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Provisional Blog

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.

Don’t Let These Common Job Search Mistakes Cost You Your Dream Job

January 24th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that even the most experienced job candidate is bound to make a mistake or two during the job search process. Some mistakes aren’t a huge deal; while others can cost you big time – in the form of your dream job. What are they? Here’s a look at 5:

Mistake #1: Not Googling yourself.

Before you submit your resume for a job, Google yourself to check and see what comes up. You might be surprised at the results. If, for instance, there are negative remarks about a past employer, a hiring manager will wonder what you’re going to say about them should they hire you. And most hiring managers will Google you, so it’s important that all the results are professional and appropriate.

Mistake #2: Not researching the company ahead of time.

Whether in your resume, or during an interview, it’s important to showcase that you’ve done your homework. Before you submit your resume, or go in for an interview, research the company – who they are, what they do, and their customers. That way, you can share insights and talk intelligently about what you’ve learned, as well as connect your background and skill set to their unique needs.

Mistake #3: Being unprofessional.

Dressing inappropriately, or showing up late can seriously impact your chances of getting the job. Employers will think if you can’t get it right during the interview, then you’re certainly not going to once on the job.

Mistake #4: Talking poorly about a past boss or employer.

You may have had a bad experience at your last company. But don’t tell that to a hiring manager. They’re only hearing your side of the story and speaking negatively in this way will only make you seem unprofessional. Plus, you never know if the hiring manager interviewing you knows your past boss. So it’s best to always focus on the positive instead.

Mistake #5: Asking about vacation time and benefits during the interview.

Sure, you want to know what the job is offering in terms of benefits. But wait until the hiring manager brings it up. Asking about it during your first interview makes it seem like you’re more interested in paid time off than actually doing the job.

Need more help landing your dream job in Spokane? Call Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

Hiring? Look Out for These 5 Cover Letter Red Flags

January 17th, 2017

You often hear about resume red flags. But what about cover letter red flags? As the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows this document can play an important role in the hiring process – especially when you’re making decisions about whom to interview. To help you filter out weak candidates and focus on the best, here are 5 cover letter red flags to be aware of:

A boilerplate cover letter.

When candidate cover letters start to sound the same, it’s probably because they are. Many candidates will simply copy and paste a boilerplate cover letter from the Internet and simply replace the contact information and make a few tweaks. But if you want to hire the highest quality candidates, look for unique, well-written and professional cover letters.

Incorrect contact information.

When a candidate sends you a cover letter addressed to the wrong person – at the wrong company – it doesn’t speak well to their attention to detail. Clearly, they didn’t proofread or check it before sending it along to you. If they have an otherwise perfect resume that exactly fits your needs, it may be worth overlooking this mistake as a slip-up. If not, though, it’s could be a sign of the poor quality work to come if you hire this person.

No cover letter at all.

Some candidates don’t see the point in sending in a cover letter. But that’s simply an indication that they don’t understand simple job search etiquette. And if they’re not professional during the hiring process, what are they going to be like once on the job?

A cover letter that regurgitates the resume.

A smart candidate knows their cover letter is an opportunity to sell you as to why they’re a good fit for the position. That’s why they’ll use it to explain why they want to work at your company, or what unique value they can offer. What they won’t do is repeat the exact same information that’s already on their resume.

Poor grammar and spelling.

Don’t judge a candidate too harshly for one minor spelling mistake (unless you’re hiring a proofreader or editor). However, if a cover letter is full of incomplete sentences, poor grammar and misspelled words, then it demonstrates a candidate’s lack of professionalism and attention to detail.

Don’t have time to screen dozens of cover letters and resumes? Having a hard time finding high-quality candidates? Ready to outsource the hiring process? Provisional can help with all of these issues and more. 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 FAQs About Phone Screen Interviews

January 10th, 2017

It used to be that if an employer was interested in you, they’d call you for an interview. Today, though, the norm is to conduct a phone screen first. As a result, you might have some questions about them – and how to best impress a hiring manager during one. To help you with the process, here are a few frequently asked questions and the answers:

Why do employers conduct phone screens?

