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6 Performance Review Mistakes to Avoid Making

December 12th, 2017

It’s the end of the year. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington. Provisional knows that means performance review time for many companies. If yours is one of them and you’re getting ready to conduct them, you might be dreading the process. But as long as you avoid a few key mistakes, you can ensure your reviews go off without a hitch. Here’s a look at some common ones:

Focusing too much on the negative.

During a review, you should bring up performance issues and mistakes. But don’t focus all your time and effort on them either. It’s important to offer employees a more well-rounded experience, including what they’ve done right over the past year.

Not talking at all about the negative.

On the other hand, don’t avoid talking about the negative just because it’s uncomfortable. Most managers don’t like offering criticism, so that’s certainly understandable. But if you don’t, your employees will never be able to correct course.

Creating a one-sided situation.

A performance review should be a conversation with both participants engaged. It shouldn’t be a one-sided discussion where you do all the talking. So make sure once you discuss an employee’s performance, you open it up to questions and ask for your employee’s point of view.

Not looking at the big picture.

Make sure during performance reviews you look at the full picture of the last year. It’s easy to get caught up in a recent deadline that was missed or current project that’s not going well. But the point of performance reviews is to give an overall evaluation of both the good and the bad of the past year. So don’t focus only on recent events.

Not offering specifics.

You’re not going to benefit your employees in any way if you don’t dig into details and get specific with them. Vague input and feedback simply doesn’t go very far, nor will it help your team in any way. For instance, rather than saying someone is a hard worker, give an example that demonstrates this trait and the impact it’s made.

Not following up.

In a perfect world, you’d be offering feedback and input on performance throughout the entire year. Sometimes, though, that’s not feasible. However, if you have an employee who’s performance you’re concerned about, it’s vital that you check in regularly and follow up. If you don’t, they could continue their downward spiral, further impacting your bottom line.

While performance reviews might not be your favorite task, make sure you avoid the above mistakes so both you and your people can get the most from them.

And if you’re looking to conduct even more reviews next year and add to your team in 2018, turn to the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we provide customized staffing and hiring solutions to our clients all over the Northwest. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

5 Tips for Preparing for Your Performance Review

December 5th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that the end of the year is a busy time. From wrapping up work projects to the hustle and bustle that come with the holidays, you’re stretched thin. On top of that, you have a performance review to get through. How can you prepare and actually make the most of the conversation? With these tips:

Tip #1: Take inventory.

When you walk into your next performance review, you want to be prepared. That means taking stock of your past performance over the year so you can bring up career highs and lows with your boss. For instance, plan to discuss your achievements, new skills you acquired, and responsibilities you took on, as well as any challenges you faced throughout the year.

Tip #2: Set goals.

In other words, what do you want to get out of your performance review? Are you simply looking for feedback from your boss? Do you want to get promoted? Are you having a hard time meeting expectations and need some guidance? Whatever the case is for you, it’s important to define what you want to get out of the review so you can get the most from it.

Tip #3: Know your numbers.

Another important area to focus on during your performance review involves salary and compensation. If you’re looking for a raise from your boss, then you need to prove your worth. That means knowing how much you make versus how much others in similar positions make. If there’s a big disparity, you’ll need these numbers to back you up in your case for a raise.

Tip #4: Practice your performance.

If you’re asking for a raise or a promotion, then practice what you plan to say. You don’t need to rehearse it to the point where you’re reciting a script verbatim. However, if you want to make the successful argument for yourself, then you need to be persuasive – and you don’t want nerves to get in the way. That’s why it’s important to practice ahead of time.

Tip #5: Dress to impress.

Your boss might see you every day in jeans and sneakers. But if you want to make the best impression possible – and set the tone for the review – take your wardrobe up a notch. If you don’t work in a more formal environment, a suit and tie might be overkill. However, do make sure you look polished, neat and professional when you walk into your boss’s office.

Ready to deliver a great performance – just in another job?

