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5 Quick Tips for Managing Seasonal Employees

June 6th, 2017

Summer is nearly here – and so is an increase in demand. For many business owners and managers, it’s also crunch time for finding and hiring seasonal employees. But once they’re on board, the work isn’t over. In fact, it’s just beginning.

As one of the Northwest’s leaders in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows that while seasonal employees are a great way to meet an uptick in demand, keep your customers satisfied, and grow your business, it’s still vitally important that you manage them properly. If you don’t, they could actually wind up harming your business and your reputation.

With that in mind, here are 5 quick tips for managing seasonal employees this summer:

Tip #1: Hire right.

If you want the best people, you need to have a properly structured hiring process. That means posting a clear and detailed job description, conducting thorough interviews with behavior-based questions, and checking references. Also, during the hiring process, make sure you’re clear about expectations. This includes the nature of the work, hours, dress code, and start and end dates for the position. If a candidate is truly looking for a full-time job, it’s important to set clear expectations from the start.

Tip #2: Treat workers well.

It’s important for morale that you treat seasonal employees like you would any full-time employee. Just because they’re only working for you for a few months doesn’t mean you schedule them for shifts or duties that no one else wants, not invite them to company or team events, or avoid praise and recognition. That’s a recipe for an unsuccessful relationship. Not only that, but clearly drawing a line between full-time employees and seasonal ones will make it harder for all your workers to bond and build camaraderie.

Tip #3: Don’t skip training.

It doesn’t make sense for a seasonal worker to go through the same six-week training period you put new full-time hires through. However, you can offer an abridged version. When you do, you can ensure they get up and running faster and also know how to deal with any challenges that come their way. This is especially important when you consider summer is often the busy season, which means added stress for employees, whether temporary or full-time. You don’t want workers who are poorly trained or don’t understand what they’re doing to hinder your team.

Tip #4: Know the law.

When it comes to hiring seasonal employees, it’s important to know and adhere to the law on issues from ranging from minimum wage to overtime pay. It’s also important to have all the proper state and federal paperwork filled out and if a worker is under 18, to know age-specific guidelines for employment.

Tip #5: Confront conflict immediately.

If there’s a problem with your seasonal worker, confront it immediately. Don’t hope it will work itself out. Instead, pull them aside and ask about any issues or challenges they’re facing. If you can, create a buddy system where they’re paired with a more experienced employee. Help them to feel comfortable and confident coming to you with issues and concerns. That way, you can head off minor problems before they escalate into major ones.

Hiring seasonal employees can be tricky. But with proper planning and preparation – along with following the tips above – you can get the team you need to handle your busy summer season.

Need help filling seasonal roles for your company? Call in the experts at Provisional.

Since 1994, we’ve been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing skilled temporary and temp-to-hire workers with companies in Seattle, Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. We can help you with every aspect of hiring, from sourcing and screening to interviewing and reference checks.

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

4 Interview Essentials for Employers

May 23rd, 2017

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

Identify a framework.

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

Develop a list of questions.

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

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

Set the tone.

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

Listen to the questions they ask.

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

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

Leave it to the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we know where to look to source the best candidates for a wide variety of positions and fields. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

6 Advantages of Temporary Work

May 16th, 2017

Struggling to find a new job? Don’t want to tie yourself down to one industry yet? Temporary work may be the answer. Here are 6 advantages you can gain from it:

#1: You can try out jobs before committing.

Temporary work gives you a great opportunity to try out different positions, fields, and types of companies on a temporary basis. As a result, you can get a better sense of which jobs and employers really resonate with you – and pursue full-time opportunities with those. Also, if you’re working in an assignment you love and a full-time job opens up, you’ll already know you’re a good fit for it.

#2: You can build up your experience.

Is your resume a little light? Are you returning back to the workforce after years away? Temporary jobs in Spokane provide an ideal way to beef up your resume. Not only can you enhance your existing skills, but you can also gain new ones in the process. As a result, when you do go to apply to full-time jobs, you’ll have a far more impressive background to promote.

#3: It fills gaps in your resume.

Having gaps on your resume looks bad to potential employers. Even if you were laid off from a position due to downsizing, an extended gap can still set off warning bells. Fill your resume, instead, with temporary work.

#4: It expands your network.

With each new assignment, you’ll be meeting many different people that can help you in your career aspirations. So always be respectful, professional and friendly wherever you go. Also, stay in contact with those you met at previous temporary assignments. You never know when the next great opportunity will come your way.

#5: You can access assignments with competitive pay.

It’s a myth that temporary work doesn’t pay well. Reputable employers will offer fair market value for your skills. So you can keep your schedule flexible, all while earning a steady income with temporary work.

#6: You can get career tips from experts.

Most temporary assignments are filled through an employment agency. When you sign on with one, they’ll match you with an experienced recruiter who can help you in the short-term in finding assignments that are a good fit for you, but also in the long-term with professional development.

If you’d like help finding temporary jobs in Spokane, please contact Provisional. As a temporary employment firm with more than 16 years of experience, we can place you on temporary assignments that are a great fit for your skills, goals, and lifestyle needs. Contact us today or search our temporary jobs in Spokane now.

5 Interview Questions to Help You Uncover the Real Candidate

May 9th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

2. What’s your most significant career accomplishment?

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

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

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

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

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

5. How do you like to be managed?

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

If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to hiring, turn to the experts at Provisional.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring – from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, screening and recruiting top candidates for your company.

Just give us a call today to learn more.

Upcoming Phone Interview? Here’s How to Nail It

May 2nd, 2017

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows getting a phone interview is great news. It means your resume and cover letter made the cut. So congratulate yourself – and then get down to work preparing for your phone screen. Here are 6 easy tips you can put to good news to nail your call:

Dig into the company’s background.

