Provisional Blog

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!

Should I Work With an Employment Agency to Find a Job?

June 24th, 2014

Imagine searching for a new job. You come across one that sounds like the perfect fit. You read through the job description and start getting excited…until you see the name of the employer. It’s not really the employer at all – it’s an employment agency. It makes you think, “Is this job all it’s cracked up to be?”

Yes, absolutely!

In fact, you may not know this, but some employers only use Northwest employment agencies to fill job openings. They don’t have the time or dedicated HR team to source, screen and hire employees, so they look to agencies when they need to find new hires.

So what other myths are out there about working with employment agencies? Here’s a look:

You’ll be charged for their services. Not true in most cases. Agencies are paid by the companies that seek to fill job openings. Oftentimes, their services – which can range from resume preparation to help negotiating salary – are free to the job seeker.

Employment agencies only offer administrative or industrial work. Maybe 20 years ago. But not today. While some employment agencies do specialize in those fields, many offer a diverse range of job openings in fields ranging from healthcare to technology to accounting and legal.

Employment agencies only offer temporary jobs. Yes, there are many agencies out there that focus exclusively on temporary staffing. However, there are many others that specialize in permanent placements, as well. The trick is to find the agency that offers the kinds of opportunities you’re looking for.

Employment agencies are paid by the number of candidates in their database. Again, employment agencies are paid when they fill an open position for an employer. They’re not paid by the number of candidates they’re able to enter into a computer system.

Employment agencies just fill empty seats. On the contrary, it’s in an agency’s best interest to coach you for jobs. Why? Because if they send you on an interview and you look bad, so do they. As a result, many agencies offer value-added services, from resume writing help to interview prep services, so you can impress potential employers.

The bottom line is that if you’re searching for a job, a Northwest employment agency can serve as a great source of opportunity for you. They can help you with your resume, find out about leads, set up interviews, and connect you with the opening that is just right for you!

If you’re interested in learning more about how a Northwest employment agency can help you, call Provisional. We can take the hassle out of the search process for you, so you find the job you want. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

What a Hiring Manager Says…& What They Really Mean

February 25th, 2014

As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, Provisional knows job interviews are frustrating for a variety reasons. One of the most often cited is a lack of communication between candidates and hiring managers. Job seekers often think they heard the hiring manager say one thing, when really the manager meant something else entirely.

The end result is the same: Angry, discouraged or disengaged candidates.

Here’s a guide to help ensure you walk away from your next job interview with a clearer understanding of what a hiring manager really means:

Statement #1: We’ll get back to you in a week.

What It Means: If it’s Thursday, then you will naturally assume the hiring manager will get back to you by next week Thursday. However, that’s not always the case. When a hiring manager makes this statement, they are speaking in general terms. In other words, they are aiming to respond in “about” a week, as long as no other issues, concerns, questions, problems, etc., arise. If they don’t, then you’ll simply have to sit tight and wait a bit longer.

That said, if you haven’t heard back in two weeks, then a reminder follow up is certainly appropriate. But don’t nag the hiring manager the following Thursday at 4 p.m. because you haven’t heard back. Give them a few extra days.

Statement #2: Your background is a great fit for the job.

What It Means: While you might think this means you’re a shoo-in, it simply means that the hiring manager likes what they see, so far. They think you have the hard skills to do the job, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be the one to get hired. There could be an internal candidate interviewing for the position, they may feel your personality or soft skills aren’t aligned with company culture, or there could be another candidate who is stronger than you. While this is a positive statement to hear, don’t assume it means you got the job.

Statement #3: We have a lot of other interviews this week.

What It Means: While this might be an honest statement, it doesn’t exactly exude confidence in your chance of getting the job. Saying something like this typically means hiring managers are still shopping around. It doesn’t mean you’re out of the running, but it does indicate they’re trying to soften the blow of an anticipated rejection.

Job candidates and hiring managers often speak in two different languages. So if you’re getting frustrated with your job search process, you’re not alone. Let Provisional help. As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, we can take the hassle out of the job search process for you, so you find the job you want.

