Provisional Blog

What Hiring Managers Really Want to Know About You

January 15th, 2019

Headed for the hot seat in an interview? You’re probably wondering what kinds of questions you’ll be asked. As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top employment firms, Provisional knows it’s certainly up to the discretion of the hiring manager. However, there are a few key things most will want to know about you. Here’s a look at four of them, so you can better prepare and boost your chances of getting the offer:

#1: You know about the company.

By learning about the company ahead of time, it shows the hiring manager that you’re motivated, interested and have the drive to succeed. It also enables you to ask more intelligent questions, as well as offer better interview answers, improving your odds of impressing the hiring manager.

#2: You want the job.

When they’re interviewing you, hiring managers are looking for more than a warm body to fill a seat. They want to know you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity. Don’t make them second guess your interest. For instance, one way to do that is through the questions you ask about the company, the position and what to expect going forward. When they’re insightful and well-researched, they’ll stand out in a sea of generic questions other candidates ask.

#3: You can be successful in the role.

All the enthusiasm in the world won’t get you the job if you don’t have the right mix of skills. So make sure you’re prepared to talk about your relevant strengths, backed by specific examples, during the interview. Likewise, be ready to discuss weaknesses, too. Hiring managers want to know that you’re self-aware and can realistically assess areas where you might need improvement.

#4: You’re a good cultural fit.

Beyond your technical skills, hiring managers want to ensure your background and personality are going to mesh well with their team. That’s why they’ll ask you questions about the environment you operate best in, or whether you like to go solo on projects or work collaboratively more. It’s important for companies to hire people who will fit with a particular department, boss and culture.

So what don’t hiring managers want? Long, rambling answers. Personal information. Bad-mouthing a past boss…and the list goes on. Instead, when you’re headed to your next interview, stick to the showcasing the above and you should be well on your way to job search success.

Want professional help launching your next search?

Turn to the team at Provisional. As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top employment firms since 1994, we’ve placed thousands of talented individuals like you in great Northwest companies. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

6 Ways to Keep Your People Safe in the Workplace

January 8th, 2019

In today’s world, workplace accidents and injuries are expensive. In fact, in 2016, it was estimated by a Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index that they amounted to nearly $62 billion in direct workers compensation costs. These expenses, paid by employers, can have a significant impact on bottom line results, not to mention the overall health of your company.

So in the year ahead, how can you keep costs down and your workplace safer? Start with these tips from Provisional, one of the Northwest’s top staffing services:

1. Create a culture of safety.

Don’t run your safety program on autopilot. Instead, it should stay top-of-mind for your team with policies, information and tips conveyed often through regularly scheduled training. In addition, there should be clear goals in place for your employees with the primary one being a zero-incident workplace. Likewise, safety training should always be a part of the onboarding process for new employees.

2. Put labels and signs to use.

When you need to communicate critical information about a particular area or piece of equipment, put up labels and signs. These are simple yet effective ways for you to showcase proper use, as well as potential hazards, providing the reminders everyone needs to stay safe.

3. Clean things up.

Even the smallest messes can lead to big accidents. That’s why it’s important to place a heavy emphasis on workplace clean-up, with tools organized, cords untangled, boxes put away, spills taken care of, and any other issues addressed as quickly as possible. Regular inspections should also take place.

4. Encourage breaks.

Train your people on ways to sit correctly and easily stretch to loosen tension and joints, so they’re not at risk for a repetitive motion injury, like carpal tunnel. This is especially helpful when employees are working overtime and more prone to accidents and injuries. Beyond that, make sure your employees are taking the time off needed to combat stress and stay refreshed.

5. Keep communication open.

Your employees should feel comfortable coming to you with safety issues and concerns. Make sure they know where to report hazards and issues. This not only empowers them, but ensures safety problems that you don’t notice are being taken care of.

6. Offer rewards for meeting goals.

If your employees are on track and meeting safety goals consistently, reward them for a job well done. You don’t have to do anything expensive; something small that will keep them engaged and motivated to maintain a good safety record.

As an employer, one of your most basic responsibilities is to protect your people. Follow the tips above to ensure they have what they need to stay safe and healthy on the job.

