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Provisional Blog

5 Interview Questions to Help You Uncover the Real Candidate

May 9th, 2017

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that during the interview process, you want to really get to know each candidate so you can make the best hiring decision. But that can be tough when candidates are so well prepared and practiced. In fact, candidates know you’re going to be asking questions, such as “why do you want the job?” and “what are your biggest strengths?” And, chances are, they’ve rehearsed their answers.

So how can you get behind the candidate mask and uncover the real person?

You need to go beyond the typical interview questions so that candidates have to think on their feet. That way, you’ll be able to better gauge whether they’re the right fit for you. Here are 5 questions to ask:

1. How did you end up as a [fill in their job title here]?

Asking this question serves a few purposes. First, it’s a good ice-breaker. It also gives you some insight into what motivates a candidate. In addition, it can reveal essential details about their strengths and weaknesses.

2. What’s your most significant career accomplishment?

This question forces a candidate to get outside of vague puffery and instead dig into details that can help you assess their fit. Asking a question like this is also a good way to get a candidate to open up and learn more about their work habits and how they went about achieving success.

3. Tell me about a time in your career when things didn’t go as planned.

By asking this question, you’re not necessarily looking for a candidate to point out their mistakes or weaknesses. After all, we all have them. What you should be looking for is a measure of accountability and self-awareness. A smart candidate will not only tell you about a situation, but also what they learned from it.

4. How do you think this opportunity will fit in with your overall career aspirations?

This question helps you gain insight into how a candidate operates, what motivates them, and where they’re looking to go in the future. It will also help you to evaluate whether your company can offer the kinds of opportunities for growth they’re looking for. If you can’t and they end up accepting an offer, they could wind up frustrated and disengaged.

5. How do you like to be managed?

Asking this question will help you to assess whether or not a candidate will fit with the team and their potential manager. So, if you’re looking for an employee who’s an independent thinker and doesn’t need a lot of hand holding, then someone who requires a constant stream of feedback might not be the best match.

If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to hiring, turn to the experts at Provisional.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring – from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, screening and recruiting top candidates for your company.

Just give us a call today to learn more.

When an Employee Resigns…and You Didn’t See It Coming

December 20th, 2016

Even if you’re the best manager in the world, you’re going to have to deal with employee resignations. The situation can be especially hard when it’s a top employee, as well as someone you like and respect.

But fear not.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows there are steps you can take to handle the situation with care and even learn from it too. Here’s a look:

Don’t get upset with your employee.

When an employee quits, it’s typically after a lot of thoughtful consideration. They’re not making the decision out of the blue. And while you may feel shocked and blindsided by it, that doesn’t give you license to get angry or start interrogating your employee.

In fact, putting your employee on the defensive won’t help matters – and may even further confirm their decision to leave. Instead, stay calm and keep the situation in perspective. Also, be sure to ask them about when their last day will be so you can start planning ahead.

Set up an exit interview.

It’s important to find out why an employee is leaving so you can overcome issues with turnover in the future. Is it the compensation? Work duties? Schedule? Or culture?

Whatever the case, set up a time to interview your outgoing employee so you can ask what they liked while working for you, and areas that could use some improvement.

Make sure your legal bases are covered.

If your employee has a contract, or signed a non-disclosure agreement, the exit interview is a good time to bring this up and make sure they review it before leaving. Also ask about any company property to ensure it’s returned before their last day on the job. And finally, make sure your provide your employee with an relevant legal notices, such as information about accrued wages and COBRA benefits.

Plan ahead.

Before the employee leaves, it’s important to put a plan in place to fill the gap they’ll leave behind. Will they be able to stay and train a co-worker on their job duties? Are they available for phone calls and questions from a new hire? Another option is bringing in a temporary or contract worker to fill the gap until you hire someone full-time.

When an employee quits – and you don’t see it coming – it can be a challenging situation. But follow the steps above and you can handle it in the best way possible.

Need help filling an empty seat at work? Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring – from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, screening and recruiting top candidates for your company. Just give us a call today to learn more.

4 Ideas for Creating a Culture Employees Love

December 1st, 2015

The best employees want more than just good salary and benefits. They want to go to work at a place they believe in; one that offers support, advancement opportunities, and the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

But, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we know that not every culture delivers. And unfortunately, not having a positive workplace culture can impact your ability to recruit, hire and retain the very best employees.

The good news is that you don’t have to be on the Fortune 100 list to create a company with a great culture. Instead, start by implementing some of these core concepts:

#1: Communication.

