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Provisional Blog

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.

Are You Hurting Your Reputation at Your New Job with These Mistakes?

March 21st, 2017

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that starting a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience. But did you know that how you perform in those first few weeks can impact your reputation for years after? That’s why it’s so important to put your best foot forward and to avoid these 5 common mistakes:

1. Running late.

It’s your worst nightmare come true: you hit a traffic jam on the second day on the job. Not to worry. Things like this happen to the best of us. However, if running late is starting to become a habit, then it’s a problem. You’re basically showing a lack of concern for company rules when you’re late to work or meetings. It happens once in a while to everyone – and when it happens to you, apologize. However, never let it become a habit.

2. Being a know-it-all.

You have a lot of knowledge and experience – and you want to share it. That’s great. However, don’t go about it in a way that makes it seem like you’re a know-it-all. Sometimes, it’s best to sit back and listen, so you can understand an issue in depth more or a gain a better sense of the big picture – before offering your opinion. However, don’t ever hesitate to ask questions to learn more and get up to speed faster.

3. Sucking up to your boss.

You want to make the best impression on your boss. But don’t kiss up. Your boss will likely see through it and even if they don’t, your new co-workers will – and it can impact your relationship with them. So always be respectful, but avoid going overboard.

4. Getting involved in gossip.

It might seem like gossiping helps you get to know your new co-workers. But really, it’s setting a bad standard. Not only does it make you look immature, but it can also lead to a reputation as a gossip at work. Your boss and co-workers might therefore hesitate in sharing important company news with you in the future.

5. Disparaging your new employer on social media.

Nothing on the Internet is really private. And you’re taking a big risk by posting negative information about your new boss or co-workers. If you’re having an issue, talk privately about it with family or friends. If it’s serious, then bring it up with your manager. However, don’t go to social media to air your frustrations.

Making a great impression in your first days and weeks on the job requires a few key elements: hard work, drive, and not making the mistakes above. Good luck!

Do you need help finding a rewarding new job in Spokane?

Connect with 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.

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.

You’re Job Interview’s Over…Now What?

March 7th, 2017

Ever been to a job interview that you thought went well – only to hear nothing weeks later? As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows it’s happened to even the best candidates. So before you go to your next job interview, here are some tips to help you handle a stressful hiring process:

Know what comes next.

Before you leave the job interview, ask about next steps. This will give you a general idea about subsequent interviews, as well as when to expect a decision. It will also minimize the time spent waiting by the phone. If, for instance, you know you won’t hear anything for at least another week, you can focus back on your job search, instead of constantly checking your email.

Send a thank you note.

Some hiring managers read them, others don’t. But a well-written thank you note could be the deciding factor between you and another equally strong candidate. So get yours out within 24 hours of your interview. Just make sure before you leave your interview, you asked for the correct names and contact information for those you interviewed with.

Connect with your recruiter.

If you’re working through an employment agency, then reach out to your recruiter after the interview. They may have news to share from the employer, or, at the very least, they’ll want to know how the interview went and whether you’re interested in the job.

Continue your search.

Even if you’re confident that you performed well and got the job, don’t stop your search. It’s never a good idea to place too much importance on any one opportunity until you have an actual offer. That said, if you really think the chances of you getting the job are high, then you might want to start reaching out to contacts to ask for permission to list them as a reference.

Follow up.

If you got another offer, then it’s reasonable to use that as an opportunity to follow up. Just don’t issue an ultimatum. Simply let your contact know you received another offer, but are still very interested in their opportunity and would like to know the status of the hiring process.

Don’t burn bridges.

If you don’t get the job, be professional about it. Simply look at the situation as an opportunity for you to make new connections that could be useful later on in your career.

Need more help finding a job you’ll love?

Call 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.

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.

Secrets of a Great Interview Thank You Note

February 21st, 2017

You applied for a job you really want. You got an interview and all went well. At this point, do you send a thank you note? Does it really make a difference and influence the hiring manager’s position? Or should you just sit tight and wait?

The answer: It depends.

Many hiring managers report they don’t take into account whether or not a candidate sent a thank you note. However, you never know if the person who just interviewed you actually falls into that category…or not.

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows another situation where a thank you note can make a difference involves when a hiring manager is considering two equally strong candidates. If you send a well-written, thoughtful thank you note – and the other candidate doesn’t – it could be what sets you apart and leads to a job offer. In addition, if a hiring manager is interviewing a sea of other candidates, a thank you note can be the one element that helps them remember you over other applicants.

That’s why it’s typically a good idea to send one. That said, there are some tips to keep in mind before you fire one out to your interviewer:

  • Be timely. Don’t wait a week to send out a thank note. You should mail or email yours within 24 hours of the interview.
  • Send a note to all who interviewed you. That means, before you leave an interview, you need to gather everyone’s names and contact information. Make sure you personally address the notes and write something unique in each one (such as a shared interest or mutual acquaintance).
  • Be authentic. Write something genuine and heartfelt, rather than from a boilerplate letter you find on the Internet. That said, don’t go overboard with praise and appreciation. Keep it simple.
  • Reinforce why you want the job. Talk again why you think you’d be a good fit for the position and your enthusiasm for it. Also, cover any key points you forgot to bring up during the interview.
  • Keep it short. Don’t write anything overly long or flowy. Your thank you note should be short and to the point – approximately three to four paragraphs.
  • Carefully proofread your notes. Before sending them, read through each note multiple times to check and ensure they make sense and don’t have any typos.

Need more help finding and landing your next great job?

Contact the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. And we can help you find a new job too! Contact us today if you’re ready 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.

5 Tips for Avoiding Burnout in 2017

February 7th, 2017

If you’re like most professionals, you invest a lot of time and energy in your work. But if you’re coming in early, staying late, and have an unreasonable workload – all with no end in sight – then it can lead to burnout. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows everyone experiences burnout from time to time. But if you want to make sure it doesn’t sabotage you and your career, follow these tips:

1. Take breaks during the day.

There are certainly busy times or seasons where you skip lunch or don’t take breaks so you can get all your work done. But this shouldn’t be a habit all year long. You need breaks in order to stay focused and energized. Plus, sitting for hours without getting up isn’t good for your physical health.

2. Take care of yourself.

Are you staying up late, only getting a few hours of sleep a night? Do you eat a lot of junk or processed foods? Do you drink coffee all day instead of water? All of these unhealthy habits could be contributing to your stress and ability to manage it. It’s important to take good care of yourself in order to prevent burnout. That means eating healthy foods, getting enough rest at night and drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

3, Take yourself offline after hours.

With today’s technology, it’s tempting to stay plugged in at all hours. But this too contributes to burnout. Instead, don’t check your email after a certain hour and turn your phone off. Constantly checking your phone and email will only contribute to your stress level. So unplug and relax at night. You’ll be better able to manage communications and activities during the day when you know you have down time at night.

4. Take a look at technology.

Are there certain kinds of technology – software or processes – that could make workflow more efficient for you and everyone on your team? If you’re noticing you’re spinning your wheels in areas that could be streamlined or easier through technology, then do your homework. Investigate possible solutions so you can present your ideas to your boss and the team.

5. Take time to talk with your boss.

Stress may simply be a part of the job. However, if it’s truly getting out of hand, then speak up and connect with your boss. Be ready with specific examples of challenges you’re facing and ideas for solutions. You don’t want to come off as a complainer, but as someone who is noticing a problem and is prepared to work toward a positive resolution.

Sometimes, especially if you’re being overworked and underpaid, a new job is the answer. If you need help in your search, contact 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.

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.

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