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Provisional Blog

How Phone Screens Can Boost Your Hiring Efforts

October 17th, 2017

When it comes time to hire new candidates, the interview is one of the most critical aspects of the process. However, it’s also one of the most expensive and time-consuming. That’s why, if you don’t already conduct phone screens as part of hiring at your company, you should consider adding them now. Here are a few ways you can benefit:

Save money.

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that interviews are costly – especially if you are recruiting candidates from out of state. But when you conduct phone screens first, you can actually interview more candidates in less time, all without having to pay for air fare and lodging. Phone screens also allow you to eliminate candidates that sounded like a fit on paper, but who fall short of your needs and expectations once you speak with them.

Save time.

With an in-person interview, you might spend a full hour or more with each candidate. But phone screens are just that – quick screens that enable you to get a better sense of whether you should call in the candidate for an interview. You can conduct several of them in the time it takes to prepare for and conduct just one traditional face-to-face interview. This allows you to cover more ground and find those candidates faster who are a good fit for your needs.

Move the process faster.

Interviews can be tricky to schedule with candidates, especially those already employed. They’ll need to find time in their schedule to fit the interview, and often have to take a morning or afternoon off from work. It can therefore take a while to get candidates properly scheduled for face-to-face interviews.

But phone screens can be conducted anytime, even during evenings and on weekends. As a result, you can move the hiring process along faster, while offering candidates the opportunity to assess whether the position is a good fit for them – without having to take time off from their existing jobs.

Provides more objectivity.

When you can’t see the candidate for yourself – what they look like, their clothing and facial expressions – it will give you the chance to simply assess their answers and how they’re delivered. This can provide for a more objective way to evaluate them.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, only about 41% of organizations conduct phone screens for executive positions, while only 55% do so for hourly positions. Don’t be one of them. When you have structured and effective phone screens as part of your hiring process, you can benefit in a variety of valuable ways.

If you’d like more help with your hiring process – or you’re ready to outsource it to experts – please contact Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we provide customized staffing solutions to our clients all over the Northwest. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Management 101: Mistakes to Avoid When You’re the Boss

October 3rd, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that when you’re new to managing a team, you have a lot of responsibility on your plate. You’re going from taking care of your work to managing and overseeing the work of others. It can be exciting, stressful, nerve wracking – and full of potential pitfalls.

And in fact, the first year in a manager’s role is often littered with mistakes; so, you’ll likely make your fair share. However, there are some common ones you can avoid with a little planning and know-how. Here’s a look at a few:

You don’t ask for help.

If you’re a new manager, you have a lot to learn on the job. And that’s ok. Don’t pretend you have all the answers or know how to do something when really, you don’t. It’s best to ask for input, advice and feedback – whether from your staff or your boss – to ensure you’re making the right moves and decisions.

You micromanage.

Another common problem among new managers involves micro-managing. There’s a lot that’s at stake and you’re still getting to know your team, so this can be understandable. However, keep in mind that when you micromanage, you’re sending the message that you don’t trust your team. This, in turn, can undermine your relationship and create a toxic culture. So give your people room to do their jobs.

You don’t have boundaries.

When your employee comes to you with a request, or your boss asks you to take on a new project, your first instinct is to say “yes.” After all, you don’t want to disappoint. But if you don’t have boundaries – and can’t turn down projects that are clearly a bad fit for you – you’re going to wind up stretched thin and burned out. Likewise, if you agree to everything your employees ask of you, you’ll end up making promises you can’t keep. So establish clear boundaries from the start.

You don’t get to know your team.

As a manager, your success now depends on your team. That’s why, if you want them to produce optimal results, you need to get to know each one individually and what motivates them. So rather than sweeping in and making changes overnight, take some time to learn the ins and outs of your staff and its unique dynamic. Schedule personal meetings to listen and learn from each one, as well as group-wide meetings to talk about big picture goals and get their thoughts and input. The better you know your team, the easier it will be to manage them.

If you find that you’re struggling in any of these areas, take a deep breath and relax. No new manager hits the ground running and delivers an error-free performance. So ask for help when you need it, set clear boundaries and get to know your people.

