May 14th, 2013
As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows when it comes to hiring, you need to use every nugget of information you can in order to assess, evaluate, analyze – and ultimately make a smart hiring decision.
One often-overlooked piece is the thank you letter you get from a candidate after an interview. It’s easy to simply glance at it and toss it aside. Instead, view it as just another clue as to whether the job candidate is a good fit for you.
To help you, here are some things to watch for:
Look for a Letter
The candidate sent you a thank you letter. That’s a step in the right direction. Not all candidates do; so it’s important to note. It means that the candidate really cares about getting the position and will go the extra mile to make a positive impression.
While receiving a letter from one person shouldn’t necessarily result in you cutting another who didn’t send one, it serves as just another piece of the puzzle that slowly reveals the true candidate.
Look for Good Communication Skills
The letter should be well written. Just as is true for a cover letter and resume, it should also be error free. In addition, while cover letters and resumes are more formal, a thank you letter may give you an opportunity to see past the formalities and into the personality of the candidate.
Look for Enthusiasm
If the thank you letter sounds like a form letter from the Internet, then it probably is. The candidate is simply going through the motions of hiring process protocol. However, if a candidate’s enthusiasm for the job and for your company comes across loud and clear in the letter, then it could be the one distinguishing factor that makes them stand apart from other candidates…and makes your decision easier.
Look for the Right Focus
The letter should focus on you. In other words, it should either underscore or bring up how the candidate can help you. When reading a thank you letter, evaluate whether it seems like the candidate clearly understands what it is you need; the challenges your company is facing; and the unique value they could bring to the table. Even if it’s the best written letter in the world, if the candidate is unclear about your needs or about the position, then they’re not the right fit.
Don’t Have Time to Review Thank You Letters?
…or resumes, or to conduct interviews and testing? If you don’t, then give Provisional a call. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington – with more than 20 years of experience – we can help you recruit and screen high quality candidates, all so you gain access to today’s best talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
May 7th, 2013
As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, Provisional can tell you that the world of online recruiting is changing. Gone are the days of simply posting a position on a job board and waiting for a stream of candidates to apply. Today’s hiring managers need to be proactive – and one tool for doing that is LinkedIn. To help you, here are 8 tips for recruiting on LinkedIn:
Tip #1: Build Your Network
Don’t wait until you need to hire in order to start building your professional network of contacts. Instead, reach out and connect with people in your industry – and beyond – beforehand. Strong relationships with a variety of contacts will serve as a great source of referrals for you.
Tip #2: Use Keywords to Source Candidates
Looking for someone with a specific skill set? Use that skill as a keyword when searching for candidates. If they’re a smart candidate, they will have included it in their profile and will come up in your search. Once you’ve identified a candidate, send them an InMail and ask for an opportunity to connect.
Tip #3: Make Sure Your Company Profile Uses Keywords
Make it easy for top job prospects to find your company. To do so, you need to make sure you include the right keywords in your company’s profile, as well.
Tip #4: Source Candidates By Employer
Use your competition as a source for future employees. If there are companies that have people with the kinds of skills and experience you need, then use the company name as a keyword. Both past and current employees will come up in your search (assuming they have the company listed in the work experience section of their profile).
Tip #5: Search Recommendations
Have people within your network you’d trust for a recommendation? Then take a look at the people they have recommended in the past and why. This can serve as another source for referrals.
Tip #6: Put Employees to Work
Ask your team to reach out to their LinkedIn network of professional contacts and advertise the job opening you have.
Tip #7: Get Active
Join industry groups on LinkedIn that candidates you’d be interested in hiring are members of. Raise your profile by posting and answering questions and being an active and engaged member of the group community.
Tip #8: Post Jobs
You can also post jobs on LinkedIn, although you have to pay to do so. But it may certainly be worth it considering that many of today’s candidates use social media – including sites like LinkedIn – when searching for new jobs. Be sure to include relevant keywords in your job posting.
Need More Help Hiring Using Social Media?
