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May 24th, 2018

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Screening Resumes? Get Tips on a More Effective Process

May 22nd, 2018

As the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows that screening resumes is no easy task. It can be hard to get a true sense of a candidate from a one-page document. On top of that, there are many variables that can affect the process, from your mood that day to how many resumes you have to screen. Add to that a tight timeline and a few moments only to devote to each resume and it can lead to hiring mistakes.

The good news is that when you have a solid process in place, you can screen resumes more effectively and improve the quality of your new hires. To help you in the process, here are some tips to consider:

Make sure your job posting is clear and concise.

Your job description has a huge impact on the quality of applicants you attract – and the amount of time you’ll have to spend reviewing resumes. That’s why it’s so important to invest the effort into creating accurate ones. Before you start the hiring process, review your description to ensure it clearly depicts the position and the skills and requirements necessary for success in it.

Wait a few days to start reviewing resumes.

Once you start receiving resumes, resist the urge to schedule interviews with the first ones that come in. Someone might seem like a good fit at first, until you get a dozen resumes from candidates over the next few days who are better suited.

In addition, when you screen resumes as they come in – one by one – your energy and attention could diminish, giving the first applicants an unfair advantage. Instead, wait a few days to start the screening process until you have a good number of resumes. Then set aside a chunk of time to start the screening process.

Schedule enough time to screen resumes.

Don’t cram in the task in between meetings and breaks. Instead, schedule in a block of time where you can truly devote adequate time to each one. Once you find a few applicants who are a good fit, don’t be tempted to rush through the remaining resumes. Give each one the same level of attention.

Look for the positive qualities in each candidate.

It’s easy to only focus on red flags and negatives. But when reviewing resumes, make sure you’re not picking each one apart in a hyper-sensitive way. Remember, you’re not making a hiring decision based on a resume, you’re simply deciding whom to interview. So be sure to also look for reasons to consider an applicant.

If you’re not sure about a particular candidate, then schedule a 15-minute phone screen with them. That way, you can learn more about their skills and background, all without a huge investment of time.

Need more help with the hiring process?

Call 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.

How to Follow Up After Job Interview (Without Annoying the Hiring Manager)

May 15th, 2018

You interviewed for a job and thought you’d get an offer. But now it’s been weeks and you’ve heard nothing back. Are you supposed to follow up? Or should you just wait it out?

For candidates, it can always be a tough call. To help you handle the process with care, here are a few tips to keep in mind from Provisional – one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA – when it comes to interviews and following up:

Always ask next steps before leaving an interview.

While it’s too late for the current opportunity you’re waiting to hear back about, in the future, always ask about next steps before leaving an interview. Simply say:

“Can you tell me your timeline for next steps? When can I expect to hear back?”

That way, you’ll have a better sense of when the hiring manager plans to make a decision. If they said it would take a week and it’s been two, then you know it’s appropriate to follow up. You don’t need to sit around and wait.

Manage your expectations.

That said, when it comes to the hiring process, it can often take a lot longer than most candidates – and even hiring managers – expect. A manager might have every intention of making a decision in a week. But then delays happen, tripping up the process and adding days or even weeks to it.

So keep your expectations realistic. If a hiring manager says they’ll get back to you Monday and it’s now Tuesday, don’t start pestering them with emails asking about the status of the position. Instead, wait a week and then follow up. If they want to contact you before then, they will.

Be polite and professional.

If you don’t know when the hiring manager will make a decision, but it’s been well over a week since your interview and you haven’t heard anything, then go ahead and follow up. When it comes to sending your email, always be cordial and never pushy. Even if the hiring manager promised a call in two days and it’s now day eight, it’s important to be diplomatic. You can say something like:

“Hi Mike, I hope you’re doing well. I know you mentioned at our last interview you’d be finalizing a hiring decision soon. I’m eager to here if there’s been any progress made. If you need any additional information from me, don’t hesitate to let me know. Thanks so much for your time.”

Know when it’s time to move on.

If you’re being considered for the job, hopefully the hiring manager will be able to give you some information on next steps. If, however, you don’t hear back at all, then it’s time to move on. While silence isn’t the answer you want, it’s still an answer. And it’s best to invest your time and energy into finding the right opportunity rather than sitting around and waiting to hear back.

Ready for professional help finding your next job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can assist 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.

4 Seasonal Staffing Tips for Spokane Companies

May 8th, 2018

Are you about to enter your busy time of year? If so, then you’ve likely been recruiting and hiring seasonal employees to handle the uptick in demand. But once they’re on board, how can you ensure you get the most of them for a summer of productivity and success? Here are 4 tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington – to help you:

Tip #1: Treat them like employees.
Even though they’re seasonal, temporary workers want to be treated like part of the team. When they’re welcomed and engaged, they’ll be more loyal to your company and work harder for it.

