Provisional Blog

3 Reasons Why You Need a Custom Cover Letter

August 21st, 2018

When it comes to your job search, you’ve probably spent a lot of time writing the perfect resume. But what about the cover letter? It’s a lot more important than you think. And if you don’t customize it for each position you apply to, it can impact whether or not you get a call for an interview. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, Provisional explains why:

It tells a story.

Your resume offers an overview of your background, skills and experience. But your cover letter is where you can truly let your personality and accomplishments shine through. Not only that, but beyond simply focusing on your career history, it gives you an opportunity to discuss where you see your career headed and why you think you’re a great fit for the job. You can do all this in a way that helps you to come off as warm, friendly, capable and confident, rather than just another job candidate.

It demonstrates enthusiasm.

If you send in a boilerplate cover letter, then a hiring manager isn’t going to be impressed, nor will they take much time reading it. However, when it’s personalized and specific to the job opening, it shows them that you’re excited about the company and the opportunity. It tells them that you’re willing to go the extra mile to learn about their organization, so you can best speak to the value you can offer. As a result, you’ll stand out and be more likely to get noticed.

It digs into more detail.

Your resume lists your skills and accomplishments. But if there’s one in particular that’s especially relevant to the job, you can dig in and explain the details of it in your cover letter. For instance, if you won an award at work, you can talk about how you achieved it and what it meant to you. Again, this simply provides another opportunity for you to set yourself apart in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Clearly, a customized cover letter is important for every job you apply to. And creating one is easier than you might think. Simply write a standard letter and then tweak some details in each one you send out so they’re as pertinent as possible to every company and opening.

Need more help with any aspect of your job search?

Call Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we’re highly experienced in helping our candidates craft top-notch cover letters and resumes, all so they secure more interviews in the process. Connect with our team today to get started.

When You Have to Reject an Employee for a Promotion

August 14th, 2018

As a manager, you want to see all your team members succeed. For some, it might take longer than for others. And when an employee who’s not quite ready wants a promotion, it can be hard to get them to see the reality of the situation.

So how do you go about breaking the news? And what can you do to help them achieve their career goals going forward? Provisional, one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, WA, has the answers you need. Here are some tips to help you:

Be honest.

It doesn’t pay to try and avoid the situation or lie to your employee in the hopes they’ll stop asking for a promotion. Instead, be upfront with them. Not only will they appreciate it more, but when you’re as candid as possible, you’re actually helping them in the long run. What doesn’t help them is if you sugar coat the truth.

Focus on the positive first.

When your employee hears the news, they’ll likely be discouraged. What you don’t want is them to become disgruntled too. That’s why it’s important to also focus on the positives and the value they bring to the company. Talk too about the long-term and how you think their specific strengths can play a part in bringing the company vision to life.

Talk about specific next steps.

If your employee wants to get promoted, but doesn’t know what they need to get there, help them identify which areas to work on. Otherwise, if you cut short their dreams without a path forward, they’ll feel like they’re simply spinning their wheels in their job.

So, whether it’s taking classes, signing up for an online seminar, or reading industry publications, map out a plan so they understand what they need to do to get promoted and how they’ll go about developing their abilities, all so they can ultimately achieve their career goals.

Follow up with them regularly.

With a plan in place, follow up regularly with your employee. If they’re eager to achieve and they have potential, this will give you an opportunity to touch base and ensure they’re staying on track. If, however, you don’t see much of a possibility for them getting promoted, then it’s important to be honest about that too. You don’t want to leave them with a sense of false hope.

Need help hiring high potential candidates?

Call the experts at Provisional. As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, we can handle every aspect of hiring for you, from sourcing and screening candidates to vetting them through background and reference checks. You’ll get high-potential new hires without all the hard work and hassle. Contact us today to learn more.

Common Grammar and Spelling Errors to Avoid on Your Resume

August 7th, 2018

When it comes to your resume, nothing sets off red flags for a hiring manager quite like spelling and grammar mistakes. One or two aren’t a big deal; however, multiple ones will typically take you out of the running for the job.

