Why Your Next Employee Should Come from a Staffing Service

April 26th, 2012

Let’s get right to the big question.  Why use a staffing service?  The short answer is that it just makes your life easier!  Imagine a world where someone else takes care of posting jobs, screening resumes, interviewing candidates, workers compensation & unemployment insurance, employee benefits, and payroll taxes!  Does that feel like a dream?  Well, when working with a staffing service, even your wildest dreams come true!

Temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire—what are they?
Temporary work is just like it sounds.  It’s an assignment that has an end date.  Maybe you have an employee going on medical leave and need someone to fill in.  Or perhaps your company has a special project coming up that requires additional staffing.  These are just two of many reasons you may need a temporary employee!

But what if you have a role that needs to be filled with a permanent employee?  You can still take advantage of a staffing service with temp-to-hire and direct hire options!  In either case, the staffing service will do all the sourcing of candidates, and you ultimately select the candidate you want for the position.

With temp-to-hire, the employee works on a temporary basis initially, and you can choose to hire the candidate permanently after a period of time.  This gives both you and the candidate a chance to check each other out and decide if this will be an appropriate fit for the two of you. And if it turns out that the candidate isn’t exactly what you need, you can simply ask for another candidate.  Easy as that!

With direct hire, the chosen candidate is immediately brought on as a permanent employee of your company.  Typically, there is a guarantee in place with direct hire so you can feel comfortable knowing that your staffing service will continue to work for you should the employee not work out within a specified window of time.  This is a fabulous but underused resource out there in the business world, and the costs may actually be far lower than you would expect.  It’s definitely worth checking into with your local staffing service!

What’s the first step?
Contact the staffing service to go over the details—job description, requirements, rate of pay, etc.  Then they get to work sourcing candidates for you.  They search for and interview applicants, forwarding only the most suitable to you for review.  You then interview whichever candidates you feel strongest about and make your selection!  The staffing service will handle reference checks, any necessary background checks, tax forms, I-9 forms, and any other employment paperwork.

While you have a temp working in your office
All the help and assistance from your staffing service does not end at placement.  During the entire assignment, this person is an employee of the staffing service.  They handle payroll, disciplinary action, and anything else that typically is on the list of employer responsibilities!

If you ever have questions or concerns about how the assignment is going, your staffing service will work to make it right!  And if the assignment is just not working out for you or the candidate, you can talk to the staffing service about ending the assignment.  Staffing services handle delivering the difficult news to the candidate, and then they work to find you a replacement.  You can just sit back while someone else handles the details and logistics!

This is simply an introduction to the staffing service concept.  Please check back regularly for more ideas on how to fully utilize a staffing service and for other useful information for employers!

Polish Your Facebook Presence

April 19th, 2012

Recently, we’ve seen a flurry of reports in the news about employers who ask interviewees for login information to personal social media sites and personal email.  While we’re not going to get into the subject as to whether or not those requests are a good thing, we feel this is further evidence that employers are certainly giving weight to social media pages during the hiring process.  So with that in mind, there is no time like the present to look at your social media for some thoughtful analysis on your various online profiles.

In terms of job-search networking resources, Facebook and LinkedIn are the current big two.  And since LinkedIn tends to have professionalism a bit more built in than Facebook does, we’re going to focus on ideas for Facebook.

First and foremost, despite some of the challenges we’ll be discussing, Facebook can be an excellent tool for several uses and purposes.  One major catch, however, is the tendency for the line that separates business and personal to get a little fuzzy.  On Facebook, you likely have a litany of friends, family, and personal contacts on your list.  Plus, you likely have professional contacts and folks whose connection to you is a blend of personal and professional.  Your “agenda,” if you will, for these groups is very different, and yet you only have one timeline on which to post.

Facebook has been making improvements that help to address some of these boundary issues.  For example, you now have the ability to put your friends into categories, which determine the areas of your profile to which each friend has access.  If you haven’t already done so, take the time to go through your list and update these settings.  If you have hundreds of friends, it may take a while, but it truly could be time well spent!

But don’t stop there.  Every time you post, run it through a mental filter to see if it could have any unintended negative effect.  Are you going into the dangerous territory of religious, political, or other controversial subject matter right in front of professional contacts who may have wholly different views?  These are all important to keep in mind.

Think about not only your own pictures but also pictures you may be tagged in!  Fortunately, you can remove the tag, but you can’t delete the picture from your friend’s profile.  When removing tags, Facebook gives you the option to send a polite request that a friend delete the picture, but that friend is certainly under no obligation to do so.  It’s impossible for you to control what a friend posts about you, and there’s likely no point in driving yourself crazy worrying about it.  Just remember that things we do and say are far less private than they used to be!