So make sure you extend invitations to your seasonal staff, not just your full-time people. Include them in meetings and other activities, so they become an integrated part of the team. Also, don’t give them the shifts or hours no one else wants, cutting a clear line between seasonal and full-time staff. Rather, respect them, recognize them, and treat them like you would any employee. They’ll be happier and more productive as a result.

Tip #2: Don’t skip out on training them.
You might need your seasonal staff members up and running quickly. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp out on training them.

In fact, when you invest some time and effort into the training and onboarding process, you’re going to get a stronger seasonal workforce. If you don’t, however, seasonal workers could slow the rest of your team down, not to mention impact customer retention due to mistakes. Teaching them a little now can help you avoid major headaches down the line.

Tip #3: Be clear about goals and expectations.
One of the main reasons seasonal employees fail on the job is due to unclear expectations. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, talk to each employee about their goals, what you expect from them and when. Also discuss logistics, such as hours, shifts, pay and any other details they need to know about.

Tip #4: Communicate often with them.
You want to ensure seasonal employees are on track and that you uncover any issues with work quality quickly, rather than when a problem escalates. That’s why it’s important to communicate regularly with your workers.

Ask them if they have questions and let them know your door is always open if any issues come up. Help them to feel comfortable coming to you or other experienced co-workers to ensure the job gets done right. You can even pair them with a buddy or mentor so they have a dedicated go-to person to turn to for guidance and support.

Seasonal employees can offer a host of benefits. But they can also be a challenge to manage without the right approach. Simply follow the tips above, or give Provisional a call if you’d like professional help with the process. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we are your local source for high-quality, hard-working seasonal workers. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Looking for a New Job? Don’t Make These Networking Mistakes

May 1st, 2018

You know that networking is an important part of your job search. In fact, it’s how most new positions are found. However, if you’re making a few common mistakes, then you’re not getting the most from your efforts. What are they – and how do you avoid them? As one of the top employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Provisional has the answers you need. Here’s a look:

Mistake #1: Not staying in touch.

You have a network of contacts, but how often do you stay in touch? If it’s not often, or not at all, then you’re not leveraging the power of networking. Networking does take time and effort, but it’s an activity that will pay off in the form of more job leads and connections to hiring managers. So it’s well worth the work you put into it. Some ways to stay in touch include sending out emails with articles of interest, inviting contacts to breakfast, lunch or happy hour, and connecting with them on social media and conversing with them there.

Mistake #2: Not networking in person.

When it comes to networking, it shouldn’t be all online. While it might be easier and more convenient, there’s still a lot of value in face-to-face contact. So don’t avoid those industry events, conferences and other opportunities to meet up with new people in person. When you make the effort, you can typically forge a stronger tie than when you simply communicate online or via email.

Mistake #3: Only networking in person.

On the flip side, you shouldn’t just be networking in person. If you are, you’re missing out on a whole world of potential contacts and interesting opportunities online. Your first place to start should be LinkedIn. Make sure you have a polished profile and begin making connections there. Also look for trade groups, industry organizations and professional groups you can join and connect with others in your field.

Mistake #4: Asking for favors and not offering help.

The last thing you should do when you make a new connection is ask for a favor. This is a big turn off. However, one way to facilitate stronger ties and a more valuable network is to offer to help. That way, when you do ask for job search help down the line, people will be more than happy to give it. So don’t look at networking only as a way to get what you want; it’s also an opportunity to help others in their careers too.

Ready to network your way into a new job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, we can offer you access to a variety of rewarding job opportunities in accounting, healthcare, legal, technical, and office fields. We’ll work to get to know your background, skills and experience, all so we can connect you with the best-fit job. Contact Provisional today to learn more.

Should You Hire a Former Employee? A Look at the Positives & Negatives

April 24th, 2018

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that when you’re looking to fill an empty seat, it’s always nice to know as much as possible about the candidates you’re considering. If one of them is a past employee, you’ll certainly have a good sense about their personality, work ethic and how well they fit in with the team.

However, is it always a good idea to bring a former employee on board? And if you’re thinking about it, what are some of the positives and negatives? Here’s a look to help you make a smart hiring decision:

Benefits of hiring a former employee:

  • They can often get up to speed faster. They know the company, the culture, the policies and the key players. As a result, they’ll naturally feel more comfortable and won’t require as much training and onboarding, or as much time until they’re productive.
  • When it comes to hiring, cultural fit is vitally important. When you bring a former employee on board, you already know they’re a good match for the team. As a result, you won’t have to worry about extending an offer, only to have them leave after a short time due to a conflict with the culture.
  • Beyond personality and culture, you have an understanding of their skill set that you don’t have with other candidates you’re not as familiar with. While they may have gained new abilities during their time away, this is something that can offer you peace of mind that you’re hiring someone you know can do the job.

