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Provisional Blog

Team-Building This Summer? Here’s How to Get the Most From It

June 20th, 2017

Without a strong team in place, you can’t build a successful business. That’s why team-building is so important. And if you’re like many companies, you’re planning team-building activities and events over the summer. How can you get the most from them? With these tips:

Plan an event that’s interesting to employees.

Do your employees generally like the outdoors and to be active? Or are they more indoor people? Whatever the case for you, plan an event that matches their interests. If you force them to do something you know they won’t like, or can’t participate in due to an illness or disability, then it defeats the entire purpose. While you can’t make everyone happy, you can take into account what the majority of your team would want to do for a team-building event.

Set goals.

Whatever activity you do choose, have defined goals in place for what you hope to get out of it. Whether you’re celebrating a big company milestone, integrating new employees onto the team, or overcoming workplace conflict, it’s important to have clear objectives in place. That said, don’t have too many. It’s best to have one or two and then plan the event around those.

Avoid awkward situations.

You want employees to step outside their comfort zone. However, don’t force them to do things that make them uncomfortable or feel awkward. If you do, they’ll simply dis-engage from the entire team-building experience. So if you’re thinking about having everyone do something like share their biggest career fear, skip it. Instead, plan on opportunities to interact with one another that are both focused and fun.

Talk about lessons learned.

When it comes to team-building, the best events are meaningful with a lasting impact. At the very end of the event, or right after, talk about the lessons everyone learned and how you can all leverage them in practical ways on a daily basis at work.

Don’t expect overnight results.

Team-building is a function that should be happening year-round. While it’s fun to plan dedicated events, don’t expect huge results from just one. Rather, when you regularly host team-building activities and also promote and encourage collaboration throughout the rest of the year, then you’re going to see the kinds of results that can really impact your bottom line in a positive way. Not only that, but making it a part of a larger, long-term strategy sends the message that team-building is a company priority.

Do you need more help building a strong team for your company?

Call 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.

Hiring? Look Out for These 5 Cover Letter Red Flags

January 17th, 2017

You often hear about resume red flags. But what about cover letter red flags? As the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows this document can play an important role in the hiring process – especially when you’re making decisions about whom to interview. To help you filter out weak candidates and focus on the best, here are 5 cover letter red flags to be aware of:

A boilerplate cover letter.

When candidate cover letters start to sound the same, it’s probably because they are. Many candidates will simply copy and paste a boilerplate cover letter from the Internet and simply replace the contact information and make a few tweaks. But if you want to hire the highest quality candidates, look for unique, well-written and professional cover letters.

Incorrect contact information.

When a candidate sends you a cover letter addressed to the wrong person – at the wrong company – it doesn’t speak well to their attention to detail. Clearly, they didn’t proofread or check it before sending it along to you. If they have an otherwise perfect resume that exactly fits your needs, it may be worth overlooking this mistake as a slip-up. If not, though, it’s could be a sign of the poor quality work to come if you hire this person.

No cover letter at all.

Some candidates don’t see the point in sending in a cover letter. But that’s simply an indication that they don’t understand simple job search etiquette. And if they’re not professional during the hiring process, what are they going to be like once on the job?

A cover letter that regurgitates the resume.

A smart candidate knows their cover letter is an opportunity to sell you as to why they’re a good fit for the position. That’s why they’ll use it to explain why they want to work at your company, or what unique value they can offer. What they won’t do is repeat the exact same information that’s already on their resume.

Poor grammar and spelling.

Don’t judge a candidate too harshly for one minor spelling mistake (unless you’re hiring a proofreader or editor). However, if a cover letter is full of incomplete sentences, poor grammar and misspelled words, then it demonstrates a candidate’s lack of professionalism and attention to detail.

Don’t have time to screen dozens of cover letters and resumes? Having a hard time finding high-quality candidates? Ready to outsource the hiring process? Provisional can help with all of these issues and more. 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.

4 Interview Best Practices Every Employer Should Follow

October 4th, 2016

As the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows that when you’re interviewing job candidates, it’s only natural to be focused on your needs. In other words, what skills, experiences and personality traits are right for the role? But are you also thinking about the situation from the candidate’s perspective?

If you’re not, you could be missing out on an important opportunity. After all, the best candidates have their choice of employers. And a negative interview experience could mean the difference between a great new hire – and a mediocre one. In fact, according to a 2015 Talent Trends report from LinkedIn, 83% of 20,000 professionals surveyed reported that having a negative interview experience can change their minds about the company or the position.

So next time you’re gearing up to hire, don’t take a chance and potentially leave a bad taste in the best candidate’s mouth. Instead, focus on providing a positive interview experience for each candidate by following these simple tips:

#1: Let the candidate meet their potential manager.