Some candidates make the mistake of treating a phone screen too casually. But it’s really just an interview, albeit a shorter one. So you need to prepare if you want to perform well. That means researching the company, reading through their website, digging up any news articles about them, and learning about industry trends.

Practice your answers.

Before your screen, come up with a list of commonly asked interview questions and practice your answers. Some of these include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why do you think you’d be good in this position?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What can you do for our company?

The great thing about phone screens is you can also keep notes by your side during it. Just make sure you don’t sound like you’re reading off of a script.

Set the stage.

It’s not a good idea to schedule a phone interview when the kids are home from school, or during a time when you’re going to be distracted with other tasks. Make sure you set it up for a time when you can totally focus. Also, find a quiet space that’s free from distractions. And be sure to have your resume, a notebook and pen, and a glass of water handy.

Keep it short.

Phone interviews can be stressful because you can’t see the person you’re interviewing with or read their body language. That’s why, when pauses happen in the conversation, it’s easy to ramble. But don’t do it. Keep your answers clear, simple and concise.

Speak slowly.

When you’re nervous or excited, it’s easy to speak too fast. So make a conscious effort to slow down and take your time when answering questions. Also, take time to gather your thoughts so you can properly answer each question. Remember, this isn’t a race.

Be enthusiastic.

It’s important to convey your enthusiasm about the job during your phone screen. Though it sounds corny, smiling during your answers is a great way to infuse your voice with enthusiasm. Also, let the interviewer know you’re interested in learning about next steps in the process.

Need more help with your job search?

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. 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.

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.

6 Cover Letter Secrets Every Candidate Needs to Know

April 18th, 2017

If you’re like most job candidates, you dread writing cover letters. What are you supposed to say that’s not already discussed in your resume?

While writing a cover letter can feel like a pointless exercise, it’s not. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that hiring managers do read them and they’re actually an opportunity to promote yourself – and why you should get the job. To help you put together one that gets results, consider these tips:

#1: Don’t rehash your resume.

The cover letter shouldn’t be a duplication of your resume. Instead, it should be used to explain something new about yourself that your resume doesn’t showcase. For instance, if you’ve used the company’s products and services – and are a fan – then you can explain why you’ve always wanted to work there. In fact, telling a story is a powerful approach for cover letter writing.

#2: Focus on facts, not fluff.

Don’t make statements, such as “I’m a top-notch candidate best suited for this position.” You don’t know that; other candidates could be stronger or better suited. Instead, stick to facts about your background and the value you can bring to the potential employer.

#3: Be real.

Don’t be overly formal or use corporate jargon in your cover letter. When you do, you wind up sounding more like a robot than a real person. Also, don’t copy and paste a boilerplate cover letter and simply swap out the company and hiring manager’s name. They’ll know in an instant. Instead be professional, but also warm and engaging with your tone and language.

#4: Talk about what you can do for the employer.

Your cover letter shouldn’t be all about you. It should be about how you can help the company succeed, whether it’s through increased sales, more efficient processes, or shaping better policies. You may need to re-read the job posting to get a better sense of how your background and skills can contribute to the company’s bottom line.

#5: Use numbers and statistics.

Hiring managers want to see real results – in the form of dollars, percentages and statistics. So brainstorm an accomplishment that you can quantify and talk about it in your cover letter, including how you approached the problem and the results you were able to achieve.

#6: Expect to re-write it a few times.

No one gets their cover letter right the first time. Expect to write a few drafts and then revise it many times before it hits the mark. Also, make sure to proofread it plenty of times before sending it out to potential employers. That way you can rest easy it’s well-written and error-free.

Need more help with your cover letter, resume or job search?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve placed more than 8,000 professionals with leading local employers since 1994. From writing your resume to getting interviews and offers, we can help you with every aspect of your job search, start to finish. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

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.

Guidelines for Applying for a Job at a Past Employer

April 4th, 2017

You’re in the middle of a job search and just came across what sounds like an ideal opportunity – except it’s with past employer. Should you apply or simply cross it off your list? Here are some guidelines to follow:

Consider the terms you left on.

If you quit without two weeks notice, or were fired, then it’s not the best idea to apply for the position. You burned some bridges and people will remember. Even if you did get the job, it could be awkward and uncomfortable due to the terms you left on.

On the other hand, if you left on good terms and simply found a better opportunity, then it’s certainly a job worth considering. After all, you already know the company and its culture. And if it was a good fit in the past, it’s a probably still a good fit for your now.

Just a word of caution: If you left because there wasn’t opportunity for advancement, or you butted heads with company leadership, then carefully weigh the pros and cons of working there again. Chances are, the same issues are still happening and you might wind up having to deal with them again if you get hired.

Reconnect with old friends.

You’ve considered the past and decided you’d like to apply for the job. Then start reaching out to any connections you have at the company. Whether it’s an old boss or former co-workers, let them know you’re interested in the position and ask whether they could refer you to HR or to the hiring manager.

Don’t assume you’re a shoo-in.

One mistake candidates in this position can make is assuming they’re a shoo-in for the job. But that’s not the case. While you might be in the running, there could be several equally strong candidates you’re competing against.

That’s why, if you do get an interview, it’s important to prepare just as you would for any other company. Do you research, show up on time and be professional, ask meaningful questions, and know how to communicate why you’re the best fit.

Be prepared to talk about retention.

One issue hiring managers have with boomerang candidates involves retention. If you left once, what’s to say you won’t leave again? That’s why it’s important to explain the passion you have for the work and the company and how you’re ready to re-commit and make a valuable contribution.

If you left a former company with a good impression and without burned bridges, it’s certainly worth it to consider a future job there. Just follow the guidelines above to increase your odds of getting hired.

If you need additional help with your job search, call Provisional.

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.

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.

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