More Reasons Why You Should Stop Doing Your Own Hiring!

July 27th, 2012

Not too long ago, we posted a basic introduction to staffing services and why they can be invaluable as a resource for employers.  If you missed that post or need a refresher, click here.  That was a great step-by-step as to how staffing services function, but now let’s start really digging into the advantages at a practical level so you can see the immediate benefits.  When it comes to using a service to find employees, what’s in it for you?

Save HOURS of your valuable time
Time.  Something that no one ever seems to have enough of.  If you’ve ever had to hire an employee, then you likely know how quickly the minutes and hours can add up!  You have to create and finalize the job description, post/advertise the job, review resumes, coordinate interviews, check backgrounds, field phone/email inquiries, and contact references.  And those are just the basic steps!  Sometimes the process has more complications.  If you’re already swamped, adding this to your plate could seem like an impossibility.

When using a staffing service, they take over from the moment they have all the information about the job duties, requirements, and necessary qualifications.  The resumes you see will be of qualified candidates who have already been screened and evaluated, saving you tons of time in resume reviewing.  Plus, staffing services even handle references!  Save yourself the trouble and let someone else contend with the phone calls, voicemails, and the infamous game of telephone tag that are an inevitable part of the reference check process.

Also important and time consuming are the background checks.  And besides being time consuming, they can be particularly challenging for smaller business who may have limited resources at their fingertips.  Many small employers don’t have need to run regular background checks so they don’t maintain subscriptions to companies that run them.  So what is the best way to proceed?  You guessed it!  Let a staffing service handle your hiring process.  Running background checks is just another day in the life of a staffing service associate, and it’s off your to-do list in the blink of an eye.  And yet another added bonus is the fact that legal liability of background checks is on the staffing service–not on you, the client.  The perks just keep adding up!

Expand your pool of resources
Naturally, most employers want to obtain the highest caliber possible when it comes to the applicants they recruit.  Unfortunately, doing so can require posting on multiple sites, placing numerous costly ads.  Not only are they expensive but also very time consuming to manage.

Once again, your local friendly staffing service comes to the rescue.  First, they have a database chock full of fabulous candidates who want to work with your company.  A HUGE resource!  Second, staffing services typically have subscriptions to the major job search sites.   So not only do they have their database but they also have access to thousands of applicants just in case you need more.  The staffing service can post your job and they can search resumes on the job sites to maximize the number of qualified candidates.  This gigantic pool of resources is automatically available when you work with a staffing service.  Why bother squandering your time and money on this process when someone else can do all the work for you?

These are just a few of the many benefits you receive when working with a staffing service.  Not surprisingly, the list actually goes on!  Check back soon for more benefits of hiring your next employee through a staffing service.

Staffing Challenges and Perceptions Survey 2012
If you have ever used or are thinking of using  a staffing services, please take a moment to complete this survey!  The feedback will be part of a huge survey and will very much help us and other staffing services to improve the service we offer to our clients.  Thank you in advance!

Make it Count in your Online Application–Part 2

July 19th, 2012

This week, we continue and finish our discussion about online applications and focus on what you can do to make sure your resume stands out–in a good way!

Resume formats
This can be a point of confusion for a lot of applicants—and for good reason!  Some authorities say to upload Word, PDF, or text format so it’s not always easy to find agreement amongst sources.  Truthfully, it’s difficult to name one format that works best for all purposes because the ideal format varies based upon the system used by the employer.

When preparing to upload, start by carefully reading the website to see if it specifies the preferred format.  Oftentimes, they do, and simply following that instruction is the best route.  And in cases where it suggests using Word format, your resume will most likely come through just fine—assuming that you send a Word version of the document, of course.  However, sometimes there can be compatibility issues with fonts, bullets, etc. between different versions of the same software.  So as a general tip, it’s usually safest to keep your resume format, font, etc. as basic and simple as possible to maximize your chance of a smooth transmission.

When no format is requested (or if you are forced to copy and paste the resume into a text box), text format is often the way to go because of its universal nature.  PDF is a close second but still has occasional issues if there are any problems with the PDF file itself.  The downside of text format is that you really can’t do much to dress up and format the document.  However, that does not mean that one should just paste the resume carelessly into text format, leave the document as a block of text, and then submit it to the employer.  Such documents are very hard to read and oftentimes will not be very carefully considered simply because of how tedious they can be to decipher.

First, make sure your reader does not have to scroll to the right to read all the way to the end of the line.  Text files don’t have word wrap, which is a feature in Word that automatically bumps you down to the next line once you’ve reached the edge of the “page.”  If you don’t hit the enter key manually, you’ll possibly end up with lines in the document that stray off the screen.

And second, use hard enters to add spaces and formatting.  Break up the document to make it easier to read by adding space between sections.  You can even use asterisks as bullet points.  There may be some degree of improvising required, but the result will be a resume that is easy to read and follow.  While it’s not as attractive as a fancy Word or PDF version, the content will be the focus and will be easily accessible thanks to the extra time you invested.