Call the job search experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

Top 6 Communication Mistakes Managers Make with Their Teams

November 28th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that just like in any relationship, the key to trust with your team is open communication. However, for many managers, it doesn’t come naturally. As a result, mistakes are made – ones that can impact your employees and your bottom line. What are they and how can you avoid them? Here’s a look at six:

#1: Using the wrong mode of communication.

When you have a controversial or complicated announcement, don’t send around an email. Meet with your team face-to-face. When you do, you’ll be able to immediately answer questions and provide more details– offsetting the rumor mill and any related anxiety that comes with it.

#2: You’re MIA and not regularly communicating.

Rather than connecting with employees regularly throughout the day, your door is closed and you’re MIA. But this sends the message that you’re not available to your employees, which can limit communication. Keep in mind, communication is a two-way street and if employees always see your door closed, then they’re going to be reluctant when it comes to communicating with you, even when issues that need your attention come up.

#3: Not being honest.

There are times when confidentiality is at stake. But lying to your team should be off-limits. If they find out, then it’s going to impact your team’s trust in you in the future, even if you thought you were looking out for their best interest. If there is really something you can’t say, then don’t lie. Simply let your team know you can’t comment right now.

#4: Thinking employees won’t understand.

Business can be complicated, especially when it comes to issued related to projections, financials and reorganizations. But don’t dismiss or underestimate your employees’ intelligence. Rather than assuming they won’t understand and not sharing important information with them, explain it in a way that they will understand. They deserve to know how issues and challenges are going to be impacting them today and in the future.

#5: Making promises you can’t keep.

You want to give your employees raises and promotions. But don’t make promises that you can’t keep – especially when you know the final decision in these areas doesn’t rest with you. Instead, explain to your people how valuable they are and that you will go to bat for them. At the same time, don’t make specific promises as to the outcome.

#6: Not offering enough praise and constructive criticism.

You might think your employees know you value and appreciate them. But unless you say it – often – they won’t. The same applies for offering feedback. Don’t wait until an employee gets so far off track that it’s tough to correct course. Regular and open communication with your team – with plenty of praise and criticism – will ensure you can consistently bring out their best.

Need more help with these and other HR-related issues?

Call the team at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we use a consultative approach to provide customized hiring and HR-related solutions to our clients. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

5 Tips for Promoting Work-Life Balance

November 21st, 2017

It’s a busy time of the year, between finishing up projects before the end of 2017 to getting ready for the holidays. As a result, it can be tough for your workers to remain balanced and productive. The good news is that it can be done with the right steps. Here’s a look at 5 of them:

Talk to your employees about balance.

If you don’t know where your employees are, you can’t work toward helping them to achieve a better balance in their lives. That’s why it’s important to ask them what they need. Whether it’s through one-on-one meetings or an online survey is up to you. But just make sure you ask questions about hours, flexibility and what your company could be doing better in terms of improving overall work life balance.

Know the signs of burnout.

As one of the Northwest’s leaders in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows it’s important to understand the signs of burnout and how you can combat it. For instance, excessive absenteeism, more mistakes than usual, missing deadlines or being late to meetings are all red flags. Not only do these lead to issues with productivity, but they can also impact customer satisfaction. That’s why when you’re noticing problems like these, you need to take steps to combat them, from lightening the load of strapped employees to giving them some extra time off.

Offer flex time and telecommuting.

Another way to encourage a healthier work-life balance is to be more flexible when it comes to scheduling. Offer your employees the chance to work from home one or two days a week. Also, embrace flextime, letting your employees be more flexible in terms of the hours they work. Whether they want to come in earlier or stay later is up to them. But allow them to choose an option that works best for their busy schedule.

Educate employees on health initiatives.

When employees understand how to live a more balanced life – and have the resources to do it – they’re going to feel better and perform better, too. That’s why it’s important to offer access to educational initiatives, training classes and other health-related perks, such as discounted gym memberships or hosting in-house yoga classes.

Be a good example.

If employees see you coming in early and leaving late in the evening – and know you work nights and weekends – they’ll assume you expect the same from them. But no one can sustain this schedule for very long, especially on top of other personal commitments and obligations. So encourage employees to unplug at night rather than checking emails, as well as to take their allotted vacation days.