When your staff members feel like they’re constantly in the dark or blindsided by news, then they’re going to grow frustrated and eventually disengage. While you don’t need to communicate every detail to your employees, it is important to have an open door policy, invite questions and feedback, and aim to keep your employees informed and in the loop as much as possible. When you do, they’ll feel like a part of a team and more invested in the company.

#2: Trust.

When you hover and micromanage your employees it sends the message that you don’t trust them. However, the strongest cultures are built on a foundation of trust. And if you don’t trust the people on your team, then you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place.

#3: Respect.

Your team needs to feel valued and respected not just as employees, but also as people. That’s why it’s important to spend some time individually with each of them. Learn about what motivates them and ask about the challenges they’re facing. When you get to know each person on your team as an individual, you’ll be far more successful at keeping them productive and motivated to succeed.

#4: Camaraderie.

Camaraderie is more than just having fun at work. It’s about creating a sense of shared purpose and a “we’re in this together” mentality. Doing so not only boosts employee loyalty, but it also improves respect as team members learn to rely on one another.

Building a great culture isn’t something that can happen overnight. It’s a long term investment. However, keep the above core concepts in mind and make small changes to implement them day by day. When you do, you’ll have a happier, more loyal team who wants to positively impact your bottom line.

Do you need help hiring for your company and your culture? Turn to the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring – from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, screening and recruiting top candidates for your company.

Just give us a call today to learn more.

6 Simple Steps to Better Meetings

October 6th, 2015

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that in business, meeting are a necessary evil. Oftentimes, it can seem like your whole day is taken up by meetings, one after the other. However, as a manager, it’s up to you to attend, provide and get progress updates, and keep projects moving forward. So how can you trim the fat and make meetings more productive? Here are 6 simple steps to help you:

Step #1: Consider the people you’re inviting.

Do you need to invite 15 people to the meeting? Or are there three or four key people who really need to be there? When the information discussed during a meeting isn’t relevant to half the team, they’ll view it as a waste of time.

Step #2: Creating an agenda is key.

But don’t simply create an agenda for the meeting, also send it out ahead of time so people know the issues that will be coming up. They can therefore better prepare for the meeting. Send it out a day in advance or first thing in the morning. Make sure it covers the reason you are meeting, specific issues that will be discussed, and the desired outcome for the meeting (e.g. making a decision about which vendor to choose).

Step #3: Manage the conversation.

It’s easy for people to go off on tangents that aren’t productive. As the manager, it’s up to you to get and keep people on track. If an ancillary issue comes up, simply make a note of it and state that you’ll talk about it at a later date.

Step #4: Make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Before the meeting ends, review the list of action items you agreed upon during the meeting. Also note who is responsible for each and by when it should be completed to ensure everyone has the same understanding and knows what they are supposed to be doing.

Step #5: Start and end on time.

People’s time is valuable. If you have a reputation for starting meetings late and going over by 10 or 15 minutes, then your staff won’t want to attend your meetings. Make sure you start on time and end promptly. Also, don’t schedule meetings for longer than an hour.

Step #6: Create meeting minutes.

Shortly after the meeting, send out meeting minutes that outline what was discussed, what was agreed upon, the action items, and the next meeting date if there is one. It doesn’t have to be a verbatim transcript of the meeting; a few bullet points will do. But that way everyone has it in writing what transpired and what they are responsible for.

Do you have uncompleted action items because your team is stretched too thin? If you do, let Provisional know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring – from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, screening and hiring top candidates.

Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Getting Employees to Buy Into an Unpopular Decision

April 21st, 2015

As a manager, part of your job is making the tough decisions. But once a decision is made, it’s not quite smooth sailing yet. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows you need to get your employees to buy-in and implement it. How can you do that if they don’t necessarily agree with you? Here are some tips to help:

Before you make the decision, ask them what they think.

You can only make a decision based on what you know. And the reality of the situation is that you may not have all the facts. That’s why it so important to ask your team for input. They’re on the front lines each day and could offer you valuable information or concerns that you need to take into account before making a decision. And even if you move forward with your original intent, at least they’ll feel like their voices were heard during the process.

That said, don’t ask for input just for the sake of it. Truly listen to them with an open mind. If employees find out later that you already had your mind made up, then they’re not going to trust you as much in the future.

Explain to your team the “why” behind the decision.

Your employees may not understand the reason behind your decision, whether it’s related to company finances, or an unforeseen challenge in the marketplace. It’s up to you to explain your decision and the reason you came to that conclusion. Don’t just expect your employees to suck it up and implement it without any information. Explain the “why” behind it all so you can garner support.

Try it out temporarily.

