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5 Tips for Preparing for Your Performance Review

December 5th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that the end of the year is a busy time. From wrapping up work projects to the hustle and bustle that come with the holidays, you’re stretched thin. On top of that, you have a performance review to get through. How can you prepare and actually make the most of the conversation? With these tips:

Tip #1: Take inventory.

When you walk into your next performance review, you want to be prepared. That means taking stock of your past performance over the year so you can bring up career highs and lows with your boss. For instance, plan to discuss your achievements, new skills you acquired, and responsibilities you took on, as well as any challenges you faced throughout the year.

Tip #2: Set goals.

In other words, what do you want to get out of your performance review? Are you simply looking for feedback from your boss? Do you want to get promoted? Are you having a hard time meeting expectations and need some guidance? Whatever the case is for you, it’s important to define what you want to get out of the review so you can get the most from it.

Tip #3: Know your numbers.

Another important area to focus on during your performance review involves salary and compensation. If you’re looking for a raise from your boss, then you need to prove your worth. That means knowing how much you make versus how much others in similar positions make. If there’s a big disparity, you’ll need these numbers to back you up in your case for a raise.

Tip #4: Practice your performance.

If you’re asking for a raise or a promotion, then practice what you plan to say. You don’t need to rehearse it to the point where you’re reciting a script verbatim. However, if you want to make the successful argument for yourself, then you need to be persuasive – and you don’t want nerves to get in the way. That’s why it’s important to practice ahead of time.

Tip #5: Dress to impress.

Your boss might see you every day in jeans and sneakers. But if you want to make the best impression possible – and set the tone for the review – take your wardrobe up a notch. If you don’t work in a more formal environment, a suit and tie might be overkill. However, do make sure you look polished, neat and professional when you walk into your boss’s office.

Ready to deliver a great performance – just in another job?

Call the job search experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

Why Keep Up Your Job Search During the Holidays

November 14th, 2017

Looking for new jobs in Spokane, WA? You might be tempted to call it quits over the holidays. But did you know that’s actually a prime time to continue on with your search? Here’s why:

Employers are hiring.

You might want to take time off during the holidays. But companies don’t close up shop. Not only that, but if their fiscal year starts at the beginning of next year – and they have a budget for new hires – they could be hiring in a hurry. That means you might miss out on the perfect opportunity if you take a break from your search.

Fewer candidates are looking.

Employers are hiring, but less candidates are looking because they’re taking time off for the holidays. And fewer candidates means reduced competition for you, increasing your odds of landing the Spokane job you want.

It offers plenty of networking opportunities.

From holiday parties to New Year’s celebrations, opportunities to network abound during this time of the year. You should even consider creating a business card with your name and contact information, which you can readily hand out to new contacts.

You can reconnect with old contacts.

Besides meeting new people, the holidays provide a great time to reconnect and catch up with old friends and colleagues. When you do, you can ask about potential jobs in Spokane, WA they might know about, or to simply keep you in mind if they hear of any openings.

You can keep up momentum.

Stopping your job search for a few weeks during the holidays is going to kill the momentum you’ve built up. Come January it will be harder to pick back up. Instead, when you keep up your search, you can stay on track and hopefully find a new job – faster.

In business, January is a big month for hiring. But it didn’t all start then. Interviews, screening and job offers were likely made back in December – which is why you should keep up your search.

Need more help with your job search in the coming months?

Call the team at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been matching qualified individuals with terrific new jobs in Spokane, WA – and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

How to Plan Ahead for Your Next Big Interview & Cut Your Stress Levels

October 24th, 2017

Even when you’re a confident and experienced job candidate, a big interview can be nerve-wracking. But as one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we know the more you plan ahead, the less you’ll have to worry about the day of the interview. To help you in the process, here are some steps to ease your worries and reduce your stress levels:

Know what you’re going to wear in advance.

