter’s hesitance for confrontation. If you are working with a recruiter who shies from confrontation or that may be restricted behind corporate red tape from saying certain things, you will end up running into this situation.
One of the points we make at Legacy is that we must work with honesty and transparency. This isn’t only ethical, but it improves our business processes and our quality altogether. We do not look to put square pegs into round holes. We do not look to shy away from being honest with our candidates. We are a team looking to achieve a goal – increase a candidate’s quality of life through their career while at the same time building our client’s human capital. If we do both of those, retention is not an issue.
“Additionally, there are recruiters who may never call back candidates, and students will expect and accept a no-response when applying to jobs through a website in situations where says they won’t contact all candidates unless selected to move forward in the application and interview process. When students are dealing with a person and that recruiter fails to get back to them and let them know they weren’t picked, it’s likely that student won’t want to work with any other recruiters in the future, thanks to bad experiences in the past.” (Goodwin)
Another very common issue – most common with high-volume jobs where the amount of active candidates interviewed gets to an overwhelming level for human resources or recruiters. That doesn’t excuse the action, though. There is no excuse for not getting back to an active candidate in the interviewing process.
At Legacy, we don’t typically work high-volume roles. We are able to commit ourselves to conversation by phone. If we are working a high-volume job on a project, our software is able to send out status updates automatically through our system when certain stages are met in the hiring process.
Some firms have recruiters working eight to sixteen different search assignments at once which would make it very difficult to keep up with all candidates, but at Legacy we make sure to keep the search assignment load low in order to ensure we are giving candidates the attention they deserve. We have found that splitting a recruiter’s hours per week between fifteen jobs doesn’t turn out as positively as focusing in on two to four jobs.
“Some recruiters will keep a backlog of resumes to peruse and review for new job openings when they’re tasked with filling a position while others will seek out completely new candidates and won’t even check past applicants to see if anyone would be a good match. Knowing this, students may question why they should bother working with a recruiter, and the answer to that will depend on the practices the recruiter uses to fill empty positions.” (Goodwin)
Elana makes a great point here that took me a while in my career to really understand. A recruiter must be able to realize the passive candidate pipeline just as much (if not better) than the active candidate pipeline. A very prominent external recruiter swears by the process of building your passive candidate roster specific to the job functions you’re most likely to address.
For example, Legacy works primarily in the building materials industry and we focus on meeting and understanding sales and operations individuals’ aspirations for the next step of their career. That way, when our clients bring up the need to either increase their company’s revenue (sales) or lower their company’s costs (operations) – we are able to solve their problems faster than a company that needs to go out into the market and run an entire search! When the Panthers are in the middle of the season and need a lineman to cover an injury, do they quickly sign someone from the free agency or do they wait around and scout for next years draft? More than likely, they have a couple of free agents they know they can pull in when necessary.
“Students feel they are the ones who will be most motivated to find themselves a job — so relying on a recruiter may seem counter-intuitive and counterproductive to students. Students, especially millennials, approach job-hunting as they do many other tasks and things: with independence and the knowledge that whatever is unknown about the job or application process is inherently know-able and self-teachable, thanks to the power of the Internet”. (Goodwin)
This is one of the great things about millennials when it comes to finding a job – they know that ultimately, they are the ones responsible for finding themselves a job. For soon-to-be (or recent) graduates, I typically suggest the following strategy focusing energy on five avenues:
  • Passive Opportunities
    • Recruiters – Pair yourself with recruiters specialized around your background
      • Industry
      • Function
      • Location
    • Personal Network – Make your availability and interests known. Don’t stop at friends and family. Figure out friends of friends that may fall into an industry/function you’re interested in.
  • Active Opportunities
    • Job Boards – Apply liberally. If you’re on the fence, apply to learn more. Its a numbers game, remember the plate-spinning theory.
    • University Job Fairs – Make it a focus to speak to as many companies as possible in person. Endorse opportunity, learn as much as you can about every company and role so you can accurately make the best decision for yourself. It’s better to have five offers and turn down four than to fight for one offer because you limited yourself.
    • Target Companies – Make a list of 20-40 companies you are most interested in and reach out to their human resources department. There are plenty of ways to meet influencers if you are truly determined.
Want to know one of Warren Buffet’s big secrets behind getting rich? Multiple income sources. That way, when one fails, you still have money coming in from a handful of other avenues. The same applies to finding a job (or any goal for that matter). Don’t let your success come down to one strategy being successful, work through multiple avenues to leverage your efforts.
All in all, the criticisms college students have of recruiters are valid and present in many recruiting firms we see in the industry. As companies get larger and more complex, some things do fall through the cracks of process and overleveraging. All firms need to make sure they are able to respect a candidate’s time and perception or they may find themselves without any candidates in the future!
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Industry News

