Provisional Blog

5 Common Job Seeker Mistakes that Will Sabotage Your Search

September 4th, 2018

When you’re looking for a new job in Spokane, you know you need to network, customize your resume, and prepare for interviews. But did you know there are mistakes you might be making right now that could be hurting your chances of finding a new opportunity, sabotaging all that hard work in the process? Here’s what they are and how to avoid them:

You’re sending in a resume that’s too long.
Hiring managers only spend a few seconds on each resume. So if yours is three or four pages long, it’s not going to get read. Keep in mind that your resume should simply offer the highlights of your career, it shouldn’t go into detail about every aspect of it. If you have a ton experience, a two-page resume is acceptable. If you’re entry level, though, keep it to one page.

You’re using a generic cover letter.
When you’re looking for jobs in Spokane and sending in the same cover letter to every company, hiring managers will notice. You’re not going to make a favorable impression when it’s obvious you’re submitting a cover letter that 20 other employers have received. Instead, take the time to tailor yours. Research the company, identify their hiring needs and challenges, and think about what specific skills and accomplishments you have that are most relevant. Then talk about them in your cover letter.

You’re casting too wide of a net.
When you apply to too many jobs, you’re stretching yourself thin and therefore won’t be able to focus your efforts on those Spokane jobs you’re truly qualified for. Instead, pick and choose. If you’re not sure about a position, don’t apply. Only send your application in for those opportunities you’re truly interested in.

You’re not preparing for interviews.
There are plenty of job candidates in and around Spokane who want the same jobs as you. That’s why you need to set yourself apart. One way to do that is through preparation. Make sure you learn about the company, what they do, whom they serve, and where you can fit in and make a contribution. This will help you to answer questions more intelligently, so you stand out in the process.

You’re going it alone.
Sometimes, you need expert help when it comes to a job search. This is especially true if you’re changing careers or aren’t having any luck on your own. That’s when it’s time to get help from an employment firm. They’ll be able to offer objective advice and guidance on your resume, cover letter, interview skills and more. As a result, you can often find a better-fit job faster.

Ready to learn more about the difference a professional can make in your job search?
Contact Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to finding job leads and getting interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

5 Tips for Job Interview Etiquette

June 13th, 2017

You can have all the experience in the world. But, as one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows if you don’t follow proper job search etiquette, then you’re not going to land the job you want. So what are some basics to keep in mind as you start interviewing? Here’s a look at 5 of them:

#1: Dress the part.

Don’t show up to a formal interview in business casual attire, or worse. If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to dress the part. And that still means a suit. Keep in mind too, it’s better to overdress than to underdress. So choose a dark, solid color suit, a pressed shirt, polished shoes, and simple, manicured hair and nails.

#2: Show up on time.

Nothing ruins your chances of an offer quite like showing up 10 minutes late to an interview. It shows a lack of care and preparation. The interviewer will wonder whether you really want to the job and if you make being late a habit. It’s not a good foot to get started on. That’s why you should leave early enough to get to the interview location a few minutes ahead of schedule.

#3: Be polite.

From the secretary to the CEO, be polite to everyone you meet during an interview. Many companies will ask everyone who came into contact with candidates about first impressions. So if you’re rude to the receptionist, but go out of your way to make small talk with an executive, it won’t reflect well on you. Keep in mind, during an interview, everyone’s watching.

Also, when you’re interviewing, be sure to address everyone by name, make eye contact, smile, and offer a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview.

#4: Follow up with a thank you note.

Send either a handwritten or emailed thank you note to those you interviewed with to solidify the positive impression you made. Keep it short and simple, offering your thanks for their time and reiterating why you’re a good fit for the job.

#5: Don’t be pushy.

That said, don’t be pushy and start following up every day with phone calls and emails. If the interviewer said you’d hear from them by Monday and it’s now Wednesday, it’s ok to follow up. But other than that, don’t get aggressive with your follow up unless you want to annoy the interviewer and get passed over for the job.

Need more help finding out about job leads or nailing your next interview?

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.

Do’s & Don’ts for Handling the Job Offer Waiting Game

November 22nd, 2016

As one of Spokane’s top employment firms, Provisional knows that the job search waiting game can be excruciating. You wait to hear back after submitting your resume. You wait to get a call for an interview. You wait to hear back after the interview. And this can go on for several rounds.

So what can you do to stay patient during such a stress-filled process? Here are several do’s and don’ts:

Don’t stop your job search.

Just because an opportunity seems promising and you think you’ll get an offer doesn’t mean you should stop looking. Instead, stay occupied by continuing your search. That way, if you don’t get the offer you were after, you don’t have to start up the search process all over again. Plus, you might find out about an even better position.