Need more help keeping the balance with your team at work?

Turn to Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing over 6,000 direct-hire professionals with companies in Seattle, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene. To learn more, contact us today. We’re ready to help you find the people you need.

Why Keep Up Your Job Search During the Holidays

November 14th, 2017

Looking for new jobs in Spokane, WA? You might be tempted to call it quits over the holidays. But did you know that’s actually a prime time to continue on with your search? Here’s why:

Employers are hiring.

You might want to take time off during the holidays. But companies don’t close up shop. Not only that, but if their fiscal year starts at the beginning of next year – and they have a budget for new hires – they could be hiring in a hurry. That means you might miss out on the perfect opportunity if you take a break from your search.

Fewer candidates are looking.

Employers are hiring, but less candidates are looking because they’re taking time off for the holidays. And fewer candidates means reduced competition for you, increasing your odds of landing the Spokane job you want.

It offers plenty of networking opportunities.

From holiday parties to New Year’s celebrations, opportunities to network abound during this time of the year. You should even consider creating a business card with your name and contact information, which you can readily hand out to new contacts.

You can reconnect with old contacts.

Besides meeting new people, the holidays provide a great time to reconnect and catch up with old friends and colleagues. When you do, you can ask about potential jobs in Spokane, WA they might know about, or to simply keep you in mind if they hear of any openings.

You can keep up momentum.

Stopping your job search for a few weeks during the holidays is going to kill the momentum you’ve built up. Come January it will be harder to pick back up. Instead, when you keep up your search, you can stay on track and hopefully find a new job – faster.

In business, January is a big month for hiring. But it didn’t all start then. Interviews, screening and job offers were likely made back in December – which is why you should keep up your search.

Need more help with your job search in the coming months?

Call the team at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been matching qualified individuals with terrific new jobs in Spokane, WA – and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

4 Signs You Need a New Hiring Plan

November 7th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that hiring is critical for business success. Without the right people in the right positions, you can’t fulfill orders, meet deadlines, or innovate and grow. That’s why a hiring plan is so important. When you have a solid one in place, it acts as a guide as you bring more employees on board today and plan to hire in the future.

But what happens if your hiring efforts have been falling short lately? Then it’s a sign you need a new plan. Here are a few specific red flags that it’s time to review your hiring efforts:

You’re not getting quality applicants.

If most of the resumes you get for job postings end up in the recycling bin, there’s a problem. Most of the resumes you receive should be at least somewhat of a fit for the position. But if you’re wasting hours screening resumes – without much success – then reconsider your job postings. Take a look at them to ensure the language is clear and your hiring needs are thoroughly explained.

Your top pick candidates keep dropping out.

Getting down to the wire during the hiring process can be a relief for many hiring managers. But it can quickly turn into a nightmare if your top-pick candidates keep dropping out of the running. This is often a sign that you’re moving too slow during the hiring process and other companies are making offers sooner.

You’re seeing an increase in turnover.

Some turnover is a normal part of any business. But when you’re noticing an uptick in it, it could be a sign that the right people aren’t being hired for the best-fit positions. This is a big problem because turnover is expensive, with some numbers putting it at around six to nine months of an employee’s salary. If they make $50,000, that means it could cost anywhere from $25,000 to $37,500.

You’re making hiring mistakes.

The applicant you interviewed was enthusiastic and confident. The new employee you got is notoriously late, not meeting deadlines and has an attitude problem to boot. Part of the issue could lie in your interviewing and vetting process. Make sure you’re spending enough time with each candidate to carefully assess them. Also, don’t skip steps, like reference checking and skills testing just, to hire faster.

If you’re facing these issues – or other recruiting challenges – the team at Provisional can help. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we can get to the bottom of your biggest staffing and hiring problems all so you can hire high quality people who can add value to your organization. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

How to Plan Ahead for Your Next Big Interview & Cut Your Stress Levels

October 24th, 2017

Even when you’re a confident and experienced job candidate, a big interview can be nerve-wracking. But as one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we know the more you plan ahead, the less you’ll have to worry about the day of the interview. To help you in the process, here are some steps to ease your worries and reduce your stress levels:

Know what you’re going to wear in advance.