If you’re struggling with finding good people for your team, the experts at Provisional can help. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we provide customized staffing solutions to our clients all over the Northwest. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

How to Tap Your Team to Help You Recruit

September 19th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that when it comes time to hire, one of your best recruiting tools is your existing staff. In fact, there are a variety of ways they can help you hire your next great employee. Here’s a look at a few of them.

Talk hiring with your team.

It’s in your employees’ best interest for you to hire top-rated people. Not only will they have to work alongside them, but the quality of candidates you hire can impact your company bottom line. So it makes sense for your team to be involved in the process. Once you’re ready to hire, let them know about the job opening and ask them for insight into what key skills and qualities are important for a new hire to succeed.

Make job openings share-able.

Beyond keeping your employees in the loop about hiring, make sure that job postings are easy for them to share. Post them on your company website, as well as social media profiles, where employees can easily share them with their network. In addition, ask employees to include a link to your jobs listing page in their email signature so that it gets broadcast out whenever they send an email.

Create an employee referral plan.

Employee referrals are often one of the fastest and easiest ways to find new hires. So if you don’t have an employee referral program, now’s the time to start one. When employees know there’s a reward for them, they’re more likely to refer friends, family and past colleagues who would be a good fit for the job. If you already have a referral plan in place, remind your employees about it and the incentive that’s being offered.

Showcase culture on your company website.

When candidates are applying to jobs with your company, they want to know what working there is really like. Show them through blog posts authored by staff members, and photos and videos showcasing “a day in the life” of different employees. When your company can give candidates a sense of what it’s like to work at your company, you’ll not only attract more candidates, but better-fit ones, as well.

When it comes to hiring new employees, your existing ones are truly one of your greatest assets. Just follow the tips above for leveraging them.

Need more help recruiting for your team?

Call the experts at Provisional. 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.

The Best Behavior-Based Interview Questions

September 5th, 2017

When you’re hiring a new employee, you’re looking for more than certain skills. You need someone who can become a value contributor to your team and who will be a fit for the demands of the job and the company culture. One way to assess that is by asking behavioral interview questions.

What are behavioral interview questions?

These are the questions that ask the candidate to describe a past experience or behavior so you can get a better handle on their abilities, personality and track record. These can be helpful to ask because they force a candidate to dig deeper and offer specific examples of how they’re performed on the job and handled challenging situations. They can therefore play a big part in helping companies like yours to hire the best-fit candidate for job openings.

So, now that you know why it’s important to ask these kinds of questions, what are the best ones to use during an interview? It depends on your hiring needs. However, here are some good places to start:

  • Describe a time where you had to make a good impression on a new customer. How did you prepare?
  • Talk about a time you failed to meet expectations. What did you do?
  • Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond in your job.
  • Describe a time you were able to successfully persuade your boss or co-workers.
  • Tell me about a time you had to explain a complex concept to a non-technical co-worker. How did you do it?
  • Talk about a time when you were under extreme work pressure. How did you handle it?
  • Explain a time when you had conflicting priorities. How did you meet your goals?
  • Describe a time you set a workplace goal for yourself. Did you meet it? How?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who had a different personality from your own.
  • Give me an example of a time when you worked on a team and there was conflict involved. How did you handle the situation.
  • Explain a work situation that you wished you handled differently. What happened and how do you wish you’d handled it?
  • What workplace accomplishment are you most proud of?

These are just a few examples of the countless behavior-based interview questions you can ask. And really, the ones you settle on will depend on your unique job opening and company. Just make sure you do ask these kinds of questions – as well as follow-up ones – so you can dig deeper and get to know each candidate.

Need more help sourcing and interviewing candidates?

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.

How to Get Your People to Speak Up & Add More Value at Work

August 15th, 2017

When it comes to managing a team, how open is communication between you and your staff? Most managers think their team members will speak up if they have something to say or a different opinion. But, as one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that’s often not the case.

For instance, many times, employees don’t want to speak up due to fears of retaliation or damaging their relationship with their boss in some way. Still other employees might simply think their voice doesn’t matter much and speaking up won’t change anything.

