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Provisional Blog

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.

How to Tap Your Team to Help You Recruit

September 19th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that when it comes time to hire, one of your best recruiting tools is your existing staff. In fact, there are a variety of ways they can help you hire your next great employee. Here’s a look at a few of them.

Talk hiring with your team.

It’s in your employees’ best interest for you to hire top-rated people. Not only will they have to work alongside them, but the quality of candidates you hire can impact your company bottom line. So it makes sense for your team to be involved in the process. Once you’re ready to hire, let them know about the job opening and ask them for insight into what key skills and qualities are important for a new hire to succeed.

Make job openings share-able.

Beyond keeping your employees in the loop about hiring, make sure that job postings are easy for them to share. Post them on your company website, as well as social media profiles, where employees can easily share them with their network. In addition, ask employees to include a link to your jobs listing page in their email signature so that it gets broadcast out whenever they send an email.

Create an employee referral plan.

Employee referrals are often one of the fastest and easiest ways to find new hires. So if you don’t have an employee referral program, now’s the time to start one. When employees know there’s a reward for them, they’re more likely to refer friends, family and past colleagues who would be a good fit for the job. If you already have a referral plan in place, remind your employees about it and the incentive that’s being offered.

Showcase culture on your company website.

When candidates are applying to jobs with your company, they want to know what working there is really like. Show them through blog posts authored by staff members, and photos and videos showcasing “a day in the life” of different employees. When your company can give candidates a sense of what it’s like to work at your company, you’ll not only attract more candidates, but better-fit ones, as well.

When it comes to hiring new employees, your existing ones are truly one of your greatest assets. Just follow the tips above for leveraging them.

Need more help recruiting for your team?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we know where to look to source the best candidates for a wide variety of positions and fields. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Struggling with Your Cover Letter? Here’s How to Write an Effective One

September 12th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that many candidates struggle with cover letter writing. And for good reason. Most don’t know where to begin, let alone what to include in theirs. So they end up regurgitating their resumes, or pulling a boilerplate letter from the Internet and swapping out details for their own.

But in today’s competitive job market, that’s not the way to get hired. Instead, when you’re trying to write your cover letter, but get stuck with the process, follow this format instead:

The Beginning.

  • Your contact information should be at the top of your resume. That way, hiring managers don’t have to search through your application, resume and cover letter for it. It’s front and center.
  • In terms of the greeting, if you don’t have the name of the hiring manager, and can’t find it despite your best efforts, it’s ok to address the letter “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring manager.”
  • In the first paragraph, you need to grab the attention of the hiring manager, and also make it clear you’ve done your homework and understand what they do.
  • If you were referred to the job by a mutual contact, then this also a good place to drop their name.

The Middle.

In the rest of the body of the letter, keep in mind you’re trying to highlight why you’re the best fit for the job. The most effective way to do this is to talk about a past project or accomplishment that’s most relevant to the position. For instance, if you mentioned you increased sales by 10% in a past position on your resume, your cover letter is the ideal place to further explain how you went about doing that and what impact that had on the company. Whenever possible, use numbers.

The End.

The ending of the letter is the place to reaffirm your interest and enthusiasm for the role. It’s also a good place to thank the hiring manager for their time.

A few other tips:

  • Your cover letter should be short and sweet, and less than one page.
  • It should be formatted in a way that makes it easy to read, with a good size font and plenty of white space.
  • If you have an online portfolio or work samples, you can also provide a link in your cover letter.

Your cover letter is your chance to shine. It’s important that you not only highlight the skills and abilities that make you unique, but how you can contribute to the potential employer’s bottom line. You also need to come across as a real person, not a robot, with some energy and passion.

If you’re still having trouble with your cover letter, give Provisional a call.

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.

The Best Behavior-Based Interview Questions

September 5th, 2017

When you’re hiring a new employee, you’re looking for more than certain skills. You need someone who can become a value contributor to your team and who will be a fit for the demands of the job and the company culture. One way to assess that is by asking behavioral interview questions.

What are behavioral interview questions?

These are the questions that ask the candidate to describe a past experience or behavior so you can get a better handle on their abilities, personality and track record. These can be helpful to ask because they force a candidate to dig deeper and offer specific examples of how they’re performed on the job and handled challenging situations. They can therefore play a big part in helping companies like yours to hire the best-fit candidate for job openings.

