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Provisional Blog

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.

6 Performance Review Mistakes to Avoid Making

December 12th, 2017

It’s the end of the year. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington. Provisional knows that means performance review time for many companies. If yours is one of them and you’re getting ready to conduct them, you might be dreading the process. But as long as you avoid a few key mistakes, you can ensure your reviews go off without a hitch. Here’s a look at some common ones:

Focusing too much on the negative.

During a review, you should bring up performance issues and mistakes. But don’t focus all your time and effort on them either. It’s important to offer employees a more well-rounded experience, including what they’ve done right over the past year.

Not talking at all about the negative.

On the other hand, don’t avoid talking about the negative just because it’s uncomfortable. Most managers don’t like offering criticism, so that’s certainly understandable. But if you don’t, your employees will never be able to correct course.

Creating a one-sided situation.

A performance review should be a conversation with both participants engaged. It shouldn’t be a one-sided discussion where you do all the talking. So make sure once you discuss an employee’s performance, you open it up to questions and ask for your employee’s point of view.

Not looking at the big picture.

Make sure during performance reviews you look at the full picture of the last year. It’s easy to get caught up in a recent deadline that was missed or current project that’s not going well. But the point of performance reviews is to give an overall evaluation of both the good and the bad of the past year. So don’t focus only on recent events.

Not offering specifics.

You’re not going to benefit your employees in any way if you don’t dig into details and get specific with them. Vague input and feedback simply doesn’t go very far, nor will it help your team in any way. For instance, rather than saying someone is a hard worker, give an example that demonstrates this trait and the impact it’s made.

Not following up.

In a perfect world, you’d be offering feedback and input on performance throughout the entire year. Sometimes, though, that’s not feasible. However, if you have an employee who’s performance you’re concerned about, it’s vital that you check in regularly and follow up. If you don’t, they could continue their downward spiral, further impacting your bottom line.

While performance reviews might not be your favorite task, make sure you avoid the above mistakes so both you and your people can get the most from them.

And if you’re looking to conduct even more reviews next year and add to your team in 2018, turn to the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we provide customized staffing and hiring solutions to our clients all over the Northwest. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Top 6 Communication Mistakes Managers Make with Their Teams

November 28th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that just like in any relationship, the key to trust with your team is open communication. However, for many managers, it doesn’t come naturally. As a result, mistakes are made – ones that can impact your employees and your bottom line. What are they and how can you avoid them? Here’s a look at six:

#1: Using the wrong mode of communication.

When you have a controversial or complicated announcement, don’t send around an email. Meet with your team face-to-face. When you do, you’ll be able to immediately answer questions and provide more details– offsetting the rumor mill and any related anxiety that comes with it.

#2: You’re MIA and not regularly communicating.

Rather than connecting with employees regularly throughout the day, your door is closed and you’re MIA. But this sends the message that you’re not available to your employees, which can limit communication. Keep in mind, communication is a two-way street and if employees always see your door closed, then they’re going to be reluctant when it comes to communicating with you, even when issues that need your attention come up.

#3: Not being honest.

There are times when confidentiality is at stake. But lying to your team should be off-limits. If they find out, then it’s going to impact your team’s trust in you in the future, even if you thought you were looking out for their best interest. If there is really something you can’t say, then don’t lie. Simply let your team know you can’t comment right now.

#4: Thinking employees won’t understand.

Business can be complicated, especially when it comes to issued related to projections, financials and reorganizations. But don’t dismiss or underestimate your employees’ intelligence. Rather than assuming they won’t understand and not sharing important information with them, explain it in a way that they will understand. They deserve to know how issues and challenges are going to be impacting them today and in the future.

#5: Making promises you can’t keep.

You want to give your employees raises and promotions. But don’t make promises that you can’t keep – especially when you know the final decision in these areas doesn’t rest with you. Instead, explain to your people how valuable they are and that you will go to bat for them. At the same time, don’t make specific promises as to the outcome.

#6: Not offering enough praise and constructive criticism.

You might think your employees know you value and appreciate them. But unless you say it – often – they won’t. The same applies for offering feedback. Don’t wait until an employee gets so far off track that it’s tough to correct course. Regular and open communication with your team – with plenty of praise and criticism – will ensure you can consistently bring out their best.

