January 15th, 2013
You want the pay raise, but you’d really like to skip the salary negotiations.
Sound familiar? As one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, Provisional knows that if it does, you’re certainly not alone.
But considering that your ability to negotiate could result in a higher salary, it’s certainly a task worth taking on.
So what are some secrets to effective negotiation? Here’s a look at 5:
Secret #1: You have to ask.
Your employer is completely happy to keep paying you the same salary month after month, year after year…even as you’re taking on additional tasks and duties. So stop waiting for them to offer you a raise. It may not happen anytime in the near future. Instead, be the one to initiate the conversation.
Secret #2: Don’t take “no” for an answer.
If you keep asking to talk to your boss about your salary and he keeps putting you off, don’t take “no” for an answer. This is likely a negotiating tactic in an effort to get you to give up. Instead, keep persevering. Whether or not a raise is in the budget, your boss owes you the time to discuss the issue.
Secret #3: Don’t use negative language.
Your smart, skilled, hard working, and an asset to the team. So don’t put yourself in a position of weakness when negotiating. That means avoid using language like “I’m not sure if there’s the budget for raises this year, but…” or “I hate asking for a raise, but…”
Instead be direct and confident; if you show weakness, your boss will try to use it to their advantage.
Secret #4: Ask for more.
One of the basic fundamentals of successful negotiating is asking for more than you really want. This offers your boss some wiggle room to counteroffer, while you can land the salary you ultimately want in the end.
Secret #5: Talk about other perks.
Perhaps a pay raise really isn’t in the company budget for the year. That doesn’t mean you should walk away from the bargaining table.
If you’ve truly been performing well and feel you deserve something more, then try to negotiate extra perks instead, such as additional vacation time or the ability to work from home a couple of days a week.
Looking for a Promotion to a New Opportunity?
If you’d like to advance your career – just at a different company – let Provisional know. As one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, we can connect you with the area’s top employers and top jobs. Contact us today to learn more or search our Northwest jobs now.
December 18th, 2012
Have you ever been contacted by a recruiter who’s come across your name and thinks you’re the right fit for a job opening?
If you have, it can certainly be flattering. But, as one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, Provisional knows that before you make any moves, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure the recruiter has your best interest at heart and also that the job is a good fit for you.
With that in mind, here are 5 questions to ask:
Question #1: What’s the job description?
Obviously, this is mission critical information. If the job doesn’t sound like anything you’d be interested, then you can cut the conversation short, thank the recruiter for their time, and simply move on. So this should be the first question you ask.
If, upon hearing the job description, you’re intrigued but not quite sure it’s right for you, then continue asking questions.
Question #2: What are the top three qualifications your client is looking for?
When it comes to filling job openings, employers have wish lists that include an expansive set of skills and requirements that not very many candidates can meet. When you ask what the top requirements are, though, you’re cutting through all that clutter and getting to the meat of what it is the employer is looking for and what the job really entails.
Question #3: How long have you been working on filling this position?
If the recruiter has been working for a long time on filling the position, then that could be a red flag that the employer is searching for the perfect candidate. And since there’s no such thing as the perfect candidate, the recruiter has their work cut out for them. But it may signify to you that the employer isn’t into making decisions.
Also, if you can find out from the recruiter why past candidates haven’t fit the bill, then you should be able to gain a better sense of whether you’d be a better fit for the position.
Question #4: What’s the compensation?
If the job sounds great, but pays next to nothing, then you probably don’t want to waste anymore time talking with the recruiter. But if the salary and compensation are in the ballpark of what you’re interested in, then ask the recruiter for more details. For instance, inquire about health insurance premiums, bonuses, and other important perks such as flex-time, the ability to telecommute, and on-site childcare.
Question #5: What can you tell me about the company?
It’s important to try to dig for more information than what you can just find on the company’s website. Why? Because a recruiter will likely be privy to insider information. For example, they may have a strong sense of the culture and whether there’s room for advancement in the position and in the company. That’s the kind of information that’s invaluable when trying to decide whether a company is right for you.
Looking to Work With a Recruiter?
And if you haven’t been contacted by a recruiter, but would like to work with one, give Provisional a call. As one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, we can connect you with top employers and rewarding opportunities. Contact us today to learn more.
August 21st, 2012
Things have been going along swimmingly at work…or so you thought. But you just received word that your boss has quit. Now what?
Here are some thoughts to consider as you navigate your way through this uncertain situation:
Stay Above the Fray.
As one of the top Northwest employment firms, Provisional knows that when a manager unexpectedly leaves the company, there is oftentimes plenty of gossiping and even bad-mouthing going on. But don’t join in. Even if you and your boss didn’t see eye to eye, stay above the fray. After all, you never know who could be listening.
Talk to Your Boss.