Don’t check your email every five minutes.

If you do, you’ll drive yourself crazy and get even more stressed out. Instead, aim to check it once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and again at the end of the day. Other than that, put your phone down or keep your email account closed throughout the rest of your day.

Do keep busy.

Besides keeping your job search going, make sure you’re staying busy with other activities. If you’re unemployed, then pick up a new hobby or volunteer at a local homeless shelter. Just get your mind off yourself and your job search for a while.

Don’t pester the hiring manager.

They said you’d hear back in a week. It’s now been a week and one day. It’s tempting to follow up with a call or email. But sit back and wait a while longer. If you come on too strong or overeager, it can weaken your negotiating stance when it’s time to talk about the offer.

Also, keep in mind,  a hiring manager is likely busy filling many different positions, not just the one you interviewed for, and may need a few extra days to get back to you. That said, if they told you they’d call you in a week and it’s been over two weeks, then follow up.

Do take rejection graciously.

You thought the job was yours. But you just found out you didn’t get the offer. It’s ok to be disappointed. Just make sure you don’t take it out on the hiring manager. Thank them for their time. Also ask them to keep you in mind for future opportunities or to connect on LinkedIn.

Need more help with your job search? Call Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment firms, we know what companies are looking for – and can help you find job leads, craft the best resume and prepare for interviews, all so you get the offer you’re after. If you’re searching for work and need help, contact Provisional today.

How to Handle Bad Feedback at Work

September 27th, 2016

You think all is well and you’re delivering great work. But then your boss blind-sides you with some negative remarks. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows it’s probably extremely tough to swallow and tempting to get defensive. But turn the negative into a positive by following these 4 steps:

Step #1: Don’t get emotional.

When employees hear constructive criticism, their first step is to get upset and defend their performance or behavior. But you’ll just come across as overly sensitive to your boss.

Instead, don’t react immediately and take the time to process the comments your boss makes. After a day or two, you may realize that they’re the right. Or you may see the remarks as unfair. But when you don’t react emotionally and immediately, you’ll come across as more professional and open to feedback.

Step #2: Schedule some one-on-one time with your boss.

Your boss might give you feedback you don’t clearly understand or want to discuss further. So once you’ve had time to process their remarks, schedule a sit down with them. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and for specific examples, which in turn can help ensure you’re both on the same page and clear about the situation and what steps to take going forward.

Step #3: Make sure they have the full picture.

Your boss might only be seeing the situation from a very high level. So provide any missing details to ensure they have a full picture. For instance, if you didn’t include last quarter’s earnings in the most recent report – because Bob had them and was out sick all week – make sure your boss knows this.

It’s important to show that you’re open to feedback and not making excuses. But, at the same time, if there is a good reason for an incomplete report or missed deadline, then it’s important to inform your boss about it.

Step #4: Put it to work.

If there’s an area you need to improve on, then own it and put an action plan together. When you’re open to accepting and implementing feedback, you’ll be a stronger employee – and a more valuable company asset – in the long run.

Ready to put an action plan together for finding a great new job? 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 for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

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

Should You Wear Different Clothes to Second Interview?

June 14th, 2016

You just got a call for a second interview. Congratulations! But now that excitement is turning into nerves. What can you do to ace your next interview? And do you have to wear different clothes the second time around?

To answer the last question first, yes, you should wear something different for your second interview. Ideally, it’s another suit. If you don’t have a big wardrobe budget, you can go to a second hand store to find a good deal. If that’s not an option, then at the very least, make sure you wear a different shirt and tie, or blouse with your suit.

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows it’s true that the employer may not notice whether or not you wear the same suit. But if they do notice, you don’t want it to be something they factor into their decision.

So now that you know what to wear to your second interview, how do you prepare? Here are some tips to follow:

Be prepared for different questions.

During the first interview, you were probably asked a variety of general questions. For the second interview, however, you’ll probably be asked more specific questions about the job. You may even be asked questions along the lines of: “What would you do if…”

Be sure to prepare different questions.

Likewise, you may have asked more general questions during the first interview about the opportunity. Now’s a good time to dig in deeper and get more specific with your questions so you can assess whether the job is really a good fit for you. Also, be sure to take notes during the interview so you can remember things you want to ask about.

Be ready to sell yourself.

Now that you know more about the position, be prepared to sell yourself and why you’re the best match for the job. Before the interview, think of a few accomplishments you’d like to bring up that you didn’t discuss during the first interview – and why they’re relevant for the job.