Need more help with these and other HR-related issues?

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

5 Tips for Promoting Work-Life Balance

November 21st, 2017

It’s a busy time of the year, between finishing up projects before the end of 2017 to getting ready for the holidays. As a result, it can be tough for your workers to remain balanced and productive. The good news is that it can be done with the right steps. Here’s a look at 5 of them:

Talk to your employees about balance.

If you don’t know where your employees are, you can’t work toward helping them to achieve a better balance in their lives. That’s why it’s important to ask them what they need. Whether it’s through one-on-one meetings or an online survey is up to you. But just make sure you ask questions about hours, flexibility and what your company could be doing better in terms of improving overall work life balance.

Know the signs of burnout.

As one of the Northwest’s leaders in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows it’s important to understand the signs of burnout and how you can combat it. For instance, excessive absenteeism, more mistakes than usual, missing deadlines or being late to meetings are all red flags. Not only do these lead to issues with productivity, but they can also impact customer satisfaction. That’s why when you’re noticing problems like these, you need to take steps to combat them, from lightening the load of strapped employees to giving them some extra time off.

Offer flex time and telecommuting.

Another way to encourage a healthier work-life balance is to be more flexible when it comes to scheduling. Offer your employees the chance to work from home one or two days a week. Also, embrace flextime, letting your employees be more flexible in terms of the hours they work. Whether they want to come in earlier or stay later is up to them. But allow them to choose an option that works best for their busy schedule.

Educate employees on health initiatives.

When employees understand how to live a more balanced life – and have the resources to do it – they’re going to feel better and perform better, too. That’s why it’s important to offer access to educational initiatives, training classes and other health-related perks, such as discounted gym memberships or hosting in-house yoga classes.

Be a good example.

If employees see you coming in early and leaving late in the evening – and know you work nights and weekends – they’ll assume you expect the same from them. But no one can sustain this schedule for very long, especially on top of other personal commitments and obligations. So encourage employees to unplug at night rather than checking emails, as well as to take their allotted vacation days.

Need more help keeping the balance with your team at work?

Turn to 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. To learn more, contact us today. We’re ready to help you find the people you need.

4 Signs You Need a New Hiring Plan

November 7th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that hiring is critical for business success. Without the right people in the right positions, you can’t fulfill orders, meet deadlines, or innovate and grow. That’s why a hiring plan is so important. When you have a solid one in place, it acts as a guide as you bring more employees on board today and plan to hire in the future.

But what happens if your hiring efforts have been falling short lately? Then it’s a sign you need a new plan. Here are a few specific red flags that it’s time to review your hiring efforts:

You’re not getting quality applicants.

If most of the resumes you get for job postings end up in the recycling bin, there’s a problem. Most of the resumes you receive should be at least somewhat of a fit for the position. But if you’re wasting hours screening resumes – without much success – then reconsider your job postings. Take a look at them to ensure the language is clear and your hiring needs are thoroughly explained.

Your top pick candidates keep dropping out.

Getting down to the wire during the hiring process can be a relief for many hiring managers. But it can quickly turn into a nightmare if your top-pick candidates keep dropping out of the running. This is often a sign that you’re moving too slow during the hiring process and other companies are making offers sooner.

You’re seeing an increase in turnover.

Some turnover is a normal part of any business. But when you’re noticing an uptick in it, it could be a sign that the right people aren’t being hired for the best-fit positions. This is a big problem because turnover is expensive, with some numbers putting it at around six to nine months of an employee’s salary. If they make $50,000, that means it could cost anywhere from $25,000 to $37,500.

You’re making hiring mistakes.

The applicant you interviewed was enthusiastic and confident. The new employee you got is notoriously late, not meeting deadlines and has an attitude problem to boot. Part of the issue could lie in your interviewing and vetting process. Make sure you’re spending enough time with each candidate to carefully assess them. Also, don’t skip steps, like reference checking and skills testing just, to hire faster.

If you’re facing these issues – or other recruiting challenges – the team at Provisional can help. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we can get to the bottom of your biggest staffing and hiring problems all so you can hire high quality people who can add value to your organization. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

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.

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