If you do, let Provisional know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington – with more than 20 years of experience – we use both traditional and high tech tools to recruit today’s very best talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
April 9th, 2013
You may think you’re a great company to work for; but you keep getting turned down by top pick candidates. What gives?
Without knowing it, you may be sending out “bad employer” signs. Or there could be a serious mis-match between what your company is offering and the caliber of candidate you’re pursuing. Whatever the case, the candidates you want simply don’t want you.
Here are some reasons candidates don’t want to work for you…and what you can do about them:
Reason #1: A values mismatch.
As one of the leading staffing firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that if you’re pursuing strong leaders and yet don’t offer room for growth and advancement at your company, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Either you’ll have a hard time hiring someone with potential, or the person you do hire will only stay long enough for the job to serve as a steppingstone for them. When you’re hiring, you need to ensure your offerings are aligned with the kind of person you need to bring on board.
Reason #2: Below average compensation.
If you’re offering less than market value for salary, then you’d better well be offering something more in the way of perks. No matter how great your job offer seems, if it’s well below what a top candidate is worth, they’ll run, not walk the other way.
Reason #3: A convoluted application process.
With today’s technology, applying for a job online shouldn’t be that hard. Unfortunately, though, it is for many candidates thanks to a convoluted and clunky application process. The last thing you want is a high quality candidate dropping out of the process because your application system kept timing out. So invest the time and resources you need to make it easy.
Reason #4: Not keeping your word.
Did you tell a candidate you’d follow up with them either way by the end of the week and then dropped the ball? You might think these kinds of things aren’t a big deal…but they are to a job candidate. So do what you say you’re going to do.
Reason #5: Showing a lack of respect for the candidate.
A hiring manager would never show up late and unprepared to a meeting with a customer; or worse, cancel at the last minute. However, that’s exactly how many candidates are treated. To make things worse, there are usually no apologies offered. But the message that’s being sent is that the hiring manager’s time is more important than the candidate’s. As a result, most candidates will wonder if this kind of treatment is a sign of what’s to come should they get hired.
Are You Having Trouble Finding Good Candidates for Your Job Openings?
If you are, give Provisional a call. As one of the leading staffing firms in Spokane, Washington, we can handle the hiring process for you from start to finish – from sourcing candidates to interviewing and testing to checking references – all so you get one great hire. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
April 2nd, 2013
Checking references can be hard and time-consuming. However, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that when you consider the negatives of hiring the wrong person, it’s certainly worth the effort.
Think about it this way. If you’re deciding between five candidates and get stellar remarks from reference sources for three, but vague or negative comments about the other two, your decision just got a whole lot easier.
And in fact, according to a CareerBuilder survey:
“69% of employers said that they have changed their minds about a candidate after consulting a reference, 47% have a less positive view of the candidate and 23% had a more positive view of the candidate; with just 31% saying the references didn’t make any difference.”
While going through the reference checking process isn’t always going to yield conclusive results, it’s pretty clear that it’s still well worth the effort. To help you in your quest to check references and hire the right candidate, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Get Specific With Your Questions.
When it comes to getting a good reference, it can be difficult thanks to legal and HR departments not allowing managers to offer more than basic information. But sometimes, if you ask the right question, you can get the insight you need into who a candidate really is. For instance, ask questions like “would you hire this person back?” If there’s a long pause, that could be an indication that the candidate didn’t leave on the best terms.
Also, be as specific as possible. Rather than asking about strengths and weaknesses in general terms, ask something like “I believe this candidate is overstating his experience with ABC software. He said he’s worked with it for the past five years at your company. Is that true?”
If an employee was truly extraordinary, then it will be hard for the reference source not to speak positively about them and the work they did. However, be wary of overly enthusiastic references that aren’t also able to offer specific examples to support their praise.
Don’t Forget the Basics.
While asking specific questions about each candidate’s skill set and experience is certainly the most effective way to get the information you want, don’t forget to ask about the basics – job titles, years with the company, and duties and responsibilities. Some candidates will exaggerate these essentials, leading you to wonder what else they’re not being truthful about.
Ready to Outsource the Reference Checking Process?