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows there are a variety of reasons that employers conduct phone screens:

  • It’s an efficient and effective way to filter our weaker candidates and focus on the best fit ones. Rather than inviting 20 candidates into their office for an hour-long interview, employers can spend 15 minutes on the phone with each one and then create a shorter list of candidates they want to bring in for an interview.
  • In addition, conducting phone screens helps them to gauge your interest in the position and also fill in any gaps on your resume.
  • Also, it’s hard to get a sense of a candidate’s personality with a resume. But a phone screen gives employers some insight into your soft skills – such as communication – and whether you’d fit with the company’s culture.

Can I take a call for a phone screen during the workday?

If possible, try to schedule a phone screen before or after hours. If that’s not possible, then consider your lunch break and taking the call from your car as a possibility. Or, you can tell your boss you’ll be coming in late one day or leaving early and schedule your phone screen during one of those times.

But do not schedule a phone screen while you’re on the clock with your current employer. Most reasonable employers will understand that you have a job and therefore are somewhat limited as to when you can take these calls.

How long should I wait if the hiring manager doesn’t call or pick up?

If you’re supposed to call the hiring manager – and they don’t answer, double check the number and make sure you have the right one. If you do, or if they’re supposed to call you at an appointed time and they don’t, wait five minutes. They could simply be running late from a meeting.

If, however, after a few minutes you don’t hear anything, then call and leave them a message. Leave your name, phone number, reason for the call, and also how much longer you will be available for. In any case, don’t stress about this too much. It’s very likely not a reflection of you as a candidate but probably due to a busy hiring manager’s schedule.

Have more questions about phone screens? Need expert help finding a new job? Let Provisional be your answer to all your job search needs. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we take your career success personally. Not only will we work one-on-one with you to learn about your background and personality, but we can also connect you with exciting and rewarding opportunities at some of the top employers in the area! Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

5 Ways to Improve Leadership Communication in the New Year

January 3rd, 2017

When you’re in charge, everything you do and say has the potential to impact your team. That’s why good communication is vital to business success. To help you communicate effectively with your employees in 2017 – and beyond, here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

#1: Ask good questions.

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that communicating isn’t all about talking. Asking your employees insightful questions  – and proactively exploring what they’re saying – will help you foster more meaningful communication between you and your staff.

Not only that, but it gives your employees the opportunity to raise issues and concerns they’re worried about, providing you with vital information you might not otherwise know about. It also helps to create a team built on trust. In short, asking questions is one of the most powerful – but underrated – leadership tools you can put to use.

#2: Listen with careful consideration.

When you’re communicating with employees, don’t just listen to their words; listen for their emotions and also be mindful of their body language. What are they really saying to you? Listening with careful consideration is more than just hearing what someone is saying so you can respond in an appropriate manner. It’s what allows you to understand what’s really going on in a conversation.

#3: Stay present with your people.

When you’re communicating with your staff members, make sure you stay engaged with them. Don’t keep checking your email or take a phone call during a sit down with a staff member. If you do, you’re sending the message that they’re not important to you. They’ll walk away feeling disengaged and ignored. Instead, aim to be present with your people – whether you’re leading a team meeting, or having a water cooler conversation with an employee.

#4: Show empathy.

In other words, put yourself in the shoes of your employees. When you do, you’ll better be able to communicate in a way that shows you care. And when your employees know you care about their concerns, they’ll want to work harder for you.

#5: Speak plainly.

Messages can get muddled with complex terminology, or worse – if you go off on a tangent – your employees can lose interest when you’re speaking. That’s why it’s important to keep your messages as simple as possible when communicating with your staff. If you’re delivering a presentation, identify the three or four main points you want your people to walk away knowing – so you can speak clearly and concisely, yet with impact.

Are you a leader who’s interested in expanding your team in 2017? Call the staffing 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.

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