This might seem like the least of your concerns. But the hiring manager will form an instant impression of you based on what you’re wearing. So in reality, this is a critical decision. You don’t want the outfit you have on to detract in any way from your chances of getting the job. So pick out what you’re going to wear well in advance, try it on to ensure it still fits you, then make sure it’s dry cleaned or pressed. Don’t forget to polish your shoes either.

Do a test run.

Before your interview, take a test drive out to the location to make sure you know where you’re going and there isn’t any construction or other issues that could slow you down. If you can, do it right around the time you’d be driving to your interview so you can assess what traffic is like at that point during the day.

Fill up your gas tank.

You don’t want to hop into your car the morning of the interview only to realize you have to stop for gas first. Instead, make sure you have a full tank the night before, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about the day of your interview.

Make a list the night before.

You’ll want to bring a copy of your resume, your phone and phone charger, breath mints, an extra pair of panty hose (for women wearing skirts, in case you get a snag) and directions to the interview location. But in your rush to get out the door the morning of the interview, it can be easy to forget these items. That’s why it’s best to make a thorough list when you have time the night before and then check it off in the morning before you leave the house.

Go to bed early and set two alarms.

No matter what time of day your interview is, it’s important to go to bed at a decent hour and get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t, it can impact your ability to think clearly and best answer the hiring manager’s questions. Also, if you have an interview scheduled for first thing in the morning, set two alarms, just in case.

Interviews are stressful experiences for everyone. So if you have a severe case of the nerves, you’re certainly not alone. But follow the tips above and you’ll be more prepared and more confident as you walk into your next interview.

Do you need professional help finding potential jobs and getting interviews?

Provisional can help. As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we’ll work with you to get to know your skills, background, and personality. We’ll then connect you with some of the top employers in and around the area. Search our Coeur d’Alene jobs now or contact us today.

How to Find a Job When You Have No Experience

September 26th, 2017

As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that finding a new job when you have experience can be a challenge. Finding a new job without it can seem downright impossible. So what can you do when you need a job – but don’t have enough experience to get one? Start with these tips:

Look for entry level opportunities.

One of the biggest mistakes new job seekers make is applying for positions they’re not really qualified for. If a job requires four years of experience and you have zero, the hiring manager is not going to look the other way. So stop setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, make sure you’re targeting and applying for entry level positions.

Think about your positive attributes and focus on them.

You don’t have a ton of experience. But perhaps you did a lot of volunteer work in college. Or maybe you speak another language and could be an asset to a company with an international customer base. Whatever the case for you, think about your education, extracurricular activities, and community service projects – and the skills and abilities you’ve developed from those that could be attractive to a potential employer.

Be open to internships.

You might not want a job where you’re paid very little, or not at all. But an internship can actually be a great way of acquiring valuable skills and experience, not to mention making new connections with professionals in your field. On top of that, you can even get your foot in the door with a company that you’ve always wanted to work for.

Make time for networking.

In today’s world, word-of-mouth and referrals are still the best way to find out about a new opportunity. So make time for networking in your schedule, whether it’s joining a niche industry group online or attending seminars and courses at your local chamber of commerce. Whatever approach you take, it’s a great way to get your name out there and get connected.

When you’re looking for a new job without any experience, sometimes you need to get a little creative to make up for what you’re lacking. But follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to landing a new gig in no time.

Looking for professional help with the process?

Contact Provisional. As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we’ll work with you to get to know your skills, background, and personality. We’ll then match you with rewarding jobs that are a great fit for you. Search our Coeur d’Alene jobs now or contact us today.

Struggling with Your Cover Letter? Here’s How to Write an Effective One

September 12th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that many candidates struggle with cover letter writing. And for good reason. Most don’t know where to begin, let alone what to include in theirs. So they end up regurgitating their resumes, or pulling a boilerplate letter from the Internet and swapping out details for their own.

But in today’s competitive job market, that’s not the way to get hired. Instead, when you’re trying to write your cover letter, but get stuck with the process, follow this format instead:

The Beginning.