Or the whole hiring process for the matter? If you are, let Provisional know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, we can handle the hiring process for you from start to finish – from sourcing candidates to interviewing and testing to checking references – all so you get one great hire. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
March 12th, 2013
Inefficiency in the workplace can have a negative impact on your company’s bottom line. And, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that one of the biggest time wasters in the office can be the meeting. That’s not to say meetings aren’t necessary; but they tend to eat up time and interrupt workflow without producing positive results.
So how can you make your meetings more efficient and productive? Start by avoiding these common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Meeting because it’s Monday.
It’s Monday morning! That means it’s time to spend the first two hours of your day in a meeting! What a way to start the week.
Practical tip: Unless there’s a specific and ongoing project that requires regular, weekly meetings, skip the Monday “meet just to meet” meeting.
Mistake #2: Meeting without a purpose.
Before you meet, you should know why you’re meeting and what you’re trying to accomplish during the meeting.
Practical tip: Create a meeting agenda for each meeting. Not only will it help you stay focused on the key topic during the meeting, but it will also ensure you don’t forget to discuss any important points.
Mistake #3: Walking away without a plan of action.
The end goal of your meeting should always be to walk away with actionable next steps for each person involved. So if you’re leaving a meeting without these steps ironed out, then you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Practical tip: At the end of each meeting, go around the table and review the responsibilities each person is expected to handle. Not only does this ensure everyone’s on the same page, but it also gives your team a sense of accountability.
Mistake #4: Scheduling two-hour meetings.
Face it. People don’t have the attention span to make two-hour meetings an efficient use of time. You’re going to lose their focus in less than an hour.
Practical tip: Set a start and end time for every meeting. Not only will it keep your meetings running efficiently, but when participants know when the meeting will end, they will better be able to plan the rest of their day.
Mistake #5: Requiring non-essential people to attend.
It’s one thing if you ask a new hire, whom you want to educate about the inner workings of the company, to attend a meeting they don’t need to participate in. However, for other employees, it’s simply a waste of time.
Practical Tip: Require only people who can contribute and will benefit in some way from the meeting to attend. When it comes to meetings, the smaller the better.
Looking to Hire Qualified Employees Who Can Contribute to Your Team?
If you are, Provisional can help. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve been placing top professionals in temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire positions for over 20 years. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help meet your staffing needs.
March 5th, 2013
If you’re like most hiring managers, when evaluating a job candidate, you look at hard skills. In other words, specific and teachable skills that can be measured.
But what about soft skills?
You know, those skills that enhance a person’s job performance – like a strong work ethic, a good attitude, and an aptitude for organization – but are much harder to see, evaluate and measure. If you’re not analyzing these because it’s simply too hard, then you’re missing out on an important opportunity to find the best candidate for your job opening.
The good news, though, is that you can test for these skills; you just have to know what you’re looking for, use the right techniques, and ask smart questions. Here are some tips to help you:
#1: Communication skills.
As one of the leading staffing firms in the Northwest, Provisional knows that most jobs, across the board, require strong communication skills. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate them.
When it comes to written skills, use each candidate’s cover letter and resume as your guide. Were the documents well written? Were they error free? Was the candidate articulate in explaining why they’d be a good fit for the position?
For verbal skills, simply ask candidates questions beyond the “yes” and “no” that encourage a more detailed explanation. For instance, “Tell me about your most challenging project,” “Tell me about a time you made a mistake on the job,” or “Tell me about your biggest professional accomplishment.”
#2: Interpersonal skills.
If you ask a candidate “Are you a people person?,” or “Do you like working with people?,” most candidates will respond in the affirmative, regardless of the truth. That’s why you need to dig a little deeper and ask questions that will help you uncover a candidate’s true nature; for instance “How would your co-workers describe you?” or “What was your relationship like with your last boss?”
Clearly, integrity is an important personality attribute for any candidate you want to hire, whether entry level or executive. To evaluate a candidate’s level of integrity, ask questions like “What would you do if someone asked you to do something unethical on the job?” or “Are there any types of business situations in which you think honesty would be inappropriate?”