Elon Musk: Making Solar Suburbian

Elon Musk and Tesla have big plans to integrate total clean home and commercial energy with the famous Tesla vehicles. This involves pairing solar panels with those electric vehicles so they can be charged from a renewable resource, the sun. Musk and Tesla have merged with Solar City (another Musk-founded company) to design a photovoltaic (PV) roofing solution that will revolutionize the automobile and the housing industry. This design is the future of PV roofing, and who better to deliver it than Tesla?

Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) was getting a lot of attention even before Tesla and Musk got on board. It has long been assumed the next step in mankind’s evolution of solar power and the process of getting it into new areas such as green commercial & residential building and sustainable roofing design.

The best way to describe BIPV is that it replaces traditional building materials with photovoltaics. Ordinary rooftop solar installations require a different setup than BIPV. In traditional installations, a PV module is attached to the structure separately whereas with BIPV the installation is built-in beginning with the construction of the roof instead of a costly addition afterward. By including this process in the construction, labor and installation costs are reduced. This results in a substantial savings and eliminates the need for secondary racking equipment. This transitions BIPV from an addition that most cannot afford to an affordable efficient building material.

BAPV (building-applied photovoltaics) is already common in the construction industry. BAPV is solar power that is retroactively installed to a building. This still adds costs and time when BIPV could be applied from the onset. This is one of the many reasons Elon Musk and Tesla have decided to move forward with BIPV as Tesla’s next big move.

The first big issue for Tesla stakeholders was to convince customers that solar installation was something that could look good with their current homes instead of some bulky contraption that stands out and looks weird on the roof of their homes.

Elon Musk spoke about this issue to the public prior to the official demonstration of the product. He said, “I think there’s quite a radical difference between having solar panels on your roof that actually make your house look better versus ones that do not, I think it’s going to be a night-and-day difference.” When the time came to officially demonstrate the product, Tesla made a genius move. He demonstrated the product in the suburbs but did not tell anyone which house the solar roof was applied to. The onlookers had to be told which house contained the Tesla product.

During this product unveiling, Elon Musk demonstrated how durable his new shingles are when compared with regular shingles on the market today. The Tesla shingles and the regular shingles had weights placed on them. The Tesla shingles were the only ones that did not break. This makes anyone who doubts the strength of this technology to stand up to the elements rest easy. Musk explained that the reason Tesla’s technology was so durable was due to the fact it is made from quartz. Elon Musk stated that the product has a “quasi-infinite lifetime”.

The durability of the materials will be one of the biggest selling points for the solar powered roof. Homeowners will love that there are more benefits to this roof type than just clean energy. Tesla is breaking into two different marketplaces here with solar power and roofing but seems to have found a common ground to make customers appreciate both.

The new Tesla Solar roof is offered in 4 different designs: the slate glass tile, textured glass tile, smooth glass tile, and Tuscan glass style. This means that customers can select from four different options that will fit with their homes aesthetically. This means that Tesla’s roof will be looked at by a larger range of customers than traditional solar power options. Customers who want to go solar do not have to worry about large bulky contraptions on their roof and they can integrate solar in the style of their home.

Musk and Tesla are not the first company to design an integrated BIPV solar roof product. Solar Roofing is a technology that has been developed by many companies over the years and continues to evolve. All the companies are attempting to segue this technology from an add-on into a genuine roofing material. So far, the other companies have been able to produce only four types of BIPV.

·       Solar Facades that can only be used on walls that face sunlight

·       Solar Shingles above a roofs dew point

·       Solar Cell Membranes

·       Semi-Transparent solar glazing to replace skylights and windows

What Tesla and Musk bring to the product is a model that is truly a “solar roof”. The other four types of products have been successful, but are not considered to be a complete solar roof. Tesla’s roof does not come without its own problems and worry’s though. Right now, the price is a huge factor as well as the actual solar efficiency of the Tesla glass shingles. Neither of which were discussed in a great deal by Musk at the product’s demonstration.

