May 21st, 2013
Looking to take your career to the next level at your current employer? As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional can tell you that one way to do that is to ask for a “stretch assignment.”
A stretch assignment is simply a project or task you take on that falls outside your typical duties and requires you to step outside your comfort zone and learn new skills. Taking on such an assignment not only helps you grow and develop, but it also sends the message to the higher ups at your company that you’re ready to take on more responsibility in the form of a promotion.
In addition, a stretch assignment can help you advance within your current company, rather than having to look for a new job and switch employers. And if you’re happy in terms of the culture and the work being done, then you have a much better chance of succeeding in an expanded role there than if you made the leap to a totally new organization.
So how do you get a stretch assignment?
If your employer doesn’t formally offer any, then try to create your own opportunity. For instance, are there areas within the company where you’ve noticed inefficiencies or dysfunction? Are there certain projects or tasks your boss is having a hard time with? Once you’ve identified an issue or project you’d like to take on, talk to your boss and suggest how you’d work to rectify the situation.
Some examples of common stretch assignments include:
- Managing a volunteer or intern
- Executing a new or important company project
- Participating in the company’s strategic planning process
- Turning around a failing project, department or operation
- Organizing and leading an important company event or meeting
Sure, there’s always a risk when taking on a stretch assignment. For instance, it might not work out like you planned or you may fail at the task. However, if you don’t ever challenge yourself professionally, you won’t develop your leadership abilities and other important skills necessary for career advancement. As a result, your career will eventually grow stagnant.
Want to Promote Yourself to a New Job…and a New Employer?
Let Provisional know. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we work with some of the top companies in the area and can match you with opportunities that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.
May 14th, 2013
As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows when it comes to hiring, you need to use every nugget of information you can in order to assess, evaluate, analyze – and ultimately make a smart hiring decision.
One often-overlooked piece is the thank you letter you get from a candidate after an interview. It’s easy to simply glance at it and toss it aside. Instead, view it as just another clue as to whether the job candidate is a good fit for you.
To help you, here are some things to watch for:
Look for a Letter
The candidate sent you a thank you letter. That’s a step in the right direction. Not all candidates do; so it’s important to note. It means that the candidate really cares about getting the position and will go the extra mile to make a positive impression.
While receiving a letter from one person shouldn’t necessarily result in you cutting another who didn’t send one, it serves as just another piece of the puzzle that slowly reveals the true candidate.
Look for Good Communication Skills
The letter should be well written. Just as is true for a cover letter and resume, it should also be error free. In addition, while cover letters and resumes are more formal, a thank you letter may give you an opportunity to see past the formalities and into the personality of the candidate.
Look for Enthusiasm
If the thank you letter sounds like a form letter from the Internet, then it probably is. The candidate is simply going through the motions of hiring process protocol. However, if a candidate’s enthusiasm for the job and for your company comes across loud and clear in the letter, then it could be the one distinguishing factor that makes them stand apart from other candidates…and makes your decision easier.
Look for the Right Focus
The letter should focus on you. In other words, it should either underscore or bring up how the candidate can help you. When reading a thank you letter, evaluate whether it seems like the candidate clearly understands what it is you need; the challenges your company is facing; and the unique value they could bring to the table. Even if it’s the best written letter in the world, if the candidate is unclear about your needs or about the position, then they’re not the right fit.
Don’t Have Time to Review Thank You Letters?
…or resumes, or to conduct interviews and testing? If you don’t, then give Provisional a call. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington – with more than 20 years of experience – we can help you recruit and screen high quality candidates, all so you gain access to today’s best talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
May 7th, 2013
As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, Provisional can tell you that the world of online recruiting is changing. Gone are the days of simply posting a position on a job board and waiting for a stream of candidates to apply. Today’s hiring managers need to be proactive – and one tool for doing that is LinkedIn. To help you, here are 8 tips for recruiting on LinkedIn:
Tip #1: Build Your Network
Don’t wait until you need to hire in order to start building your professional network of contacts. Instead, reach out and connect with people in your industry – and beyond – beforehand. Strong relationships with a variety of contacts will serve as a great source of referrals for you.
