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Provisional Blog

The Scoop on What Happens to Your Resume After You Apply

March 20th, 2018

Submitting a resume is stressful, not simply because you want it to make a great impression, but you’re not really sure if it will make any impression at all. Once you hit the send button, it’s hard to know what happens next. Does anyone even see it? And if they do, how much time do they spend reviewing it? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional has the answers you need. Here are some insights into the process, so you know what to expect and when:

Filters through the scanning system.

Most companies nowadays use some kind of scanning system to filter out resumes from poor-fit candidates before a hiring manager even sees them. These systems often rely on keywords in order to perform the job. That’s why, before you send in a resume, it’s important to use keywords and phrases from the job posting when describing your background and work experience.

Goes to HR for review.

If your resume does make it through the scanning system, it will likely go to the HR department next. Personnel in HR will dig a little more into your resume, scanning it for the qualifications and requirements of the position. At this point, if you’re a good fit, they could even call you to conduct a quick phone screen.

Gets sent to the hiring manager.

After these initial screening steps, your resume will then be submitted to the hiring manager for review. These managers are often the ones responsible for making the final hiring decision, but they’re also busy running their departments. They therefore need the resumes that come across their desks to be pre-screened and qualified. If the hiring manager likes what they see on your particular resume, you’ll then get a call for an interview.

Didn’t get a call?

If you don’t get a call for an interview, then it’s likely your resume was eliminated at one of these points during the process. Competition in the job market is fierce, which is why it’s so important to invest the time to submit a well-written, powerful resume that stands out to a potential employer. It’s also important to ensure your resume contains the right keywords so you’re not cut by scanning software right out of the gate.

Need more help with your resume, or any other aspect of your job search?

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 about how we can help you.

4 Tips to Turn Down Internal Job Applicants

March 13th, 2018

Giving negative feedback to an employee is hard. Rejecting them for a promotion or internal job they applied for can be downright scary.

But at the end of the day, if you don’t handle the situation right, you could wind up with a disengaged worker who eventually leaves. Instead, be grateful for the internal candidates you have stepping forward to fill your job openings. Also, make sure you’re transparent with them so they understand why they didn’t win the roles they applied for.

To help you in the process, here are some tips from Provisional – one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing services – to keep in mind:

Tip #1: Do it in person.

Don’t simply send an email or make a quick call to the internal candidate. They are an employee after all, and deserve more care and attention in this kind of difficult situation. So schedule some one-on-one time with them so you can break the news, answer their questions and also provide them with the feedback they need to learn from the experience.

Tip #2: Avoid vague cliches.

In other words, don’t say things like “the search committee went in a different direction” or they decided to hire someone with “qualifications that more closely aligned to the position.” This will leave your employee not only rejected, but also completely confused about where things went wrong. As a result, they might end up pursuing external opportunities so they can continue to advance their career.

Tip #3: Be straightforward.

Being honest is tough, but also brave. You don’t want to tell an existing employee that they “lacked vision” or “weren’t strategic enough.” However, if you’re vague when it comes to the feedback you give them, then you’re doing them a disservice. While you don’t have to be harsh, do be honest and let them know specifically where they fell short. It’s easy to shy away from the truth when you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but being frank will actually pay off for you both in the long run. That’s because your employee will understand where they fell short.

Tip #4: Offer actionable advice.

Another aspect of this process is to offer your employee advice they can act on. For instance, if the candidate you did hire had a certain skill set or knowledge base, let your employee know what that is and how they can go about acquiring those abilities. However, before you dig into this level of feedback, you might want to wait a few weeks. That way, you can give your employee some time for the sting of rejection to wear off, so they can truly listen and learn from the situation.

Need help finding great-fit employees for your job openings?

Turn to the experts at Provisional. As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing services, we know how to source, screen, interview, test, and vet top-quality candidates, all so you get the talented people you need to join your team. Contact us today whether you’re ready to learn more or get started.

What to Do Before Your Next Big Phone Interview

March 6th, 2018

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that in today’s world, most employers conduct phone interviews before in-person ones. During them, you don’t have to worry too much about your handshake and whether you make enough eye contact. But, there is still plenty of work that needs to go into each one. So what should you do ahead of your phone interview to help you ace it? Here are some tips to help you:

Learn all you can about the company.

Read through the company website. Conduct research online. Look for news articles and information about the organization in the local media. This will help you to learn as much as possible about the company, their core offerings, and the people they serve. Not only will you be able to answer questions more intelligently as a result, but it will also enable you to make a more lasting impression on the hiring manager.

Evaluate the job description.