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

Heed This Advice When Working With an Employment Agency to Find a Job

December 3rd, 2013

Competition is fierce in today’s job market. But one thing you can do to make your life as a candidate a little easier is to work with a Northwest employment agency. When doing so, you’ll gain access to opportunities not always advertised, as well as learn how to enhance the impression you’re making on potential employers.

That said, if you do decide to work with an agency, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to get the most out of your relationship – and eventually land a great job. For instance:

Make sure you’re a good fit.

If you’re interested in a position an employment agency is offering, be honest about whether you’re a good fit. For instance, if the position requires 15 years of management experience and you have three, then that’s a pretty big gap to fill – one the agency is sure to notice.

In order for an employment agency to do their job – and connect you with great opportunities – you need to be realistic about the positions you’re a fit for.

Be upfront about compensation.

Many job candidates fear the question about salary requirements. And for good reason. They don’t want to leave money on the table. But by not being forthcoming about your salary requirements, you’re making it difficult for your employment agency to match you with the right opportunities.

Think of it this way: It’s kind of like going house-hunting with a real estate agent and not giving them a budget.

Don’t badger your agency.

Yes, your employment agency representative will want you to keep the lines of communication open. But that doesn’t mean daily emails or phone calls. If they don’t call you back immediately, give them some time. They are likely working with other candidates and companies to fill other positions and will get back to you shortly. The last thing you want to do is send a nasty email because your recruiter didn’t get back to you within an hour.

Provide interview assessments.

Once you’ve interviewed with a company that your agency connected you with, contact your representative right away to let them know how things went. Even if you know the company or position isn’t right for you, explain to them why.

For instance, if the position required weekly travel, but you have a young family, then communicate that to your agency so they don’t submit you as a candidate for opportunities that require extensive travel.

Refer others.

If your employment agency is trying to fill a position you’re not a good fit for – but you have a friend who is – refer that person. They’ll likely return the favor in the future.

If you’re interested in getting professional help to find your next job, give Provisional a call. As one of the leading employment agencies in the Northwest, we have the knowledge, experience, and industry connections to help you find terrific job leads and prepare for your interviews so you can land a position that’s right for you.

Contact us today to learn more.

How to Become Invaluable to Your Boss

September 24th, 2013

As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, Provisional knows that in today’s world, job security is a thing of the past. It’s up to you, as an employee, to prove your worth and why you’re a valuable team member. If you don’t, and the company ever needs to trim its workforce, guess who will be on the chopping block?

So how do you go about letting your boss know that they simply can’t live without you? Here are some tips for becoming invaluable at work:

Take on the challenging assignments.

Don’t always opt for the easy one when projects are being assigned. Take the one that no one wants to deal with. When your boss asks for someone to complete a task, be the first to volunteer. Become the person who will take on the hard tasks and you’ll increase your visibility in the eyes of company leadership in the process.

Become the go-to person for a certain skill.

Find something that needs to get done at your company and become highly specialized at performing that skill. If you can, take classes and become certified in it. If you’re the only person who knows how to do something at work, you just became indispensable to your boss.

Make your boss’s life easier.

The boss is the one making the decisions in terms of who gets promoted and who gets laid off. And if you work each day to make their life a little easier, then you’re going to solidify your position as invaluable to your boss.

So even if something is outside of your job description or typical duties, if your boss needs it done, just do it. Become their dependable, trusted, go-to person for help.

Always be improving.

Take classes, attend seminars, read books and trade publications. Stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies impacting your industry. Work to improve your communication and collaboration skills. Learn from your mistakes and apply those lessons to your next project.

Have a positive attitude.

Nobody wants to work with people who are negative – and that includes your boss. So make an effort to keep a good attitude, even when things are tough. Your boss knows skill sets can be learned, but attitudes are much more difficult to change.

Become a source of new ideas.