Pricing information is not available now but everyone knows that Tesla makes premium products that can be very expensive. After all, this is a premium product made with an expensive material in quartz that is almost unbreakable. As of right now most homeowners will probably not be able to afford this option or unwilling to shell out the kind of money that it will cost. The brightside to the cost though is the fact that Tesla is constantly striving to deliver its technology to be affordable to everyone. This can be witnessed in the evolution of the Tesla electric automobile. The new Tesla3 is rumored to be around the 30k mark which brings the technology down from well over $100,000 and makes it affordable to most everyone.

The biggest hurdle for Tesla’s roof will be efficiency. Elon Musk did talk about this briefly at the product demonstration. He stated that the glass material shielding the solar cell results in a very small efficiency drop for the photovoltaic shingle. The solar energy industry is constantly evolving and the record for PV efficiency is changing on a frequent basis with cost determined by how well the product produces electricity, this means that efficiency will be a pivotal area for Musk and Tesla to see their technology succeed.

Tesla and Musk have made great strides with this technology but still have a long way to go to parlay this technology into both the building material and solar PV industries. The biggest factors will almost certainly be cost and efficiency. Tesla has already taken a giant step in introducing this product to the world and getting everyone excited. Homeowners all over the world are anxiously anticipating the release of this product to the public for purchase, especially Tesla car owners. If Tesla’s history with the electric car is any indication, consumers can expect Tesla to keep working on this technology until the price goes down enough for anyone building a home to be able to afford.

Legacy is a niche recruiting firm for the building materials industry. Follow us onLinkedInTwitter, or Facebook! For more information on our services, check out our website at www.legacysearch.net!

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Industry News

Eco-Friendly is the Future of Construction Technology

Product Highlight: uPVC Windows and Doors

We all know how important green building is to a sustainable future. Discovering new methods of implementing sustainable technology into our existing construction practices is vital to our future on this planet.This idea of building harmoniously with nature, without sacrificing our personal comforts or the quality of the overall structure has been at the forefront of construction innovation for the past few decades.

While still in the fledgling stages, Eco-friendly options are quickly becoming more and more cost-effective and realistic as standard options for both residential and commercial construction processes. This trend is vital to humanity, as populations continue to grow and the explosion of both smart-cities and hyper urbanization puts a strain on our ever-dwindling natural resources. One of the lesser thought about, but still highly important contributors to the battle to conserve our planet’s resources are uPVC products: Eco-friendly door and window products quickly garnering attention both overseas and in America.

uPVC stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, and the products are made by essentially molding molten PVC profiles into the desired shapes in place of wood and other materials. Additives are then applied to window products to achieve the desired properties (UV protection, etc). This process not only allows for flexibility in manufacturing, but also has many other benefits the natural wood windows lack, without compromising the overall look and quality of the finished product. uPVC windows and doors was started by an India-based manufacturer called Aparna Enterprises, spearheaded by CEO Mahesh Choudhary. An alarming amount (around 75%) of the wood that is cut in India is currently being used for the manufacture of windows, doors, and furniture. With this level of environmental destruction for merely a fraction of the construction process, it is easy to see why a product like this is sorely needed.

uPVC windows and doors offer a wide-array of benefits to the market. First, they are free of lead and other hazardous chemicals. In addition they are designed and tested in India’s tropical condition, and are green-building approved. The products are also incredibly energy efficient due to their natural insulation (with an energy savings average of 25-30% annually) and each product undergoes a rigorous quality check under European standard specification, EN 12608:2003. The windows are more durable than standard wood, being treated for thermal, water, wind, and UV resistance; as well as being sound and dust proof. They are naturally fire retardant, fulfilling a class 1 fire resistance rating as defined in British Standard 476, and are designed to have a long-life and be maintenance-free. In addition, uPVC products are fully renewable and recyclable: being easily renewed in the event of a renovation, or be melted and recycled into other products at the end of their life-cycle. Even the waste materials can be easily reprocessed and utilized for other products.