Need help hiring hard-working, safety-minded people for your team?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the Northwest’s top staffing services, we know where to look to source smart and careful 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 Tips for a More Successful Year at Work

January 2nd, 2019

Whether you want to perform better in your current role or win that big promotion, there are steps to take to position yourself for more success in 2019. In fact, just by making a few small tweaks consistently over time, you can improve your productivity, add more value and achieve your career goals in the year ahead.

To do that, here are 6 tips from Provisional – one of Spokane’s top employment agencies – to incorporate into your schedule in the New Year:

1. Set small goals.

In what areas do you want to develop, improve upon or change in 2019? You likely have some in mind. However, when you’re thinking through and setting goals, start small. That way, it’s easier to stay motivated, monitor progress and celebrate the victories.

2. Get organized and prioritized.

Want to get more done in your day? Then place an emphasis on getting your daily schedule organized. Outline your projects, break down the tasks, then create a priority order and timeline for achieving them. When you’re doing this, make sure you’re realistic too in terms of deadlines and also prepared to set boundaries and say “no” when you need to.

3. Arrive at work 15 minutes early.

You might be notorious for hitting the snooze button. However, an earlier start – even just a small one – can have a big impact. You’ll get to the office before the bustle really begins, offering a quiet, calm environment in which to begin your day. This gives you a few private moments to plan out your schedule, so you feel more in control and less frazzled.

4. Stop multi-tasking.

You might think you’re getting more done. But study after study shows that multi-tasking actually hinders performance and productivity. In fact, your brain can only effectively focus on one thing at a time, which means multi-tasking cuts down on your efficiency and performance.

5. Reflect at the end of each day.

When your workday is done, rather than running to punch out, spend a few minutes reflecting on it. What went right and what areas do you which you’d handled differently? Is there something you accomplished that you’re especially proud of? What didn’t you get done that requires immediate attention tomorrow? When you take the time for reflection, you’ll walk away feeling less stressed and more accomplished, helping you end your day on a more positive note.

6. Give yourself downtime.

If you’re constantly connected, even during the evenings and on weekends, it’s going to lead to burnout in the year ahead. Instead, aim for a better work life balance. Not only will you improve your mental and physical health, but you’ll actually be more productive at work in the long run.

Looking for a new job in the New Year?

Let the team at Provisional help you find it. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we know who’s hiring in 2019 and can connect you with leading opportunities at local companies. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

4 Top Techniques for Conducting Exit Interviews

December 26th, 2018

Losing a good employee is a painful experience. However, it can be an insightful one too when you conduct an exit interview. These can help you find out the reason behind the resignation, so you can create a better employee experience in the future. They also give your employee a chance to offer a review of their time at the company and for the relationship to end on a positive note.

To help you get the most from your next one, here’s some insight from Provisional – one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest – on how to approach it:

#1: Plan and prepare.

Plan to conduct your employee’s interview in the last day or two of employment. Give them ample time to prepare and gather their thoughts in advance. Explain too why you’re conducting one and what you’re hoping to gain. Also, make sure the interview is face-to-face, not over the phone or email.

#2: Put them at ease.

Exit interviews feel awkward. That’s why it’s important to do what you can to put your employee at ease. Assure them that they can speak freely and openly and let them know if there’s a question they’re uncomfortable with, they don’t have to answer. You can even consider taking the conversation out of the office and into a more neutral environment, like a coffee shop. Likewise, approach the situation more like a conversation and less like an interview.

#3: Ask the right questions.

There are several key points to touch on during an exit interview. Not only that, but it’s important to ask the same questions across interviews so you can identify trends and patterns. Some to consider include:

  • What was the biggest factor that led you to accept another job?
  • How did this job match your expectations? What did you like most about it? Least?
  • Did you feel you had the tools and resources to perform your work effectively?
  • What was your relationship like with your manager?
  • What did you enjoy most about working here? What areas could use improvement?
  • What skills and abilities do you think are most important for your replacement?

#4: Make use of their feedback.

Once you know why a candidate is leaving, it’s important that you put that information to good use so that you can make improvements in the company in terms of employee engagement. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing another key team member for the same reason. This is especially important if you’re noticing trends and patterns when it comes to retention issues.

Need help finding and retaining quality people for your team?