Sure, your boss needs you to do the work. But if you’re the one who is also always offering new ideas, new solutions and different perspectives, then you’re going to position yourself as a thought leader in your company.

Become an invaluable part of an important relationship.

If you’re the only one an important client will deal with, then you’re quickly going to become a huge asset to your company. So seek out a relationship that’s important to the company and become the primary contact in charge of managing that relationship.

And if you want to become invaluable at work – just with a new boss and a different company – let Provisional know. As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, 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.

Job Search 101: Research a Potential Employer Before the Interview

August 27th, 2013

You know you should do your homework before a big interview and research the company. But how exactly do you go about doing that? And what kinds of information should you be looking for?

To help you prepare for your next interview – and impress the hiring manager along the way – here are some research tips to begin with:

Company Website

The company’s website should be your first place to start. A few sections you should peruse include their news and events, about us, leadership team (including the hiring manager’s bio) and the company blog, if they have one.

The about and leadership pages should give you a good overview of the company – including where it’s been and where it’s going in the future. The news and blog sections will offer you up-to-date information on key topics and industry issues that are impacting the company. Aim to become well versed in this information and how your background and expertise can fit into the big picture.

News Sources

Next, look for a more independent perspective from online news articles. Search for articles about the company, as well as general industry news.

If it’s a larger company, use a national media source; if it’s a smaller company, then look to the websites of your hometown publications. You can also use the “news” filter on search engines to search for news articles featuring certain keywords, like company names and industry terms.

Trade Journals

To get a better sense of the industry in which the company operates, look to trade journals for a more in depth perspective. You’ll find out what’s going on in that particular industry – including challenges and opportunities – as well as gain a sense of the company’s reputation within that particular industry.

You can typically find trade journals online, either for free or you may have to order a subscription. You can also check out your local library or a university library for back issues.

Social Media

Use sites like LinkedIn to research the potential employer. Look to see if they have a company page and also who works there. If an employee is in your network, reach out to them and ask about advice on getting hired at the company. Also talk to them about what it’s like to work there.

Need More Help With Your Job Search?

If you do, let Provisional know. As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, 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

Use Your Alumni Network to Land Your Next Job

June 18th, 2013

Whether you’re just out of college or a seasoned veteran, you have to put to use every tool in your toolbox to find a great job. As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, Provisional can tell you one that’s often overlooked by newbies and industry pros alike is their alumni network.

If you’re not leveraging the power of this group of people, then you are missing out on an important opportunity to make connections and find out about jobs that aren’t always advertised. To help you, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Reach Out to the Right People.

When searching for a new job, many candidates make the same mistake by trying to reach people in HR. However, when you’re searching your alumni database, it’s more effective to look for people who are in leadership positions within the department you’d like to work for.

For instance, if you’re an accountant, look for someone with an accounting manager or CFO title, rather than an HR administrator or assistant. While HR facilitates the hiring process, it’s usually people in management that initiate it and make the final hiring decision.

Ask for Insider Info.

If there’s a particular company you’re interested in working for, look for alumni who are current employees. Then ask for tips and advice on getting a job there. They may be able to offer you some insider information about getting hired, what it’s like to work for the company, and the kinds of attitudes, skills and personalities the company looks for during the hiring process.

Get a Recommendation.

If you apply for a job at a company where a fellow alum works, ask if they’d be willing to give a recommendation to HR. Some HR professionals frown upon this practice, but many welcome referrals from existing colleagues and the company may even have a formal referral process in place for your connection to refer you.

Look for a Mentor.

One of the advantages of belonging to an alumni association is that many of them offer opportunities to connect with a mentor. Not only will this help you during your job search, but it can also give you insight into your career, help you gain new skills, and open your mentor’s network up to you, growing your own network in the process.

If you’re ready to network your way into a new job opportunity, let Provisional know. As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, 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 Power Networking

December 25th, 2012

You likely know that networking is an important part of advancing your career – especially if you’re looking for a new job. But, as one of the leading employment agencies in the Northwest, Provisional knows that if you’re not putting in your best effort, then you won’t get a lot out of it.