So, now that you know why it’s important to ask these kinds of questions, what are the best ones to use during an interview? It depends on your hiring needs. However, here are some good places to start:

  • Describe a time where you had to make a good impression on a new customer. How did you prepare?
  • Talk about a time you failed to meet expectations. What did you do?
  • Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond in your job.
  • Describe a time you were able to successfully persuade your boss or co-workers.
  • Tell me about a time you had to explain a complex concept to a non-technical co-worker. How did you do it?
  • Talk about a time when you were under extreme work pressure. How did you handle it?
  • Explain a time when you had conflicting priorities. How did you meet your goals?
  • Describe a time you set a workplace goal for yourself. Did you meet it? How?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who had a different personality from your own.
  • Give me an example of a time when you worked on a team and there was conflict involved. How did you handle the situation.
  • Explain a work situation that you wished you handled differently. What happened and how do you wish you’d handled it?
  • What workplace accomplishment are you most proud of?

These are just a few examples of the countless behavior-based interview questions you can ask. And really, the ones you settle on will depend on your unique job opening and company. Just make sure you do ask these kinds of questions – as well as follow-up ones – so you can dig deeper and get to know each candidate.

Need more help sourcing and interviewing candidates?

Call the experts at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing over 6,000 direct-hire and temporary professionals with companies in Seattle, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene. Contact us today. We’re ready to help you find the people you need, whether on a part-time, temporary or full-time basis.

Dealing with the Job Rejection Blues

August 22nd, 2017

It happens to the best of us. You interview for a job and think you’re a shoo-in. But then you get an email that informs you otherwise. Someone else got the job.

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows it’s certainly a tough pill to swallow, especially if you really wanted the opportunity. However, there are some steps you can take to ease the pain and move onto greener pastures. Here’s a look at them:

Look at the big picture.

It’s easy to lose sight of the reality of the situation when you’ve just been rejected. You’re focusing on every comment you made and where you went wrong in the interview. However, rather than getting bogged down in the details, don’t forget about the big picture. In the case of your job search, that’s your long-term career goal. Despite this setback, it’s simply all a part of the typical job search experience. And it means you’re one step closer to find the position that is ultimately right for you.

Learn from the experience.

Now that you have proper perspective, dig a little into the details to try and figure out what you can do better next time. The rejection email might offer some clues if it explained why the position went to another candidate. If not, though, consider emailing the hiring manager back and very politely asking for any feedback. They might not give it. But if they do, at least you’ll know if you made any mission critical mistakes that impacted your ability to get the job.

Focus on what you can control.

Going forward, strive to put your best foot forward in any interview. That means ensuring you are well-prepared before you step foot into a hiring manager’s office. You want to set the right tone and the right message with what you do, but also with your body language too. These are areas you can control and can work to improve with a little practice.

Wallow for a minute…then move on.

When you don’t get the job you want, it’s upsetting. Acknowledge those feelings and then move on. Whatever you do, don’t wallow in them. If you take that approach, fear, uncertainty and anxiety will simply take root and grow, which can impact your confidence and job search success going forward.

Need more expert job search advice and help?

Call in the team at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

How to Get Your People to Speak Up & Add More Value at Work

August 15th, 2017

When it comes to managing a team, how open is communication between you and your staff? Most managers think their team members will speak up if they have something to say or a different opinion. But, as one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that’s often not the case.

For instance, many times, employees don’t want to speak up due to fears of retaliation or damaging their relationship with their boss in some way. Still other employees might simply think their voice doesn’t matter much and speaking up won’t change anything.

But, by creating a culture of openness and communication, your team and company can benefit in many ways.

For one thing, employees are more likely to come to you if there’s a problem or issue on the horizon, which means you can deal with it before it escalates. For another, they’re on the front lines each day – managing customer relationships and getting orders out the door – and can therefore offer you some valuable insight into what works and doesn’t work. Finally, with innovation being key to the success of any company, having an environment where people often speak up means there will a better flow of opinions and ideas.

So how can you get your people to be more candid with you?

With these tips:

  • Ask for ideas and thoughts before offering your own. In meetings and one-on-ones, ask your people to give their opinions, ideas and thoughts on a topic before you offer your own. Oftentimes, when you’re the first to speak up, employees will just fall in line with what you say. But by speaking last, you have a better chance at getting more honest opinions.
  • Be open to dissenting viewpoints. You’re not going to keep the dialogue and ideas flowing if you shut down employees with dissenting views. Your people will get the message. Instead, thank employees who offer opinions that differ from your own, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Encourage people to share their opinions. Sometimes, it takes more than asking for an opinion to get one. You’ll have to draw staff members out in order to find out what’s really on their mind. You can do that by asking questions that are more specific. For instance, rather than just saying “what do you think?,” ask “what were your thoughts on how that last projected ended and the customer’s reaction to it?”
  • Don’t act like you have all the answers. When you are generally curious, ask questions and really listen to every employee, you’ll go a long way in creating a more open culture at your company. If you, however, you act like you know everything and have all the right answers, your people will simply shut down and avoid being honest with you.

