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Provisional Blog

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.

4 Interview Essentials for Employers

May 23rd, 2017

Whether you’ve been hiring for years, or are interviewing your first candidate, the secret to success in an interview is asking the right questions. Ask great ones and you can expect to get behind the candidate mask and find the information you need to make a smart hiring decision. To help you in the process, here are a few tips to keep in mind during the process:

Identify a framework.

What are you hoping to learn from the interview? What key areas are most important? How will you evaluate skills? What about personality and cultural fit? Once you know what you’re trying to get out of the interview, you can plan for the types of questions that you should be asking during it.

Develop a list of questions.

The final questions you do ask are up to you. But some key ones to consider include:

  • Tell me about yourself. This is a good ice breaker. It can also give you some insight into what’s important to the candidate by what they talk about first.
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of? This will demonstrate their proven track record, but also give you an indicator of whether or not the candidate is a collaborator, problem solver, and focused on high quality.
  • What interests you most about working for us? Asking this question helps you evaluate how much research the candidate has done. It also can serve as a warning sign if it becomes clear they know little or nothing about your company.

Set the tone.

Be engaged, positive and curious during the interview process. Don’t answer your phone or check your email while you’re talking to candidate. Your attitude toward them will set the tone for the entire hiring process. And if they have a good experience with you, they’ll be far more likely to open up.

Listen to the questions they ask.

Don’t focus entirely on your questions. Make sure you listen carefully to the questions they ask too. This is important because it a) demonstrates their preparedness (or lack of); b) gives you some insight into what’s important to them based on the types of questions they’re asking; and c) showcases their level of insight and knowledge about your company and the industry.

Don’t have the time or resources for hiring and interviewing?

Leave it to 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.

5 Interview Questions to Help You Uncover the Real Candidate

May 9th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that during the interview process, you want to really get to know each candidate so you can make the best hiring decision. But that can be tough when candidates are so well prepared and practiced. In fact, candidates know you’re going to be asking questions, such as “why do you want the job?” and “what are your biggest strengths?” And, chances are, they’ve rehearsed their answers.

So how can you get behind the candidate mask and uncover the real person?

You need to go beyond the typical interview questions so that candidates have to think on their feet. That way, you’ll be able to better gauge whether they’re the right fit for you. Here are 5 questions to ask:

1. How did you end up as a [fill in their job title here]?

Asking this question serves a few purposes. First, it’s a good ice-breaker. It also gives you some insight into what motivates a candidate. In addition, it can reveal essential details about their strengths and weaknesses.

2. What’s your most significant career accomplishment?

This question forces a candidate to get outside of vague puffery and instead dig into details that can help you assess their fit. Asking a question like this is also a good way to get a candidate to open up and learn more about their work habits and how they went about achieving success.

3. Tell me about a time in your career when things didn’t go as planned.

By asking this question, you’re not necessarily looking for a candidate to point out their mistakes or weaknesses. After all, we all have them. What you should be looking for is a measure of accountability and self-awareness. A smart candidate will not only tell you about a situation, but also what they learned from it.

4. How do you think this opportunity will fit in with your overall career aspirations?

This question helps you gain insight into how a candidate operates, what motivates them, and where they’re looking to go in the future. It will also help you to evaluate whether your company can offer the kinds of opportunities for growth they’re looking for. If you can’t and they end up accepting an offer, they could wind up frustrated and disengaged.

5. How do you like to be managed?

Asking this question will help you to assess whether or not a candidate will fit with the team and their potential manager. So, if you’re looking for an employee who’s an independent thinker and doesn’t need a lot of hand holding, then someone who requires a constant stream of feedback might not be the best match.

If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to hiring, turn to the experts at 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, screening and recruiting top candidates for your company.

Just give us a call today to learn more.

Hiring? Here’s How to Help New Employees Succeed

April 25th, 2017

Once you’ve made the hiring decision, the hard part’s over, right? Not true. As the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows the onboarding process – after an employee is hired – is just as important, impacting both engagement and retention.

In fact, according to a study by Aberdeen Group, 86% of respondents felt a new employee’s decision to remain with a company on a long-term basis was made in the first six months on the job. That means if new hires aren’t properly welcomed, trained and onboarded, you could start seeing a rise in turnover.

