Provisional Blog

Want to Nail Your Next Interview? Here’s What to Do

November 26th, 2019

When it comes to job interviews, most hiring managers can spot a bad candidate from a mile away. However, when it comes to mediocre versus excellent ones, it can be difficult to tell the difference. That’s why you need to take the right steps to set yourself apart – and set yourself up for getting the offer. Here are a few to consider:

Remember the small things.

Details matter to hiring managers. For instance, responding quickly to emails, following up after an interview, following directions in the job ad, and supplying references when asked are all important to them. That’s why you should never let your guard down and always put your best foot forward, whether you’re on the phone, in a face-to-face interview or communicating via text or email.

Avoid common mistakes.

There are certain red flags that hiring managers are always on the look out for. These include mistakes such as arriving late, not dressing in professional attire, being rude or immature, keeping your phone on, or not asking questions after the interview. These all spell trouble to hiring managers, which means you won’t get a call back.

Don’t bring up perks or benefits.

If you’re having a phone screen or are going to your first interview, don’t be the one to bring up salary, health insurance and vacation days. The hiring manager will think that’s all you care about, not the actual job. Wait for them to broach the topic. If they offer you a position or it seems like you have a good shot at it, then you can inquire about compensation.

Make sure your references are in order.

Don’t let a poor reference sabotage the job offer. Instead, make sure your references are lined up ahead of time and well-prepared for the hiring manager to call. This means that you need to tell them a little about the role beforehand and why you’re a good fit. Also, suggest any projects you worked on together that would be relevant to the position and a good idea to bring up.

Quantify your accomplishments.

Numbers speak volumes to hiring managers. So if you’re prepared to talk about your accomplishments during the interview, then try to quantify them ahead of time in terms of how they impacted a past or current employer. Not only will you impress the hiring manager, but you’ll also be more memorable in the process.

Want additional help securing your next job?

Turn to Provisional. We work with employers all over the area and can connect you with some of the best jobs in the Northwest! It’s our passion and our pride.

What to Ask an Employer When Interviewing for a Job

November 19th, 2019

In the midst of a job search and preparing for an interview? You know you need to research common questions and have answers ready for each. But are you also putting together a list of your own questions; ones that will help you better discern whether the position is what you’re looking for? It’s a must if you want to land in a role that’s just right for you. Here’s a look at a few to consider:

Why is this position open?

It’s important to find out whether someone left or if this is a new role that’s being created. If it’s a new role, keep in mind, there could be some unexpected challenges to work out with it. If it’s an existing position, ask about what the last person who held it was like in terms of skills and experience and what made them successful in the job.

What are the most important qualifications for this job?

The job posting likely had a long list of different traits, skills and qualifications the employer is looking for. However, when asking this question, you want to find out the few that are the most important for the job. If those are your strength, then you’re in good shape. If they’re your weak link, though, you might want to re-think the opportunity.

What are the short-term goals and expectations for the position?

By asking this question, you’ll find out what you’re expected to achieve in the first few months on the job. You’ll then have a better sense of whether these objectives seem doable for you or if they’re outside your area of expertise.

What are some challenges that come with the job?

The last thing you want is to accept a position only to get blindsided by all the hassles and headaches that come with it. So if the hiring manager seems unwilling to answer this question or gives you the runaround, take note. They could be hiding something. If they are forthcoming, then at least you’ll know what to expect and can make a more informed decision if you are offered the position.

What are the workflow and communication like?

In other words, are you expected to respond to emails and texts at night and on weekends? Do most people stay on the job well after closing time due to hot projects and tight deadlines? It’s important to get a sense of the pace of the culture at the company and how often you need to stay in touch during your down time.

How often will I receive feedback?

The company might adhere to a once-a-year performance review policy. Or managers could check in with each team member on a weekly basis. It depends on the organization. But when you know the answer to this question, you’ll be able to tell whether the process is a fit for your performance needs.

Are there any learning and development opportunities?

The best employers invest in their people. That’s why asking this question is important. It will give you a good idea of what the company values and how much support and training you can expect if you get the job.

Walking into the interview prepared with a list of questions will not only put you in a positive light for the hiring manager, but also enable you to determine whether the job and the company are a match for you.

Need more help finding your next great job in the Northwest?

Contact Provisional. We work with some leading employers in the region and can connect you with rewarding jobs in the Northwest.

How to Find Out if a Job is Right for You

November 5th, 2019

When you’re looking for a new job, you’re putting your best foot forward. So, too, are hiring managers. As a result, in some cases, they might not give you the clearest picture of what the position really entails or what working at the company is like. And if you’re not sure, you could wind up in a role that’s not a good fit for you.

How do you avoid this kind of situation and find an opportunity that’s a better match? Here are some tips from Provisional – one of the Northwest’s top employment agencies – to help you:

Use your network wisely.