Tip #2: Use Keywords to Source Candidates
Looking for someone with a specific skill set? Use that skill as a keyword when searching for candidates. If they’re a smart candidate, they will have included it in their profile and will come up in your search. Once you’ve identified a candidate, send them an InMail and ask for an opportunity to connect.
Tip #3: Make Sure Your Company Profile Uses Keywords
Make it easy for top job prospects to find your company. To do so, you need to make sure you include the right keywords in your company’s profile, as well.
Tip #4: Source Candidates By Employer
Use your competition as a source for future employees. If there are companies that have people with the kinds of skills and experience you need, then use the company name as a keyword. Both past and current employees will come up in your search (assuming they have the company listed in the work experience section of their profile).
Tip #5: Search Recommendations
Have people within your network you’d trust for a recommendation? Then take a look at the people they have recommended in the past and why. This can serve as another source for referrals.
Tip #6: Put Employees to Work
Ask your team to reach out to their LinkedIn network of professional contacts and advertise the job opening you have.
Tip #7: Get Active
Join industry groups on LinkedIn that candidates you’d be interested in hiring are members of. Raise your profile by posting and answering questions and being an active and engaged member of the group community.
Tip #8: Post Jobs
You can also post jobs on LinkedIn, although you have to pay to do so. But it may certainly be worth it considering that many of today’s candidates use social media – including sites like LinkedIn – when searching for new jobs. Be sure to include relevant keywords in your job posting.
Need More Help Hiring Using Social Media?
If you do, let Provisional know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington – with more than 20 years of experience – we use both traditional and high tech tools to recruit today’s very best talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
April 23rd, 2013
In a perfect world, you’d submit your resume, get a call for an interview, perform well, and get the job offer. Unfortunately, this is not how things typically unfold.
In fact, as one of the leading employment firms in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows the interview process is a lot less clear cut than that. From unprepared interviewers to asking the wrong questions, there are many factors that could derail your interview and leave you without an offer.
To help perform your best, here are some things you need to know ahead of time:
#1. The interviewer may not contact you in a timely manner for an interview, even if they’re interested.
You’d think if you’re a great match for a position, the interviewer would be hot to get you into the office. Think again. When hiring, there’s a formal process typically in place for employers, and that may include not contacting candidates until the application period has closed. That could be weeks, or even months.
What you should do: Sit tight. Just because you didn’t hear back in a few days doesn’t mean a company isn’t interested.
#2. The interviewer doesn’t always know what they’re doing.
Many interviewers are well trained in conducting interviews and many are not. So don’t assume your interviewer knows what they’re doing or even the best questions to ask. This is incredibly frustrating, considering what’s at stake. But it’s a reality that many companies can’t afford to hire trained HR professionals.
What you should do: If the interviewer is clearly unprepared and asking you vague questions, look for opportunities to get specific and offer a couple of highly relevant examples of your accomplishments.
#3. There isn’t a right answer for every question.
Sometimes interviewers aren’t analyzing your answer to the question, they’re looking at how you handled the question. This is especially true when they ask oddball, out there questions, or if you’re asked to solve a hypothetical problem.
What you should do: When you get a hard-to-answer question, take a minute before just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Also, if you’re asked to try and solve a problem, think about a problem scenario from your past experience and how you went about coming up with a solution.
#4. The kinds of questions you ask matter.
The best questions are meaningful ones that garner useful information, not vague or basic questions asked just for the sake of asking.
What you should do: Don’t waste the time of the interviewer by asking basic questions about the company you can find answers to on their website. Ask thoughtful questions about the expectations for the job opportunity and the work environment. Smart questions will elevate your candidacy in the eyes of the interviewer and the information you learn will help you decide whether the job is really right for you.
Want Interview Prep Help from the Experts?
Give Provisional a call. As one of the leading employment firms in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we know what hiring managers look for during job interviews and we can help you prepare so you make a great impression. When you’re ready to make career move, contact Provisional. We can help.
April 16th, 2013
As a leading employment agency in Spokane, Provisional knows that when it comes to resumes, hiring managers are looking for detail; they want to see a track record of accomplishments that are relevant to their company and their needs.
If you’re applying to a dozen or more positions, how can you do that with one resume?
The answer is: You can’t. Which is why so many resumes fail.