  • Your contact information should be at the top of your resume. That way, hiring managers don’t have to search through your application, resume and cover letter for it. It’s front and center.
  • In terms of the greeting, if you don’t have the name of the hiring manager, and can’t find it despite your best efforts, it’s ok to address the letter “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring manager.”
  • In the first paragraph, you need to grab the attention of the hiring manager, and also make it clear you’ve done your homework and understand what they do.
  • If you were referred to the job by a mutual contact, then this also a good place to drop their name.

The Middle.

In the rest of the body of the letter, keep in mind you’re trying to highlight why you’re the best fit for the job. The most effective way to do this is to talk about a past project or accomplishment that’s most relevant to the position. For instance, if you mentioned you increased sales by 10% in a past position on your resume, your cover letter is the ideal place to further explain how you went about doing that and what impact that had on the company. Whenever possible, use numbers.

The End.

The ending of the letter is the place to reaffirm your interest and enthusiasm for the role. It’s also a good place to thank the hiring manager for their time.

A few other tips:

  • Your cover letter should be short and sweet, and less than one page.
  • It should be formatted in a way that makes it easy to read, with a good size font and plenty of white space.
  • If you have an online portfolio or work samples, you can also provide a link in your cover letter.

Your cover letter is your chance to shine. It’s important that you not only highlight the skills and abilities that make you unique, but how you can contribute to the potential employer’s bottom line. You also need to come across as a real person, not a robot, with some energy and passion.

If you’re still having trouble with your cover letter, give Provisional a call.

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

Dealing with the Job Rejection Blues

August 22nd, 2017

It happens to the best of us. You interview for a job and think you’re a shoo-in. But then you get an email that informs you otherwise. Someone else got the job.

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows it’s certainly a tough pill to swallow, especially if you really wanted the opportunity. However, there are some steps you can take to ease the pain and move onto greener pastures. Here’s a look at them:

Look at the big picture.

It’s easy to lose sight of the reality of the situation when you’ve just been rejected. You’re focusing on every comment you made and where you went wrong in the interview. However, rather than getting bogged down in the details, don’t forget about the big picture. In the case of your job search, that’s your long-term career goal. Despite this setback, it’s simply all a part of the typical job search experience. And it means you’re one step closer to find the position that is ultimately right for you.

Learn from the experience.

Now that you have proper perspective, dig a little into the details to try and figure out what you can do better next time. The rejection email might offer some clues if it explained why the position went to another candidate. If not, though, consider emailing the hiring manager back and very politely asking for any feedback. They might not give it. But if they do, at least you’ll know if you made any mission critical mistakes that impacted your ability to get the job.

Focus on what you can control.

Going forward, strive to put your best foot forward in any interview. That means ensuring you are well-prepared before you step foot into a hiring manager’s office. You want to set the right tone and the right message with what you do, but also with your body language too. These are areas you can control and can work to improve with a little practice.

Wallow for a minute…then move on.

When you don’t get the job you want, it’s upsetting. Acknowledge those feelings and then move on. Whatever you do, don’t wallow in them. If you take that approach, fear, uncertainty and anxiety will simply take root and grow, which can impact your confidence and job search success going forward.

Need more expert job search advice and help?

Call in the team at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

6 Must-Do Steps Before Every Job Interview

August 8th, 2017

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that interviewing for a new job is a stressful experience. After all, you have a lot on the line. What steps can you take to make the most of the opportunity – and hopefully land the offer? Start with these 6 steps:

Step #1: Research the company.

Before you walk into an interview, you need to prep yourself by researching the company. Read through their website and blog posts. Look for news articles about them online. And check out their social media profiles and most recent updates. That way, you can better tie in your background and experience with their needs.

Step #2: Research the hiring manager.

If you know the name of the hiring manager, look for them on LinkedIn. Search out any background commonalities, whether it’s a former employer or where you went to high school. You can use this information to break the ice during the interview and also make a connection with the hiring manager.

