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Upcoming Phone Interview? Here’s How to Nail It

May 2nd, 2017

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

Dig into the company’s background.

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

Practice your answers.

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

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

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

Set the stage.

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

Keep it short.

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

Speak slowly.

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

Be enthusiastic.

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

Need more help with your job search?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

3 FAQs About Phone Screen Interviews

January 10th, 2017

It used to be that if an employer was interested in you, they’d call you for an interview. Today, though, the norm is to conduct a phone screen first. As a result, you might have some questions about them – and how to best impress a hiring manager during one. To help you with the process, here are a few frequently asked questions and the answers:

Why do employers conduct phone screens?

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows there are a variety of reasons that employers conduct phone screens:

  • It’s an efficient and effective way to filter our weaker candidates and focus on the best fit ones. Rather than inviting 20 candidates into their office for an hour-long interview, employers can spend 15 minutes on the phone with each one and then create a shorter list of candidates they want to bring in for an interview.
  • In addition, conducting phone screens helps them to gauge your interest in the position and also fill in any gaps on your resume.
  • Also, it’s hard to get a sense of a candidate’s personality with a resume. But a phone screen gives employers some insight into your soft skills – such as communication – and whether you’d fit with the company’s culture.

Can I take a call for a phone screen during the workday?

If possible, try to schedule a phone screen before or after hours. If that’s not possible, then consider your lunch break and taking the call from your car as a possibility. Or, you can tell your boss you’ll be coming in late one day or leaving early and schedule your phone screen during one of those times.

But do not schedule a phone screen while you’re on the clock with your current employer. Most reasonable employers will understand that you have a job and therefore are somewhat limited as to when you can take these calls.

How long should I wait if the hiring manager doesn’t call or pick up?

If you’re supposed to call the hiring manager – and they don’t answer, double check the number and make sure you have the right one. If you do, or if they’re supposed to call you at an appointed time and they don’t, wait five minutes. They could simply be running late from a meeting.

If, however, after a few minutes you don’t hear anything, then call and leave them a message. Leave your name, phone number, reason for the call, and also how much longer you will be available for. In any case, don’t stress about this too much. It’s very likely not a reflection of you as a candidate but probably due to a busy hiring manager’s schedule.

Have more questions about phone screens? Need expert help finding a new job? Let Provisional be your answer to all your job search needs. 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.

4 Tips for Planning Out Your Career in 2017

December 27th, 2016

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of your career, an industry veteran, or you’re ready for a change, you need a plan – specifically, a career plan – if you want to get ahead. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows a career plan will help you carefully strategize your career, so you can achieve your goals. Not sure where to start? Follow these tips to begin the process:

#1: Determine your final destination.

What’s your dream job? Where do you ultimately want to end up? You have to be clear on where it is you want to go in order to develop a career plan. If you’re not sure, then ask yourself where you want to be in the next two years, five years and 10 years. Be completely honest with yourself in the process.

Beyond just thinking about the kind of work you want to do, also consider the type of company you want to work for. For instance, what type of culture do you prefer? How much travel do you want to do? What kind of schedule do you want to work? Knowing your ideal work environment will help you better evaluate and find opportunities that are right for you.

#2: Find out what it takes to get there.

In other words, what skills, knowledge and experience do you need to obtain to reach your ultimate career goal? Do you need an advanced college degree? Or simply a certification? Do you need more experience in what you’re already doing under your belt? Carefully think about and consider the investment of time and other resources it will take in order for you to reach your career goals.

#3: Write it out.

You know where you want to go – and what you have to do to get there. Now get all that information out of your head and onto a piece of paper. There’s power in writing out your career plan for several reasons.

  • First, it will help you really think through each step and every goal in the process.
  • Second, you can then modify and edit where needed. For instance, maybe you need to break one big goal into multiple smaller goals and steps to make it more realistic.
  • And third, seeing your plan in print will make it seem more tangible and easier to commit to.

#4: Put it into practice.

Now it’s time to step outside your comfort zone and just do it. The first step can be hard and you might feel uncertain. But you’ll never know what’s possible if you don’t step out. And once your successes start to add up, it will be easier to keep going.

Ready for a better career – and more success – in 2017? Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

5 Tips for Surviving – and Thriving – in a Panel Interview

October 25th, 2016

You’ve had plenty of interviews with hiring managers, one-on-one. But now you have your first panel interview coming up. What should you expect – and how can you deliver the best performance? Here are 5 tips to help you:

Tip #1: Know the panel.