If your employees are still reluctant to implement your idea, ask them to try it out on a trial basis. Knowing that they can bring up the issue again in the near future and change course if needed will go a long way in getting them to accept your decision.

It would be great if your staff always supported every decision you made. The reality, though, is that you will get some push back at some point. Follow the tips above to get your staff to understand and buy into your decision – and make the process go more smoothly.

Do you need help hiring for your team? If you do, call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring – from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, screening and hiring top candidates.

Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

How to Set Clear Expectations for Your Employees

January 20th, 2015

An employee is underperforming. They’re not getting their projects done on time, not meeting goals, or delivering sloppy work. Whatever the case, you’re not happy. But you, not they, may actually be the culprit if you’re not setting clear expectations for them. In fact, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows the more time you invest in setting expectations with each and every team member, the more effective your employees will be in the long run.

So how do you get started? Here are 5 tips:

Tip #1: Evaluate job descriptions and roles.

Are the right people in the right positions? Do their job descriptions actually match their job duties? Clearly a job description won’t entail every single task within a role. However, they do set basic expectations. And if an employee was brought in to perform in a certain role and what they’re doing now doesn’t match at all, then that could be the source of their underperformance.

Tip #2: Set goals that motivate your employees.

As a manager, it is your job to not only set goals for yourself, but for your team members, as well. That said, you have to ensure that the goals you do set are also aligned to those of the broader organization. To do so, get your employees involved in the goal setting process. When you do, they’ll be more committed to and motivated by them.

Tip #3: Live by the rules you set.

Your employees look to you as a guide. So if part of your expectations for them include dressing a certain way, or arriving by a certain time, then you need to live by those rules, as well. If you don’t, you’ll simply be a source of confusion and frustration.

Tip #4: Don’t wait for performance reviews to talk.

Don’t wait until the end of the year to have conversations with your employees. You should be checking in with them regularly – and you don’t need the formality of a review to do so. It’s also much easier to air issues, concerns, questions and challenges in the context of a conversation, rather than an official review. During these talks, you can let an employee know too where they stand – what they’re doing well and what areas could use some improvement.

Tip #5: Establish good behaviors from the start.

When you hire someone new, take the time with them to explain exactly how you expect things to be done. You’ll reduce performance issues down the line as a result.

Setting expectations is one of the basic responsibilities of a manager; yet many fail to do so, resulting in a dysfunctional team with no clear direction. Don’t be one of them! Follow the tips above to set expectations for your employees so they can produce the best results.

Need help finding the right fit people for your company? Contact Provisional. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we can help you through every step of hiring – from crafting effective job descriptions to sourcing, screening and hiring top candidates.

Just give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you.

Do You Take Your Employees for Granted?

March 22nd, 2011

Whether formal or informal, research shows that employee recognition matters. In fact, according to the polling organization Gallup, the number one reason why most employees leave their jobs is due to lack of recognition. So taking your employees for granted is truly a fast way to disengage them, increase turnover – and harm your company in the long run. With that said, here are some suggestions to help enhance employee recognition efforts at your Coeur d’Alene company.

Ask your employees if they feel appreciated.

When an employee responds with “no,” ask them to give you specific examples of when they felt slighted or taken for granted. This will give you some insight as to when you should be showing more appreciation. Also, let your employees know that you’re working on offering more recognition. Otherwise, they’ll start wondering why you’re being so “nice” to them.

Create a culture of recognition.

When you treat your employees well, they in turn will treat your customers well – which will have a positive impact on your company as a whole. But to create a true culture of recognition, you and the entire management team must be committed to the effort. And not just by providing the resources, but also by playing an active role in recognizing employees.

Offer a variety of recognition awards.

Most employees don’t feel rewarded with some random knick-knack from an employee rewards catalog. Instead, to make them truly feel appreciated – and enhance their loyalty to your company – offer a variety of rewards that appeal to individual preferences. Some examples include cash, gift cards, luxury items, extra vacation days, or tickets to an event.

Recognize employees regularly.

For big accomplishments, you may want to offer high-end rewards. But what about for those smaller day-to-day activities that also impact your company, like when an employee goes above and beyond to help a customer or comes in on the weekends to complete a project? Praise goes far in these kinds of situations. Not only does offering positive words make your employees feel appreciated, but it also motivates them to continue doing what they’re doing.

However, if you have an employee that you can’t find anything to praise for, then you may want to ask yourself why they’re still there in the first place. If you’re not happy with their performance, it’s time to get them to shape up or ship out.

And if you need some help finding top quality employees for your Coeur d’Alene company, please contact Provisional. As a leading Coeur d’Alene staffing agency, we’ve been matching specialized talent with great companies since 1994.

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