NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Hiring workers can be challenging, especially for business owners with limited resources in the pandemic.
Companies that are fortunate to be in the position of hiring have a vast talent pool to choose from as remote work has become commonplace.
"Emphasize what's most important," WCBS 880 "Your Next Job" host Steven Greenberg told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso on the Small Business Spotlight.
Greenberg's career highlights include leading a human resources team for a major toy manufacturer, founding a staffing firm and operating a job board for jobseekers over 40 years old. He stresses owners must refine and focus their job descriptions to get the most qualified applicants.
"You want to send up a flag: 'We're seeking the person who's the best at making outbound sales calls for our company. We want a killer person who could sit at home and make 100 calls all day and has a close rate of 20 percent,'" he said. "Everything else is sort of gravy."
Greenberg told Connolly and Carousso that employers should look for résumés that are specifically tailored to that job description. He noted people with generic résumés are often sending applications for numerous open jobs, and likely, will not be a good fit for a company's specific needs.
"A generic résumé tells the company, really, if you're really looking at it carefully, I'm not that interested in working for you. I'm just sending out this résumé to 20 companies and I'm just hoping to get lucky," he explained, adding it's like "playing the lottery."
The "Your Next Job" host suggested employers implement a practical test in the hiring process to gage if a candidate is right for the position. An example he gave on the Small Business Spotlight is having a sales applicant make some calls to see how much they know about the company during their pitch.
Candidates who do not face a practical test that would allow them to demonstrate their skills and qualifications, Greenberg said, should take the initiative to prove themselves.
"Why don't you say... 'I did some more research on it and I saw that you're working on these three potential clients and let me tell you about how I can add value to that effort,'" he advised. "That's an email that gets read, that gets noticed and I think should generate more interviews."
Greenberg suspects his pet peeve about follow-up emails is shared among employers; he strongly encourages applicants to avoid using the phrase "I'm just following up" because it diminishes one's application.
The HR consultant told WCBS 880 it sometimes takes creativity to stand out from the pack of applicants, especially with high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. He shared one of his favorite stories from an unnamed, well-known college basketball coach who gets flooded with emails from people who write it's their dream job to work for him.
"He said, 'Steven, you know what happens after those emails? Nothing. I'm not going to hire somebody then who doesn't want to act on their dreams. I make my dreams come true. I don't wait for other people to come true for me,'" Greenberg recalled. "One day, somebody sent him that email, and then, when he came home from a road trip at midnight, that person was waiting for them with their resume printed on a basketball."
The coach hired him for backing up his words with actions.
Greenberg also told Connolly and Carousso about an unemployed chef he advised to write part of his resume in icing on top of a cake. That person got the job.
See more examples and hiring advice on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.