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that before the interview, it’s important to know who’s on the panel so you can best prepare. Most panels consist of representatives from various sides of the business – for instance, HR, executive level, and the department you’ll be working in. So ask your company contact if they can tell you about the mix of people on the panel. They’ll most likely be able to give you a list of those you’ll be interviewing with.

Tip #2: Try to engage everyone.

If you interviewed with the hiring manager before – and built a rapport with them – they might feel like the safe person in the room. But don’t aim all your attention and answers at them. Try to engage everyone on the panel with your responses. When answering a specific person’s question, look them in the eye and strive to persuade them that you’re the right fit for the job.

Tip #3: Be aware of your body language.

It’s only natural to be more nervous during a panel interview. But it’s important to look cool, calm and collected on the outside. So be sure to sit up straight, make eye contact with those you’re speaking to, don’t fidget, and smile at the people interviewing you.

Tip #4: Be prepared to tell stories.

One of the best ways to engage your interviewers is through stories. So before your interview, think of a few real-world examples of accomplishments most relevant to the job. When one of the interviewer’s asks about your problem solving skills, for instance, then illustrate through a real-world example about how you solved a conflict or issue at work. Doing so will bring your background to life and make a much stronger impression among the group.

Tip #5: Hold a mock interview.

If you’re really nervous about an upcoming panel interview, hold a mock one with friends or family. Ask them to develop some typical interview questions and not to hold back on you. Have someone standing by, recording the interview. That way, you can both practice your answers, as well as critique your performance once it’s over.

If you need more help preparing for your next interview – or finding out about great job opportunities in the area, call 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.

5 Tips for Dealing With a Rude Co-Worker

July 26th, 2016

From gossiping to bullying, the office can sometimes feel more like the school yard that a professional place of business. If you’re working in this kind of environment, it can seriously impact your success at work – from decreased productivity to lower work quality and higher rates of absenteeism. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows if it gets bad enough, you may even feel like you have no other choice but to leave your job.

Before you make a move, however, first consider these 5 tips for handling the situation:

Tip #1: Stay calm.

It’s tempting to blow up at your rude co-worker. And while doing so might feel good in the moment, it won’t help resolve the situation – plus you’ll wind up looking bad. Instead, get a hold of your anger and vent it later to someone you trust.

Tip #2: Don’t take it personally.

It’s easy to get offended when someone is rude. But keep in mind: Your co-worker’s behavior says more about them, then it does about it. In addition, if you are generally a more sensitive person, take a step back before you react. Doing so can help you to more objectively figure out the situation. It may be a case of you taking remarks or behavior too personally.

Tip #3: Try to understand your rude co-worker.

If they’re only rude to you, there must be a reason why. And if you’re going to nip the behavior in the bud, it’s important that you know the root cause of it first. So approach your co-worker and ask to meet in private. When you do, calmly explain how their behavior appears to you and see if there is a specific reason for it. It may be a simple misunderstanding, or they might not realize they’re coming across as rude.

Tip #4: Let it go.

Whether or not your co-worker changes their behavior, there comes a point in time where you need to let it go. If you can avoid working alongside them, then try that instead. You can’t control others, but you can control your reaction to them. So by mentally letting go of the situation – and your anger about it – you’re actually re-asserting control over it.

Tip #5: Escalate the issue.

That said, if your co-worker’s behavior is bordering on bullying, discrimination, or worse, then it’s time to escalate the situation. Talk to your boss or someone in HR. It’s also important to document the behavior – what was said and when – so you have a written record to back up your claims. When you do approach HR or higher ups, stay calm and professional as you discuss the situation and explain that you’d like to work toward a resolution.

If you have rude co-workers, or you’re not happy in your job, let Provisional help you find a new opportunity that’s a good fit for you. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve placed more than 8,000 employees with leading local employers since 1994. And we can help you too!

Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

Fact Vs. Fiction: 5 Job Search Myths You Need to Ignore

July 12th, 2016

When it comes to job search, you may have certain beliefs about the hiring process and how it all unfolds. Unfortunately, as one of the leading employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that oftentimes these beliefs aren’t rooted in reality. To help ensure you’re on the same page as potential employers, here are a few myths to ignore:

1. With so many candidates out there, I need to use gimmicks to stand out.

Some candidates overnight their resume or send fancy gifts to hiring managers. But these approaches won’t get you a job interview. What will? It’s simple really – a solid resume with a track record of success and a great cover letter that shows why you’re a fit for the job.

2. It’s been a week and I haven’t heard back. That means I didn’t get the job.

You might think a week is a enough time for an employer to make a decision. But in reality, hiring can take a long time – a lot longer than most candidates assume. If a month goes by, then you’re probably not in the running. But if it’s only been a week, don’t assume the worst.