And speaking of your friends, take note of what they post on your profile.  The words may not have come from you, but by having them on your profile, you’re essentially endorsing whatever idea those words express.  It’s perfectly acceptable to monitor and moderate your profile to ensure that nothing inappropriate ends up there.  And if it does?  Simply delete the post or the comment.

Of course, the most effective way around all of this scrutinizing is to make the choice NOT to mix business and personal contacts on Facebook.  These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so, but many people are doing it to avoid the effort it takes to be politically correct to all audiences.

But regardless of which approach you take, remember that employers may occasionally scan your profile when you apply for a job.  Just to keep these folks from seeing anything they may deem questionable, make sure your security settings are arranged in a way to hide your information from the eyes of strangers.  And if the hiring manager is one of your Facebook friends and has access to your profile, hopefully you’ve taken the steps to maintain a polished Facebook presence for yourself!

Effortlessly Explain Why You Left a Job–Part 2

April 12th, 2012

This is part two of the series that investigates effective ways to explain to interviewers why you left a job that’s listed on your resume.  In last week’s blog, we looked at tactful ways to explain that trouble with coworkers and /or supervisors was the reason for leaving a job.  This week, we cover two more common explanations and how you can handle them diplomatically.

Internal transitions
With some industries still reeling from the economy, there is definitely lots of restructuring and transition happening out there.  Sometimes, transition brings about positive change, but sometimes it completely reworks your position into something potentially undesirable.  For example, maybe the restructuring eliminated two employees in your department.  And after that happened, you received the additional work of those two eliminated positions and suddenly found yourself working more than 65 hours per week (at the same pay) so you could keep up.  Unless you are applying for a job that also demands long hours, most employers will find this to be a completely understandable reason for having left a job.

Job wasn’t a good match
Naturally, this is usually something that you can only use if you have been in the position for 90 days or less.  Many of us have experienced this scenario before.  You are excited to get to work with your new job, but within a couple months’ time you realize it’s not at all what you thought it would be.  Maybe your skills weren’t a solid match, the culture and personality of the office just didn’t jive with you or vice versa, or some aspect of the job couldn’t fulfill your needs.  All of these reasons are perfectly acceptable.  Just remember that if you site this as the reason for leaving a job, you will definitely have to explain the specifics of why the position was not a good fit.  Also, be sure you have a clear idea of what the job you are applying for entails.  If the description of the job that wasn’t a good fit is nearly identical to that of the job for which you are interviewing, you have certainly reduced your chances of a favorable outcome!

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to have an explanation as to why you left for each job listed on your resume.  You never know how far back the interviewer will go, so why not be extra prepared!  This is a question you can easily plan for ahead of time.  A little time spent brainstorming explanations will make your interview less stressful and will help you to shine!

Effortlessly Explain Why You Left a Job–Part 1

April 5th, 2012

Whether you’re interviewing to be a CEO or file clerk, you can count on this question coming up at some point in the process.  While a seemingly simple question, it can be easy to fall into the trap and start denigrating former employers or at least say things that cause a few red flags to wave.  On the positive side, this is a question whose response can remain relatively the same from one interview to the next.

Some explanations are fairly straightforward and will often be easily acceptable to interviewers.  Examples include the following:

  • Left to take a job that was closer to home
  • Accepted a position with a company that had more opportunities for advancement
  • Took a job with a company that offers telecommuting options
  • Felt burned out from the excessive work hours

But some explanations are tougher to navigate, so we selected three big ones we often hear.  This week, we’ll focus on one of the toughest, and the other two (and a few final general tips) will follow next week.

Trouble with coworkers and/or supervisors
This is a rather challenging response because it could imply that you are blaming someone else for your ultimate decision to leave, and it could make you appear difficult to work with.  But with that said, it is possible to weather this answer tactfully.

The best way to take the edge off is to explain the issue diplomatically and tell the interviewer what you did from your end to alleviate the problem.  Trying to address the issue yourself shows that you take proactive steps to solve interpersonal issues in the workplace as opposed to an employee who simply complains about it, waiting for the situation to spontaneously disappear.  The legitimate effort you made in addressing the issue can give the impression that you are a solid candidate of good character who just happened to be in a difficult situation that ultimately couldn’t be remedied.

As you describe the problems with this coworker/supervisor, keep your language soft and gentle and avoid going into a laundry list of complaints.  While your intent with this laundry list might be to further substantiate your position, it will most likely only serve to make you appear to be difficult and negative.  And last, it may help a bit for you to take on some of the responsibility yourself.  We all have our limits of what we can tolerate.  While the difficult coworker/supervisor is the source of the struggle here, your own limits (as reasonable as they may be) are ultimately the reason you are unable to tolerate the issue with this employee.