Once you get to know all you can about the company, it’s time to dig into the details of their needs for the position they’ve posted. So read through the job description several times. Make a note of the strengths, skills and requirements that seem most important for the job. Then align your background and skill set with them, so you can talk about what makes you the best fit for the job during the phone interview. Be ready with specific examples of accomplishments that tout your abilities.

Take notes.

The beauty of phone interviews is that the hiring manager can’t see you. So you can jot down notes about your career achievements and highlights that are most important to discuss, then keep them by your side during the interview. Don’t follow it as you would a script. Simply use it to prompt your memory so you don’t forget to mention any pertinent details.

Prepare your space.

Before your interview, make sure you have a space prepared with a notebook and pen so you can write down important information during the interview, or a question that you need to circle back to. Also, keep a glass of water handy, since you’ll be doing a lot of talking. Finally, even though the hiring manager can’t see you, be mindful of your body language. Sit up, smile and remember to breathe. When you do, you’ll make a far better impression and hopefully get a call back for another interview.

Need more help finding your next great job in Spokane, WA?

Call Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, from interviews to finding great-fit 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.

Don’t Make These Reference Checking Mistakes

February 27th, 2018

As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that when it comes to the hiring process, it can get lengthy and stressful. As a result, you might be looking for areas where you can streamline your efforts. But if you’re looking to cut out the reference-checking portion, you might want to think again. Checking references is your last opportunity before you make an offer to ensure the candidate is being honest about their background. During the process, just make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes:

Inconsistent efforts.

When you’re checking the references for a few different candidates, be consistent with your efforts. Don’t check three references thoroughly for one candidate, then not check the references of another. Also, make sure you ask similar questions when talking to references. While candidate backgrounds vary – meaning you’ll need to ask questions specific to each individual – taking a similar approach to each phone call ensures you’re better able to compare candidates and make the right decision moving forward.

Not asking for references from past bosses.

A reference from a colleague isn’t a bad thing. But you should require that each candidate gives you references from at least two bosses. After all, you want to check on their job title, responsibilities, hard and soft skills, and performance over time. A boss or manager is going to be able to speak to each of these issues much more thoroughly, providing important details you need to know. So if a candidate offers you a list of references and not one from a past manager, ask for a revised list with at least two bosses.

Offering the job on a contingent basis.

Don’t offer the job and state that it’s contingent upon a reference check. Rather, this step should happen earlier in the process and you should check the references of your top two to three pick candidates. That way, if one has poor or weak references, you still have options. You also won’t go too far with one candidate only to find out they lied or were dishonest in some way about their background and experience.

Only asking yes or no questions.

When it comes to calling a reference, you have an opportunity to thoroughly vet a candidate and ensure they’re the right fit for you. You can’t do that if you only ask yes or no questions, or if you don’t dig deeper to learn all you can about the particular candidate. Even if the reference-giver isn’t forthcoming with information, don’t give up. Keep asking follow up questions until you get the information you need.

Good reference checking takes time and patience. If you don’t have enough to devote to the process, consider outsourcing it to Provisional. As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, we can handle every aspect of hiring for you, from sourcing and screening candidates to vetting them through background and reference checks. Contact us today to learn more.

Why is a Cover Letter Important?

February 20th, 2018

You know that your resume is vitally important to the job search process. But did you also know that your cover letter is important too? As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that for many candidates, though, it’s an afterthought. They focus all of their efforts on their resume and give minimal attention to the cover letter that accompanies it.

However, in many cases, hiring managers put a lot of weight on a cover letter for a few different reasons:

  • It’s hard to get a sense of the person behind the resume. But a cover letter gives more insight into a candidate’s personality.
  • It gives each candidate an opportunity to set themselves apart by explaining why they want work at a particular company or why they think they’d be a good fit for a position.
  • It also enables a hiring manager to tell whether a particular candidate did their homework. They want to know, for instance, that you have a solid overview of the company and what the needs are for the position.

So now that you know why a cover letter is so important, what can you do to ensure you make the best impression possible with yours? Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Do some research. Get to know the employer and as much as you can about the position they’re hiring for. That way, you’ll be able to write more intelligently about why you’re a good fit in your cover letter.
  • Think about why you want to work there. One great way to stand out with your cover letter is to tell a story. You can do that by talking about the company and why you want to work there. Get into specific details about what in your background would make you a fit for the position and the company.
  • Talk about the value you can offer. Hiring managers want to know what’s in it for them. In other words, what can you offer to a potential employer and why should they hire you over another candidate. So connect the dots for them. Play up your skills and experience that are most relevant to the position and the employer, and how those will enable you to hit the ground running in the job.

Need more help with your cover letter or resume?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare you for job interviews, and match you with opportunities that are a great fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

What Do Candidates Look for in Employers?