You’ll want to do so for two reasons. First, offer your support and encouragement. Thank your boss for what you learned while working under their wing and wish them the best.
Also, if you feel comfortable doing so, ask them why they’re leaving. They may simply have wanted a change of pace, or have been offered a terrific opportunity. However, if it’s due to something negative going on within the company, then that’s a warning sign that you should perhaps start polishing your own resume.
Look for the Silver Lining.
If your boss left unexpectedly, then this could be your chance to step up and fill the vacancy. Don’t be afraid to express your interest in the position and share how you plan on filling your boss’s shoes. If you have a good attitude, solid relationships at work, and positive results to show, then you should be first in line for the promotion.
Expect Things to Change.
If you don’t want or get the promotion, then you’ll eventually wind up with a new boss. And while your old boss knew your work habits and your performance level, a new boss is just jumping into the mix.
As a result, some of your autonomy could be taken away, at least for the time being, as your new boss gets up to speed with what you do and how you do it. They may want to sign off on decisions you previously signed off on, or run meetings you used to lead; but give them the benefit of the doubt. Typically, after a time, you and your new boss will develop a trust level that will enable him or her to hand back the reigns to you.
And remember, regardless of whether you become the boss or you wind up with a new boss, there will likely be some growing pains along the way. So give it some time and be patient.
Want to Follow Your Boss’s Lead?
If you’re looking for a new job, give Provisional a call. As one of the top Northwest employment firms, we partner with leading employers in the region and can give you access to a variety of rewarding opportunities. Contact Provisional today to learn more.
June 12th, 2012
You just landed an interview with one of the top company’s in your field – and you’re dying to get your foot in the door there. So what can you do to make yourself stand out in a sea of applicants? Here’s a look at three factors that will make you “simply irresistible” to a potential employer:
The Right Results.
As one of the top employment firms in the Northwest, Provisional knows that regardless of the kind of position you’re applying for, you need to be able to show the employer that you can deliver great results. And the best way to do that is to demonstrate how you’ve done so in the past for other employers.
So, for instance, if you’re applying for a sales position, it’s critically important for you to be able to discuss how many months in a row you met or exceeded your sales quota. At the end of the day, employers aren’t just looking for claims of your worth…they want to see actual proof.
An Understanding of the Company…and Its Challenges.
It’s great if you’ve read the mission statement of the company, but you need to dig a lot deeper in order to get hired. Some ways to do that include researching the company on the Internet and reading everything you can find, including local newspaper articles, national news stories, trade journals, annual reports, and financial statements.
You should also reach out to anyone you know who works there and try to get the inside scoop on the ins and outs of the company.
Excitement for the position, for the company, and for your career really makes you stand out as a candidate…even from those who may have more experience than you. And in fact, many employers tend to hire those with a positive attitude who are passionate and excited about the job opportunity over candidates who might be more skilled, but are less than enthused.
So how can you demonstrate enthusiasm in a professional way?
- By showing up on time and being prepared
- By smiling and offering a firm handshake
- By making statements that demonstrate you’ve done your homework
- By asking thoughtful questions that show an interest in upward mobility with the company
Want More Tips for Making Yourself Irresistible to Employers?
Let Provisional know. As one of the top employment firms in the Northwest, we can help you craft a strong cover letter and resume and prepare for interviews – all so you can find a job opportunity that is an excellent match for your skills and background. Contact Provisional today to learn more.
May 8th, 2012
Remember that advice your mom gave you when you started at a new school or went on your first date? “Just be yourself,” she likely said. Well, recent research demonstrates that taking this advice can have positive implications for your job search, as well.
About the Research
The data is based on two surveys conducted by organizational psychologists at the London Business School and the University of North Carolina of 146 MBA students and 208 job seekers. In it, researchers asked participants to rate responses to statements such as:
- “It’s important for an employer to see me as I see myself, even if it means bringing people to recognize my limitations;”
- And “I like to be myself rather than trying to act like someone I’m not.”
The research found that those people who were more candid about their strengths and skills – along with their limitations – ended up in jobs they were better suited for.
So What Does This Mean for You in Your Job Search?
As one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, Provisional knows that these findings may be counter-intuitive to what you have been told in the past: that you need to create a solely positive – and sometimes inaccurate – image in order to land a job. However, doing so can backfire if you get hired and can’t deliver on the skills and abilities you promised during an interview.
That said, you shouldn’t bring up every career failure, mistake, or setback you’ve ever endured. Or worse yet, badmouth a former boss, employer, or colleague. You can be both candid and professional without hurting your chances of getting hired. Just be honest and go with your gut. If the job requires a certain skill and you know you don’t have it, don’t pretend that you do.
Want Some More Tips & Advice for Your Job Search?
Let us know. As one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, Provisional has been placing professionals with great companies for over 20 years.