So how can you increase the odds of success among new hires? By following these tips:

Welcome your new hire.

This is the one of the most important – and easiest – ways to set the tone for positive engagement. If a new hire shows up on the job and their office isn’t set up, or no one greets them, it sends a negative message. But when you have a well-structured and welcoming process (including a tour, introductions around the office, taking them to lunch, etc.) in place for new hires, they’ll feel more comfortable and at ease with their decision to accept the job.

Train them.

If your new hire is expected to learn a new computer program, or piece of equipment, make sure you schedule ample time for training. Don’t take a sink or swim approach unless you want frustrated and disengaged employees. Plus, the better job you do at training them, the shorter the learning curve will be for them.

Define their goals.

Your new employee is ready to go on the first day. The trouble is, you haven’t thought through your tasks or expectations for them. But if new hires don’t have clearly defined goals from the start, they’re not going to stay engaged and motivated for very long. So before their start date, think through both short- and long-term objectives you have for them and be ready to talk about them during those first weeks and months on the job.

Clarify any uncertainty.

Beyond just defining goals, it’s important to make sure new hires are crystal clear about them. They might nod their heads and smile as you’re talking, but do they really get what you’re expecting from them? To ensure they do, ask questions about how they plan to go about achieving certain goals. You’ll quickly be able to tell whether or not they understand your expectations.

Communicate and give feedback.

Check in more regularly with a new employee than you would an existing staff member. Ask if they have any questions or need anything. Offer feedback and thoughts on their performance as they start turning work in. Praise a job well done and offer suggestions if an area needs improvement.

The bottom line? You’ve invested a lot of time and money into hiring the right people. Make sure you keep them in place with proper onboarding processes.

Don’t have the time or resources to successfully hire, train and onboard new people?

Turn to 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 professionals with companies in Seattle, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene.

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

Onboarding New Hires? Follow This Checklist

April 11th, 2017

How would you like to impress new employees and retain them longer? As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows you can when you onboard them properly. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, new employees who attended a well-structured onboarding orientation program were 69% more likely to remain at a company up to three years.

So what does a strong onboarding orientation program entail? Consider the following checklist:

  • Send out an email to your other employees before the new hire’s first day announcing they’re joining the company and their position. Encourage employees to welcome them in their first days and weeks on the job.
  • If your building has extensive security, make sure your new employee is able to gain access to park and enter the building.
  • Set up their desk before they arrive. That means making sure their computer is up and running and they have the right credentials to log into your system. It also means stocking their desk with some basic office supplies, as well as ensuring the phone is hooked up and working.
  • Don’t just wing it on a new hire’s first day. Have a schedule and a plan in place. While it can certainly be flexible if something comes up, it will give the day more structure and purpose. Make sure you include time for your new hire to fill out HR paperwork.
  • If needed, get business cards printed so they can be ready and waiting on your new employee’s first day.
  • Provide a tour of your building and also introduce your new hire around. Make sure they meet those they will be working directly with, as well as key players outside the department.
  • Schedule a welcome lunch with the department team so your new hire can get acquainted with new co-workers on a more personal basis.
  • Assign them with a buddy they can turn to for questions and advice during those early weeks on the job.
  • Spend some time with your new hire making sure they understand your expectations for the role and what success looks like in it.
  • Schedule new hire orientation and make sure your new employee gets a copy of the handbook. Also, review the company’s history and any important policies they need to be aware of.
  • Make sure to set up any training sessions if there is certain equipment or software programs your new hire needs to learn to use.
  • Check in on a regular basis to ensure your new team member is comfortable and understands what they’re doing. Encourage them to come to you with questions or concerns.

Sometimes a new hire doesn’t work out. But by taking the steps above, you can ensure your newest employee feels welcomed and engaged from the start – and is more likely to stay and make a positive contribution in the future.

Need more help recruiting and onboarding new employees?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we use a consultative approach to provide customized recruiting and training solutions to our clients. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Are Your Job Postings Hurting Your Ability to Hire?