In many companies, it’s standard to have an HR person interview a candidate first before they’re passed on to the hiring manager. However, candidates expect to meet with the person they could potentially be working for right off the bat. They want to know who their boss will be so they can better evaluate whether the position is right for them. While their future boss might not be available for the whole meeting, having them present in the beginning or for the last few minutes can facilitate relationship building and make a big difference for a candidate.

#2: Skip pointless questions.

These include ones like “where do you see yourself in five years?” Candidates hate them and they don’t really help you assess whether or not they’re right for the role, so why even ask them? And if you do ask questions like these, a candidate will typically give you a vague or canned answer because they have no idea where they’ll be in five years.

#3: Showcase the culture.

Today’s savvy candidate knows there’s more to a job than tasks and responsibilities. They want to know about the company culture and what it’s like to work there day in and out. So show them by giving them an office tour and introducing them to potential co-workers. Also talk about fundamentals like the company’s vision and mission, examples of past projects, and community involvement.

#4: Keep candidates informed.

The quickest ways to annoyed candidates is too leave them in the dark. Even if it’s bad news, share it as soon as you know it. That way, they can mentally cross your opportunity off the list and move on, no hard feelings. Just don’t promise them a decision next week and leave them hanging for three weeks, wondering and worrying.

Need more help improving your candidate interview experience? Call 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. 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.

How to Keep Your Employees On Track Over Summer

July 19th, 2016

Summer is in full swing – and the season can often result in a dip in employee productivity. After all, who wants to be in the office when they could be sitting poolside? But as one of the Northwest’s top recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows it’s up to you to keep your people on track, even when gorgeous weather beckons.

To help you in the process, here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

Let employees take a longer lunch break.

During the summer months, allow employees to take longer lunch breaks so they can take a stroll after eating or catch up on errands they won’t have to do over the weekend. You can approach this any number of ways, such as adding a ½ hour to everyone’s lunch break. Or allowing staff to take two-hour lunches once or twice a week.

Postpone major initiatives until September.

If you can, postpone the launch of any major projects or initiatives until after summer. This makes sense for several reasons. First, with so many employees going on break and vacation, scheduling the start of a new project can be cumbersome. In addition, people’s minds are on their trips and what they’re going to do after work or on the weekends, so it’s best to wait until fall to launch anything new.

Plan for vacations and down time.

Don’t fight it when employees want to take time off. It’s good for them – and for you. It lets them enjoy much-needed downtime, so they come back to work rejuvenated and refreshed. You may even want to consider letting employees leave early on Fridays during the summer, if you can swing it.

Set the tone.

As the boss, it’s your job to set the tone for the rest of your team members. So if you’re taking extra long lunches every day, coming in late and leaving early, then they likely won’t be taking their work seriously either. Even if it’s hard, it’s important to stay focused on goals and tasks.

Schedule in fun time.

Keep in mind, though, summer is meant for fun. So it’s important to make time for relaxation, whether it’s hosting after-work drinks at a local bar with a patio, or having a summer picnic. Whatever you do, time for fun and socializing helps your team build stronger bonds and be more successful in the long run.

Do you have workers out on vacation, or sick or maternity leave? 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.

Does Telecommuting Make Sense for Your Team? Here’s How to Tell

February 16th, 2016

As one of the Northwest’s top recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows that in today’s world, many employee want to be able to work from home. The trouble is, telecommuting isn’t always the right situation for every worker. So if an employee comes to you asking to telecommute, how can you determine whether or not it makes sense? Here are a five areas to evaluate:

#1: Your employee.

If the employee just started at your company and you don’t have an accurate sense of their work ethic and abilities, then let them know they need to complete their probationary period before you can consider such requests. If, however, the employee is tried and tested, as well as a valuable asset to the company, then consider letting them telecommute.

#2: The job.

Certain jobs are conducive to virtual work, while others are not. So when you’re making a decision about telecommuting, you have to look beyond the actual employee and evaluate their job, as well. You want to make sure they hold a position that can be done from home with minimal disruptions to the team.

#3: Whether or not they already work from home.

Thanks to technology, most employees no longer work between the hours of 9 to 5 at the office. They’re checking their emails, responding to requests, and clocking hours at home, as well. If this is the case, and especially if there are certain aspects of their job that they already perform from home, then it makes sense to let them telecommute for a portion of the work week.

#4. Your management style.

Your management style plays a part in whether or not to let employees telecommute. If you need employees on hand, and want to check in regularly with them in person, then letting employees telecommute may not be the best option for your management style and your team. However, keep in mind, that may also impact your ability to retain top performers.

