Four Strategies to Improve Your Interview Skills

May 29th, 2015

Your last interview felt promising…but despite your high hopes, you were politely turned away a few days later. The one before that led to the same outcome. And before that, you attended an interview and never heard from the employers again. What’s going on?

It’s possible that you’re just having a run of unfortunate luck; after all, nobody promised you that the job search would be easy. But it’s also possible that you aren’t taking full advantage of the moment and you aren’t quite doing everything in your power to convey confidence, competence, and readiness for the job at hand. Here are a few adjustments that can help you get your message across.

Stop slumping.

“Slumping” isn’t just a matter of poor, slouchy posture. This term includes the entire message that you send with a chair slouch: you’d rather not be here. You’re uncomfortable. You’re intimidated by the interviewer and you want to go home. Stop sending this message. If you want this job, sit up straight, look your interviewer in the eye, and have an adult conversation. If you don’t, call and cancel the interview before it begins. Take the wheel and steer your own destiny.

Ask more questions.

No matter how many questions you’re asking during your interview sessions, ask a few more. And don’t save them for the final stretch of the meeting when the interviewer turns the tables; ask them at every turn. Keep in mind that your time and your talents are valuable, and make sure this job is the right one for you before you commit yourself.

Steer clear of perfectionism.

Too many of us misuse this term and confuse “perfectionists” with “perfect people”. But here’s the truth: there are no perfect people, and perfectionism (any sign of it) can be highly toxic to your job search. Contrary to what you might believe, most employers run away from candidates who show hints of this disastrous trait. “Perfectionism” means brittle egos, fear of risk, slow growth, reluctance to learn new things, personal paralysis, and stagnation. When you’re asked to describe a mistake or failure from you past, step up to the plate and tell your story. Tell it proudly. Never, ever answer by saying “I’ve never made a mistake” or “I’ve never experienced failure.”

Be genuine.

Don’t hide your true personality. Let it shine. There are two reasons to do this: first, most job candidates are not professional actors, and if you plaster on a fake persona, your interviewer will recognize what you’re trying to do. The result will confuse and upset both of you. Second, there’s nothing wrong with you. Whatever quality you’re trying to hide, it’s not as damaging or weird as you think it is. You’re a smart, competent person, and you’re allowed to be here. If you accept that fact and move past it, your interviewer will follow your lead.

For more on how to clear away the obstacles in your path and ace your next interview, reach out to the professional staffing team at PSU.

 

Is Your Company Suffering From High Turnover?

May 22nd, 2015

Earlier today, one of your employees came into your office to give her notice of resignation. After a brief conversation followed by a few minutes of solitary sulking, you decided this wasn’t such a big deal. After all, she wasn’t the highest performer on the team. But as you think this matter over (or talk it over with your HR manager) you realize that this resignation is part of a pattern. Employees who come on board don’t tend to stay much longer than a few years, and those who do stay don’t seem very personally invested in the success of the company. Do you have a turnover problem? Here’s how to answer the question and move forward.

Keep your Expectations Reasonable

Before you hit the panic button, do some research. What are the average tenures for employees in this industry? At each level? In your geographic area? How does your company measure up against the industry in general? Some jobs are revolving doors by nature, but if you check the numbers and you’re coming up short by a statistically significant margin, the time to take action is now.

Stop Blaming the Employees Who Leave

Some managers address a turnover problem by simply not addressing it at all. If you decide that the employees who leave are simply not cut out for this type of work, or not ambitious enough, or not tough enough, stop. Refocus. The same applies if you reduce your responsibility by deciding each resignation is unique and circumstantial. (For example, Carol had to leave to take care of her parents. Robert left because he didn’t like the weather here. Pete left because he wanted to pursue an acting career… Etc, etc, etc. If all they left during the same year, or the same month, you have a problem.)

Follow the Problem to the Source

Stop speculating and guessing and seek out the truth. Why are your employees leaving? Distribute meaningful exit interviews, and make sure you circulate anonymous surveys at least once or twice per year asking employees for feedback. Ask what they like and don’t like about working here. Ask what they need in order to excel at their jobs and find happiness and fulfillment within this company.

Act on What You Learn

Don’t just collect this data and file it away. Once you identify the source (or multiple sources) of the problem, start building a solution. If your employees aren’t receiving a competitive salary, fix this. If they aren’t getting the exposure, experience, or promotion opportunities they need in order to grow professionally, take a closer look at your hiring strategy and your staffing pipeline.

As you move forward and find ways to resolve these issues, get help from the expert staffing team at Personnel Services Unlimited.

 

LinkedIn for Job Seekers: Dos and Don’ts

May 15th, 2015

In order to optimize every minute of your job search and leverage every tool at your disposal, you’ll need to lean heavily on your social networks, and that means taking advantage of social media resources like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn account won’t land you a job all by itself, but maintaining a profile can improve your access to managers and recruiters. And since you only need one yes, every little bit helps. Here are a few LinkedIn does and don’ts that can get you off the market faster.

DO complete your profile sooner rather than later

Even if you don’t flesh out your profile in fine detail, you should at least have one. If you haven’t done so already, take a few moments before the end of the day today and create a brief summary and cursory description of your last few relevant positions. You can add, delete, polish and perfect your profile later, but first you’ll need to get your name out there.