March 28th, 2017

As a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho staffing agency, Provisional knows your job posting is the first impression a candidate has of your company. If it’s long-winded, complicated, or short on specifics, that’s all going to impact the quality and number of candidates who apply. So while your position might be rewarding – and your company dynamic – if your job posting sounds like a tax form, it’s time to regroup.

Instead, follow this formula for writing postings that enable you to attract higher caliber people:

Introduction and overview.

The first part of your job posting should set the scene for the candidate. It should give a quick overview of your company (i.e. a couple of sentences) and provide some basic details about the role you’re looking to fill. You might also want to talk about some of the personality traits that will make people successful in this position and at your company. Keep in mind, this is what candidates will read first – and it’s your goal here to convince them to continue reading.

Job details.

So what’s the job about? What are the daily and regular duties the position entails? If you’re not sure, then ask employees in similar positions to help you with this process. The clearer picture you’re able to paint about the job, the more likely it will attract the right kinds of candidates. That said, keep it short. You don’t need to list out every possible duty and responsibility here. Just the major ones.

Why a candidate should want to work for you.

This is the area where a lot of employers miss the mark in job postings. They only talk about what they need; not about what makes the opportunity special, unique or appealing to a candidate.

But hiring is a two-way street and you’ll attract higher quality candidates if you can articulate what sets your organization apart. For instance, are you the leading company in your industry? Do you offer room for growth and advancement? What are your core beliefs and vision – and why are they appealing to candidates? What’s the work environment and culture like?

The requirements.

The final piece of your job posting should be the requirements. Whether you require candidates to hold an MBA or have five years of experience under their belt is up to you. But this is where you outline the minimum requirements you’re looking for so candidates can assess whether they’re the right fit. Keep in mind, this isn’t a wish list; so focus mainly on the essentials.

Don’t have time to write job postings that attract top talent?

Leave it to the experts at 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 postings to sourcing, screening and recruiting top candidates for your company.

Just give us a call today to learn more.

6 Strategies for Overcoming Management Challenges

March 14th, 2017

Being a manager can be a challenge. From handling different personalities on your team to meeting project goals, you could use an extra few hours in your work day. As one of the Northwest’s leading recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows the good news is that there are a few strategies you can employ to make your job a little easier. Here’s a look at 6 of them:

#1: Keep an open mind.

As a manager, you’re the decision maker. But that doesn’t always mean you have the answer. That’s why it’s important to be open to looking at things differently. It’s also important to solicit the opinions of your employees. In fact, some of the best ideas will come from those working in the trenches, who are closest to your customers, processes and any challenges coming up ahead.

#2: Set a high, yet attainable bar.

It’s important to have high expectations for your team. However, whatever goals and expectations you do have need to be attainable. If they’re so ambitious that there’s no way your employees can meet them, then your team will eventually grow disengaged and mentally check out. However, when you set challenging, yet reachable goals, it’s easier to keep employees motivated and excited about the rewards and possibilities ahead.

#3: Have a clear focus.

One of the biggest obstacles for a team is when there’s lack of focus, whether it’s about a certain project or about individual job descriptions. Your employees need to be clear about what you expect from each of them individually, as well as together as a team. Specific objectives are also a valuable guide you can use throughout the year to evaluate and measure performance against.

#4: Set boundaries.

If you’re like most managers, you’re pulled in too many directions and stretched thin. But it’s up to you to set clear boundaries and to protect your schedule. You need to be focusing on optimal results and quality work, not on quantity. That’s why prioritization and delegation can be your best friends.

#5: Deal with conflict swiftly.

When it comes to the workplace, a small conflict can quickly get out of control. That’s why it’s important to deal with it quickly, as soon as it appears. It can be tempting to look the other way, or avoid uncomfortable conversations, but these can often escalate into something worse.

#6: Communicate clearly and regularly.

Communication is the foundation upon which good leadership is built. That’s why it’s important to provide plenty of feedback, both positive and negative. It’s also important to make yourself available to your staff and easily reachable for when they have issues, questions or concerns.

And if one of the management challenges you’re dealing with involves staffing, 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.