But, by creating a culture of openness and communication, your team and company can benefit in many ways.

For one thing, employees are more likely to come to you if there’s a problem or issue on the horizon, which means you can deal with it before it escalates. For another, they’re on the front lines each day – managing customer relationships and getting orders out the door – and can therefore offer you some valuable insight into what works and doesn’t work. Finally, with innovation being key to the success of any company, having an environment where people often speak up means there will a better flow of opinions and ideas.

So how can you get your people to be more candid with you?

With these tips:

  • Ask for ideas and thoughts before offering your own. In meetings and one-on-ones, ask your people to give their opinions, ideas and thoughts on a topic before you offer your own. Oftentimes, when you’re the first to speak up, employees will just fall in line with what you say. But by speaking last, you have a better chance at getting more honest opinions.
  • Be open to dissenting viewpoints. You’re not going to keep the dialogue and ideas flowing if you shut down employees with dissenting views. Your people will get the message. Instead, thank employees who offer opinions that differ from your own, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Encourage people to share their opinions. Sometimes, it takes more than asking for an opinion to get one. You’ll have to draw staff members out in order to find out what’s really on their mind. You can do that by asking questions that are more specific. For instance, rather than just saying “what do you think?,” ask “what were your thoughts on how that last projected ended and the customer’s reaction to it?”
  • Don’t act like you have all the answers. When you are generally curious, ask questions and really listen to every employee, you’ll go a long way in creating a more open culture at your company. If you, however, you act like you know everything and have all the right answers, your people will simply shut down and avoid being honest with you.

Need more help with other management communication issues?

Read this post on 5 Ways to Improve Leadership Communication. Or, if you’d like staffing help, simply contact us. 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.

How to Deal When You Have to Fire Someone

August 1st, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that firing an employee is not an enviable task. Even if they have poor performance and don’t make any effort to change, it can still be awkward and uncomfortable. You may even have feelings of guilt afterward. However, if someone isn’t contributing – and is actually harming team morale and productivity – it’s time to cut the cord. Here’s how to do it:

Document the situation.

Before you make a move, make sure you document everything. This includes the performance improvement plan, warnings that were given and when, and any emails between you and the employee. Even if you had past meetings face-to-face, it’s important to document when they happened and what was communicated.

Create a plan.

Once the decision has been made to terminate an employee, it’s important to have a plan in place beforehand. For instance, you need to make a list of all the company property they have access to and make sure their passwords are de-activated and security badge turned in. Likewise, you want to ensure you have an employee or multiple employees in place to handle the increased workload until a replacement is found.

Act quickly.

Firing someone is uncomfortable. But don’t put it off because you don’t want to deal with it, or in the hopes that their performance will turn around. The longer you wait, the more time the person will have to continue dragging the whole team down.

Get to the point.

When it comes time to terminate an employee, don’t sit around, making small talk. Instead, get right to the point and be straightforward. Let them know you’ve got some bad news for them and then tell them they’re being let go. Be clear about the reason and avoid making any justifications about the situation.

Go over the essentials.

Once the news has been delivered, your employee is likely in shock. But it’s still important that you go over the essentials – including final pay and termination of benefits, unemployment, unused vacation time and how co-workers will be told about the situation.

Be respectful and gracious.

While you should aim to keep the emotion out of the equation, it’s important to be gracious and respectful during the process. Even if the termination stems from poor performance they weren’t willing to correct, it’s still a devastating experience for the employee. Be sensitive and keep that in mind during the conversation.

If you need more advice on staffing and recruiting for your team, contact the experts at Provisional.

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we can help you quickly source, screen, and hire temporary talent for a variety of positions. Just give us a call today to learn more.

How to Avoid Hiring a Candidate with an Attendance Problem

July 18th, 2017

When it comes to your employees, the most skilled and talented individual just won’t cut it if they don’t show up consistently, or if they regularly call in sick to work. As one of the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows the trick is to avoid hiring someone like that in the first place. So how can you spot a potential problem employee – who has issues with attendance – before you extend an offer? By asking these questions:

If I called your last boss, what would they say about your attendance record?