When you’re looking for job leads, your network is a great place to start asking around about possibilities. More than that, though, if you’re interviewing at a company and know someone there, you can reach out to them ahead of time for more insider insight into the culture, leadership team and other important details. 

Don’t know any current employees? Look to LinkedIn to find a connection. Even if they’re not a direct one, reach out to someone in your network who is and ask for an introduction. In most cases, people are willing to help.

Ask to talk to existing employees.

If you’re not able to find an employee to talk to on your own, ask the employer you’re interviewing with. In fact, in many cases, they’ll already have an employee as part of the interview process to give you more first-hand insight into what the job is like. If they don’t, though, ask to connect with one. Most companies will comply and for those who won’t, you’ll have to wonder why. 

Do your homework.

The hiring manager who’s interviewing you is only one source of information. You should be conducting your own research to get the scoop on the company’s reputation both in the field and as an employer. Google them and look for news articles about them. Also, read reviews on sites like Glassdoor and check out their social media profiles for any helpful information. 

Ask lots of questions.

During the interview process, make sure you’re asking questions about the position itself, as well as the company and what it’s like working there. Assess not only the answers you get, but how the hiring manager is responding. Do they seem genuinely open and helpful or more like you’re asking inconvenient questions? This will give you some insight into how upfront they’re being about the job. 

Go with your gut. 

If, after all your research, you don’t feel comfortable about the offer, even if it seems perfect on paper, go with your gut. Your subconscious is telling you something that you shouldn’t ignore.

Need more help finding your next great job?

Provisional is here with the connections and support you’re looking for. As one of the Northwest’s leading employment agencies, we can match you with rewarding opportunities with some of the area’s top employers!

5 Easy Prep Tips for Standing Out During Your Job Interview

October 8th, 2019

Unemployment is low. However, competition is still high for the top jobs in and around the Northwest. It’s why, when it comes to your interview, you need to make the best impression possible, so you get called back or offered the position. But how can you do that? It all comes down to how you prepare. Here are five easy tips to help you:

Tip #1: Research the company.

Do everything you can to get to know the ins and outs of the company you’re interviewing with. Start with their website, but also look to their social media profiles, as well as news articles about them. The more you know, the better questions you can ask and the more prepared you’ll come across. You’ll also feel more confident walking into the interview.

Tip #2: Know where you’re going.

You might think you know where the interview is located. But will there be construction along the way? What if there’s an accident? When do you need to leave to give yourself some extra time just in case? These are the kinds of questions you’ll want answers to with a clear route to the company mapped out ahead of the interview. This will help calm your jitters and ensure you get there with time to spare. 

Tip #3: Prep your attire well before the big day.

Make sure whatever you’re wearing – which should be a business suit in most cases – is cleaned and pressed. If you need to take it to the dry cleaners, then give yourself plenty of time to do that. Also make sure you choose something that’s more neutral and won’t distract the hiring manager as you’re answering questions. 

Tip #4: Pack the night before.

Bring with you a few different items and put them in your briefcase or bag the night before. This includes copies of your resume, as well as a notebook and pen. Also bring along a list of references in case the hiring manager asks for them. Finally, throw in some breathe mints to ensure you make the best impression possible.

Tip #5: Avoid common mistakes.

While you won’t know what questions you’ll get, there are some answers you should always avoid giving. These include “I don’t know.” If that’s the case and you’re not sure about something, then say simply instead “I’m not 100% sure about that. Let me get back to you.” Also, never talk in a negative way about your past employer or co-workers, or ask off the bat about time off or vacation days. These seemingly minor errors can knock you out of the running for the job.

Need more help finding out about job opportunities in the Northwest and preparing for interviews?

As one of the Northwest’s top employment agencies, Provisional knows what hiring managers are looking for in candidates and can help connect you with opportunities, as well as prepare for your interviews. Call us today to get started!

How to Advocate for Yourself – and Advance Your Career – in 4 Easy Steps

September 24th, 2019

When it comes to your career, you’re the only advocate you’ve got. If you don’t know how to properly promote your accomplishments and strengths to your boss or a future employer, it’s going to be much harder to get ahead. However, for most professionals, self-promotion can be awkward and uncomfortable. How can you make it easier, all while taking advantage of its power? Here are four simple steps to take:

#1: Know where you want to go.

If you’re not sure where you’re trying to go with your career, it’s tough to know where to begin when it comes to promoting yourself. Instead, take a step back and think about what you’re aiming for. Do you want to get promoted at work? Do you want to ask your boss to cover the cost of a continuing education class, so you can acquire new skills? Or do you think you’re ready for a different job entirely?

#2: Know your value.

When it comes to advocating for yourself and promoting your strengths, you need to get specific. Vague or generic statements won’t cut it when it comes to talking up your abilities to your boss or a hiring manager. So know the unique value you bring to the table and why it’s important for the company. For example, if you want a promotion, be ready to highlight specific accomplishments and the impact they’ve had.

