Google is considered one of the most desirable companies to work for by a huge host of young and talented individuals.  Google receives over 1.5 million applications per year for only 6,000 positions.  This means they can select from a massive pool of candidates, accepting only the top 0.04%.  Thus Google manages to cull many of the most intelligent and inventive individuals on the market, strengthening the company and creating a positive feedback cycle where they become ever more productive and ever more desirable a place to work. Your company may not be Google, but you can steal a page from their book to make your business more attractive to applicants. The better your pool of candidates, the stronger your employees will be and the more your company will prosper. Google hiring process boasts a second point of strength: it shuns traditional interview questions, using quirky challenges to separate the creative brains from the conventional.  This helps Google build an inventive yet homogenous culture of unified and like-minded individuals.

Can you tell when a job applicant is being honest with you?  You probably answered yes, but the unfortunate truth is that lying during the hiring process is becoming increasingly common, and increasingly difficult to detect.  Entire websites are dedicated to helping candidates falsify details of their resumes, and a whopping 56% of resumes contain embellishments and outright lies regarding previous dates of employment, job descriptions, education, and more. To help you avoid getting scammed by job seekers, here are a few of the most egregious hiring horror stories, and a few lessons we can learn from them: Hiring Horror Stories: 1. Candidate Listed Himself As CEO Of The Company He Was Applying For
I was screening applicants for a mid-level position at a Fortune 500 company.  As part of the process, we checked the candidates' profiles on a variety of social media and networking sites.  One applicant had himself listed as CEO of our company on Facebook.  Judging from his Facebook page, I wouldn't have hired him for the mailroom.

There's a lot of common knowledge about what constitutes "good management" and "employee motivation".  But common knowledge is simply that: common.  It's not necessarily accurate or effective.  In fact, there are a number of myths about employee engagement that I'd like to dispel. 3 Myths About Employee Engagement and Motivation: 1. You Should Always Put On A Good Face For Your Employees Positivity is important, but you know what else is important?  Truth.  There's a reason why "The Matrix" was such a popular movie, and it wasn't only the pleather bondage gear and Keanu Reeve's deadpan delivery.  "The Matrix" offered a basic dilemma: would you rather live in a carefully constructed fantasy, or the terrifying real world?  Would you rather have happiness or the truth?  Keanu took the red pill, and most of your employees want the same.  They want to know what's going on.

Earlier this year, Accu-Screen released a study showing that a whopping 78% of resumes include misleading information, while 54% are padded with outright lies.  Job candidates lie about all kinds of things including fraudulent degrees, inflated job titles, altered dates of employment, and excised criminal histories.  It's sad to say, but the majority of resumes contain exaggerations or lies.  Accu-Screen has been charting this kind of data for over 15 years, and they say that resume falsification peaks in times of economic distress and tough job markets.  That means that companies hiring today need to be especially vigilant so they don't get duped by disingenuous job applicants. The cost of hiring a dishonest employee is steep: not only is the person likely to perform badly and possibly even swindle your company in other ways, but your company could be on the hook for damages if incompetency or an undisclosed criminal history causes problems for clients and co-workers. 5 Tools For Finding And Hiring Honest Employees: 1. Background Checks An extensive background check is the most important step you can take to suss out major issues like criminal history.  Your business can and should hire experts to perform a full background check on every employee you hire.

Many companies don't take advantage of freelancers, because they are afraid that freelancers will be hard to find, the quality of the work may not be high, and they may not be reliable.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Thanks to the proliferation of websites like oDesk and Elance, professional freelancers are extremely easy to find.  They are rated for professionalism and the quality of their work, and if you build relationships with 3 or 4 strong freelancers, they may become one of your company's strongest assets. The Benefits Of Hiring Freelancers: 1. Freelancers Save You Money When you hire a freelance employee, you pay on a project-by-project basis, so you pay only for the completed job.  You aren't shelling out for salary, benefits, or wasted hours. 2. Freelancers Have Highly Specialized Skillsets It can be difficult to find employees who can complete a wide variety of specialized jobs.  When you hire freelancers, you can hire a computer programmer for one job, a writer for another, and a spreadsheet wizard for something else.