Be sure to say thank you.

After the interview, make sure you follow up with each interviewer thanking them for the opportunity. In your email, re-iterate your interest in the position and why you’re a good fit.

Do you need more help getting a second interview? Or a first one for that matter? Call the employment 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 for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

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

How to Find Your Dream Job (It’s Not as Hard as You Think)

February 23rd, 2016

Getting hired for a job can be hard. Getting hired for your dream job, though, can be downright impossible. So if you’re tired of just going to work each day and are looking for that job you absolutely love, how do you go about finding it? Here are some tips to help you:

Know Yourself.

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows your first step toward creating a more fulfilling career requires you to look inward. You need to ask yourself: What exactly is it that you want out of your career? Think about your strengths, values and passions so you can get a clear sense of the type of role that makes you happiest.

Look to Others.

Are there other people in your life who have jobs you can only dream about? Well, stop dreaming and start asking. One of the secrets to success is to model the behavior of other successful people. So if you know people who are working in the kind of job you want, ask how they got there, what challenges they faced, and how they overcame them.

Identify Your Dream Employers.

Are there a handful of companies you’d do anything to work for? Does it seem like they never advertise any job openings? That’s because, many times, when organizations need to hire, they fill positions through referrals. As a result, it’s critically important for you to network so you can find out about any up-and-coming job opportunities. If there is a position available, having someone you know walk your resume to HR and refer you is a huge competitive advantage over other candidates.

Ease Into New Opportunities.

If you’re making a complete career change, then it might be a good idea to ease into your new situation. For instance, try to work part-time at it while you’re still in your current position. The only way to find out whether it’s the right opportunity for you is to actually do the work. But by easing into it, you’re also mitigating the risk, as well.

Be Realistic About Expectations.

Even if you land your dream job, keep in mind that it’s not going to be perfect. Every job comes with ups and downs, so be realistic about your expectations. You will still have days you love going to work, and others where you just want to go back to sleep. But if you’re in a job you truly love, then the good will far outweigh the bad.

Do you need help finding your dream job? Call 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.

Looking for a New Job? Ask Your Network for Help

February 9th, 2016

Are you searching for a new job opportunity in Spokane? If you are, you’re likely busy combing through online job postings and career websites. However, as one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows your next great job lead could be right under your nose – and in your network. In fact, the majority of positions are filled through networking.

So how can you leverage the power of your connections – so you find your next great job? Here are some tips to help you:

Connect with people individually.

Rather than sending out a mass email or a group text asking the people in your network for job search help, reach out individually. When you’re communicating with someone on a one-on-one basis, they’ll be far more likely to respond then to a group text or email. Even if they’re busy, they’ll feel a responsibility to get back to you.

Give them details so they understand what you’re looking for.

In order for your network to help you in your job search, they need to understand what kind of opportunity you’re looking for. Now’s not the time to be vague. Be as specific as possible with details about the kind of job you want, including job title, employers you may be interested in working for, and any limitations, such as no traveling. The more they know, the better the chances are they can connect you with the right opportunity.

Don’t forget about those outside your field.

Just because someone doesn’t work in your field doesn’t mean they can’t help you with your job search. Even if they’re an IT pro and you’re an accounting whiz, their company could be looking for someone just like you. So reach out to those outside your field to try to learn about any possibilities.

Be professional, no matter what.

If someone doesn’t follow through, ignores your emails or phone calls, or blows you off, it can be annoying. But don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Simply shake it off and move onto to someone in your network who is willing to help.

If you’re trying to network your way into a new opportunity, Provisional can help. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

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

Why Employers Ask for a Salary History

July 28th, 2015

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows when it comes to the hiring process, many candidates are hesitant about giving their salary histories. If you’re one of them, you may view the request as invasive. Or you may see it as a way for a new employer to offer you less than what you think you’re worth.

But the reality of the situation is that many employers ask for a salary history – and when they do, you really need to give it. Otherwise, they’ll think you have something to hide. Keep in mind too, the information is really just a phone call away for them. They can simply contact your last employer and inquire about it.

So why is it that employers want to know your salary history? Here are two reasons:

  1. They’re using it as a benchmark. A good employer knows you want a pay raise when you make a move in your career. And they’re not trying to sabotage those efforts. However, they don’t want to overpay you either. So if you make $50k a year, they will assume a salary of $60k will be acceptable.
  2. They’re using it as a performance evaluator. Employers want to see that you are steadily earning more. It means to them that you are also steadily performing better. Being able to demonstrate an increase tells them you’ve performed well on the job. However, if you’re making the same as you were 10 years ago, then it signals a problem to them.

