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Provisional Blog

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.

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.

Reputation.

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.

Flexibility.

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.

Culture.

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.

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.

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.

5 Time Management Goals for 2018

December 26th, 2017

Stretched thin in 2017? Ready for a better way in 2018? As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that one of the keys to a more productive year ahead is effective time management. To help you get off on the best foot possible in 2018, here are a few tips for better managing your time:

Tip #1: Assess how you use your time.

Similar to how you’d assess your spending habits to create a budget, assess how you spend your time to create a good time management plan. Over the course of a week or two, keep track of your time by writing down your activities and how long you spent doing them. You’ll then be able to see the activities that are taking up the most time, as well as where you’re wasting it.

Tip #2: Use a good time management approach.

In terms of managing your time, what’s the best approach? It’s often the simple task of prioritizing your “to do” list. That means splitting up your tasks into urgent, important and non-essential. This will help you gain a better sense of what needs to get done each day, week and month.

Tip #3: Set goals.

Goal setting is vitally important when it comes to time management. Not only should you be setting big picture ones, but daily and weekly goals as well. These will help to focus your day so you can get more done. It will also help you to set clearer boundaries, so you don’t take on more than what you can effectively handle at any one time.

Tip #4: Don’t procrastinate.

If you have tasks or projects you don’t want to work on, your best bet isn’t to avoid them. It’s to tackle them first thing in the morning. That way, you can focus your time and energy on other priorities the rest of the day without feeling distracted. Not only that, but this approach will give your day more momentum so you can get more done during it.

Tip #5: Practice good habits.

Good habits not only help you to be more productive during the day, but they crowd out the negative habits. So focus on developing good daily practices when it comes to both your work and personal life. For instance, get up a few minutes early each day so you can check your email and prioritize your work day. That way, once you get to work, you can hit the ground running and don’t have to waste time with email or listing making. You already know what needs to get done for the day.

These are just a few different tips for helping you to better use your time wisely in 2018. If, however, you’re stretched thin due to a skill or manpower gap on your team, let the experts at Provisional help. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can source, recruit, screen, interview, skill test, reference check – and more – all so you can hire better people and get more time in your day. Just give us a call today to learn more.

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