Need more help with other management communication issues?

Read this post on 5 Ways to Improve Leadership Communication. Or, if you’d like staffing help, simply contact us. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we know where to look to source the best candidates for a wide variety of positions and fields. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

6 Must-Do Steps Before Every Job Interview

August 8th, 2017

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that interviewing for a new job is a stressful experience. After all, you have a lot on the line. What steps can you take to make the most of the opportunity – and hopefully land the offer? Start with these 6 steps:

Step #1: Research the company.

Before you walk into an interview, you need to prep yourself by researching the company. Read through their website and blog posts. Look for news articles about them online. And check out their social media profiles and most recent updates. That way, you can better tie in your background and experience with their needs.

Step #2: Research the hiring manager.

If you know the name of the hiring manager, look for them on LinkedIn. Search out any background commonalities, whether it’s a former employer or where you went to high school. You can use this information to break the ice during the interview and also make a connection with the hiring manager.

Step #3: Make a list of questions.

Asking the right questions is a vital part of the job interview process. Not only will it help you gain the insight and information you need to make the right decision should you get an offer, but it also sends the message to the hiring manager that you’re well prepared. So create a list of questions to ask about the position, the company and the culture.

Step #4: Review your job description.

The day before the interview, take another look at the job posting so it’s fresh in your mind. Look for any qualities or requirements that didn’t stand out to you before that you need to address. Also, make sure you’re prepared to talk about why you’re a good fit for the position and the contributions you can make in it.

Step #5: Think through your answers.

While you don’t want to practice your answers so much that you sound rehearsed, you do want to make sure you think through how you would answer common interview questions. Look up some questions online and list out any important points about your background or experience you’d like to highlight for each one.

Step #6: Know where you’re going and what you’re wearing.

Before the day of the interview, do a dry run and drive to the location at a similar time as your interview, if you can. That way, you can get a sense of the level of traffic and any construction that might slow you down. In addition, make sure you select your interview attire well beforehand and ensure it’s dry cleaned and ready for your big day.

Need more professional help landing and preparing for interviews?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, from resumes and interviews to connecting you with top opportunities. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

How to Deal When You Have to Fire Someone

August 1st, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that firing an employee is not an enviable task. Even if they have poor performance and don’t make any effort to change, it can still be awkward and uncomfortable. You may even have feelings of guilt afterward. However, if someone isn’t contributing – and is actually harming team morale and productivity – it’s time to cut the cord. Here’s how to do it:

Document the situation.

Before you make a move, make sure you document everything. This includes the performance improvement plan, warnings that were given and when, and any emails between you and the employee. Even if you had past meetings face-to-face, it’s important to document when they happened and what was communicated.

Create a plan.

Once the decision has been made to terminate an employee, it’s important to have a plan in place beforehand. For instance, you need to make a list of all the company property they have access to and make sure their passwords are de-activated and security badge turned in. Likewise, you want to ensure you have an employee or multiple employees in place to handle the increased workload until a replacement is found.

Act quickly.

Firing someone is uncomfortable. But don’t put it off because you don’t want to deal with it, or in the hopes that their performance will turn around. The longer you wait, the more time the person will have to continue dragging the whole team down.

Get to the point.

When it comes time to terminate an employee, don’t sit around, making small talk. Instead, get right to the point and be straightforward. Let them know you’ve got some bad news for them and then tell them they’re being let go. Be clear about the reason and avoid making any justifications about the situation.

Go over the essentials.

Once the news has been delivered, your employee is likely in shock. But it’s still important that you go over the essentials – including final pay and termination of benefits, unemployment, unused vacation time and how co-workers will be told about the situation.

Be respectful and gracious.

While you should aim to keep the emotion out of the equation, it’s important to be gracious and respectful during the process. Even if the termination stems from poor performance they weren’t willing to correct, it’s still a devastating experience for the employee. Be sensitive and keep that in mind during the conversation.

If you need more advice on staffing and recruiting for your team, contact the experts at Provisional.

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we can help you quickly source, screen, and hire temporary talent for a variety of positions. Just give us a call today to learn more.

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