3. I meet all the qualifications, so I’m a shoo-in.

Meeting all the qualifications of the job description doesn’t mean you’ll get the job – or even an interview. In fact, most employers get resumes from many highly qualified candidates for each position and they only have time to interview so many. So just because you’re a good fit, doesn’t mean you’ll get hired.

4. I had a great interview so I know I’ll get the job.

Don’t assume anything – and don’t stop your job search until you have a formal offer letter. A great interview is certainly a step in the right direction. But anything can happen after your interview. Another candidate could perform even better than you did. Or there could be a last-minute decision to postpone the hiring process due to budget issues. There are myriad things that could happen – so don’t presume anything until you have an offer.

5. My advanced degree will make me stand out.

In certain fields, a graduate degree is the norm. So having one will simply make you a competitive candidate – not one that will necessarily stand out. In other fields, it’s not required – and employers may find it irrelevant as a result. They’re looking more for a record of accomplishments and strong soft skills – like a good attitude and work ethic.

Finding the right job can be a tough journey to navigate. If you’d like expert help with the process, contact 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.

5 Job Search Blunders New College Grads Make

May 24th, 2016

You just graduated from college. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part – finding a job opportunity that’s right for you. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows it can be an intimidating process for even the most confident candidate. However, you can increase your odds of landing a terrific first position by avoiding the following 5 blunders.

Blunder #1: Including all your coursework on your resume.

If you took marketing courses and are applying for a position in marketing, then it’s certainly a good idea to include your marketing coursework on your resume. But don’t go so far as to list every college class you took. Instead, focus on any relevant work experiences, whether volunteer, work study, internships, jobs, or independent studies. Employers want to see experience not academics.

Blunder #2: Sending in a five-page resume.

Even professionals with 10 or 15 years of experience shouldn’t have resumes this long. Try to keep your resume to a page, two pages maximum. Anything more than that will make you look self important and out-of-touch to a hiring manager.

Blunder #3: Not having realistic expectations.

You may have graduated with honors. But that doesn’t mean you’re qualified for a cushy job with the corner office. As a new graduate, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what you’re qualified for. Otherwise, you’re going to have a frustrating and disappointing job search.

Blunder #4: Not using your network.

Many jobs are filled through referrals. That means the more you network, the stronger your chances of finding a great position. Those in your network can refer you to potential jobs and hiring managers, and also give you tips and advice about getting hired in your field. So put your shyness aside and reach out to those you know for help.

Blunder #5: Treating every job the same.

Not every job is created equal – and not every resume you submit should be the same. You need to tailor your resume and cover letter to each job you’re applying to. In some cases, it might mean minor tweaks; in other cases, it could include some bigger edits. But the more customized your resume is to a job, the better your shot at getting noticed by the hiring manager.

Would you like more advice and help finding your first professional job in Spokane? 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.

You’ve Made Some Career Resolutions. Here’s How to Keep Them

December 22nd, 2015

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows when it comes to career resolutions, making them is easy. What’s hard is sticking to the resolutions and actually achieving them…especially when times get tough. How can you do it? Here are some steps to help you get started:

Step #1: Rank your resolutions in order of priority.

Ok, so you have a lot of resolutions. The question is: how will you achieve them all? Start by prioritizing each one. When you have too much to do, it’s easy to lose focus and not get anything done. But when you know what you absolutely must get done vs. lesser important goals, it will be easier to make progress.

Step #2: Develop a plan for achieving your resolutions.

Do you want to find a new job? Get promoted? Change fields? Whatever your career resolutions are, you need to create a plan to achieve them. Your resolution is your end destination; your action plan is how you will get there. Make sure you break up each resolution into specific tasks and assign each a completion date.

Step #3: Be realistic with yourself.

When it comes to making resolutions, be sure you’re being realistic. One of the quickest ways to set yourself up for failure is when you have goals that are unattainable. For example, completing your MBA in one year will be hard to do, especially if you have a young family. Committing to taking two classes a semester is more realistic.

Step #4: Challenge yourself.

That said, don’t make weak or too-easy resolutions. You want to challenge yourself to achieve new heights in your career. To do that, you need goals and resolutions that will motivate and inspire you.

Step #5: Monitor your progress.

Make sure you regularly monitor your progress to ensure you’re on track toward achieving your resolutions. Take the time to review your progress and identify areas that are going well, in addition to those that need improvement.

Step #6: Spread the word about your resolutions.