DON’T skip these three words

No matter what you decide to include in your profile (and remember, the site is public), you should provide readers with these three details: Your industry, your preferred job title, and a general geographic area. You don’t have to tell readers exactly where you live, but give a broad location like “Seattle area” or “Southern New Jersey”. Recruiters often use these three items in keyword searches as they sift through profiles looking for a match.

DO use keywords that align with what you want

If you’re looking for a “start-up company” or you’re ready for a “mid-level management position” or you’d like to make use of your “ten years of clinical experience”, make sure you include these types of phrases in your profile. Think like a hiring manger and imagine the types of search terms you would use if you needed to find resume matches for your ideal position.

DO explore the open positions sent to you by the site

LinkedIn uses fairly detailed algorithms to find posts and open opportunities that seem to align with what you’re looking for. Don’t dismiss these recommended jobs outright. Look them over and if you like what you see, apply quickly, since these broad postings will probably attract a high number of applicants.

DON’T forget to reach out to new contacts

Build your network by accepting requests from others and sending plenty of your own. Don’t try to add people who you don’t actually know, but within that framework, keep your list long and your network of contacts wide. Offer as many recommendations and testimonials as you receive.

For more on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn and other social media profiles, reach out to the staffing team at PSU.

 

Choose the Staffing Service that Meets Your Needs

May 8th, 2015

Here at PSU, our experienced team of staffing experts can offer flexible services that can support the needs of your growing company. No matter what kind of help you’re looking for—long term, short term, small scale or large—we have the tools that can help you get ahead. Find the talent you need in a competitive marketplace while keeping your attention focused on your business. Here’s how we can help.

Temporary Hire

Are some of your key players taking vacations or leaves of absence that will require temporary fill-in support? Do you need a few extra pairs of hands to help your staff survive a sudden, short-term burst of orders or feverish peak in your annual business cycle? Use temporary staffing to stay lean and align your workload with your total headcount.

Temp to Hire

You may need candidates on a permanent basis, but why accept the risk involved in signing on with complete unknowns? Instead of making a long term commitment after a few short rounds of interviews, take on your new candidate on a probationary basis. If the relationship doesn’t work out, we’ll reassign the candidate and you’ll lose nothing. Again, staying lean and reducing risk can help you stay profitable and competitive in a tight marketplace.

Direct Hire

If you’re looking for a long term candidate and you want access to the best talent available, we can help. We’ll tap into our wide network of industry contacts and find the new employee you’re looking for, whatever it takes. Our sophisticated souring and screening tools can help us find the most qualified candidates in the area, whether they’re employed or not. When we present you with a potential new employee, you know you’re getting only the best.

Planned Staffing

Turn a fixed expense into a variable one by placing your trust in PSU. Let us help you look down the road ahead and make a long term staffing plan that can keep your hiring program lean and agile. If you know what lies ahead—and you have an experienced team of staffing experts at your side—you can anticipate the peaks and valleys of your business cycle and you’ll never have idle hands in your workplace.

Onsite

If you need regular expertise and high volume staffing services, let us come to you. We can provide on- site management and coordination that you can rely on for day to day support. Arrange a consultation to find out if this service is right for you.

Payroll

Let us hire your employee so you don’t have to! We’ll take on the hassle and headaches associated with payroll, reporting, withdraws, and insurance. But you’ll reap the benefits. Contact PSU today to learn more about the staffing solutions we offer to businesses just like yours.

Watch Out for These Job Search Mistakes

May 1st, 2015

As you strike out in search of a new job, you’ll need plenty of confidence, a beautifully edited resume, and network of friends and professional contacts who you can turn to for support, leads, and guidance. You’ll also need to stay on your toes and watch out for these common pitfalls. Job mistakes like these can be more damaging than you may realize, and even experienced job seekers aren’t immune. Watch your step and keep your eyes on the road ahead.

Phone Trouble

During your modern job search, your phone can serve as a guide, an information resource, and a close companion who can get you out of a pickle if you get lost on your way your interview…but watch out. When it comes to reaching your professional goals, there’s a right time and a wrong time to place your entire destiny in the hands of your device. Take hard copies of your resume with you to your interview—don’t rely on your phone to transmit vital info to a person sitting two feet away. And ideally, you’ll want to keep your phone tucked away and silent during your meeting. Never hold up your phone and look at it during a conversation with another person if you’re trying to get that person to hire you.

Lazy or Slow Responses

It may not seem fair, but response times don’t take place on an equal playing field. Your recruiter is under no obligation to respond to your emails and phone calls quickly…or at all. After all, she’s working for her employer clients, not for you (that’s why she isn’t charging you for her services). But you, on the other hand, ARE obligated to respond, and your answers should be complete, polite, and respectful as well as fast. If she asks you for something, provide it immediately.

Arrogance

Generations ago, points were given (consciously or unconsciously) to job candidates who burst through the door with a swagger, made demands, or gave off an aura of entitlement and expectation. But times have changed, and if you don’t know the difference between confidence and arrogance, now is the time to learn. If you act as though the job is yours before you receive a formal offer, prepare to stay on the market for a long time. To earn respect, show respect first.

Waffling

By the same token, it’s hard to convince someone to hire you or take a chance on you if you seem uncertain about what you actually want. You can’t control the decisions or destinies of other people—that’s arrogance. But you can, and should, control your own destiny at all times. Be clear with your employers about what you want from your life and your career, and ask plenty of questions to determine if a given opportunity will align with your needs.

For more on how to make the right impression and shorten the path to your dream job, reach out to the staffing team at PSU.

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