Negatives of hiring a former employee:

  • There’s a reason your former employee left and if you’re not really sure why, this might be something to dig into during the interview process. After all, you don’t want history to repeat itself after only a few short months. So it’s important to understand the reason they originally resigned and why they think that won’t become an issue again.
  • There could be a stigma among other staff members. If they see an old employee back on board, they could question their loyalty and commitment, impacting morale and productivity.

At the end of the day, whether or not you hire a former employee is a call only you can make. But before you make a decision either way, it’s important to consider the pros and cons above.

Have an opening you need to fill fast? Need help finding the best local talent?

Provisional has the people you need, whether on a temporary, temp-to-hire, or full-time basis. 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.

5 Mistakes New Grads Make When Searching for Jobs

April 17th, 2018

You graduated. Congratulations! As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that now comes the hard part: finding your first job. While the thought of entering the workforce for the first time can be overwhelming, there are steps you can take to make the process a little easier. At the same time, there are also mistakes you could make that can sabotage your efforts. To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, here’s a look at a few of them:

#1: Taking the summer off.

You might want to take time off after graduation to relax. But if you do, you could miss out on a potentially great-fit opportunity. It might be a few weeks until you graduate. But don’t let that stop you from starting your search. It’s going to take some time to create a polished resume and find opportunities that seem like the right fit for you.

#2: Sending in a confusing or long-winded resume.

Your resume needs to be sharp and clear. It should also be tailored for every position you apply to. If, however, yours is complicated, hard-to-read, or doesn’t come across as organized and well-structured, it’s not going to be effective.

#3: Only searching online.

Online job boards are a good place to start, but they shouldn’t be your only source for job leads. After all, it’s easy for everyone to find out about jobs online, which means hiring managers and recruiters receive tons of applications from candidates. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of other avenues of finding a job, such as resources your college offers, by networking in person and online, and by working with a professional employment firm in Spokane, like Provisional.

#4: Applying for jobs you’re not qualified for.

When you come across what sounds like a dream job, you might be tempted to apply, even if it’s totally out of reach. For instance, it requires five or more years of experience and you have none. If you do apply, though, you likely won’t hear back, which can impact your confidence level. Instead, it’s always best to invest your efforts into applying for positions you are qualified for and have a chance at securing.

#5: Being unprepared or late for interviews.

Getting an interview is an important step in your job search process; make sure you treat it like one by taking it seriously, preparing thoroughly, and acting professionally. If you show up late, unprepared or dressed in inappropriate attire, you’ll only sabotage your efforts in landing the job.

To avoid this, dig deep into the company background and learn all you can through their website, social media accounts and news articles. Also, make sure you dress in professional attire and give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview location. These are seemingly small details that can impact your ability to secure the first job you want.

Clearly, there’s a lot that goes into finding your first job. If you’d like professional help with the process, call in the 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 finding job leads and getting interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

5 Common-Sense Prep Steps for Conducting Better Job Interviews

April 10th, 2018

Don’t wing it and hope for the best during a job interview. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows these are a vital part of the hiring process and can have a big impact on the quality of new employees you bring on board. Not only that, but conducting effective ones can help you avoid the costly and frustrating risk of a hiring mistake. With that in mind, what steps can you take to improve your job interview process? It’s simpler than you might think and it all comes down to good, old-fashioned preparation.

Step 1. Read through the job description.

If it’s been a few weeks, or even days, since you last looked at the job description, then now is the time to review it. Make a list too of the key traits and skills you’d like to talk about during the interview. That way, you can ask the right questions and better evaluate each candidate’s responses.

Step 2. Review each candidate’s resume.

There was a reason you contacted a candidate for an interview. But if it’s been a while since you last reviewed their resume, it can be tough to remember. That’s why it’s important to take a fresh look at their resume. Also, doing so will help you to develop more insightful questions, so you can better get to know each candidate and what they bring to the table.

Step 3. Create a structure.

An interview is a conversation, so you don’t want to schedule every second of it. However, you should have a loose format that you’re following. This will ensure you maximize every moment of your time and also follow a consistent process for each candidate you interview. It will also help you to begin and end your interviews on time, which candidates will certainly appreciate.

Step 4. Develop a list of questions.