You don’t want to put a candidate on the spot. At the same time, you need employees who will be able to show up on time, when you need them. So asking this question will give you a good indication of what the candidate’s attendance has been like in past positions. If they pause and stutter, it’s a sign you have someone who could end up being unreliable.

Our attendance policy is X. Would you have any problem meeting that?

Another way to assess a candidate is by discussing your attendance policy. Not only will their answer to this question be a good indication of what to expect if you hire them, but also their body language too when you’re talking about the company attendance policy. If they’re listening attentively, it’s a good sign. However, if they start to squirm or avoid eye contact, it could signal a level of discomfort with your attendance policy.

In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers a few other questions that you can legally ask to address the issue of attendance, including:

  • How many Mondays or Fridays were you absent last year on leave other than vacation?
  • How many days were you absent from work last year other than vacation?
  • Did you violate any previous employer’s attendance requirements?
  • Have you ever been disciplined or counseled at any previous job in the last x years for violating attendance requirements?

Beyond asking the questions above, another sure-fire way to check on attendance is to call references. That way, you can be sure the candidate you’re considering hiring didn’t have an attendance problem in a past position.

Ready for professional help recruiting and hiring talented and dependable employees?

Call the team 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.

Job Offers 101: When a Candidate Counters on Salary

July 4th, 2017

You’ve been recruiting, screening and interviewing for months. You find what you think is your ideal candidate. You make the offer fully expecting an acceptance. But then the candidate counters back with a higher salary. What do you do?

Whether you move onto another candidate or counter back is your decision. However, as one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Provisional knows before you make a decision either way, it’s important to think through the following.

Your boundaries.

In other words, how much higher are you willing to go? If what you offered the candidate is truly all your budget allots for, then it may be best to move on. You don’t want to get into a financial crunch just to hire a new employee. On the other hand, if you have some wiggle room, think about just how much there is. Before you take a seat at the negotiating table, it’s important to know your limits so you don’t go beyond them.

Your flexibility.

You can’t offer more money. It’s just not in the budget. But you really want to hire a particular candidate. Do you still have to walk away? Not necessarily. Some candidates will be willing to negotiate additional perks instead of a higher salary. So think about how you can enhance your compensation package. Can you offer better benefits, more vacation time, or extra telecommuting days?

Your competitive advantage.

When you’re negotiating with candidates, it’s important they understand more than just the base salary – but also all the advantages of working for your company. For instance, if you offers 5% raises each year, plus pay for continuing education, then it’s important to make sure your candidate knows about and fully understands the financial value of these perks.

In addition to tangible benefits, communicate the intangibles, as well. If you offers an award-winning mentoring program or always promote from within, it’s important you convey these details to candidates.

If, however, a candidate continues to counter with a higher salary than you can afford, you have to know when to walk away. Hiring comes with risks and even if a candidate seems perfect, you never truly know what you’re getting until they start the job. So don’t blow your budget when you could hire a talented second choice for an amount you’re more comfortable with.

Are you struggling with hiring top candidates for your company? Don’t have the time in your day to recruit and screen?

Let Provisional do the work for you. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, we can help you fill a wide variety of positions, including temporary, full-time and contract, in a range of fields. From start to finish, we have you covered, so you get the people you need, without all the hassle of hiring. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Team-Building This Summer? Here’s How to Get the Most From It

June 20th, 2017

Without a strong team in place, you can’t build a successful business. That’s why team-building is so important. And if you’re like many companies, you’re planning team-building activities and events over the summer. How can you get the most from them? With these tips:

Plan an event that’s interesting to employees.

Do your employees generally like the outdoors and to be active? Or are they more indoor people? Whatever the case for you, plan an event that matches their interests. If you force them to do something you know they won’t like, or can’t participate in due to an illness or disability, then it defeats the entire purpose. While you can’t make everyone happy, you can take into account what the majority of your team would want to do for a team-building event.

Set goals.