February 13th, 2018

During the hiring process, you’re going to be spending a lot of time evaluating job candidates. But have you considered that they’re likewise going to be assessing you too? As one of the Northwest’s leaders in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows the best candidates want some key essentials from potential new employers. So if you’re not offering them, it can impact your ability to attract, recruit and hire top talent. To help ensure you’re competitive when it comes to hiring quality professionals, here are a few areas to focus on:

Pay and benefits.

Obviously, you can have the most rewarding and challenging job. However, if it doesn’t offer a competitive salary and good benefits, then you’re not going to be able to attract and hire the best people for your team. So make sure that what you’re offering is on par with other companies with similar job openings.


One of the most valuable areas you can focus on – one that will offer a big return on investment – is your employer brand. Candidates want to work at companies that are known in the community and in their industry for expertise and innovation.


In today’s world, candidates want more flexibility than previous generations in terms of work schedules. Whether you offer it through the ability to telecommute or with flex hours is up to you. However, keep in mind that it’s a huge selling feature for candidates and a good way to retain the top talent on your team.

Growth opportunities.

Top employees don’t want to stay in the same position, performing the same work, year after year. Instead, they want the opportunity to acquire different skills and advance into new positions. When you have a reputation for internal promotion and growth opportunities, you’ll have a far better chance of attracting leading candidates to your company.


When it comes to evaluating your company, candidates look at more than just the job and salary. They want to also know that they’re going to be a good fit for your team and the company at large. They’re interested in learning about the organization’s mission and values, so they can get a better sense of where your company’s priorities lie. If, for instance, you have a culture of feedback, flexibility, and promoting employee growth, it’s going to be incredibly appealing to today’s top talent.

Strong leadership.

At the end of the day, if the company doesn’t have strong and supportive leaders, it’s not going to stay profitable and thrive. That’s why, during the hiring process, it’s important to promote your executive team, the level of experience they bring to the table, and how they keep the company on the right course.

Need more help attracting better quality people to your team?

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.

What Recruiters Look for on Your Social Media Accounts

February 6th, 2018

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that when it comes to hiring, recruiters have a variety of different ways they vet candidates. In today’s world, one of those is by searching social media accounts. This helps them to gain more insight into each candidate so they can make a more confident hiring decision. And in fact, according to a Jobvite survey, 55% of recruiters reconsidered a decision based on a candidate’s social media profiles.

So what do recruiters look for? Here’s some insight:

Your images.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And that’s true even on social media. When a recruiter gets to your profile page, that’s one of the first elements they’re going to be looking at, and they can either deter or impress them. Make sure you do the latter with a professional headshot that paints you in a positive light. Also, avoid posting any inappropriate photos, even if it’s on personal profiles.

Your connections.

Recruiters are also interested in who you know. If you share a mutual connection, it can certainly make an impression on them. Likewise, if you’re connected with many highly reputable professionals in your field, it will also stand out to a hiring manager. On the flip side, if you only have a couple of connections, it will be a red flag to potential employers. So aim to expand your network.

Your personality.

During an interview and in the application process, most candidates come off as completely professional and polished. But a look at social media profiles can give recruiters some insight into what’s really behind the candidate mask. When it comes to your profile, it should certainly be infused with your own unique personality; however, it should also always be professional and respectful toward others.

Beyond the areas above, recruiters also look for any warning signs in your background that could signal a potential hiring mistake. Some of these include:

  • Inappropriate images, including those with drugs and alcohol
  • Profanity
  • Poor grammar and spelling
  • Making sexual references

When it comes to posting on social media, the best rule of thumb to follow is that if you’d be embarrassed for your family to see it, then don’t post it. Chances are, you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see it either.

If you’d like more expert tips and advice with your job search, contact Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you craft a great resume, polish your interviewing skills, and land the job you want! Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

Managing an Employee’s Bad Attitude

January 23rd, 2018

Do you have an employee with a negative attitude? It can be easy to write it off as just part of their personality. But, as one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that if you don’t take steps to deal with it, such an attitude can actually be toxic for the rest of your team. It can poison the work environment, lead to less overall job satisfaction, and have an impact on productivity and your business bottom line.

So with that in mind, what are some steps you can take to deal with an employee who has a toxic attitude? Here are six:

Talk to your employee.

A negative attitude affects everyone. However, when talking to your employee, it’s important to approach the conversation with care and sensitivity. You don’t want to berate them or make them feel singled out. At the same time, it’s important to be clear with them that you don’t condone their behavior. When you do talk to your employee, just make sure it’s one-on-one, in a private meeting.

Take a positive approach.

These kinds of conversations can certainly be awkward for all involved. That’s why it’s important to diffuse any discomfort with the right approach. For instance, rather than pointing out what the employee is doing wrong, let them know you want them to be successful in their job and that’s why you’re bringing the issue up.