Some final thoughts
Taking all of these steps does not necessarily guarantee that you will suddenly receive an influx of calls and emails from potential employers.  However, it does increase your chances because your application now stands out as one that was done thoroughly and with attention to detail.  That means that reviewers will at least have the necessary information at their fingertips.  And as an added bonus, the attention and focus you used in creating your application indicates that you are probably someone who takes pride in his or her work and could be a very valuable employee to have on board.  Good luck!

Make it Count in your Online Application–Part 1

July 13th, 2012

Let’s face it; we’re living in an electronic world!  You see it in the multitude of functions of smartphones; the widespread, creative use of iPads; and in other pieces of technology we use everyday.  As a result, many employers have opted for an online application process.  The upside of this is that it makes resume review very efficient for employers, and they can presumably get through the hiring process faster.

However, the downside is that online applications can mean that the applicant could have little to no contact with the employer during the process.  This can be challenging, but here’s something to soften that frustration a bit.  Even the old way of sending paper resumes didn’t necessarily give a direct line of contact with a hiring manager.  In that process, it was still common to submit a resume and just have to wait it out, potentially never receiving any updates on the status of the position.  So while the online system can reduce slightly your ability to contact a specific person with follow-up questions, it’s not necessarily as drastic a difference as one may initially suspect.

Now, the HUGE benefit of online applications is that it’s much easier to apply to several jobs in a relatively short period of time because you can do it right from home!  But because applications are online forms, how is it possible to stand out as an applicant?  Well fortunately, it’s quite possible but just requires a new way of thinking.  This week, we begin by looking at the application itself.  Check back next week for tips on formats for resume uploads!

Filling out the application
Before we begin, it’s probably a good idea to let you know that this information is likely going to sound very common sense and simple, but trust us when we say that these seemingly simple things are regularly forgotten or overlooked.

So let’s start with the basics.  Be sure to spell your name, address, and personal information correctly.  Yes, we said it!  Even names are sometimes misspelled—usually due to a simple typo that was just never proofread for accuracy.  And while you’re at it, try to avoid typing in all caps or all lowercase letters but instead use title case.  Capitalize names, streets, towns, etc.  It has a more polished look.  And chances are good that someone has to go through the applications and correct capitalization errors, which may not contribute positively toward your first impression.

And when it comes to phone numbers and email address, definitely double-check for accuracy!  Nothing’s worse than missing out on a potential interview or opportunity to speak to a hiring manager because the manager has the wrong phone number and can’t reach you.

With an inaccurate email, you will miss out on any email correspondence sent from the employer.  This includes emails about possible interviews but also any confirmation emails or job search status updates he or she could potentially send out as an attempt to keep you in the loop on the process.  Last, this information applies to your resume as well.  Always check to ensure your resume has the current address, phone number, and email.  If you’ve changed any of those recently, do a quick check to verify accuracy.

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Interview Conversations to Avoid

July 5th, 2012

During an interview, small talk and informal dialog can be great, but nothing’s worse than those moments where we shoot ourselves in the foot by blurting out something inappropriate.  We say something slightly off target, which is the first misstep.  But then that often throws us into a whirlwind of trouble as we further injure ourselves trying to undo the damage.  The tips that follow may seem obvious to some readers, but even the best of us fall victim occasionally to nerves and could use a little help.  So with that said, let’s look at some possible conversations to be wary of when it comes to job interviews.

Negative feedback about previous employers
We’ve discussed this in the past, but it’s so important (and common) that it’s worth mentioning again.  Depending on the situation, you may not be able to avoid talking about the downsides of a previous position, but you can accomplish this without badmouthing previous employers or colleagues.  The best approach is to strive to find a tactful way to explain why you left a job or what you disliked about previous positions.  Going through a list of negative comments could raise red flags.  Interviewers have no way to know if you are just losing your tact a bit because of nerves or if you regularly say negative things about people and/or organizations.  Employers can’t afford to have employees and former employees verbally bash their business, so they may be hesitant to bring on a candidate who does so in an interview.  Click here for specific tips to help you craft your discussion of this interview topic.

Discussing details of one’s personal life
At times, it’s very tempting to connect with interviewers at a personal level.  To a certain point, it has the potential to help a candidate stand out.  But with that said, going into details about personal problems or aspects of one’s life could raise red flags for several reasons.  First, some personal topics discussed may concern an interviewer because he or she suddenly starts wondering whether or not this is something that could impede a candidate’s ability to perform the job.  Second, this is a moment where an applicant presumably puts his or her best foot forward.  If a candidate has potentially overly personal conversations with the interviewer, he or she likely would do so with clients and customers as well.  Naturally, the interviewer wants to hire the best possible company ambassador.

The classic areas of controversy
Just about everyone would admit to knowing to avoid the topics of politics, religion, and other controversial subjects.  However, this one still rears its ugly head somewhat regularly.  In some cases, taking this route can seem like a great way to break the ice, especially if you feel like you’ve connected with the interviewer and think it’s safe.  Or perhaps the appeal of the joke you are about to make seems so widespread that everyone must feel the same way and/or find the humor in it.  Unfortunately, there is never a safe approach to these subjects, and one can never predict how the interviewer will receive it.  It’s partially an issue of not offending the interviewer.  However, the other issue (once again) is that you would be an ambassador to the organization should you be hired, and questionable interview dialog could cause the interviewer to have concerns about how you would represent the organization in public.

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