Green-building is the only sustainable future in construction for our ever-expanding culture. Even though sustainable window and door solutions are only a small percentage of current market trends: Growing knowledge of the vast benefits, improvements, and long-term effects these products provide for us and the environment will see them gaining popularity very rapidly in the near future.

Legacy Search is a boutique recruiting firm for the building materials and construction industries. To get introduced, learn more on www.legacysearch.net or email thomas@legacysearch.net

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Industry News

Seven Insider Sales Growth Tips

Sales is the bedrock of a growing company. Notorious B.I.G. is famously quoted as saying “mo’ money mo’ problems” but in business, revenue is the best aspirin. Take a look at companies like Amazon that have yet to turn a profit but whose growth is completely powered by revenue. In a previous article by sales consultant Mark Mitchell of Whizard Strategy (Denver, CO) he lists a few notes on how to push your sales growth into double digits. We went ahead and added on some insight from different searches and conversations we have had with top sales executives within the industry.
1) Grow your sales within current customers. 
Within the building materials industry, associates at Legacy have seen more entry-level positions focused around account growth under the title “Account Developer”. In this unique position, they are essentially an account manager, but doing no new business development, all current business development. The line of logic here is to let your new business sales focus on new business instead of encroaching on that time with the account management function.
2) Update your sales and marketing messages. 
Look at taking a more consultative approach. Don’t be so quick to shorten the lead time, you may not uncover the actual pain points and true strategic problems within the company. Businesses have shifted from looking for commodity-based purchases to partnership-based purchases. Look to add value outside of the physical product you provide.
3) Make it easier for your customers to find you online. 
Your website is a storefront. Don’t expect your to fully convert a customer, but look at it like window-shopping – they view your website to get a better idea about your business and products, to eventually “walk inside” or contact you to discuss their needs more specifically.  If you give too little information, they’ll never be interested, give too much information and they may be so overwhelmed they write you off. Keep a fine balance and SEO your heart out.
4) Focus on fewer opportunities, providing higher quality.
We actually find this happen a lot in the recruiting industry as well, where a company or a specific recruiter will be working 10-20 different jobs at once, which averages them out to 2-4 hours per week per job – not quite enough time to be thorough and accurate. If you spend more time on fewer opportunities, you can work at a higher level in the market and provide a much better and higher quality product to your customers. Not to mention – less stress!
5) Pursue new opportunities for emerging sub-markets.
Keep ahead of new developments within the construction industry. We have seen plenty of actions and murmurs around innovative developments like tiny home villages and mill re-purposing (into lofts). Again, focusing on emerging trends and the ‘higher level’ of the market. Get in during the bloom and you’ll be established when the market flowers.
6) Create more effective and differentiating marketing.
In Jon Spoelstra’s book, Marketing Outrageously, he suggests a couple of different outside-the-box strategies and opportunities. My favorite of which he suggests getting into a very tight market (for example, tiny homes) and absolutely dominating one of the leading networks for that market. Become the “go-to” for a very tight niche. Become the Coca-Cola of a small segment and you can easily grow around the segment.
7) Invest in your sales force and increase recruiting quality
Every business has been through the woes of turnover, low-performers, uninspired associates, and sales rep vacancies that impact overall revenue. Invest in your sales force in ways of compensation, consideration and consultation in order to improve retention. In addition, focusing on the front end (recruiting) will lower turnover and under-performance. If you hire the right person the first time, you will have less issues to get involved with later on in their tenure.
In an ever-changing market, business owners and managers cannot depend on the same styles they’ve always used. It’s been said a million times, but with the rise of the internet, information exchange and market change is at a pace we haven’t seen before. Stay ahead of the curve, stay nimble, and stay at the top of your market!
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Industry News