Call Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest, we’ve placed over 18,000 professionals with growing companies since 1994 and we can help you too find and hire the people you need. Contact us today to learn more.

Beyond the Daily Duties: Evaluating a Job Offer

December 18th, 2018

When you get a job offer, you want to shout it from the roof tops. However, before you get too excited, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate it first. One of the areas to look at is obviously the duties and responsibilities that come with it. For instance, are you comfortable with the role and confident you can perform well in it? If you got the offer, the answer is likely “yes.”

However, as one of Spokane, Washington’s top employment firms, Provisional knows that beyond your daily tasks, there are several other aspects that are vital to evaluate before you sign on the dotted line. To ensure you make the best decision for both you and your career, here’s a look at five of them:

#1: Scheduling flexibility.

If it’s critical for you to maintain a flexible schedule, is the company able to meet that need? If they’re not, don’t sell yourself short by accepting a position that forces you into a schedule that doesn’t work for you.

#2: Culture.

This is simply the personality of the company. Does it feel like a fit for you? When you were interviewing and touring the organization, did you get a warm, fuzzy feeling or a sinking one in your gut? These are key questions to ask considering that you’ll be spending most of your waking hours in the office.

#3: Commute.

If your commute is less than you current role, then of course, your decision is a no-brainer. However, if it tacks on more than 10 minutes, how is that going to impact your lifestyle? In the excitement of getting the offer, don’t overlook this issue. It can have a significant affect on your quality of life and satisfaction on the job.

#4: Salary and compensation.

When you’re looking at your full compensation package, make sure you spend some time crunching the numbers. For instance, your salary might be higher in this new position, however, are your health insurance premiums higher, as well? You need to take into account the full financial picture of what you’re being offered to ensure it’s competitive and makes sense for you.

#5: The perks.

What other perks are being offered? Beyond salary and compensation, will you get a company phone or car? Can you join the local gym at a discounted rate? Will you get substantially more time off than at your last job? Is there a daycare on-site for your children to attend? These are all important features to take into consideration, so you make the best choice for you and your career.

Need more help finding job leads and getting offers in the New Year?

Connect with Provisional. As one of Spokane, Washington’s top employment firms, we’re here for you, with access to leading opportunities at top employers, all so you can achieve your career goals in the coming year. Contact us today to learn more or search our Spokane jobs now.




5 Year-End Performance Review Mistakes to Avoid

December 11th, 2018

From entry-level employees all the way up to top-level managers, no one likes performance reviews. However, they play an important role in giving feedback, setting goals, and keeping people on track. So how can you go about conducting them in a way that’s as painless as possible this year? Provisional – one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing firms – has the answers you need. Here’s a look at a few common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not preparing.

You owe it to your employees to invest the time and effort to prepare for each review. If you don’t, the conversation isn’t going to lead to the kind of meaningful insight you need it to. Instead, it’s going to be unstructured and unproductive. That’s why it’s important to prepare for any feedback well ahead of time.

Mistake #2: Not telling the employee until the last minute.

Employees should know in advance when their review will take place. In addition, you should create an agenda outlining the areas to be discussed, so they can fully prepare ahead of time, too. This will not only give them a chance to get ready mentally, but also think through any issues, questions or areas they’d like to discuss with you.

Mistake #3: Giving empty compliments.

Employees don’t want to hear they’re doing a good job. They want to know that you really liked how they handled the Smith account and you were impressed with their ability to persuade the client to sign on for more services. It’s a big difference and when you give specific feedback, it will do a lot more to motivate and encourage your staff.

Mistake #4: Conducting them once a year.

In reality, you should be keeping tabs on employee performance throughout the entire year. While you might have one, year-end formal review, you should also have many mini-feedback sessions in between. That way, employees are always clear on expectations, where they stand, and won’t have a chance to get too far off track.

Mistake #5: Not having them at all.

This is perhaps the biggest mistake of all. Not having regular performance reviews takes away an opportunity with you to connect with each team member on a personal level, revisit goals and expectations, and ensure you’re both on the same page. In terms of the big picture, it can also provide employees a time in which to discuss career development and advancement, which can go a long way in retaining them.

Need help hiring great performers for your team?