Conducting personality tests, also known as behavioral assessments or predictive tests, are a good way to measure whether a candidate will be a fit for the job and for the company’s culture. The results of these tests can help you tell whether a particular candidate is easy to manage, driven, a team player, and good at building relationships.
Need More Help Evaluating Soft Skills?
If you do, let Provisional know. As one of the leading staffing firms in the Northwest, we partner with several strategic companies to offer a full range of employment screening solutions to ensure the highest quality employees. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make smart hiring decisions.
February 12th, 2013
For you, bringing a temporary on board is no big deal. You need to supplement your core staff for a period of time in order to ensure your business runs smoothly.
As one of the leading temporary staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that for the temporary employee, though, a new assignment is akin to a new job; it’s a little scary and stressful.
So what can you do to ensure you get the most use out of them – and get the most return for your temporary staffing investment? You have to take some steps to help them hit the ground running. Here’s how:
Step #1. Streamline Paperwork.
Don’t waste your temporary employee’s first day with paperwork. Instead, have them fill out necessary forms ahead of time or online so that when they arrive at your company, they’re ready to get to work.
Step #2. Give Your Staff a Heads Up.
You know that using temporary employees offers your company a host of benefits; your employees, however, may see them as a threat. So before bringing temporary employees on board, prepare your staff ahead of time. Explain why you’re using temporary employees and the value they bring to the table.
Step #3. Communicate Clearly & Regularly.
Give your temporary employees a play-by-play description of what they’re supposed to do and how you will measure their performance. Make sure they know where to direct questions and concerns. And check-in with them on a regular basis to see how things are going. The more effort you put into communicating with your temporary employees, the better the results will be.
Step #4. Require Orientation for Temporary Employees.
You may think that orientation for temporary employees is a waste of time. But you may want to think again. Even though they’re not permanent, full-time employees, they still need to know about your safety regulations, expected conduct, workplace policies, and other important rules and regulations.
Step #5. Offer Training & Support.
If a temporary employee is working with a software program or piece of equipment they’re not familiar with, make sure they’re properly trained before they start their assignment. By taking the time to ensure temporary workers know what they’re doing, you’ll minimize errors and maximize productivity.
Interested in Bringing Temporary Employees on Board?
If you are, give Provisional a call. As one of the leading temporary staffing agencies in Spokane, Washington, our temporary staffing services can give you fast access to skilled and dependable people, helping you get more done – all without increasing your overhead. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
February 5th, 2013
Having trouble finding job candidates for your next management opening? If you are, you’re not alone.
As one of the leading staffing firms in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that more and more companies are finding that their talent pool for management positions is dwindling.
Considering that management positions were once sought after, what gives? Are employees just not that ambitious anymore? Or are companies to blame for this mass exodus off the promotion track?
Here are a few reasons why good managers are so hard to find:
1. Lack of Work Life Balance.
Technology is a double-edged sword. It enables employees to stay connected and do their work from pretty much anywhere in the world. At the same time, it also makes it harder for managers to disconnect. In many companies, they’re expected to be available day or night to respond to issues. And, as a result, their work life balance suffers greatly.
2. A “Sink or Swim” Attitude.
In many companies, there are no training programs to teach managers how to do their jobs. As a result, managers are expected to learn on the job and either sink or swim. But for many, it’s their first time managing people. So this lack of leadership training can keep them from feeling successful; in fact, it can leave them drained and uncertain as to whether they’re meeting expectations.
What’s more is that even when companies do offer training to new managers, it’s typically a generic approach. And managing a creative team takes a different approach than managing a team of customer service representatives.
3. Unpopular Decisions.
In our Facebook obsessed culture, being liked is critically important to many people. But, as a manager, you have to make unpopular decisions sometimes; you have to give constructive feedback that isn’t well received; or, worst case scenario, you have to actually fire someone. And having to make these kinds of decisions can certainly deter people from striving for a promotion. Not everyone is comfortable in that kind of a role.
That said, finding great managers isn’t impossible. You just have to know where to look – which is where Provisional comes in. As one of the leading staffing firms in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we have extensive experience in recruiting top candidates for management positions. And we can work with you to source, screen, and hire candidates with the proven leadership abilities you need. Contact Provisional today to learn more.