#5. Your team.

Some teams need regular in person collaboration in order to be truly effective. It may be due to a certain project, or simply the nature of the work in general. Whatever the case, make sure you’re not setting your people up for failure if you allow telecommuting, but know it’s going to negatively impact performance.

Clearly, allowing employees to work from home isn’t the right decision for every company. But don’t just reject your employees’ requests because it’s never been done before either. If you’re still unsure, allow a couple “test” employees to work from home and evaluate their performance. Based on hard facts, you can then make the best decision about telecommuting going forward.

Do you need help hiring for your team, either virtual or in house? Call 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.

How Your Office Space Could Be Harming Your Employer Brand

February 2nd, 2016

Is your office old and stuffy? Are the computers completely outdated? Is it constantly freezing in the winter, and sweltering in the summer?

These issues may not seem like a big deal to you. But as the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows they’re likely wearing on your employees and could actually lead to higher turnover at your company. People want to go to work each day at a place they’re comfortable in…not completely frustrated by.

So what are the issues that cause the most annoyance among your staff? Expert Market, a UK Company, reports the following:

1. Super slow computers. Saving an Excel file should take a second, not an entire minute. If the latter is par for the course at your company, then it’s time for new computers or at least new operating systems.

2. Uncomfortable office chairs. When seating is uncomfortable, it can actually cause your employees back pain, which in turn makes them irritable. Office furniture is expensive, but it’s still vitally important to ensure your people have comfortable seating.

3. A printer that never works. When your printer is constantly breaking down, it’s time for a new one. It’s not worth the headache and hassle it takes, not to mention the big repair bills.

4. Less-than-optimal heating and cooling. Don’t force employees to freeze to death in the winter and boil in the summer. Make sure your office temperature isn’t falling in one extreme or the other.

5. Photocopier not working properly. It seems the copier always breaks down two minutes before a big client meeting. If this is the norm for your office, then save yourself the aggravation and buy a new one.

6. Poor lighting. When employees can’t see their work, they have to strain their eyes, which can lead to headaches in the short-term and eye damage in the long-term.

7. An old phone system. Are customers’ calls constantly being dropped? Is teleconferencing a major hassle? Is the reception staticy? It’s time for a phone system upgrade.

8. Unpleasant restrooms. Restrooms should always be clean and pleasant. Anything less is unacceptable for the workplace.

9. Cramped desks. You don’t need a high-end space in order to offer a comfortable, functional desk to employees.

10. Broken coffee machine. This is a no-no for every office. Make sure your coffee machine is of a decent quality so it’s not constantly breaking.

These issues may seem petty. But they’re a big deal to employees who have to deal with daily discomforts. It can impact employee morale and retention, not to mention your employer brand, when employees and former employees bash your workspace. You might need to get a little creative. But make sure you strive to offer your team a comfortable place to work, free from the issues above.

Do you need help hiring for your office? Call 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.

How to Spot Growth Potential in a Candidate

July 7th, 2015

When you’re looking to hire, you want someone with the right skills and abilities. However, as one of the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, Provisional knows you should also seek out those who have more to offer; in other words, those with growth potential. They may not have the leadership skills you need now, but with the right training and support, they can become your great leaders tomorrow.

How can this benefit your company? In a number of ways. First and foremost, you’re getting a better return on your investment. If you hire someone for a particular job and then enable them to reach their potential through additional training, they will add more value to your organization’s bottom line. You’re helping them, but you’re also helping yourself out in the process.

So how do you spot growth potential in a candidate? Here are some questions to ask during the interview help you:

Describe for me an important task or project you had to complete on your own.

A candidate with growth potential has to be able to work independently. So if they’ve never completed a task or project on their own, it could be an indication that their past managers didn’t trust them to do so or they weren’t comfortable without a circle of support.

Explain a time when you had to change gears on the job.

Today’s environment requires candidates with the ability to adapt quickly. If they can’t, then they’re not cut out for a leadership role. The person you’re looking for should be able to describe how they’ve been flexible in the past, rather than going into panic mode when something’s changed.

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?

When a candidate does, that’s usually a good indication that they like to learn. And those who enjoy learning new things are going to be much more open to new ideas and easier to train for leadership roles. Whether a candidate loves to bike, or enjoys gardening, look for passion, along with an eagerness to learn, to grow and improve.

Describe your perfect job to me?

When a candidate describes their ideal position, you’ll have a very clear sense of what their goals and ambitions are, as well as whether your position and your company are a fit for them.

Do you need more help interviewing and hiring those with growth potential for your company? Call 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.

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