Call Provisional. As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing firms, we can help you source, screen, evaluate and hire the high-level people you need, so you can build the strongest team possible. Contact us today to learn more.

Should You Send an Interview Thank You Letter?

December 4th, 2018

You just wrapped up an interview and it couldn’t have gone better. All you have to do is sit and wait for your phone to ring with an offer, right? Actually, there is one final step you should take before you kick back and relax: write a thank you note. While you don’t have to send it right after your interview, you should submit it within a day or two at most.

When you do, you’ll reap the benefits by:

  • Standing out among other job candidates who don’t send one.
  • Re-iterating your interest and enthusiasm in the position.
  • Bringing up any key points you might have forgotten about regarding your background.
  • Showing the hiring manager your respect and appreciation.

So, now that you know why interview thank you notes are so important, how should you go about preparing yours? What should it say and how long should it be? Here are a few easy tips to help you:

Tip #1: Thank the hiring manager for their time.

Let them know that you appreciate the opportunity to interview and are looking forward to a decision.

Tip #2: Reinforce aspects of your background that showcase why you’re the best fit for the position.

Pick a couple of key strengths and expand on them more.

Tip #3: Talk about what you liked most about the company and the position.

This will help to underscore the point that you’re a good fit not just for the job, but for the entire organization, as well.

Tip #4: Personalize your message with any details you learned about the hiring manager.

Remember, you don’t want to sound like a robot, but an authentic candidate with real rapport with the hiring manager.

Tip #5: Proofread it before you send it to ensure it’s error-free.

Otherwise, you could sabotage all your time and hard work with a simple mistake.

Tip #6: When it comes to length, just keep it to a few paragraphs.

This should be a quick note, not a total regurgitation of your background and resume. Also, while a hand-written note is a nice touch, an email is faster. This can be important if the hiring manager plans to make a quick decision.

Need more help navigating the interview or job search process?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we can learn about your skills, background and career goals, all to help you find a rewarding new job, faster. Simply contact our team today to learn more or search our Spokane jobs now.

How to Deal with a Defensive Employee

November 27th, 2018

As a manager, giving feedback is a must. But sometimes it can feel like you’re walking through a minefield when you do. This is especially true when you have an employee who tends to get defensive when the input they’re getting on performance isn’t 100% positive. So how can you communicate your needs in a way that they’re more receptive?

Provisional, one of the Northwest’s leading staffing firms, has the answers you need. Follow these tips to get you started:

Be direct.

Don’t sugarcoat the issue or talk in vague statements. Simply tell your employee that whenever you give feedback, you notice they get upset. That’s not your intent; however, the feedback is necessary. Then sit back and listen. Your employee might not even realize they’ve gotten defensive in the past.

Be clear about what you need.

Once the issue is on the table, tell your employee you need to be able to bring up areas of concern with them without fear of them getting defensive. There’s always room for conversation and listening; however, you expect them to be open and not to push back.

Remember, tone matters.

If you come across as angry or critical in any way, then your employee will simply shut down. Instead, diffuse the issue by letting them know that feedback is hard for everyone to hear. You can even share your own personal story of getting difficult feedback, how it felt and mistakes you made when dealing with it. Talking about your own experience will also make them feel like accepting feedback is a skill to be learned.

Give them reassurance.

If your employee is strong overall, tell them that. You don’t want them walking out of the conversation feeling like they’re skating on thin ice. However, do let them know that you want them to perform even better, which involves being able to take in and incorporate feedback into their everyday work.

Continue to give feedback.

You might not notice a big change right away. But don’t let it stop you from giving feedback to your employee. They need to hear about areas to be corrected because if they don’t, they’ll simply get off track in their performance.

Keep in mind, defensiveness is survival mechanism. It’s the brain’s way of reacting to and defending against criticism. So when an employee gets defensive, don’t take it personally. Simply deal with it head on and work with them to overcome it.

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

Call the Northwest’s leading staffing firm: Provisional. We can help you source, screen, hire and train the people you need, where and when you need them. Simply connect with us today to learn more or get started.

5 Tips to Help You Impress Your New Boss on Your First Day

November 20th, 2018

The first day on any job is a nerve-wracking experience. Even if you’re highly qualified and eager learn, it can still feel intimidating. The good news is that every new hire feels that way. And there are steps you can take to make the most of that initial day and impress your new boss in the process. When you do, you’ll be well on your way to setting yourself up for more success in your new role and at your new company.