OSHA: The Importance of Scaffolding Safety

There are many unsung heroes in the construction industry, and it’s safe to say that the less visible their skills are in terms of the finished product, the more essential they are likely to be. Perhaps the most important function in terms of site safety and success of the finished project is that of the scaffolding contractor. Highly-trained and rigorously tested, the scaffolder is the guy that enables other trades to get the job done on time, and on budget.
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The job might be a relatively straightforward residential or commercial build, or something larger-scale, such as Georgia Power’s new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle. The extra capacity will produce enough electricity to cover the needs of approximately one million homes and businesses in the state. The company providing the industrial scaffolding for this build were South Eastern Carpenters, and their impressive 2.6 million man hours for the main contractor, and an additional one million for the sub-contractor resulted in no serious injuries; an excellent record for such a build.
Not every job goes quite so smoothly in terms of its safety record, however. Workplace safety is an ongoing concern in the US construction industry, and the Department of Labor’s list of the ten most frequent health and safety violations published last October served only to underline that the list never really changes. Year on year, inspectors report the same workplace hazards, and whilst the figure of 4,500 people who die at work every year might be sobering enough, the figure for those injured at work – some 3 million – is staggering.
Considering that scaffolding projects usually involve working at a height, it’s no surprise that the top three offenders on that list are fall protection (including poorly-positioned and secured ladders), hazard communication (including inadequate training and hand-off), and scaffolding safety issues. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps a record of deaths at work – the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) shows 54 deaths from scaffolding and staging falls in 2009. The accidents occur most commonly when planks or supports give way, or through worker error or disregard for safe working practices. Slips and falls are easy if workers are tired, or are not concentrating on the job. Failure to alert workers at a lower level when dropping materials to the ground can also result in strike injuries.
However, by following OSHA guidelines, it’s simple enough to take the maximum precautions necessary to minimize the risk of workplace accidents. Following platform construction instructions to the letter, and securing planking are the basics, and additional considerations such as instructions – and regular checks – to avoid unnecessary clutter on the platforms, and guardrails where appropriate on open sides further lessens the risk of trip hazards resulting in falls from the structure.
Key for everything within the building industry is training – in addition to updating and learning new skills, workplace safety qualifications are more than just another certificate to add to a portfolio to impress an employer; one day, they could save not just your life, but those of your colleagues too.

 

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Industry News

Renovating History: Louisiana’s Capitol Building

Louisiana’s art deco capitol building isn’t just the tallest building in Baton Rouge, it’s the tallest capitol building in the United States of America. ‘Huey Long’s Monument’, as it is often called, was started in 1930, and inaugurated two years later, and was made a National Historic Landmark in 1982.
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 However, after 80 years, the building was beginning to show its age, and in 2013, the year-long project to carry out essential renovation works was completed. Part of a bigger overall project, this phase was concerned with the heating and air-conditioning systems, and cost in the region of $8 million.
Although the majority of this stage of the renovation project was out of sight, Duane Meeks, a Stuart and Co. contractor, said that “everything is basically maintained with the original style”. The job involved installing two 10 inch steel pipes through the Senate and House chambers on each side of the building, from the basement out to the rotunda.
Inspired partly by the unexpected discovery of “dirty magazines from the 1980s” hidden inside a basement bathroom wall, his contractors decided on a slightly less colorful selection of time capsules for future crews to find when they too were carrying out renovation works in years to come – amongst the items in their time capsules were newspapers and magazines, in particular the copy of the Times-Picayune from the day after President Barack Obama’s re-election.
The same Baton Rouge based company also carried out a program of security renovations, with a budget of just under $5 million. The bill of quantities included 500 steel pipe bollards, and 450 feet of pre-cast concrete walls to extend around the perimeter of the Capitol building. The art deco aesthetics were kept to, as the surrounding gardens were extensively landscaped. They also installed a new parking lot, with more retractable steel bollards for ease of access, and with a guard hut at the entrance points. This didn’t just look good – it won the ABC Excellence in Construction award for perimeter security.
The Old State Capitol hasn’t been neglected either – overlooking the Mississippi River, the building is a twice the age of its newer replacement. James H. Dakin’s Gothic Revival-style building was finished in 1852, and was built in preparation for the state capitol’s move from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Falling into considerable disrepair from the 1930s when it ceased to be the capitol building, the building was threatened with demolition in 1991. The architects that oversaw the painstaking renovation – E. Eean McNaughton – removed the unsightly layer of cement that was around the exterior, and restored the cast iron fence dating from 1855. Now the Museum of Political History, the old capitol building is now something of an exhibit in its own right.
Renovation works are some of the most painstaking and specialist construction projects out there, requiring specialist materials as well as specialist skills. However, enabling historic buildings to share their stories with new generations makes the cost worth it.