This might seem like the least of your concerns. But the hiring manager will form an instant impression of you based on what you’re wearing. So in reality, this is a critical decision. You don’t want the outfit you have on to detract in any way from your chances of getting the job. So pick out what you’re going to wear well in advance, try it on to ensure it still fits you, then make sure it’s dry cleaned or pressed. Don’t forget to polish your shoes either.

Do a test run.

Before your interview, take a test drive out to the location to make sure you know where you’re going and there isn’t any construction or other issues that could slow you down. If you can, do it right around the time you’d be driving to your interview so you can assess what traffic is like at that point during the day.

Fill up your gas tank.

You don’t want to hop into your car the morning of the interview only to realize you have to stop for gas first. Instead, make sure you have a full tank the night before, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about the day of your interview.

Make a list the night before.

You’ll want to bring a copy of your resume, your phone and phone charger, breath mints, an extra pair of panty hose (for women wearing skirts, in case you get a snag) and directions to the interview location. But in your rush to get out the door the morning of the interview, it can be easy to forget these items. That’s why it’s best to make a thorough list when you have time the night before and then check it off in the morning before you leave the house.

Go to bed early and set two alarms.

No matter what time of day your interview is, it’s important to go to bed at a decent hour and get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t, it can impact your ability to think clearly and best answer the hiring manager’s questions. Also, if you have an interview scheduled for first thing in the morning, set two alarms, just in case.

Interviews are stressful experiences for everyone. So if you have a severe case of the nerves, you’re certainly not alone. But follow the tips above and you’ll be more prepared and more confident as you walk into your next interview.

Do you need professional help finding potential jobs and getting interviews?

Provisional can help. As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we’ll work with you to get to know your skills, background, and personality. We’ll then connect you with some of the top employers in and around the area. Search our Coeur d’Alene jobs now or contact us today.

How Phone Screens Can Boost Your Hiring Efforts

October 17th, 2017

When it comes time to hire new candidates, the interview is one of the most critical aspects of the process. However, it’s also one of the most expensive and time-consuming. That’s why, if you don’t already conduct phone screens as part of hiring at your company, you should consider adding them now. Here are a few ways you can benefit:

Save money.

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that interviews are costly – especially if you are recruiting candidates from out of state. But when you conduct phone screens first, you can actually interview more candidates in less time, all without having to pay for air fare and lodging. Phone screens also allow you to eliminate candidates that sounded like a fit on paper, but who fall short of your needs and expectations once you speak with them.

Save time.

With an in-person interview, you might spend a full hour or more with each candidate. But phone screens are just that – quick screens that enable you to get a better sense of whether you should call in the candidate for an interview. You can conduct several of them in the time it takes to prepare for and conduct just one traditional face-to-face interview. This allows you to cover more ground and find those candidates faster who are a good fit for your needs.

Move the process faster.

Interviews can be tricky to schedule with candidates, especially those already employed. They’ll need to find time in their schedule to fit the interview, and often have to take a morning or afternoon off from work. It can therefore take a while to get candidates properly scheduled for face-to-face interviews.

But phone screens can be conducted anytime, even during evenings and on weekends. As a result, you can move the hiring process along faster, while offering candidates the opportunity to assess whether the position is a good fit for them – without having to take time off from their existing jobs.

Provides more objectivity.

When you can’t see the candidate for yourself – what they look like, their clothing and facial expressions – it will give you the chance to simply assess their answers and how they’re delivered. This can provide for a more objective way to evaluate them.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, only about 41% of organizations conduct phone screens for executive positions, while only 55% do so for hourly positions. Don’t be one of them. When you have structured and effective phone screens as part of your hiring process, you can benefit in a variety of valuable ways.