It may sounds scary, but it’s important to tell people about your resolutions. When you do, you’ll be more likely to hold yourself accountable throughout the process.

Step #7: Treat yourself.

When you achieve an important resolution, or a milestone on your way to a goal, celebrate by rewarding yourself. It will help you stay motivated so you can maintain your positive progress.

If one of your resolutions is to find a new job in 2016, Provisional can help. 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.

4 Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers

December 8th, 2015

Have you ever noticed that some job candidates land jobs right away; while others struggle for months or even over a year to find a new job? This is rarely due to luck or coincidence. Rather, those who find jobs faster oftentimes display certain habits that make them more effective in their search. What are they? Here’s a look:

They toot their own horns.

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that promoting yourself can be uncomfortable. After all, you don’t want to sound like you’re bragging.

However, if you don’t toot your own horn, who will? It’s up to you to convince a hiring manager you’re just right for the role – and to do so, you need to clearly communicate your strengths and accomplishments. Make sure you get specific with examples of past relevant experiences and how you were able to deliver great results for those employers. Hiring managers want to make sure you’re going to positively impact the bottom line. It’s up to you to show them you can.

They’re always networking.

Strong candidates know that every social opportunity is a chance to network. As a result, they have a rich group of contacts to tap when searching for a new opportunity. And considering that many jobs are filled by referrals, this is certainly an effective approach to the job search. So if you don’t spend much time networking, now’s the time to start.

They focus on gaining new knowledge.

The best candidates understand that employers want people with new knowledge and a willingness to learn. To join their ranks, enroll in a continuing education class, attend an industry seminar, or go to a conference. Get that professional certification or degree you’ve always been meaning to. While you’re at it, don’t just focus on your career. Start gardening, take a yoga class, or join a reading club. Whatever it is you enjoy doing, keep your mind and body busy. You’ll gain new skills and knowledge that could give you a fresh perspective on your work.

They’re positive and persistent.

Job searches can be stressful, no doubt. But the most effective candidates don’t let any uncertainty or frustration get to them. Instead, they maintain a positive and persistent attitude, tirelessly searching out job leads, networking, and following up until they uncover the ideal opportunity.

Do you need more help finding your next great job? Call 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.

The Lowdown on Different Types of Job Interviews…And How to Nail Each One

November 17th, 2015

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that no candidate looks forward to an interview. Oftentimes, they can feel more like an interrogation. This is especially true of you go to an interview expecting a one-on-one and wind up in front of a panel. To help you avoid this situation and feel prepared and confident, here’s a look at different types of interview situations and how to deal with each one:

#1. Phone Screens

Phone screens give hiring managers a chance to learn more about you without having to invest a lot of time. To prepare for one, make sure you:

  • Have access to a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Prepare ahead of time, just as you would with a regular interview. For instance, research the company and create a list of questions about the position.
  • Be ready to sell yourself and why you’re a good fit for the job.
  • Keep your resume and notes by your side regarding points you want to get across, so you can reference them as needed.

#2. Job Fairs

A job fair interview is another situation in which you’ll face an employer and have the opportunity to win a full-on interview in their office…if you make a positive impression. When you go to a job fair, make sure you:

  • Find out which companies are attending and make a list of those you’re most interested in.
  • Bring plenty of copies of your resume and business card.
  • Practice a short 30-second sound byte about who you are and what you do so you can easily answer the “Tell me about yourself question” that is bound to come your way.
  • Dress professionally. Job fairs aren’t casual affairs; remember, it will be the first time your next potential employer interacts with you. So you want to make the best impression possible.

#3. Panels

The panel interview is the most feared. And for good reason. It’s much harder to engage with a group of interviewers than just one. To help you keep your nerves in check, make sure to:

  • Find out who will be interviewing you ahead of time and look them up online.
  • Focus on each person during the interview, don’t just focus on those you feel most connected to. That means making eye contact with everyone and addressing each person individually at some point.
  • Send a follow up thank you note to each interviewer afterward. Be sure to write something unique in each note in case they compare notes.

#4. Follow ups.

Depending on the position you’re interviewing for, you may have to go back for several follow up interviews. Employers use second and third round interviews to ensure they don’t make a hiring mistake. To help you stay motivated throughout the process, be sure to:

  • Think about why you want a job. List the best aspects of the opportunity and why you’d want to work there.
  • Find out from the employer when they plan to make a hiring decision. Once you have a sense of the end date, it will be easier and less nerve-wracking to stick out the process.

Need more help nailing your next interview? Give Provisional a call. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you craft a great resume and polish your interviewing skills so you land the job you want! Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

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