Step #3: Make a list of questions.

Asking the right questions is a vital part of the job interview process. Not only will it help you gain the insight and information you need to make the right decision should you get an offer, but it also sends the message to the hiring manager that you’re well prepared. So create a list of questions to ask about the position, the company and the culture.

Step #4: Review your job description.

The day before the interview, take another look at the job posting so it’s fresh in your mind. Look for any qualities or requirements that didn’t stand out to you before that you need to address. Also, make sure you’re prepared to talk about why you’re a good fit for the position and the contributions you can make in it.

Step #5: Think through your answers.

While you don’t want to practice your answers so much that you sound rehearsed, you do want to make sure you think through how you would answer common interview questions. Look up some questions online and list out any important points about your background or experience you’d like to highlight for each one.

Step #6: Know where you’re going and what you’re wearing.

Before the day of the interview, do a dry run and drive to the location at a similar time as your interview, if you can. That way, you can get a sense of the level of traffic and any construction that might slow you down. In addition, make sure you select your interview attire well beforehand and ensure it’s dry cleaned and ready for your big day.

Need more professional help landing and preparing for interviews?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, from resumes and interviews to connecting you with top opportunities. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

What’s a Contingent Job Offer?

July 25th, 2017

Congratulations! You just got offered a new job. If it’s contingent, though, it’s not final yet. What exactly does that mean – and what steps need to happen to complete the process? Here’s a look.

A contingent job offer is a conditional offer, whether verbal or in writing, that an employer presents and that depends on you passing certain checks, such as a background or reference check. If you do pass, then you’ve got the job. If you don’t, however, the employer can rescind the offer.

So what are the contingencies at stake here? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows the most common ones are:

Background checks.

Not all companies perform background checks before hiring. They tend to be more typical in certain industries, such as education, elder care and finance. When an employer conducts a background check, they want to ensure you don’t have a criminal history that could impact your performance on the job. For instance, if you’re being hired as a bookkeeper, an arrest for writing bad checks is going to impact the offer.

Another reason employers conduct background checks is because they can be held liable if an employee injures someone on the job. So, essentially, they want to verify your background before they assume that liability.

Reference checks.

Another contingency involves the reference checking process. If a reference cautions the employer about hiring you, then the offer likely will be rescinded. However, if you have solid references in place with past managers, then you don’t have anything to worry about. Just remember to give your references some notification before your new employer contacts them so they can prepare ahead of time.

Drug screens.

Alcohol and drug abuse can create serious safety hazards on the job, especially when there’s manual work involved. That’s why many employers today conduct drug screens.

False statements.

Most job offers are contingent upon you being honest with the employer. So if you’ve made false statements about your background, experience and credentials – and your employer finds out even after you’re hired – they can and will terminate you. For instance, lying about graduating from college and earning a certain degree is cause for termination. Even if it’s years after you’ve been hired, many companies have zero tolerance policies toward this and there’s no statute of limitations on it.

If you pass through all of the above steps, and you’re comfortable with the terms and conditions of the job, then ask for a final written job offer. Just don’t quit your existing job until you have one in hand from your new employer. Until that happens, anything is possible .

Need professional help finding your next job?

Call Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994 – and we can help you, too. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

What You Need to Know Before Launching Your First Job Search

July 11th, 2017

You’re about to start your first job search. It can be both a stressful and exciting experience. What do you need to know to put your best foot forward? Here are 6 tips to help you:

Tip #1: Mistakes are a big deal.

As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that while a typo in a college paper might not have raised eyebrows, it’s different when you’re submitting your resume to an employer. If you hand in sloppy work, you’re not going to get a call back for an interview, no matter how talented you are. So take the time to check your resume and cover letter carefully before you send them in to potential employers.

Tip #2: Attitude matters.

You might do great work and have a lot to offer. But if your attitude stinks, don’t plan on getting a job anytime soon. This includes being unprofessional or unprepared at interviews, as well as being negative or coming off as entitled or arrogant. Employers want new hires with good attitudes and who will make a positive impact on the team.