Experience the Provisional difference today!
March 20th, 2012
If your employer offered you more money – with no strings attached, would you take it? Of course you would. But did you know that many of today’s employees (perhaps you included) are leaving money on the table everyday? In fact, as one of the top employment firms in the Northwest, we know many people forfeit a generous increase in compensation by not taking full advantage of the benefits offered to them through their employers.
Are you one of them? If you are, or you’re not sure, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
Take full advantage of core benefits.
Are you fully funding your retirement plan? Are you taking advantage of company stock purchases? If you’re not, then you could be losing thousands of dollars and perhaps even delaying your retirement. To avoid this, be sure to maximize company matching benefits, for instance, and also increase your savings contribution to the maximum allowable contribution.
Another major core benefit to think about is your health insurance plan. You may be on auto-pilot when it comes to your plan, renewing it year after year, without reviewing it. However, your needs may have changed significantly since you joined the company and you could be losing money or leaving benefits on the table by choosing the same plan year after year. So make sure when it’s time for open enrollment, that you review and understand all of your options.
Don’t forget about free benefits.
Does your company offer free tuition, legal or financial services, adoption services, day care, or other programs or services typically offered as part of an employee assistance program? If they do, and you’re not taking advantage of those services, you could be spending thousands of extra dollars on services each year that you could get for free, or at a discounted rate, through your employer. To avoid doing so in the future, ask your HR department for a full list of company subsidized benefits and services. Sometimes employees don’t even realize all the benefits they have access to.
Understand all other benefits.
Whether or not to participate in voluntary benefits depends on your unique situation. For instance, you may have access to dental insurance through work. If you’re a single person in good health, then paying cash for dental care may actually cost you less. However, if you have three young children and a spouse to support, then purchasing dental care benefits could actually save you a ton of money in the long run. But, as one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, we know it’s important to first understand all your benefits so you can make the wisest decision for you and your family.
March 6th, 2012
Like it or not, your attitude is assessed by everyone you meet. But is it really all that important when it comes to your job search?
It is, according to research by Leadership IQ, a research and leadership training institute. In a study tracking 20,000 new hires, they found that 46% failed within the first 19 months. Even more surprisingly was that 89% of the time the failure was due to attitude, while only 11% of the time it was due to lack of skill. Attitudinal deficits ranged from low levels of emotional intelligence to lack of coach-ability (the ability to seek out and learn from feedback).
The lesson here?
As one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, we know that companies are searching for people who are the best fit – in terms of both skills and personality. As a result, you must go beyond showcasing your ability and experience, and also display the right attitude to get hired. Here are some quick tips to help you:
- Don’t include negative statements in your cover letter or resume. For instance, don’t vent about your frustrating job search or ponder whether your resume will end up in a recruiting black hole. Or worse, don’t belittle a previous employer. Be polite and professional. And remember, people want to work with others who are easy to get along with, not those who are difficult and high maintenance.
- Don’t nitpick the rules. If the hiring manager is telling you about the company dress code during an interview, don’t respond with “I don’t do dress codes.” If you do, you will be perceived as someone who can’t follow the rules and will have a hard time interacting with peers who have divergent opinions.
- Show some enthusiasm. Your enthusiasm, or lack of, will show during your interview. So be positive and energetic. Also, demonstrate your passion for the company or position by doing some research ahead of time and discussing how your skills and background can help meet their needs. On the other hand, sighing and looking at your watch constantly will indicate to the hiring manager that you’re not really that interested.
- Ask for an outside perspective. If you’re not sure whether you’re displaying a negative attitude, ask a friend or family member for an outside perspective. Also ask them to review your cover letter and resume. You might simply think you’re being honest and realistic, while others perceive you as being more negative.
If you’d like some additional help with interview prep or your job search, let us know. As one of the leading employment firms in the Northwest, we have the knowledge, experience, and industry connections to help you find terrific job leads and prepare for your interviews so you can land a position that’s right for you. Contact us today to learn more.
January 24th, 2012
As one of the top employment firms in the Northwest, we know that searching for a job is hard work. And it’s no surprise that candidates make a lot of mistakes during the process. Some are subtle, while others are glaring – and can have a negative impact on a candidate’s ability to get hired.
So what are they? And how can you avoid them? Here’s a look 6:
Mistake #1. You immediately discount imperfect positions.
This is where if they job description doesn’t sound completely ideal, then you immediately disregard it. However, look at the big picture. For instance, if the company posting the job has a terrific reputation as a generous employer, then it could be a huge boon to your career to get your foot in the door there – even if the position is less than perfect. Just look at Carly Fiorinia, former CEO of Hewlitt-Packard. She started her business career as a secretary, even though she had an undergraduate degree from Stanford.
Mistake #2. You ignore Northwest temporary jobs.