But if you’re not a grammar guru or spelling specialist, what can you do to ensure your resume is error-free? As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional has the answers you need:

Don’t assume spell check will catch everything.

When it comes to your spell checker, it’s a great first place to start when you want to check for spelling and grammar mistakes. However, it shouldn’t be the last technique you use to assess your resume. Oftentimes, it can miss mistakes and won’t flag issues like “from” instead of “form.” That’s why you can’t totally rely on it.

Print out your resume and proofread it.

Once you’ve run spell check on your resume, make sure you print out the document and proofread it. When you have a hard copy of it, it’s much easier to check for problems than it is on the screen. It’s always best too to step away from the document for a few days before you proofread it on paper.

That way, you’ll have some distance from it and it will be easier to find errors and mistakes than if you review it right after you write it.

Read it out loud.

To check for any grammar errors or awkward sentences, read your resume out loud too. Reading it out loud forces you to slow down, so you catch more errors with spelling and style in the process.

Ask a friend to review it.

Once you’re sure your resume is as perfect as possible, give it to a trusted family member or friend and ask them to take a look at it. They will likely catch issues you overlooked. They’ll also be able to give you feedback in terms of how effective it is at positioning yourself as the strongest candidate.

Your resume is the first impression a hiring manager will have of you. Make sure yours is as professional as possible by following the tips above.

Need more help with the job search process?

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

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

Does Cultural Fit Really Matter When You’re Hiring?

July 24th, 2018

When it comes time to hire, you’re largely looking at technical skills, experience and the right track record. But focusing on cultural fit is just as important. After all, even if a new hire has the strongest skill set, they’re not going to mesh well in the workplace if their personality and work habits aren’t a fit for it.

So how can you make sure that cultural fit plays part in the hiring process in order to make the best hiring decisions possible? Here are a few tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, WA – to help you:

Be open about your company culture.

On your website and throughout your social media posts, discuss what your company’s culture is like. What’s your mission and vision? What does your company value most? What’s the workplace and working environment like? What types of people tend to thrive there? When it’s something you promote and talk about regularly, it’s easier to attract the right-fit talent when you’re hiring.

Talk about culture during the interview.

Don’t simply focus on the daily duties and responsibilities when you’re interviewing a candidate. Make sure you further discuss company culture and answer any questions a candidate might have about it.

In addition, evaluate for cultural fit by asking questions related to it. For instance, inquire about what management style they work best under and whether they like working alone or as part of a team. Some other questions include:

  • What do you like most about the culture at your current company? Least?
  • How do you like to get feedback? Through informal meetings each week or more formal performance reviews?
  • What kind of work environment are you most productive in?

By asking these kinds of questions during the hiring process, you’ll be better able to discern whether a particular candidate is the right fit for your company.

Focus on diversity.

While it’s important to hire for cultural fit, don’t aim to hire those who are all exactly alike. The strongest team will have people from diverse backgrounds with varying degrees of experience and many different perspectives. This will serve to enhance and strengthen your company, providing a competitive advantage. So even if you’re are focused on hiring those who are a cultural fit, they shouldn’t all be like you and your existing team members.

Need more help hiring for cultural fit?

Call the experts at Provisional. As a leading staffing services firm in Spokane, WA, we can handle every aspect of hiring for you, from sourcing and screening candidates to assessing their background for cultural fit. Contact us today to learn more.

Stay or Go? Signs It’s Time to Leave a Job

July 17th, 2018

Your job has a huge impact on your quality of life. Even when you’re not at work, it’s still on your mind. If you’ve been in your position for a long time, it’s tough to make a change. You’re inside your comfort zone, which is a safe place to be. However, if you’re noticing any of the following signs, then it’s time to consider making a move:

You’re unhappy.