Get specific.

Asking an employee to change their attitude likely won’t do much. However, when you get specific – and also talk about how the issue is impacting their performance and the team’s – then your employee will be completely clear about the problem and what you expect from them.

Hear them out.

While you might not agree with them or want to hear their excuses, do give your employee a chance to voice their side of the story. When you hear them out, they’ll be more likely to listen to you and the expectations you have for them going forward.

Talk about next steps.

Your employee isn’t going to change overnight. At the same time, you do expect some modifications in their behavior in the near future. That’s why it’s important to talk about the changes you’d like to see, as well as a timeline for getting there. Then let your employee go about implementing those changes, while you plan to follow up with them regularly.

Know when to let them go.

Sometimes a bad attitude can’t be fixed and the impact it has on the workplace can outweigh the employee’s experience and skill set. When this happens, it’s important to know when to cut ties and bring someone new on board. After all, you don’t want them to continue to impact your workplace culture and productivity in a negative way.

Need help finding employees with strong skills and great attitudes?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we can help you quickly source, screen, and hire better quality talent – with the right attitudes – for a variety of positions. Just give us a call today to learn more.

5 Signs Your Resume Needs Work

January 16th, 2018

Looking for a new job? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows you need a resume that’s going to position your background in the best light possible. If yours doesn’t, then you’re not going to get called in for an interview. How can you tell? Look for these signs that your resume needs work:

#1: You’re applying for jobs you’re qualified for…but aren’t hearing back.

You have the skills and experience to do all the jobs you’re applying for. But your resume seems to have entered a resume black hole. Sound familiar? If it does, then the problem isn’t your background, but how you’re representing it on your resume. So, take another look at it before sending it out again and make sure you are highlighting your strengths, following directions and job postings, and formatting the document properly.

#2: It’s more than three pages.

When it comes to your resume, stick to two pages or less. If you’re a brand new graduate or have limited work experience, it should be a page. Anything more than that is overkill, especially when you consider the fact that hiring managers only spend a few minutes reviewing resumes. So if your resume goes beyond a page or two, it’s time to revisit it and pare it down.

#3: You’re sending the same resume to every employer.

At its core, the resume you send to each employer is likely the same or similar. However, you should still be customizing it for each unique position you’re applying to. That means reviewing the job posting ahead of time and making sure your approach and the language you use best aligns with the particular position you are applying to.

#4: You only spent a few minutes creating a resume.

Your resume is your ticket into the interview process. It needs to be well thought out, as well as polished and professional. If it’s not, then that’s going to come through loud and clear to a hiring manager. So before you start sending out more resumes, take a step back and evaluate yours. Then invest the time needed to make it as strong as possible.

#5: You don’t think your resume really represents you well.

Resumes are hard to write. However, it’s vitally important to ensure the document you send to potential employers highlights your skills and abilities, and persuades them to call you for an interview. So if you don’t think your resume does a good job of representing you and the results you’re able to deliver, then it’s time to rework it.

Do you need more help creating a resume that gets better results?

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 crafting and polishing your resume for better results. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

Tough Call: How to Decide Between Two Employees for a Promotion

January 9th, 2018

You have a position to fill and are looking at two internal candidates to promote. Both are equally strong, but in different areas. You’ve mulled this for days and there’s no clear-cut winner. How can you decide which one is best to promote? Here are a few tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington – to help you:

Ask what’s most important for the position.

Is it great presentation skills? A detail-oriented number cruncher? Someone who can go out and secure new business? Your needs will depend on the specific position and only you can define your top one. But once you’re able to define what it is, you’ll be able to see which candidate is strongest in that area.

Give them an assignment.

Another path to go down when you’re weighing two strong internal candidates is to give them both a small assignment to complete. Offer each one clear instructions and a timeline for completion, then sit back and wait for their work to come in. Oftentimes, you will have a better sense of who can deliver higher quality work within the define timeframe.

Evaluate future potential.

You’re hiring for a particular position now. But is there one candidate who you can see advancing even further and making an even bigger contribution to the team? If there is, then they have more growth potential and can therefore offer you a bigger return on your investment in them. So think through who you can see really growing with the organization.

Follow up with the second choice.

Once you do make a decision and offer a promotion to an employee, make sure you immediately follow up with the individual who didn’t get the job. Have a private meeting with him or her and explain the reasons behind your decision. Also, discuss development plan that can help them obtain the skills or experience they need to get promoted in the future.

It’s vitally important that you handle this situation sensitively since your employee will likely be disappointed. You don’t want them to jump ship as a result of the news, so work with them to help them achieve their future career goals.

Don’t have employees you can promote internally? Looking for external candidates to fill an important role?

Provisional can help. 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.

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