The same goes for temporary jobs in the Northwest. If it’s with a great employer, and you’re not doing anything at the moment other then sending out resumes and sitting by your phone, then it can’t hurt to take on some temp work.
Mistake #3. You don’t check your references.
Only give out references after you’ve spoken with them and let them know a company representative will be contacting them. Also, while it’s ok to offer one reference from a colleague, also offer two or more from managers as well. Colleagues don’t hold as much weight with employers as managers do.
Mistake #4. You use your work email on your resume.
If you’re looking for a job, and you’re still employed, don’t use your work email. This sends the message that you have no problem using an employer’s systems or equipment for personal use. In other words, it says you’re dishonest.
Mistake #5. You don’t research yourself online.
A potential employer is most likely going to Google or Bing you. So do it first, and deal with any negative information before applying for Northwest jobs. Clean up where you can, set your social media profiles to private, and if there’s something negative about you that you didn’t post, ask the person who posted it to take it down. If they refuse, contact the company directly.
Mistake #6. You think it’s all about you.
Your job search is about you to a certain degree. After all, you want to find a rewarding and well-paying job you enjoy. However, it’s also about the employer and what you can do for them if they hire you. So when applying for Northwest jobs, focus on how you can help an employer streamline processes, save money, or enjoy some other kind of valuable benefit.
And if you’d like some more help finding a new job, give us a call. As one of the top employment firms in the Northwest, we work with leading organizations throughout the region and can give you access to a variety of opportunities. Search for Northwest jobs now.
October 4th, 2011
As one of the premier employment firms in the Northwest, we certainly understand that the thought of asking your boss for a promotion can be terrifying. After all, in this economy, shouldn’t you be happy to just have a job?
But if you’ve been taking on more and more responsibility at work, are a long-time asset to the company, and feel like you’re ready – and deserve to – move up the company ladder, then by all means go for it.
With that said, getting promoted isn’t as simple as just asking for it. You first need to sell your boss on the idea and why you deserve it. And you can do that by using one small word: Because.
“Because” forces you to think about the actual reasons why you deserve a promotion. It also gives you the facts you need to get your boss on board with it. Your boss isn’t monitoring your every move and so may not know about all your recent successes and accomplishments. It’s up to you to toot your own horn.
For example, rather than just saying “I’ve worked really hard, so feel I deserve a promotion” instead say “I deserve a promotion because I consistently bring in new clients to the company. As a result, sales have increased by 10%.”
To help you prepare for the big “ask,” here are some additional tips:
- Schedule a meeting with your boss and let him or her know you want to discuss your job performance. Don’t just drop by unannounced.
- Write down all of your recent achievements and successes, from a positive comment from a customer to landing a big new client. Bring your list with you to the meeting.
- Research what you’re worth in the job marketplace; also bring those statistics with you to the meeting.
- Besides talking about your past accomplishments, tell your boss how you plan to build on them in the future, and how doing so will benefit your boss and the company as a whole.
If the boss says no to a promotion, inquire why and what you can do to get promoted.
And if there’s simply no room for advancement at your company, and you’re ready to move on, Provisional can help. As one of the premier employment firms in the Northwest, we can help you locate the position that best matches your skills and interests. Search jobs now.
May 24th, 2011
In the recent 2011 case, Staub v. Proctor Hospital, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ultimate decision maker, even if completely unbiased, is not safe in employment discrimination cases when the claimant can establish that a lower-level manager demonstrated discrimination.
In this particular case, two managers did not like one of their employees, Vincent Staub, because Staub was in the Army Reserves and as a result, he was absent from work one weekend a month and a few weeks out of the year. Rather than firing him, the managers decided to make working conditions so difficult that Staub couldn’t possibly live up to expectations.
The managers then handed the case to a hospital HR representative who reviewed it and, not knowing about the bias of the two managers or how they had conspired, fired Staub. Even though the HR representative acted in a good faith, Proctor Hospital was still found liable by the U.S. Supreme Court. (This has come to be known as the “cat’s paw” theory. The name of the theory refers to a 17th century French tale in which a monkey persuades a cat to reach into a fire to grab chestnuts. The monkey gets the chestnuts, while the cat gets a burned paw.)
In fact, the Court unanimously ruled that employers can be held liable for decisions that are at least made in part due to the influence of a manger or supervisor with discriminatory motives – even when the final decision maker is essentially used as a pawn. So even though, in the Staub case, there was no evidence that the HR representative had any ill feelings towards Staub or even knew how Staub’s managers felt, the Illinois hospital was still found liable for discrimination.
Clearly, HR and employment law can get complex. If you’re looking for some guidance and clarity, please contact Provisional. As a Northwest employment firm, we can offer you the HR and employment information you need to run your business efficiently and in compliance with complicated federal, state, and local employment laws. Please contact us today to learn more.