#3: Know the decision makers.

When it comes to getting ahead at your own company, visibility it key. You’re not going to climb the ranks and acquire a higher position of company leadership doesn’t know who you are. That’s why it’s important to get on their radar. Seek them out and strive to make a connection with them, so they can learn about what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.

#4: Know when it’s time to look outside your company.

If you want to get ahead, sometimes you have to search for an opportunity outside your company. If there’s no room for advancement and you’re ready for a move, then now’s the time to take the plunge. But before you do, engage your network and reach out about any potential jobs they might know about. Also, stay on their radar by regularly posting on LinkedIn, sharing any work accomplishments, or offering your take on industry trends and news. You’ll stay top-of-mind, which could lead to a new opportunity.

Ready to advance your career by making a move?

Turn to Provisional, one of Spokane’s leading employment agencies. We can learn about your background, skills and accomplishments, then connect you with rewarding opportunities with top local employers. Contact us today to learn more.

Why You Need a Professional Photo on LinkedIn

September 10th, 2019

When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, your photo makes a big difference. In fact, if you don’t have one, you’re going to come off as spammy and phony to recruiters and hiring managers. Not only that, but according to LinkedIn statistics, those with a photo get 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests.

Even if you do have one, if it’s not professional-looking, then they’ll also think twice about considering you for a new opportunity. You won’t come off as a credible, quality candidate they want to hire.

So short of spending an arm and a leg on a professional photographer, what can you do to improve your online profile? Here are some quick tips to help you:

Avoid the selfie.

It’s an all-too-common type of image across social media. And it’s fine for your personal Facebook page or the family photo album. But avoid a selfie shot for your LinkedIn profile if you want to come across as a mature professional. 

Use a headshot.

Don’t post a family photo of you at the beach. Or crop one that has you featured in a way where you look blurry or off-center. Instead, get a simple headshot taken from a friend or family member, where you’re posed in a place with plenty of light.

Dress professionally.

You don’t need to be in a business suit or dressed overly formal. However, you want to present a professional image and if you’re wearing a bathing suit sitting poolside, for instance, that’s not going to happen. So make sure you look polished in whatever picture you post. 

Keep the background simple.

Wherever your picture is taken, just make sure it’s in a place without a busy background. If it is, then it will distract from the overall professional image you’re trying to project. Instead, choose something simple and neutral to serve as the backdrop. 

Want professional assistance with your LinkedIn profile or your job search?

At Provisional, we can help with every aspect of it. We’ll give you guidance on your resume, LinkedIn profile, interview answers and all other aspects of your job search. This will help you find a new job in Spokane, one you’ll love, faster. Search our jobs now

5 Benefits of Working with a Recruiter

August 27th, 2019

Is your job search taking longer than expected? Are you tired of getting rejected or hearing nothing at all from hiring managers? It might be time to bring in the professionals in the form of a recruiter from one of Spokane, Washington’s employment agencies. When you do, you can take advantage of a few key benefits:

#1: Help with resume writing, interview preparation and more.

When you work with a recruiter, they’ll be able to learn about your skills, background and strengths, all so they can help you improve your resume. They’ll also work with you to better prepare for interviews, so you’re more confident walking into a hiring manager’s office. 

#2: Access to hidden jobs. 

Many times, employers work with recruiters to fill job openings that aren’t advertised to the public. When you also partner with a recruiter, you’ll be able to gain access to these opportunities, giving you a leg up over the competition.

#3: Learn more about potential employers.

When recruiters are hired to fill job openings for a particular company on a regular basis, they’ll have a better sense of the culture, leadership, mission and vision. They’ll be able to impart this knowledge to you, so you have more insight into the employer and what it would be like to work there. 

#4: Find a new job faster.

The job hunt takes a lot of time and energy. In fact, sometimes it can feel like a full-time position. However, when you work with a recruiter, it will not only be an easier process, but a faster one too. It’s their job to know which employers are hiring and how to match you with the right opportunities. 

#5: Get connected with the right-fit position.

Just because you have the skills to perform a certain job doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. But when you work with a recruiter, you can rest easy that you’ll be connected to opportunities that best align with your background and abilities, as well as a culture you’ll blend well with. 

Ready to work with professional recruiters to find your next job?

Call Provisional. As one of Spokane Washington’s top employment agencies, we can connect you with great jobs at leading employers. Search our jobs now.

The Best Step to Take to Get Your Resume Noticed

August 13th, 2019

Despite low unemployment, there are many candidates out there looking for the same kinds of jobs in the Spokane area as you. How are you going to stand out among them, so you get a call for an interview? The best way to do that is by customizing your resume.

