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Provisional Blog

4 Ways to Keep Your Employees on Track & Motivated During Summer

June 12th, 2018

Between traveling and kids out of school, summer can certainly be a busy time for everyone, including your employees. As a result, it’s can be easy for them to lose focus, impacting your productivity numbers in the long run. To ensure you keep your people on track during the hot summer months, here are a few easy tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest – to put to use:

#1: Set challenging goals.

Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean employees should be slowing down in terms of performance at work. To keep staff motivated, it’s even more important during this hectic time of year to meet with your people individually and make sure they understand their performance goals and expectations. Just make sure that whatever objectives you do set, they’re both challenging and attainable.

#2: Offer flexible work hours.

A flexible work schedule can be a small step that shows employees you care in a big way. Not only does it help your staff maintain a better work-life balance, but numerous studies have shown that it positively improves morale. In fact, according to one such study by PGi, 80% of employees reported higher morale when working from home.

A flex work schedule can mean a range of different options. For instance, it could include telecommuting one day a week. Or it could simply offer employees the option to come in at 8 and leave at 4, instead of working 9 to 5. Other possibilities include letting employees leave early on Fridays. It’s really up to you in terms of what works best for your team and your company.

#3: Encourage time off.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s important to encourage your employees to take vacation days. If they don’t, they’ll risk burnout, which can negatively impact productivity, not to mention increase absenteeism and the risk of mistakes. In today’s culture, many people think it shows their dedication to not take time off. But if you want your employees to stay healthy and motivated, then they need a dedicated chunk of time to relax and unwind away from the office.

#4: Invest in training.

If summer is your slow time of year, look at it as an opportunity to ramp up your employees’ knowledge base. Send them to seminars, bring in speakers, host brown bag lunches, and offer online training opportunities they can take advantage of. It will be a change of pace from their daily tasks, while also enabling them to refresh and polish their skills, as well as gain new ones.

Need extra hands on deck during summer?

If summer is your busy time and you need more manpower to get the job done, Provisional can provide it. As one of the leading Northwest staffing agencies, we can help you find and hire the people you need on a seasonal basis. We can handle the sourcing, screening and reference checking, all so you get high-quality, hard-working temporary employees. Contact Provisional today to learn more.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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