Whatever activity you do choose, have defined goals in place for what you hope to get out of it. Whether you’re celebrating a big company milestone, integrating new employees onto the team, or overcoming workplace conflict, it’s important to have clear objectives in place. That said, don’t have too many. It’s best to have one or two and then plan the event around those.

Avoid awkward situations.

You want employees to step outside their comfort zone. However, don’t force them to do things that make them uncomfortable or feel awkward. If you do, they’ll simply dis-engage from the entire team-building experience. So if you’re thinking about having everyone do something like share their biggest career fear, skip it. Instead, plan on opportunities to interact with one another that are both focused and fun.

Talk about lessons learned.

When it comes to team-building, the best events are meaningful with a lasting impact. At the very end of the event, or right after, talk about the lessons everyone learned and how you can all leverage them in practical ways on a daily basis at work.

Don’t expect overnight results.

Team-building is a function that should be happening year-round. While it’s fun to plan dedicated events, don’t expect huge results from just one. Rather, when you regularly host team-building activities and also promote and encourage collaboration throughout the rest of the year, then you’re going to see the kinds of results that can really impact your bottom line in a positive way. Not only that, but making it a part of a larger, long-term strategy sends the message that team-building is a company priority.

Do you need more help building a strong team for your company?

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.

5 Quick Tips for Managing Seasonal Employees

June 6th, 2017

Summer is nearly here – and so is an increase in demand. For many business owners and managers, it’s also crunch time for finding and hiring seasonal employees. But once they’re on board, the work isn’t over. In fact, it’s just beginning.

As one of the Northwest’s leaders in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows that while seasonal employees are a great way to meet an uptick in demand, keep your customers satisfied, and grow your business, it’s still vitally important that you manage them properly. If you don’t, they could actually wind up harming your business and your reputation.

With that in mind, here are 5 quick tips for managing seasonal employees this summer:

Tip #1: Hire right.

If you want the best people, you need to have a properly structured hiring process. That means posting a clear and detailed job description, conducting thorough interviews with behavior-based questions, and checking references. Also, during the hiring process, make sure you’re clear about expectations. This includes the nature of the work, hours, dress code, and start and end dates for the position. If a candidate is truly looking for a full-time job, it’s important to set clear expectations from the start.

Tip #2: Treat workers well.

It’s important for morale that you treat seasonal employees like you would any full-time employee. Just because they’re only working for you for a few months doesn’t mean you schedule them for shifts or duties that no one else wants, not invite them to company or team events, or avoid praise and recognition. That’s a recipe for an unsuccessful relationship. Not only that, but clearly drawing a line between full-time employees and seasonal ones will make it harder for all your workers to bond and build camaraderie.

Tip #3: Don’t skip training.

It doesn’t make sense for a seasonal worker to go through the same six-week training period you put new full-time hires through. However, you can offer an abridged version. When you do, you can ensure they get up and running faster and also know how to deal with any challenges that come their way. This is especially important when you consider summer is often the busy season, which means added stress for employees, whether temporary or full-time. You don’t want workers who are poorly trained or don’t understand what they’re doing to hinder your team.

Tip #4: Know the law.

When it comes to hiring seasonal employees, it’s important to know and adhere to the law on issues from ranging from minimum wage to overtime pay. It’s also important to have all the proper state and federal paperwork filled out and if a worker is under 18, to know age-specific guidelines for employment.

Tip #5: Confront conflict immediately.

If there’s a problem with your seasonal worker, confront it immediately. Don’t hope it will work itself out. Instead, pull them aside and ask about any issues or challenges they’re facing. If you can, create a buddy system where they’re paired with a more experienced employee. Help them to feel comfortable and confident coming to you with issues and concerns. That way, you can head off minor problems before they escalate into major ones.

Hiring seasonal employees can be tricky. But with proper planning and preparation – along with following the tips above – you can get the team you need to handle your busy summer season.

Need help filling seasonal roles for your company? Call in the experts at Provisional.

Since 1994, we’ve been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing skilled temporary and temp-to-hire workers with companies in Seattle, Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. We can help you with every aspect of hiring, from sourcing and screening to interviewing and reference checks.

Contact us today. We’re ready to help you find the people you need.

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