When you do, that simply means you’re not sending in the exact same resume for every position you’re applying to. Instead, you’re editing it for each opportunity, so it best speaks to that particular hiring manager. Not only will this make you look like a better prepared candidate, but a better fit one to. 

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some steps to take to tailor your resume:

Focus on your summary of qualifications.

In today’s world, you should be including a summary of qualifications at the top of your resume instead of an objective. This is simply a bullet list of your biggest strengths and best accomplishments. However, what you choose to include, as well as the order you list them in, should certainly change depending on the employer. 

Connect your tasks to specific outcomes.

Hiring managers don’t simply want to know what you were responsible for. They also want to understand the outcomes you achieved. So wherever possible, illustrate your background through specific examples and stories, quantifying them wherever possible. Also make sure you’re focusing on the accomplishments that make the most sense for the employer. 

Highlight the most relevant strengths and abilities. 

Each position comes with a unique set of requirements. Make sure that the skills and abilities you focus on in your resume are aligned with each opportunity. For instance, for one position, collaboration might be key, while for another, knowing a certain software program is critical. It’s up to you to read through the posting to identify the company’s specific hiring needs and then discuss how you can meet them thanks to your unique background. 

Include keywords.

While you’re editing your resume, make sure you’re also including keywords from the job posting. When you do, it will have a better chance of making it through the applicant tracking system, so you get a call for an interview.

Searching for a new job can be tricky. If you’d like help with the process, turn to Provisional. As one of the leading employment agencies in Spokane, we can help with every aspect of it, from tips and advice on your resume to access to hidden jobs with leading local employers. Contact us today to get started

Strained Relationship with Your Boss? Here’s How to Improve It

July 23rd, 2019

Maybe you two lack chemistry or got off on the wrong foot to start. Or perhaps you feel under-appreciated and overworked. Whatever the case, you don’t have a great relationship with your boss and it’s straining your life, both at work and at home. What can you do short of getting a new job? Here are some tips to help you deal with this delicate situation:

Put yourself in their shoes.

It’s easy to get annoyed with your boss if they don’t follow through or seem to take you for granted. But take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. For instance, what would it be like to manage a team of so many different personalities? When you understand their priorities and the pressures they’re under, it’s easier to empathize. 

Get clarification.

If part of the issue is lack of clarification about your work or your goals, then schedule a time to sit down with your boss. Ask them questions about what they expect from you and make sure you understand what they’re asking. This will not only ensure you’re on the same page, but any issues or obstacles to success are brought out into the open and discussed. 

Focus on the positive. 

Remember that your boss is human. They’re going to make mistakes and you’re not always going to agree with the decisions they make. But if that’s all you’re focused on, then it will cause a strain in your relationship. Instead, keep in mind their positive attributes and what you do like and respect about them. 

Get to know them more personally.

For instance, ask them what they did over the weekend or how their kids are doing. The goal here isn’t to become best friends with them, but to forge a stronger and closer relationship that benefits you both. 

Know when it’s time to move on.

If you have a relationship with your boss that’s toxic in nature, then it’s likely not salvageable and time to move on. If that’s the case, connect with the team at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we know who’s hiring and can help you make your next career move. Find out how by contacting us today.

How to Polish Your Resume to Improve Your Odds of Getting Hired

July 9th, 2019

When it comes to finding your next great job, you need a resume that’s polished and professional. But if you’re not an expert resume writer, this can be a tough task to tackle. Where do you begin and how do you stand out in a sea of other resumes? Here are some simple tips to put to use today:

Write it like a marketing document.

Too many candidates approach resume writing like they’re authoring a career autobiography. But keep in mind you only have a few seconds to grab the hiring manager’s attention. To do that, you need to keep your resume clear, concise and compelling, focusing on your track record of success and not on every job you’ve held since high school.

Get rid of the objective statement.

This will simply make your resume look dated. Instead, include a Summary of Qualifications at the top that lists out your key strengths and accomplishments that are most relevant to the job.

Use keywords.

Another important aspect for today’s resumes is using keywords throughout it. Many companies employ Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which filter resumes based on keywords from job postings. So review the language in the posting again and make a list of keywords that make sense to include in your resume.

Create it in a clear format.

Beyond writing a clear resume, you also need to format it in a way that makes it easy to scan. When you do this, you should include the most relevant information front and center, as well as use bullet points and bold face in order to call out important aspects of your career background. Also, make sure to include enough white space so your resume doesn’t look cramped.

Include the right contact information.

On your resume, you don’t necessarily need to include your mailing address any longer since most communications happen via email. Therefore, simply include your phone and email address, as well as a relevant LinkedIn URL where hiring managers can learn more about you.

When you follow the tips above, not only will you make the task of reading your resume easier for hiring managers, but you’ll also increase your odds of getting a call for an interview.

Need more help finding your next job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we can connect you with rewarding opportunities with the area’s leading companies. Contact us today or search our jobs in Spokane now.