When it comes to asking questions in an interview, it’s important to use your key qualifications and hiring criteria to develop a solid list. This will not only help you to dig deep into each candidate’s background and uncover the details you need, but also get a good sense of whether they’re abilities and background are right for the job.

Step 5. Set the stage.

If you work in a setting with an open floor plan, reserve a private conference room for your interview. You want to ensure already-nervous candidates are as comfortable as possible, so you get the information you need to make a smart hiring decision. Also, during each interview, give the candidate your full focus. Don’t answer phone calls, texts or emails unless it’s an emergency.

Need more help with your interviewing and hiring process?

Call Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring, from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, interviewing and recruiting top candidates for your company. Just give us a call today to learn more.

5 Tips for Turning a Phone Screen into a Job Interview

April 3rd, 2018

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that in today’s world phone screens are often the first step of the hiring process. If you successfully make your way through one, your chances of getting a call for an interview increase greatly. But how make the best impression possible, especially when you don’t like talking on the phone? Here are some tips to help you:

#1: Schedule it at a good time of day.

Do you perform better in the morning? Is afternoon the time that you’re on your “A” game? Do you feel like you get your second wind toward the end of the day? Whatever time is right for you, try to schedule your phone screen then. That way, you’ll have a better chance at answering questions articulately, coming across as more energetic, and impressing the hiring manager.

#2: Get dressed and stay focused.

You might think you’ll do fine during a phone screen in your pajamas or yoga pants. But you’ll actually feel more professional and focused if you’re dressed for the interview. The hiring manager might not be able to see you; however, you’ll be more confident, which will come through in your interview answers.

#3: Be prepared.

Make sure that wherever you sit for your phone screen, it’s an area that’s distraction-free. Ideally, you should be at a desk or table with the job posting in front of you, as well as your resume and a pen and notebook handy to jot down thoughts and questions. In addition, keep any important points about your background you want to bring up in a list beside you so you don’t forget them.

#4: Don’t ramble.

One of the hard parts of a phone screen is that you can’t see the interviewer and therefore can’t read their body language. Therefore, you’re not sure if a pause in the conversation is an invitation for you to continue talking, if they’re simply jotting down notes, or if they’re taking a moment to review their interview questions. As a result, candidates tend to talk too much to fill uncomfortable gaps. However, if you answer a question to the best of your ability and you don’t have much more to say, then stay quiet and wait until the interviewer asks their next question.

#5: Smile and watch your body language.

Even though the hiring manager can’t see your face, they can hear your tone. And your positive attitude and energy – or lack of – will come through loud and clear one way or the other. So make an effort to smile, sit up straight, and avoid fidgeting when you’re answering questions. It will make a difference in how you come across to the hiring manager over the phone.

Need more help landing interviews or preparing for them?

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, including the interview process. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more about the difference we can make in your job search.

4 Low-Cost Ways to Improve Employee Morale

March 27th, 2018

The winter has been a long one and employees are waiting for spring to break through. In the meantime, morale could be taking a hit. What can you do to improve yours in your workplace? Here are a few low-cost tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington – to put to use:

#1: Make employees feel special.

If employees just feel like they’re clocking in and out, they’re not going to put in their best effort. They’ll simply do enough to get by, leading to mediocre productivity and results. That’s why it’s so important to make your team feel like valued contributors. You can do this in any number of ways, whether by creating a recognition and rewards program, or by making it a habit to say thank you to your people for a job well done.

#2: Stop and call out big accomplishments.

When you win a new client or finish a big project, do you stop and celebrate? If you don’t, you’re missing out on an opportunity to forge closer ties with your staff, make them feel special and reflect on what you’ve been able to achieve together. Whether you decide to schedule a formal announcement, have a big party, or make it something more impromptu is up to you. Just make sure you take time to recognize the wins with your staff.

#3: Learn the value of perks.

You might not be able to offer big raises every year, but perhaps there are some small steps you can take to make your employees feel more valued. For instance, offer discounts on local gym memberships, or let employees work a flexible schedule in the summer, or telecommute once a week. While these won’t cost you much financially, they can go a long way in boosting worker satisfaction, morale, and retention, as a result.

#4: Give back together.

Another way to build morale among your team is to pick a local charity and give back together. Whether it’s Habitat for Humanity, organizing a food and clothing drive, or supporting a local school, let employees offer their ideas and vote to come up with one or two non-profits to support. Doing good is not only great for those receiving the help, but also for your team too. It will build up camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment, as well as enable you all to have a little fun and down time together.

There are many other ways to build up your team and boost morale. Pick a few and incorporate the ones that will work best for your company and your people. You’ll see a difference in the long run in the form of happier, more productive employees.

Dealing with high turnover and low morale on your team?

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

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