As an experienced employment agency in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that everyone hits rough spots in their careers. However, if yours has been lasting weeks or months, then it’s a sign you’re not in the right job. If you dread Monday mornings and are consistently unhappy throughout the work week, don’t deny your feelings. Instead, start taking a look at what’s available on the job market to see if anything sounds intriguing.

You’re working in a toxic environment.

No matter what industry you’re in, you deserve a healthy workplace where you’re respected. But if gossip runs rampant, if you’re constantly at odds with your boss or co-workers, or you don’t feel like you’re fairly recognized for your contributions, then it’s time to move on.

You don’t like what you do anymore.

This can happen especially if you’ve been in the same job for a long time. You can do the work, you’re just bored or disengaged. If you like your employer overall, then this is a good time to talk to your boss about opportunities for a promotion. If, however, you’re simply not happy at the organization, then it’s time for a step up in responsibility at another company.

Your work feels meaningless.

Everyone wants to feel like their work matters. But if it seems like you’re just another cog in the wheel and that you’re replaceable, then it’s going to be hard to stay engaged and committed to your company. You deserve a job where you feel like you’re contributing something of value and that you’re delivering a positive good to customers.

Do these signs strike a chord with you? It may be a matter of talking with your current employer and asking about other available opportunities within your company. Or it could be time to start up a job search. If it’s the latter, let the team at Provisional help. As a leading employment agency in Spokane, WA, we work with companies all over the city and beyond, connecting rewarding opportunities with talented job seekers. Contact us today to learn more.

Hiring? Here Are 5 Signs of a Potential Mistake

July 10th, 2018

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that a poor hiring decision can cost you a lot of money and lost time in the form of productivity and morale issues. As a result, it’s best to take a careful approach when screening and interviewing candidates, all so you can avoid a misstep. To help you in the process, here are a few red flags to look for that a candidate could be a potential mistake to hire:

They ask about vacation time and working hours.

If the first question they ask you is related to how many hours the job requires them to work and how much vacation time they’ll get, then it’s certainly a concern. Top candidates will be more focused on the details of the opportunity and your company. While these perks are a part of the equation, they shouldn’t be the first priority to find out about in a job interview.

They don’t offer detailed answers.

When you ask a specific question, you expect a detailed answer. But if all you get is vague generalities, it could be a sign that the candidate lacks the communication skills you need to perform the job or isn’t being completely honest with their responses.

They show up late or behave unprofessionally in some way.

You need new hires who take their jobs seriously. That’s why when a candidate arrives late, treats the receptionist disrespectfully, or isn’t wearing appropriate interview attire, you should take it as a sign that they’re not the strongest hire. If this is how they treat the interview process, then you can expect the same kind of behavior if hired.

They speak negatively about a past boss or co-worker.

When a candidate trashes their boss, or speaks poorly about a co-worker, it’s not only unprofessional, but foolish too. For all they know, that person could be a friend or family member of yours. In general, it also reflects a lack of good judgement, which is concerning.

They give you a family member as a reference.

Smart candidates know you want past managers and co-workers as references, not family members. If, however, you get a list of family and friends, there’s a reason they don’t want you talking to an old boss.

If you know what to look for and ask the right questions, you can almost always spot a potential hiring mistake before extending an offer. However, if you’d like expert help with the process, call the team at Provisional.

As one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, we provide customized staffing solutions to our clients all over the Northwest and can help you with every aspect of the screening, interviewing and hiring process. Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

The Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer

July 3rd, 2018

Want to impress a hiring manager? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional recommends being prepared with your own insightful and meaningful questions to ask. When you are, it will go a long way in demonstrating your interest in the job and your willingness to do the work to determine whether a position is right for you.

That said, you have limited time and a lot of questions to ask. So how do you identify which ones are the most effective?

First, start by making a list of questions you’re interested in asking. When you get everything down on paper, you might see some redundancies or areas where you can consolidate. You’ll also be better able reflect on each one to determine whether or not it’s a good question to ask.