January 8th, 2013
Diversity. It’s a workplace buzzword these days.
But what does it really mean – and how can it benefit your company?
First, workplace diversity means developing an environment that respects and includes people of varying backgrounds (including different races, genders, ages, and ethnicities). It also means recognizing the unique contributions different individuals can make and creating a workplace that maximizes the potential of all employees.
As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional can tell you that workplace diversity can offer a host of benefits to employers, including:
- Bringing workers together from diverse backgrounds and with different qualifications and experiences can actually improve your company’s creativity, innovation, and problem solving ability.
- Having individuals from many backgrounds can help companies more effectively market to consumers, expanding their market share in the process.
- By recruiting from a diverse talent pool, companies are better able to hire the best and brightest candidates, enhancing their competitive edge.
So how can you go about creating a diverse workplace at your company in 2013? Here are some tips to help you:
Tip #1: Be Culturally Sensitive in Job Postings.
When writing job descriptions, emphasize details and benefits that will be especially attractive to a more diverse candidate pool, such as on-site daycare, flexible schedules, or accommodations for religious holidays. Take into account different cultures – and what’s important to them – when communicating why they’d want to work for your company.
Tip #2: Widen Your Recruiting Efforts.
Connect with local organizations, such as cultural agencies, colleges, churches, and non-profits to source minority job candidates. Use online recruiting tools to advertise your openings to the broadest base. Ask your existing staff members for referrals to their peers. Advertise jobs in publications that appeal to a diverse audience.
Tip #3: Standardize Your Hiring Process.
Develop a standardized process in which to evaluate candidates so that you avoid discrimination in the hiring process. By standardizing the process, you’re putting to use the same criteria to evaluate all candidates, reducing the chance for personal biases to cloud the process.
Also, create an anti-discrimination policy when it comes to hiring, promotion, and other HR and staffing practices. Be sure to include it in your employee handbook.
Tip #4: Get Your Existing Staff to Buy-In.
Train your existing staff and managers about the benefits of a diverse workplace. Let them know that final hiring decisions are based on the most qualified person for the job, not on hiring quotas.
Need Help Hiring a Diverse Workforce?
Give Provisional a call. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Spokane, WA, we know where to look to source today’s top talent from diverse backgrounds. Contact us today to learn more.
January 1st, 2013
Despite a still struggling economy, there’s plenty of top talent out there looking for new jobs in 2013. So how are you going to find and hire them for your open positions?
As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways is through an employee referral program. But if you don’t have such a program in place, how can you go about implementing one?
Here are some questions to consider:
What’s the incentive?
In other words, how are you going to get employees to offer up referrals? While some will certainly do so out of loyalty to the company, your program will be a lot more successful with the right incentives in place. So whether it’s a monetary reward, an extra vacation day, a gift certificate, or something else entirely, determine what you’re willing to offer in order to incentivize employees to refer candidates to you.
What are the guidelines for the incentive?
Once they hear about the referral program, an employee may offer up a dozen potential recruits. But in order for you to get the most bang for your buck, you need to ensure you actually hire one of them.
So devise some rules for the incentives; for instance, does the new hire need to work at the company for 90 days before you’re willing to pay out to the employee who referred them? Or should you pay half the referral fee upon hire and the other half after six months on the job?
How should employees refer candidates?
Develop a referral method that makes it easy for employees to refer candidates. In addition, be sure to include a step in the application process for a candidate to tell you who referred them.
How will you promote the program?
You have a brand new employee referral program set up. Now how are you going to get the word out? Whether it’s through email blasts or company newsletters, it’s important to have a plan to promote the program and keep it top-of-mind among your employees.
Want Expert Help Finding Top Candidates?
Whether you already have a referral program, or are just implementing one, if you need help finding high quality candidates now, give Provisional a call. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we know where to source today’s top talent and we can help you find reliable and skilled employees for full-time, part-time, or temporary jobs.
Contact Provisional today to learn more about how we can help you.