So how can you ramp up your networking – and get better results from it? Here are 5 tips:

Tip #1: Be Prepared to Network Wherever You Go.

There’s a misperception out there that you can only network at industry events and trade shows. But if you really want to power network, then be prepared to connect with people wherever you go, whether it’s the local coffee shop, the bookstore, or your cousin’s wedding.

Tip #2: Get Contact Information from Top Connections.

Sure, it’s a great idea to carry around business cards and offer them to those you meet. But when you connect with a particularly important person – someone who could become a huge client or offer you your next job – what you really want is their contact information. So be sure to ask for it.

And when you do get someone’s business card, jot down notes on the back of it about the person, what they do, and any personal details you may have discussed so you don’t forget them (for instance, where they live, number of kids, spouse’s occupation, etc.).

Tip #3: Follow Up.

So now you have all these new connections. You can just sit back and wait for the opportunities to roll in, right? Wrong!

Networking connects you, but following up is what actually puts the relationship into motion. So if you meet someone who can help in your job search or can provide valuable insight into breaking into a new field, follow up with them.

Tip #4: Check Your Email.

If you’re like most people, you don’t always have time to delete old emails. And you may have some email contacts that could be valuable to your career. Even if they’re from a while ago, your old vendor rep or the local business that tried to solicit you could serve as an important connection to a company you’d like to work for. You never know; you may even come across contacts that you completely forgot you even had.

Tip #5: Reach Out.

If you have a friend who knows someone that can provide insightful advice for your career, or if you come across an industry blog written by someone who seems especially perceptive, don’t be afraid to try to reach out and connect with them. The worse they can do is ignore or reject you; but chances are, they’ll like be receptive to acting as a resource for you.

Are You a Talented Professional Looking for a New Opportunity in the New Year?

If you are, call Provisional. As one of the leading employment agencies in the Northwest, we can connect you with top employers – and top jobs – throughout the Northwest. Contact us today or search Northwest jobs now.

How to Land the Salary You Want

November 27th, 2012

As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, Provisional knows job happiness is about a lot more than just salary. However, let’s be honest, a fair salary should be on every candidate’s “must-have” list when searching for a new job.

So what can you do to make sure you get the salary you want – and you’re worth? Here are some tips to help you along the way:

Know What You’re Worth.

Do some research and find out what someone with your education, skill level, and background is worth. Keep your location in mind, too, when doing your research. Why? Because those with similar backgrounds in big cities may be paid far more than those in smaller towns. So it’s important to know your worth…in your area.

Don’t Put Your Cards on the Table Too Soon.

If you talk about salary too soon in the conversation, you could lose your leverage in the process. But what if a hiring manager asks you for salary requirements? Then let them know you expect “competitive compensation” for the position and that benefits, bonuses, profit sharing, and other factors can certainly impact your requirements for the salary.

If they continue to push, then offer them a wide range. This will give you plenty of wiggle room when it comes time to negotiate.

Take Your Time.

If a hiring manager gives you an offer in person or over the phone, don’t nix it or accept it right away. Many times, immediate decisions are based on emotions…not on reason and fact. So take some time to think about the offer and all that it includes before making a decision.

Counteroffer if You Think You’re Worth More.

If you feel like the offer is on the low side, then don’t be afraid to counteroffer with an amount you feel is fair. In many cases, hiring managers start off low and have room to negotiate. So by not countering for a larger offer, you could be leaving money on the table. If they can’t offer you more – and you know you’re worth more – then try to negotiate for a better benefits package.

That said, don’t be unreasonable with your request for more money or keep countering with higher and higher amounts. One or two rounds of negotiations is reasonable; but if you’re engaged in a salary tug-of-war, then perhaps the position and the company aren’t for you.

Want More Help With the Job Search Process?

If you do, give us a call. As one of the top employment agencies in the Northwest, Provisional partners with leading employers in the area – and can give you access to a variety of rewarding opportunities in your field. Contact us today to learn more.