To help you along the way, here are a few to include on your list:

  • What are the biggest challenges or obstacles that come with this role?
  • What’s a typical day like in it?
  • If this is not a new position, why did the previous employee leave?
  • How many people work in the department?
  • What’s the manager’s leadership style like?
  • Will I be expected to travel or relocate?
  • Are there any opportunities for training, growth or advancement?
  • What’s the culture like?
  • What do you like most about working here? Least?
  • What type of personality works best in this position?
  • How will success and performance be measured?
  • Is there anything you need clarified about my qualifications?

Once you know the questions you’re going to ask, bring a copy of them with you. The hiring manager doesn’t expect you to have them memorized, nor do you want to forget to ask an important one. Beyond your questions, also bring along a small notebook and a pen so you can jot down any details or information that’s important to remember.

Whatever you do, don’t ask questions that could be misconstrued by the hiring manager. For instance, don’t inquire about vacation days and how many hours you have to work each week. These are red flags for the interviewer.

Need more helping getting interviews – and getting your next job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you craft a great resume, polish your interviewing skills, and land the job you want! Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

Workplace Safety: Why You Need to Review Your Policy

June 26th, 2018

Trips, slips and falls might sound seemingly minor. But, as one of the leading staffing services firms in Spokane, Washington, Provisional knows that accidents and injuries at work are expensive. In fact, OSHA reports that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. Direct costs include things like medical expenses and legal services.

The good news is that there are ways to reduce the injuries and accidents in your workplace and their associated expenses. With strict safety practices in place, organizations can cut down on these situations and their related costs by as much as 40%. That’s why it’s so important not only to have protocols implemented, but to review them on a regular basis and modify them when needed.

To help you during the process, a few steps to take include:

Determining any new hazards.

What new hazards or problem spots have been identified since the last time you reviewed your safety program? If you’re not sure, it’s time to do some digging. Walk around your facility and look for any threats to safety or risks. Some specific areas to keep on the lookout for include rugs that are curled up in corners, electrical hazards, obstructions in walkways and faulty machinery. Also talk to your employees and ask about what safety issues they’ve noticed.

Educate your people.

You can’t look over the shoulders of your employees every day to ensure they’re operating in a safe manner. You need to able to trust and rely on them. It’s therefore important they understand the expectations you have for them in terms of safety and what specific safety-related tasks or duties they’re responsible for. On top of that, you should also consider annual refresher courses on safety to talk about the company’s specific rules, why they’re important, and the role employees play in ensuring a safe workplace.

Make sure it’s all in writing.

Beyond communicating expectations and rules to employees, you should also put everything in writing in an up-to-date safety handbook. This offers employees a resource they can reference whenever an issue or question arises. Information in it should include how to communicate workplace hazards, what to do in the case of an emergency, the company fire prevention plan, and the policy on personal protective equipment.

It’s always wise to invest in safety measures at your company. When you do, you’re protecting your people and your business bottom line. But beyond a policy, you need safety-minded employees to ensure your workplace remains as secure as possible. That’s where Provisional can help.

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

Laid Off? Get Back on Track with These 6 Steps

June 19th, 2018

Professionally speaking, getting laid off is probably one of the worst experiences. It’s bad enough when you know it’s coming. But when you’re blindsided by it, it can be traumatizing. Not only that, but there’s a sense of powerlessness about the situation that can be difficult to manage through.

Take heart though. People with all levels of experience and in all different industries have been in your shoes and recovered successfully. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that many even find themselves in positions and industries that are better-suited for them than the original job they had. But to get there, you have some work to do.

Here are some tips getting back on your feet and getting your career back on track in the weeks and months ahead.

Start the unemployment insurance process.

Don’t wait to file for unemployment. You might have a job in a few weeks, but you never know. It’s important to take every precaution in this situation and get this process rolling. It might take a while due to red tape, so you don’t want to delay.

Know your benefits and your rights.

If you’re being offered severance pay or are taking advantage of COBRA insurance, read the fine print so you understand what you’re being offered by your former employer. Also, if you believe you were let go illegally, signing a document often revokes your right to sue. So also make sure you understand the legality of the situation before signing on the dotted line.

