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Houston expert shares hiring tips for navigating 'The Great Reshuffle'

Excellent, skillful workers are the foundation of any successful business, the key is to choose the one who will deliver exceptional value to the business in the short and long term. Photo via Getty Images

Business owners take pride in selecting employees that fit their team like a perfect puzzle piece — the right background, culture fit, growth potential, etc. — but amid The Great Resignation, more recently termed “The Great Reshuffle,” this can be a constant grind.

According to Glassdoor, in the United States the average company spends an estimated $4,000 to hire a new employee, and it can take up to 52 days to fill a new position — so how do businesses survive the transitions and hire faster, and without such a huge expense burden?

Take a look at your business first

The Reshuffle, while full of challenges, has been a great opportunity to learn and adapt to professionals’ needs: do they want to work from home or have a hybrid work environment? What sort of benefits do they want to see come out of the company? What kind of flexibility do they want to see? Does the company focus on mental health? Employee burnout has only increased in the past two years, and the best way to combat it is by positively improving the culture of the business.

By putting the needs of your workers first, you are creating a safe environment where you are allowing your employees to feel valued while they are working, which will only cause the employee retention to increase as the employees begin to feel more appreciated.

What to look for in candidates

When going through applicant after applicant, what exactly should business owners be looking for? It’s important to note that those applicants who don't have a lot of experience in the workforce can still provide significant value to business goals and overall growth. While scouring through the piles of resumes, there are a few important characteristics to look for:

  • Growth mentality: Look to see if your applicants are eager to learn and grow within a company. This can be identified by their previous school or work experience, for instance, did they make any headway at their previous position? Did they have a job that may have felt “beneath them” but showed up every day and worked hard regardless? Did they clearly go out of their way to add more to the organization? Were they promoted after a certain period of time? Or did they feel comfortable at their level and see no desire to move up?
  • Coachability: Look to see if they’re a good listener and how they work with others. Does the applicant have a strong number of skills already identified on their resume, outside of basic requirements? If not, how are they demonstrating (not just saying!) that they are actively looking to learn and cultivate new skills in their future positions?
  • Leadership experience: Outside of directly related professional experience, look for indications of being a team player, or steering a group of people in a positive direction to meet a shared goal. Look beyond the norm — were they an athlete in high school or president of their Yearbook? They may not have had a recent chance to step up as a leader due to personal circumstances over the last few years, but if they have this inside of them from past experiences, it can come back with coaching.
  • Loyalty: How long did they stay at their previous place of employment? Were they jumping around from place to place within a small amount of time? And if so, why? Also, consider if you really value loyalty in the role you are hiring for, or is someone to come in for a year and support the team all that you really need? Don’t place too much value here, if it isn’t the most important thing.
  • And more: Other identifiable aspects can be, but are not limited to: detail orientation (if you spell my name wrong in the email or are missing obvious punctuation in your resume, I immediately discard the application!), communication skills, self-reliance, adaptability and dependability.
Always take time to look at a job seeker’s key attributes and soft skills to assess what their overall contribution to your company could be—no matter how much or how little work experience they have.

An innovative approach

According to Zippia, the average corporate job receives about 250 job applications, as this applicant number increases day by day, employers are having to constantly sift through the hundreds of potential candidates in order to determine the most promising ones, to some, a process with no end in sight.

Ampersand helps businesses alleviate the burden of selecting the best intern candidates through our innovative patent-pending internship matching platform, saving companies an average of $14,000/intern hire when you take into account recruitment, training and onboarding. Not only do interns have a 67.7 percent higher likelihood of staying in the role for at least one year after hiring, but they can also alleviate burden from the team.

Additionally, Ampersand’s rigorous, asynchronous curriculum is a great way to weed out entry level candidates who are not motivated, saving organizations time and money on a bad entry level hire. We are training young professionals on the important skills to succeed in the workplace — everything from how to communicate with your manager, to entry level Excel and note-taking skills, to grit and growth mentality — and if they cannot make it through this course, it’s a great indicator that they may not be a good fit for the organization. We can customize materials for company onboarding, and/or as part of your hiring process.

With 2022 in full swing, and an increase of new job applicants, Ampersand is helping reduce the stress by easing the entry-level hiring process that can help companies thrive. Excellent, skillful workers are the foundation of any successful business, the key is to choose the one who will deliver exceptional value to the business in the short and long term.


Allie Danziger is the co-founder and CEO of Houston-based Ampersand Professionals.

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Building Houston


Juliana Garaizar is now the chief development and investment officer at Greentown Labs, as well as continuing to be head of the Houston incubator. Image courtesy of Greentown

The new year has brought some big news from Greentown Labs.

The Somerville, Massachusetts-based climatetech incubator with its second location at Greentown Houston named a new member to its C-suite, is seeking new Houston team members, and has officially finished its transition into a nonprofit.

Juliana Garaizar, who originally joined Greentown as launch director ahead of the Houston opening in 2021, has been promoted from vice president of innovation to chief development and investment officer.

"I'm refocusing on the Greentown Labs level in a development role, which means fundraising for both locations and potentially new ones," Garaizar tells InnovationMap. "My role is not only development, but also investment. That's something I'm very glad to be pursuing with my investment hat. Access to capital is key for all our members, and I'm going to be in charge of refining and upgrading our investment program."

While she will also maintain her role as head of the Houston incubator, Greentown Houston is also hiring a general manager position to oversee day-to-day and internal operations of the hub. Garaizar says this role will take some of the internal-facing responsibilities off of her plate.

"Now that we are more than 80 members, we need more internal coordination," she explains. "Considering that the goal for Greentown is to grow to more locations, there's going to be more coordination and, I'd say, more autonomy for the Houston campus."

The promotion follows a recent announcement that Emily Reichert, who served as CEO for the company for a decade, has stepped back to become CEO emeritus. Greentown is searching for its next leader and CFO Kevin Taylor is currently serving as interim CEO. Garaizar says the transition is representative of Greentown's future as it grows to more locations and a larger organization.

"Emily's transition was planned — but, of course, in stealth mode," Garaizar says, adding that Reichert is on the committee that's finding the new CEO. "She thinks scaling is a different animal from putting (Greentown) together, which she did really beautifully."

Garaizar says her new role will include overseeing Greentown's new nonprofit status. She tells InnovationMap that the organization originally was founded as a nonprofit, but converted to a for-profit in order to receive a loan at its first location. Now, with the mission focus Greentown has and the opportunities for grants and funding, it was time to convert back to a nonprofit, Garaizar says.

"When we started fundraising for Houston, everyone was asking why we weren't a nonprofit. That opened the discussion again," she says. "The past year we have been going through that process and we can finally say it has been completed.

"I think it's going to open the door to a lot more collaboration and potential grants," she adds.

Greentown is continuing to grow its team ahead of planned expansion. The organization hasn't yet announced its next location — Garaizar says the primary focus is filling the CEO position first. In Houston, the hub is also looking for an events manager to ensure the incubator is providing key programming for its members, as well as the Houston innovation community as a whole.

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