Here are some tips from Provisional – one of Spokane, Washington’s leading employment firms – to get you started:

Tip #1: Arrive on time, prepared.

Don’t let a late start sabotage your day. Not only will it make your new boss wonder, but you’ll also feel more stressed and anxious throughout the day. It’s not a good way to start on any new job. In addition, don’t clock out the second it’s 5 pm. Stay as long as needed, so you can get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Tip #2: Interact with others.

Even if you’re an introvert, it’s important to put yourself out there and get to know your co-workers. When you do, you can start building the bonds for relationships that can have a big impact on your career success. Not only that, but your boss will be pleased to see you making an effort to integrate with the team.

Tip #3: Ask questions.

Don’t be afraid to jump right in and ask questions, especially in those first few days and weeks on the job. Your boss expects it and doing so will ensure there’s less of a risk of mistakes. It will also help you learn the ropes faster, so you can become productive sooner.

In addition, ask your boss if there’s any research or reading you can do at home to help you make a smooth transition. He or she will be impressed with your proactive nature and the fact that you want to make a contribution from the start.

Tip #4: Get organized and prioritize.

If you want to hit the ground running, you need to know what tasks and responsibilities are most important. Work with your boss to create a list and prioritize your work. That way, you’ll be clear on goals and expectations, as well as the importance of each task. This also makes starting a new job less overwhelming because you’ll know which work to tackle first.

Tip #5: Be enthusiastic.

Beginning a new job can be exhausting. But don’t let it show. Instead, keep your energy level up and remain curious and engaged throughout the day. Remember those first few days on the job are going to set the tone for your employment with the company.

Need more help finding a new boss and a new job to impress in?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane, Washington’s leading employment firms, we can connect you with rewarding jobs at some of the city’s top employers, all so you can impress and advance your career. Contact us today to learn more or get started,

Seeing Employees Burnout? Here’s What to Do

November 13th, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And yet, for many of your workers, it’s also the busiest. You need them to get projects completed and out the door before December 31st. But at the same time, they’re strapped for time and energy between all their work and personal obligations.

What can you do when you start to see them crumble? Here are some tips from Provisional – one of Coeur d’Alene’s top staffing firms – for dealing with burnout, so it doesn’t sabotage your team:

Provide clear expectations.

If employees are taking on too much and stretched too thin, meet with them to help recalibrate. Talk about year-end goals and what’s a priority. Also discuss those tasks and initiatives that can wait until next year. Finally, make sure they have the resources and support needed to meet your expectations.

Show your appreciate.

Sometimes, all employees need is for you to show them a little appreciation. They’ve been working hard and if it’s unnoticed, they’re not going to want to keep it up. That’s why it’s so important to offer regular feedback and praise. Get specific when you recognize them and tell them in detail how their contributions have helped the company. They’ll feel more engaged and motivated as a result.

Encourage time off.

You might have a lot of work to get done. But you don’t want your employees there around the clock. It will hurt both them and your team in the long run. It’s therefore important to encourage reasonable work hours and for employees to take the time off that’s due to them. This will create a healthier culture, one with less stress and more productive employees.

Keep off-hours communications to a minimum.

When employees don’t ever feel like they can fully unplug, it’s going to add to their stress level. Instead, make sure you only contact them outside of work hours when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, aim to keep workplace communications going just during standard business hours and give your employees the break from the office they need.

Build more flexibility into their schedule.

Another way to combat stress is to enable employees to take advantage of more scheduling flexibility during the holidays. Create flex hours or let them work from home more often than you typically allow. Offer an extra day of paid vacation between Thanksgiving and year’s end where employees can get holiday activities done, so they don’t feel stressed. This will help to alleviate anxiety so when they’re on the job, they can truly focus.

Is your company dealing with a lack of manpower during the holiday season?

Let Provisional, one of Coeur d’Alene’s top staffing firms, help. Whether you need to add to your team for the long-term or you require short-term, temporary assistance, we can give you access to the people you need, where and when you need them. Simply contact our team today to learn more.