"Engagement" is one of those buzzwords that seems rather vague and unquantifiable, but in fact employee engagement is an extremely specific and impactive element of any company's success.  Employee engagement can and should be measured on a regular basis, because it's a barometer for productivity, turnover, customer satisfaction, and profitability. The most recent Gallup poll measuring the American workplace reported that 70% of employees are disengaged.  These employees hate going to work, and have mentally checked out.  Only 30% of employees surveyed were "engaged" and "inspired". This is a problem that can't be ignored.  On the positive side, employee engagement absolutely can be improved through consistent and concerted efforts to increase the quality of your workplace environment, to challenge and inspire your employees, and to reward positive behaviors. The Center For Talent Innovation in New York has extensively researched which initiatives effectively translate to increased employee engagement.  The most successful measures were as follows:

Most job applicants have spent a lot of time on their resumes.  Everyone wants to appear as qualified as possible, so "stocking shelves" becomes "inventory management" and "changing the thermostat" becomes "climate engineering".  What with creative phrasing, exaggeration, and outright lying, it can be difficult to separate the fantastics from the flops.  But there are a few key indicators and some red flags that can help you spot the best candidates, so you can hire the most productive employees and avoid turnover. Good Signs and Bad Signs In The Hiring Process: 1.    Longevity

Good Sign:

The candidate has stayed at each previous position for 2-5 years or longer.

Bad Sign:

The candidate jumps from job to job.

Applicants will have a lot of plausible-sounding excuses for why they left previous positions: management was poor, they got a better offer, they wanted a change, they moved to a different city.  And maybe all those reasons are valid.  But the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior: if a candidate tends to switch jobs every 18 months, you can expect to keep them for about 18 months before they look for greener pastures.  And that's expensive for your company.

Bonus Points:

You can also look to see how applicants progressed at each of their previous positions.  If they kept the same job title the whole time that's fine, but it's even more impressive to see someone who obviously learned and grew at the job.  Earning promotions shows that they performed at a high level during their tenure.

The book Moneyball was a huge hit, even more so once the Brad Pitt-starring film hit the big screen.  But for those who never made it past the intro, or those who simply want a refresher course, here are the Cliff's Notes: 4 easy tips to make your managerial style more effective like Billy Beane's. How To Manage Like Billy Beane: 1. Ignore Conventional Wisdom Billy Beane was a first-round draft pic by the Mets, based largely off his traditional good looks and the build that bespoke a classically skilled baseball player.  When Beane failed to live up to expectations, not only his team was disappointed, but he felt cheated himself.  All his life he had been told he was going to be a star but like so many players, he ended up being a waste of money.  Instead of living in denial or trying to blame others for his failure, Beane took a good hard look at why he had been drafted and why he failed to succeed.  He realized that the conventional wisdom of scouting and recruiting was highly flawed.  Too many baseball professionals relied on traditional standards that had no real empirical or statistical basis.  Beane partnered with stats junkie Peter Brand to determine the real, measurable factors that could predict which players would be successful and which would not.

Your office environment has a huge influence on the dedication and productivity of your employees.  If you have problems maximizing your employees' potential, hitting goals, and preventing turnover, then you need to change your corporate culture and the feel and function of your workplace.  Everyone praises the energy and unity at offices like Google and Edward Jones, but there's no reason why your company can't be equally utopian.

5 Ways To Vastly Improve Your Office Environment:

1. Fire The Gossips

Gossiping, backbiting, criticism, and cliques have no place in the workplace.  People will never feel safe enough to share their ideas and strategies in an office where politics and grade-school social structures abound.  As CEO Dave Ramsey says.
I have fired people for gossiping, and I will again. Problems and gripes are fine but they must be handed up to leadership, not spread laterally or down. Stamp out gossip if you want to have unity in your company.

2. Fire The Complainers

Just like gossip and backstabbing, whining is extremely toxic.  My husband managed a high-volume, high-pressure sales floor where it was extremely important to keep employees continually focused, motivated, and confident.  He maintained a no-tolerance policy for complaining.  If the salespeople had a question or concern, they were always welcome to come into his office and voice their opinion - he was very open to comments and suggestions.  But they absolutely were not allowed to sit around griping and grousing.  It's destructive to the complainer and absolutely soul-sucking for all the employees who listen to it.