While it will certainly take a bit more time on your part to tailor your resume for each position you apply for, the investment will be well worth it:
- Many job candidates have generic and vague resumes, so yours will stand out in a sea of vanilla.
- You’ll be giving the hiring manager what they want – a reason or reasons as to why they should pick up the phone and call you for an interview.
To help you create a resume that goes beyond generic, here are 4 tips to consider:
#1. Use key phrases from the job posting.
When crafting your resume for a certain position, identify and use key phrases from the actual job posting.
For instance, if a job posting calls for a candidate with “experience leading a team,” then language such as the following would be appropriate: “More than five years of experience leading a team of 10 employees.”
Does the job call for someone who can operate well in a “fast-paced environment?” Then change “works well under pressure” on your resume to “works well in a fast-paced environment.”
The bottom line? Use their language, not yours.
#2. Create a summary of qualifications at the top.
Your work experience should typically be listed in chronological order. But what if you’re applying for a position in which your last job was more relevant than your current one? A summary of qualifications can help you overcome this.
It’s simply a bulleted list of your most pertinent skills and accomplishments; it puts the most important aspects of your background front and center for the hiring manager. Be sure to edit and/or tweak it for each position you’re applying for.
#3. Think beyond your career.
It’s not wise to always list hobbies and interests in a resume. However, if you’re applying for work at a non-profit agency, for example, and you have a history as a volunteer somewhere, then list it. Or, if you’re trying to get an interview for an admin position at an architectural firm and you took a course in local architecture at the community college, then highlight that as well.
#4. Get rid of the clutter.
When you have a lot of years of experience, it’s easy to have a resume that’s out of control, complete with 8-point type and dense paragraphs. But no one’s going to read it; so get rid of that temp job you had 10 years ago in a different industry. If you’ve held multiple positions in one company, condense them or highlight the most important one.
Want an Expert to Review Your Resume?
If you’re still having resume problems and need help, give Provisional a call. As a leading employment agency in Spokane, we can help you craft a strong resume, prepare for interviews, and search for opportunities that are a great fit for you. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started…and get a new job!
April 9th, 2013
You may think you’re a great company to work for; but you keep getting turned down by top pick candidates. What gives?
Without knowing it, you may be sending out “bad employer” signs. Or there could be a serious mis-match between what your company is offering and the caliber of candidate you’re pursuing. Whatever the case, the candidates you want simply don’t want you.
Here are some reasons candidates don’t want to work for you…and what you can do about them:
Reason #1: A values mismatch.
As one of the leading staffing firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that if you’re pursuing strong leaders and yet don’t offer room for growth and advancement at your company, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Either you’ll have a hard time hiring someone with potential, or the person you do hire will only stay long enough for the job to serve as a steppingstone for them. When you’re hiring, you need to ensure your offerings are aligned with the kind of person you need to bring on board.
Reason #2: Below average compensation.
If you’re offering less than market value for salary, then you’d better well be offering something more in the way of perks. No matter how great your job offer seems, if it’s well below what a top candidate is worth, they’ll run, not walk the other way.
Reason #3: A convoluted application process.
With today’s technology, applying for a job online shouldn’t be that hard. Unfortunately, though, it is for many candidates thanks to a convoluted and clunky application process. The last thing you want is a high quality candidate dropping out of the process because your application system kept timing out. So invest the time and resources you need to make it easy.
Reason #4: Not keeping your word.
Did you tell a candidate you’d follow up with them either way by the end of the week and then dropped the ball? You might think these kinds of things aren’t a big deal…but they are to a job candidate. So do what you say you’re going to do.
Reason #5: Showing a lack of respect for the candidate.
A hiring manager would never show up late and unprepared to a meeting with a customer; or worse, cancel at the last minute. However, that’s exactly how many candidates are treated. To make things worse, there are usually no apologies offered. But the message that’s being sent is that the hiring manager’s time is more important than the candidate’s. As a result, most candidates will wonder if this kind of treatment is a sign of what’s to come should they get hired.
Are You Having Trouble Finding Good Candidates for Your Job Openings?