Tip #3: You need more than just intelligence.

If you’re smart and talented, and performed at the top of your class in school, you might think getting a job will be a breeze. But employers look at more than just book smarts. They want to know how well you work on a team, whether you can handle pressure, how you adapt to change, and the strength of your interpersonal skills. Being smart won’t give you an advantage if you aren’t able to offer employers the full package.

Tip #4: Deadlines are different.

In college, if an assignment was due July 15th, you probably handed it in the day of or the day before. Job searches are different. Hiring managers don’t wait until the deadline to start reviewing resumes. They typically screen applications as they come in. And if they find enough qualified candidates to interview before the deadline hits, you could miss out on the opportunity if you wait too long to apply.

Tip #5: Research is still vital.

Just as in college, research is a vital component to your job search. In fact, when you thoroughly research a company before you apply, you’ll be better able to customize a cover letter and resume that are a fit for their needs. Likewise, during an interview, you’ll be able to talk more intelligently about what you can offer and why they should consider hiring you.

Tip #6: You don’t always hear back.

In some cases, if you’re not a good fit for the job, then you won’t even hear back from the employer. In other cases, you might get a form letter or email from them stating that. Don’t get discouraged, though. All you need is one good opportunity and you’ll be well on your way in your career.

Need more help finding your first job?

Call the team at Provisional. As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we’ll work with you to get to know your skills, background, and personality. We’ll then match you with rewarding jobs that are a great fit for you. Search our Coeur d’Alene jobs now or contact us today.

5 Steps to Take BEFORE You Start a New Job Search

June 27th, 2017

You’ve made the decision to launch a new job search. Now you’re ready to move full speed ahead. Wait just a minute! As one of the top employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Provisional knows before you start sending out resumes and following up with hiring managers, there are a few steps you need to take that will improve your odds of finding a job. Here’s a look at 5 of them:

#1: Know what you’re looking for.

If you don’t like your current position, it’s tempting to look for an easy out in the form of any job opportunity. However, you don’t want to make the same mistake twice and land in another position you’re not happy in.

That’s why, before starting any job search, it’s important to take stock and think about what you really want in your next job. In other words, what type of role are you looking for and what type of environment do you want to work in?

#2: Take the time to polish your resume.

Most candidates dread working on their resumes. And it’s certainly not the most exciting part of a job search. However, if you take the time to update and polish it, then you’ll benefit in the long run with more interview offers.

So don’t wait until you find a position that interests you to pull out your resume and start working on it. If you do, you’ll feel pressured to complete it quickly. Instead, before you launch your search, get your resume into great shape and then customize it for each position you’re applying to.

#3: Review your online presence.

While you’re updating your resume, it’s also a good time to review your online presence, specifically your LinkedIn profile. You want to ensure that your profile and resume both complement each other and that’s there no contradictory information on them. It’s also important to Google yourself and make sure that what comes up in the results doesn’t negatively impact your job search.

#4: Start networking.

In 2017, the best way to find a new job is still through your professional network. That’s why, if you’re gearing up for a job search, then it’s also a good time to start ramping up your networking efforts. Research and plan to attend industry conferences or networking events. Also, if there are a few companies you’re interested in working for, start following and interacting with them on social media. You could make a valuable connection or find out about a great new job opening.

#5: Strengthen your skills.

If there’s a certain skill that’s important in your field – and you could use some help sharpening it – then now’s the time to sign up for a class or certification course. Even if you have to postpone your search for a few weeks or months while you gain the skills you need, it will feel good moving forward toward your goal. Plus, you’ll be a stronger, more marketable job candidate as a result.

Would you like professional help with your job search – so you can find a better job, faster?

Call in the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, we can offer you access to a variety of rewarding job opportunities in accounting, healthcare, legal, technical, and office fields. Contact Provisional today to learn more.

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