Notify your network.

Connect with friends, family and former colleagues to let them know the situation and that you’re officially on the job market. If you know someone who works at a company you’re interested in, contact them and inquire about any job openings they know about. Not only will they be able to alert you to current opportunities, but ones that open up in the short-term future.

Get a budget going.

Once you know your severance and unemployment benefits, you can get a better sense of your financial picture and where you stand. With that information in place, you can then create a budget. What areas do you need to cut back in? What daily or monthly non-essential financial obligations can you put on hold at least until you find a job (e.g. gym membership, cable provider, etc.)? With this information and a plan in place, you’ll know what you can spend and gain more peace of mind as a result.

Jump start your job search.

Before you start looking for a new job, think about your career goals and what you want out of your next employer and position. That way, you’ll be able to focus on those opportunities that are a fit for you. Once you’re ready to get going, make sure you:

  • Polish your resume and tailor it to each opportunity you apply to
  • Create or update your LinkedIn profile so you can put your best foot forward online
  • Network both online and in person at seminars, career fairs, industry events, alumni affairs and other places that can help you get your foot in the door with your next employer
  • Practice your answers to common interview questions before an interview

Be patient.

Job searches are difficult, especially when they’re unexpected. But make an effort to keep yourself on a schedule each day and avoid the temptation to lay on the couch or wallow in self-pity. Instead, be patient with the process, be kind to yourself, seek out sources of inspiration, surround yourself with positive people, and put plenty of time and effort into your job search. It will pay off in the end.

Interested in professional employment help?

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. And we can help you find a new job too! Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

4 Ways to Keep Your Employees on Track & Motivated During Summer

June 12th, 2018

Between traveling and kids out of school, summer can certainly be a busy time for everyone, including your employees. As a result, it’s can be easy for them to lose focus, impacting your productivity numbers in the long run. To ensure you keep your people on track during the hot summer months, here are a few easy tips from Provisional – one of the leading staffing agencies in the Northwest – to put to use:

#1: Set challenging goals.

Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean employees should be slowing down in terms of performance at work. To keep staff motivated, it’s even more important during this hectic time of year to meet with your people individually and make sure they understand their performance goals and expectations. Just make sure that whatever objectives you do set, they’re both challenging and attainable.

#2: Offer flexible work hours.

A flexible work schedule can be a small step that shows employees you care in a big way. Not only does it help your staff maintain a better work-life balance, but numerous studies have shown that it positively improves morale. In fact, according to one such study by PGi, 80% of employees reported higher morale when working from home.

A flex work schedule can mean a range of different options. For instance, it could include telecommuting one day a week. Or it could simply offer employees the option to come in at 8 and leave at 4, instead of working 9 to 5. Other possibilities include letting employees leave early on Fridays. It’s really up to you in terms of what works best for your team and your company.

#3: Encourage time off.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s important to encourage your employees to take vacation days. If they don’t, they’ll risk burnout, which can negatively impact productivity, not to mention increase absenteeism and the risk of mistakes. In today’s culture, many people think it shows their dedication to not take time off. But if you want your employees to stay healthy and motivated, then they need a dedicated chunk of time to relax and unwind away from the office.

#4: Invest in training.

If summer is your slow time of year, look at it as an opportunity to ramp up your employees’ knowledge base. Send them to seminars, bring in speakers, host brown bag lunches, and offer online training opportunities they can take advantage of. It will be a change of pace from their daily tasks, while also enabling them to refresh and polish their skills, as well as gain new ones.

Need extra hands on deck during summer?

If summer is your busy time and you need more manpower to get the job done, Provisional can provide it. As one of the leading Northwest staffing agencies, we can help you find and hire the people you need on a seasonal basis. We can handle the sourcing, screening and reference checking, all so you get high-quality, hard-working temporary employees. Contact Provisional today to learn more.