If you are, give Provisional a call. As one of the leading staffing firms in Spokane, Washington, we can handle the hiring process for you from start to finish – from sourcing candidates to interviewing and testing to checking references – all so you get one great hire. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
April 2nd, 2013
Checking references can be hard and time-consuming. However, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that when you consider the negatives of hiring the wrong person, it’s certainly worth the effort.
Think about it this way. If you’re deciding between five candidates and get stellar remarks from reference sources for three, but vague or negative comments about the other two, your decision just got a whole lot easier.
And in fact, according to a CareerBuilder survey:
“69% of employers said that they have changed their minds about a candidate after consulting a reference, 47% have a less positive view of the candidate and 23% had a more positive view of the candidate; with just 31% saying the references didn’t make any difference.”
While going through the reference checking process isn’t always going to yield conclusive results, it’s pretty clear that it’s still well worth the effort. To help you in your quest to check references and hire the right candidate, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Get Specific With Your Questions.
When it comes to getting a good reference, it can be difficult thanks to legal and HR departments not allowing managers to offer more than basic information. But sometimes, if you ask the right question, you can get the insight you need into who a candidate really is. For instance, ask questions like “would you hire this person back?” If there’s a long pause, that could be an indication that the candidate didn’t leave on the best terms.
Also, be as specific as possible. Rather than asking about strengths and weaknesses in general terms, ask something like “I believe this candidate is overstating his experience with ABC software. He said he’s worked with it for the past five years at your company. Is that true?”
If an employee was truly extraordinary, then it will be hard for the reference source not to speak positively about them and the work they did. However, be wary of overly enthusiastic references that aren’t also able to offer specific examples to support their praise.
Don’t Forget the Basics.
While asking specific questions about each candidate’s skill set and experience is certainly the most effective way to get the information you want, don’t forget to ask about the basics – job titles, years with the company, and duties and responsibilities. Some candidates will exaggerate these essentials, leading you to wonder what else they’re not being truthful about.
Ready to Outsource the Reference Checking Process?
Or the whole hiring process for the matter? If you are, let Provisional know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, we can handle the hiring process for you from start to finish – from sourcing candidates to interviewing and testing to checking references – all so you get one great hire. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
March 26th, 2013
In today’s world, many employers tend to conduct phone interviews before inviting a candidate in for a face-to-face interview. It’s really a win-win situation because both you and the employer get a chance to feel each other out without wasting a lot of time if it’s not a good match.
That said, some candidates have it in their minds that a phone interview is no biggie; that it’s just not as important as the real deal face to face one. But, as one of the leading staffing firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional is here to tell you that it is. In fact, you won’t move forward in the interview process if you don’t ace the phone screen.
So now that you understand the importance of a phone interview, what are some mistakes you could be making during yours that could push you out of the running? Here’s a look:
Mistake #1: Eating during the interview.
Just because a hiring manager can’t see you does not mean they can’t hear you. And the sound of chewing in their ear is going to get annoying pretty fast. It’s ok to keep a glass of water nearby in case your throat gets dry, but avoid all other food and beverages during a phone interview.
Mistake #2: Putting the hiring manager on hold.
If you’re in the middle of an interview and you hear your call waiting click, ignore it (unless it’s an emergency, of course). If you don’t, you’re sending the message that you don’t really take the interview that seriously and you might not take the job seriously either.
Mistake #3: Talking to a hiring manager while driving.
If a hiring manager calls you while you’re driving, even if you’re using your hands free device, tell them it’s not a good time and schedule a time to talk later. The last thing you want to do is break up or drop the call while you’re driving. So if possible, use a landline. That way you avoid the whole “dropped call” scenario altogether.
Mistake #4: Chattering mindlessly during a pause in conversation.
You can’t see it because you’re on the phone, but the hiring manager is likely taking notes during the interview. So if there’s a pause, it’s probably because they’re just finishing writing something down. There’s no need to fill the silence with mindless chatter.
Mistake #5: Conducting the phone interview at home with your children in the same room.
Make sure you have a time set aside for your phone interview when you can be alone and give the hiring manager 100% of your attention. You might think it’s ok if the kids are home, but you’ll be distracted as a result…and that will come through during the interview.
Are You a Highly Qualified Professional Looking for a Great Job?
If you are, we want to know! As one of the leading staffing firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional has employed over 14,000 contract workers and placed over 6,000 direct-hire professionals with area companies. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.