If you’d like more help with your hiring process – or you’re ready to outsource it to experts – please contact Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we provide customized staffing solutions to our clients all over the Northwest. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Management 101: Mistakes to Avoid When You’re the Boss

October 3rd, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that when you’re new to managing a team, you have a lot of responsibility on your plate. You’re going from taking care of your work to managing and overseeing the work of others. It can be exciting, stressful, nerve wracking – and full of potential pitfalls.

And in fact, the first year in a manager’s role is often littered with mistakes; so, you’ll likely make your fair share. However, there are some common ones you can avoid with a little planning and know-how. Here’s a look at a few:

You don’t ask for help.

If you’re a new manager, you have a lot to learn on the job. And that’s ok. Don’t pretend you have all the answers or know how to do something when really, you don’t. It’s best to ask for input, advice and feedback – whether from your staff or your boss – to ensure you’re making the right moves and decisions.

You micromanage.

Another common problem among new managers involves micro-managing. There’s a lot that’s at stake and you’re still getting to know your team, so this can be understandable. However, keep in mind that when you micromanage, you’re sending the message that you don’t trust your team. This, in turn, can undermine your relationship and create a toxic culture. So give your people room to do their jobs.

You don’t have boundaries.

When your employee comes to you with a request, or your boss asks you to take on a new project, your first instinct is to say “yes.” After all, you don’t want to disappoint. But if you don’t have boundaries – and can’t turn down projects that are clearly a bad fit for you – you’re going to wind up stretched thin and burned out. Likewise, if you agree to everything your employees ask of you, you’ll end up making promises you can’t keep. So establish clear boundaries from the start.

You don’t get to know your team.

As a manager, your success now depends on your team. That’s why, if you want them to produce optimal results, you need to get to know each one individually and what motivates them. So rather than sweeping in and making changes overnight, take some time to learn the ins and outs of your staff and its unique dynamic. Schedule personal meetings to listen and learn from each one, as well as group-wide meetings to talk about big picture goals and get their thoughts and input. The better you know your team, the easier it will be to manage them.

If you find that you’re struggling in any of these areas, take a deep breath and relax. No new manager hits the ground running and delivers an error-free performance. So ask for help when you need it, set clear boundaries and get to know your people.

If you’re struggling with finding good people for your team, the experts at Provisional can help. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we provide customized staffing solutions to our clients all over the Northwest. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

How to Find a Job When You Have No Experience

September 26th, 2017

As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that finding a new job when you have experience can be a challenge. Finding a new job without it can seem downright impossible. So what can you do when you need a job – but don’t have enough experience to get one? Start with these tips:

Look for entry level opportunities.

One of the biggest mistakes new job seekers make is applying for positions they’re not really qualified for. If a job requires four years of experience and you have zero, the hiring manager is not going to look the other way. So stop setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, make sure you’re targeting and applying for entry level positions.

Think about your positive attributes and focus on them.

You don’t have a ton of experience. But perhaps you did a lot of volunteer work in college. Or maybe you speak another language and could be an asset to a company with an international customer base. Whatever the case for you, think about your education, extracurricular activities, and community service projects – and the skills and abilities you’ve developed from those that could be attractive to a potential employer.

Be open to internships.

You might not want a job where you’re paid very little, or not at all. But an internship can actually be a great way of acquiring valuable skills and experience, not to mention making new connections with professionals in your field. On top of that, you can even get your foot in the door with a company that you’ve always wanted to work for.

Make time for networking.

In today’s world, word-of-mouth and referrals are still the best way to find out about a new opportunity. So make time for networking in your schedule, whether it’s joining a niche industry group online or attending seminars and courses at your local chamber of commerce. Whatever approach you take, it’s a great way to get your name out there and get connected.

When you’re looking for a new job without any experience, sometimes you need to get a little creative to make up for what you’re lacking. But follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to landing a new gig in no time.

Looking for professional help with the process?

Contact Provisional. As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we’ll work with you to get to know your skills, background, and personality. We’ll then match you with rewarding jobs that are a great fit for you. Search our Coeur d’Alene jobs now or contact us today.

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