3 Tips for Vetting a Staffing Agency Partner

February 28th, 2017

You know you need help recruiting. But with so many Northwest staffing agencies out there to choose from, it can be hard to find the right one for you. And if you pick the wrong one, it can turn into an expensive hiring mistake. Instead, do your homework ahead of time so you can have full confidence in the decision you make. Here are some tips to help you:

Understand their process.

How does the recruiting firm identify candidates, source talent and use recruiting technology to hire? It’s important for you to know their process before making a decision. The staffing agency you do choose should have comprehensive methods in place for uncovering and recruiting talent in a timely manner. This should include recruiting passive candidates, as well utilizing their existing network of candidates. In addition, they should have clear steps in place for interviewing, skill testing and reference checking – all so you get the best few candidates to choose from.

Understand their services.

Do you have a need for executive hires? Are you looking for help with temporary placements? Do you have variety of needs across many different fields? It’s important that the staffing agency you do choose has the right recruitment services available to you. Not only that, but it’s also important that the staffing agency has a strong working knowledge of your industry and the market you work in. That way, they’ll know where to source the best candidates.

Understand their success rate.

You don’t have time for weak candidates and poor hires. You need a staffing agency that’s going to send you the top-notch professionals you need – where and when you need them. So just as if you were hiring a full-time employee, you need to carefully check the success rate of each staffing agency you’re considering partnering with. This includes asking for references, as well as about the percentage of their candidates who get hired and how much repeat business they have. You should also look online for reviews and testimonials.

Another final note: The staffing agency you do choose will be one that’s representing your company during the hiring process. Not only that, but they’ll also be privy to confidential details about your company. That’s why you should only partner with an agency that you truly trust and respect.

Interested in learning more about partnering with a reputable staffing agency?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading Northwest staffing agencies, we can handle all your recruiting and staffing challenges, so you can focus on running your business. Put us on your list! Contact Provisional today to learn more.

What to Ask When You’re Checking References

February 14th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows one of the biggest missteps employers make when hiring is skipping the reference checking process. But considering just a few phone calls can verify – or refute – what a candidate told you, it’s well worth it. In fact, consider this statistic: According to Monster, almost 60% of employers claim that they have had to withdraw an offer of employment after receiving poor references about successful applicants.

Clearly, reference checks are a must. That said, what do you ask when you’re making those reference checking phone calls? Here are 7 questions to put on your list:

Can you confirm for me the candidate’s job title, employment dates, and responsibilities?

This question is a basic essential. It confirms that a candidate did, in fact, work at the company during a certain time period and the information they provided about their role was accurate.

What was the candidate’s performance like on the job?

A candidate may have told you they were a top performer. And that might be true. But you need to confirm these kinds of claims with the person who actually managed them. Not only that, asking this question gives you a sense of how they’ll perform in your job if hired.

Can you tell me about the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses?

Asking this question will give you some insight as to what you can expect if you hire the person for the job. It will also provide you with an indication as to how forthright a candidate was during the interview process when they talked about their own strengths and weaknesses.

What was the candidate like to work with?

Once you’ve asked about responsibilities, as well as skills and weaknesses, it’s important to also get a sense of the candidate’s personality. Asking this question will help you do that. You want to make sure you’re hiring someone who will mesh well with your culture. So if you find out they weren’t a team player, didn’t take feedback well, and a had a hard time getting along with co-workers, it’s certainly a red flag to take into account.

Why did the candidate leave?

When asking this question, you want to ensure the information the candidate told you aligns with what the reference says. In addition, asking this question can give you some insight into how long they might stay at your company, if hired, and what issues could provoke them to leave.

Would you hire them back if you could?

If there’s only one question you ask, this is the one. And if there’s any kind of pause or hesitation here, it’s an indication that the reference has some reservations. It may simply be due to conflicting personalities. So don’t put all your stock into this answer. However, if the reference does hesitate, ask why.

Is there anything else I should know about this candidate?

This is a good last question to ask to ensure you’ve covered your bases. It gives the reference a chance to offer any final input or details about the candidate you’re considering hiring.

You need to hire, but don’t have time to source, screen, and reference check candidates. 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.

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