March 19th, 2013
As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that when it comes to career happiness and success, it’s not all about the specific job you’re doing. Where you’re doing it is just as important.
For instance, if you hate the culture of your employer, you’re simply not going to be happy regardless of how much you like your job. On the flip side, if you mesh well with the culture, you’ll feel more comfortable, more secure, and do a better job as a result.
And when it comes to workplace cultures, large corporations and small businesses seem to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum. So if you’re looking for a new job, how can you tell which culture is right for you? Here’s a look at some pros and cons of each:
- Better pay and benefits. Larger companies can typically afford to offer their employees more in the way of compensation.
- More opportunity for advancement. There are simply more positions in a large company, which means more opportunities for you to get ahead. Likewise, a larger company may be able to compensate you for earning an advanced degree or obtaining additional certifications.
- A more diverse workplace. In a large company, there are simply more workers, which means you have an opportunity to network with a broader range of people, collaborate more often, and grow as a result.
- More red tape. As a result, projects usually move slower and taking personal initiative to get something done without getting prior authorization is typically out of the question.
- More people working on each project. This means it’s harder to be heard as an individual and you have to go the extra mile to really stand out.
- Less competition. There are less people at a smaller company, which means you have fewer people to compete with when it comes to promotions and job advancement.
- More responsibility. At a smaller company, you’re expected to wear many hats. As a result, you’ll gain more knowledge and experience along the way. In addition, you can make more of an impact on the company and its bottom line.
- More autonomy. Unlike their larger counterparts, small businesses generally don’t have the same level of bureaucracy. You can therefore take initiative and do your job in a way that suits your skill set and personality, rather than one dictated to you.
- More work for less pay. At a smaller company, you may be expected to take on roles beyond your job title and you may not be paid extra salary for doing so.
- Not as much room for promotion. If you work at a company with only a handful of people, there’s not a lot of room for growth.
Are You a Qualified Candidate in Search of Your Next Opportunity at a Company – Big or Small?
If you are, let Provisional know. 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.
March 12th, 2013
Inefficiency in the workplace can have a negative impact on your company’s bottom line. And, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that one of the biggest time wasters in the office can be the meeting. That’s not to say meetings aren’t necessary; but they tend to eat up time and interrupt workflow without producing positive results.
So how can you make your meetings more efficient and productive? Start by avoiding these common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Meeting because it’s Monday.
It’s Monday morning! That means it’s time to spend the first two hours of your day in a meeting! What a way to start the week.
Practical tip: Unless there’s a specific and ongoing project that requires regular, weekly meetings, skip the Monday “meet just to meet” meeting.
Mistake #2: Meeting without a purpose.
Before you meet, you should know why you’re meeting and what you’re trying to accomplish during the meeting.
Practical tip: Create a meeting agenda for each meeting. Not only will it help you stay focused on the key topic during the meeting, but it will also ensure you don’t forget to discuss any important points.
Mistake #3: Walking away without a plan of action.
The end goal of your meeting should always be to walk away with actionable next steps for each person involved. So if you’re leaving a meeting without these steps ironed out, then you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Practical tip: At the end of each meeting, go around the table and review the responsibilities each person is expected to handle. Not only does this ensure everyone’s on the same page, but it also gives your team a sense of accountability.
Mistake #4: Scheduling two-hour meetings.
Face it. People don’t have the attention span to make two-hour meetings an efficient use of time. You’re going to lose their focus in less than an hour.
Practical tip: Set a start and end time for every meeting. Not only will it keep your meetings running efficiently, but when participants know when the meeting will end, they will better be able to plan the rest of their day.
Mistake #5: Requiring non-essential people to attend.
It’s one thing if you ask a new hire, whom you want to educate about the inner workings of the company, to attend a meeting they don’t need to participate in. However, for other employees, it’s simply a waste of time.
Practical Tip: Require only people who can contribute and will benefit in some way from the meeting to attend. When it comes to meetings, the smaller the better.
Looking to Hire Qualified Employees Who Can Contribute to Your Team?
If you are, Provisional can help. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve been placing top professionals in temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire positions for over 20 years. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help meet your staffing needs.