With that in mind, how can you approach the salary negotiation process – and end up with a great offer?

Know what you’re worth. Do some research to find out the fair market value for someone with the same or similar background as you. That way, if an employer is offering less, you’ll not only know, but also be able to offer hard numbers as to why you should earn more.

Think about benefits. When assessing an offer, don’t just automatically dismiss it if it’s less than what you wanted. For instance, if the compensation package an employer is offering is $60k and your current compensation package is worth $65k, then use that gap as leverage to negotiate more benefits, such as better health insurance, a flex schedule or dental insurance.

Be honest. Whatever you do, always be honest with a prospective employer. Remember, an employer can request a W2 from a past employer to find out what your salary is – so if you lie and get caught, you’ll lose out on the job opportunity.

Do you need more help with the job search process? Call Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

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

How to Answer the “Why Do You Want This Job?” Interview Question

March 10th, 2015

As one of the top employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows when it comes to job interviews, there are some commonly asked questions all candidates should prepare for. One of them is: “Why do you want this job?” A variation is: “Why do you want to work here?”

In either case, it’s up to you – the job candidate – to convince the hiring manager or person conducting the interview that you’re not just looking for any job; you’re looking for this job. How do you do that? Follow these tips:

Tip #1: Do Your Homework

If you don’t know much about the company, learn about it. Go online and review their website. Find out about the company history, vision, mission, competition, challenges, and goals they want to achieve.

Also, if you know someone who works at the company, reach out to them so you can learn more about the organization from an insider’s perspective. What’s important to the leadership? What skills are prized there? What’s the culture like? The more you know, the more you’ll be able to hone in on reasons you want to work for the company. In addition, when you’ve done your homework, you’ll be able to stand out as a competent and informed candidate.

Tip #2: Know There’s No Right Answer

Besides enthusiasm for the job and the employer, the hiring manager is looking to see that you have researched the company. They want to know that you’re not just applying to every job out there. They want proof that you’ve really thought through the opportunity and are eager to land it.

Tip #3: Practice Your Answer Ahead of Time

Once you know the reason or reasons you want to work for the company, write down and practice your answer ahead of time. While you don’t want to come off as too rehearsed, you also need to know the message you want to get across.

So what should your answer sound like? Something like the following:

“Based on the research I’ve conducted, I’ve learned your organization has an excellent reputation as an industry leader. I was impressed with all the awards and client list on your website, as well as the new initiatives – like the ABC project – you’re undertaking. Yours is the kind of company I’ve been looking for, where my experience can really be utilized in order to help the company achieve it goals for the future.”

Next time a hiring manager asks you why you want to work at a company, don’t be caught off guard – and blurt out something like “Because I need a job.” While that might be the case, be prepared ahead of time with an answer that will help you stay-top-of-mind.

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

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

How to Answer Tough Interview Questions

November 30th, 2009

Imagine this situation:

You’re in the middle of interviewing for an amazing new job at one of the top companies in Spokane. You’ve nailed every single question asked and then you get a curveball:

“If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”

You think to yourself, what in the world does this have to do with an accounting job?  

This type of interview question is designed to stump you. The interviewer wants to see how you react and how quickly you can think on your feet.  So how would you respond?

Here’s what to do and what NOT to do in this kind of situation:

• Don’t let the question rattle you. Simply smile and take a deep breath.
• Ask for a moment to give it some thought. A moment of silence or a pause in the conversation is better than blurting out a ridiculous answer.
• If you don’t know what the interviewer is fishing for in your answer, then ask for clarification or for an example. Many times by discussing the question in this way, an answer will come to you.
• If you still can’t think of a good answer, simply ask the interviewer to come back to that question.
• Also, don’t worry about being brilliant or witty. Just be yourself and give an honest response. There is rarely a wrong answer to these kinds of questions.
Here are some examples of other unexpected job interview questions that may come your way:
• If you could have dinner with anyone from history, living or dead, who would it be and why?
• Who do you admire the most and why?
• If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Also, while you can’t prepare for every off-the-wall question, make sure you ARE prepared for the basic questions, such as:

• Tell me about yourself?
• Where do you see yourself in one year? Five years?
• Tell me about a time when you successfully handled a complicated situation?
• What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
• What do you consider your biggest career achievement?
• Why should we hire you?
• Why do you want this job?

As Spokane’s leading staffing and recruiting agency, Provisional knows what employers are looking for during job interviews.  If you’re searching for work and need help preparing for an interview, please contact Provisional today. We can help.