Questions to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

January 29th, 2016

You’ve worked hard to impress your employers and land your target job, and finally your efforts have paid off. You have an offer! After a drawn out resume review and a nerve-wracking series of interviews, you finally got the call and now you’re reviewing the terms of a written agreement. It’s natural to be excited, and a after a long search, it’s natural to feel a sense of relief. But be careful. Read the terms and make sure everything meets your expectations before you sign. Here are a four questions you’ll want to answer as you do this.

What benefits will accompany this salary offer?

Of course, you’ll have to confirm that the salary on offer meets or exceeds the average for your area and your industry. And you’ll need to make sure this compensation accurately reflects your skills and contributions. But you’ll also need to make sure the health insurance, pension, and other benefits that accompany the offer measure up to your expectations. During the interview, it’s awkward to ask frankly about salary. At this point, it’s not only appropriate, it’s an absolute necessity.

Will this job take you where you need to go?

It’s nice to be able to collect a paycheck. But will a paycheck be enough to satisfy you in one, three, and five years? You have personal goals and long term plans for your career; will this company be able to promote you when the time comes? And will they be able to provide you with the experience and exposure you’ll need in order to move forward if you decide to look for opportunity elsewhere?

Will this company respect and accommodate your needs?

If you have personal needs and requirements of any kind, will you need to give them up in order to work for this employer? If you have to leave on weekends or limit your working day to 40 hours, that’s a need. If you have any religious obligations, medical needs, allergies or handicaps that require accommodation, can this company provide those accommodations? If you’ll be taking on a long, expensive commute and you’ll need parking or transportation vouchers, can the company offer them? Don’t make assumptions or leave these things to chance; get them worked out now.

What will your job description include?

This may seem like an obvious question, but some employers expect candidates to accept or reject an offer without actually reviewing a job description in writing. You’ll want to make sure your duties and responsibilities in this position align with your expectations and don’t include any tasks that you’re unable or unwilling to take on.

For more on how to review your job offer and ask the right questions before you accept, contact the job search and staffing team at PSU.

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What Workplace Qualities Do your Employees Value Most?

January 22nd, 2016

If you’re like most successful managers, you understand that a strong connection exists between productive employees and happy employees. You know that if you work hard to keep your employees safe and motivated, and you demonstrate respect for their talents and their time, then they’ll be more likely to show your company the same respect in return. You’ll retain high-value workers by cultivating long term relationships with them, and you’ll attract a more talented pool of candidates as your reputation begins to climb.
But what can you do to launch this upward spiral? What traits should you cultivate in order to attract and retain the best employees?

Flexibility

Some studies show that modern workers, especially at the mid-career level, value time even more than they value money. Of course you’ll still need to pay your employees what they’re worth, but consider adopting a flexible approach to work hours as well. As far as possible, allow your teams to shape their own schedules and work remotely if and when they need to. As long as the work gets done, it shouldn’t matter where or when this happens.

Fairness

If you aren’t paying attention to who gets the credit for hard work and great ideas, you should be. Maybe you can’t be bothered to take a close look at interoffice politics and gossip, but if so, you may be missing opportunities to praise and reward the real contributors, not just the loudest shouters. Fairness should be a top priority when it’s time to distribute workloads, assign projects, or grant promotions.

Connectivity

Consider allowing your employers to connect their own devices to the company network or log in to the network from anywhere they choose. Make sure employees are properly compensated for work they conduct or data they consume using their own contracts.

Opportunities for growth

In addition to compensation, you’ll need to take care of your employees by looking out for their futures. Create opportunities for growth within your organization by building long term hiring pipelines. And in the meantime, encourage learning by establishing a mentoring program, providing in-house training, and offering tuition compensation for employees who would like to further their educations.

Respect

The basic equation is simple: if you give respect, you’ll get respect. And for employees, this means respect for their thoughts, their ideas, and their needs. Keep a close eye on how much your teams are actually being paid for each hour of their time; if they’re salaried employees working 60 hour weeks and making 30,000 dollars a year, this is unacceptable. Understand the link between how much they contribute and how much they’re paid.
For more on how to boost your reputation and gain access to the best employees, reach out to the experienced staffing team at PSU.

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Don’t Wait for Your Performance Review: Self-Evaluate!

January 15th, 2016

If your employer follows a standard evaluation model, you’ll probably face a formal performance review process at least once per year, and this process will probably take place at the end of December. And if you’re like most employees, this annual meeting may bring a range of emotions, including dread, relief, anticipation, personal satisfaction, or the sudden urge to dust off your resume and start looking for a new job.

All of these feelings are perfectly normal. But if you’re surprised by the results of your review, something is wrong. Ideally, your employer should be providing constant feedback throughout the year, so you aren’t making the same mistakes over and over while your managers wait patiently to tell you about them in December. You shouldn’t feel ambushed by the criticism–or the praise—involved in your review. But no workplace is perfect. Consider taking responsibility for your own evaluation process by reviewing yourself.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself (the best part: you can ask them during any season you choose).

Would you consider yourself an asset to this company?

Rate the value of your overall contributions on a scale of 1 to 5. Do you show up and complete the minimum (1)? Or do you genuinely care about this company and its future (5)? Do you really want this organization to succeed, and are you willing to do anything within reason (and the limits of your paycheck) to make this happen?

Do you recover and learn from mistakes?

We all make mistakes. And in fact, those who fear mistakes tend to avoid risk and miss opportunities to grow and learn new things. Valuable employees are not the ones who never mess up; they’re the ones who mess up, recover quickly, and learn from the experience. Give yourself a 5 if you habitually bounce back from your blunders by putting the mistake in the past and working hard not to commit the same error again.

Are you pleasant and easy to work with?

There’s nothing wrong with being a little hard-headed at work—as long as your stubbornness and bellicosity are exercised on the behalf of the company, its employees, or its clients. If you only put on your boxing gloves in order to protect weaker employees or customers, give yourself a five. If you wage war over the annoying behavior of others, or you lash out at anyone who disagrees with you, give yourself a 1.

Are you neat, organized, and on time?

This doesn’t just matter at the entry level. In fact, mid-career pros and executives often excuse themselves from these requirements, but they shouldn’t. Your 10 a.m. start time and messy desk don’t tell the world that you work hard; they tell the world that you’re struggling to keep your responsibilities under control.

Give yourself some honest feedback about your presentation and productivity about work. And if you need a little help to boost your numbers, reach out to the staffing team at PSU.

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The Biggest Hiring Challenges of 2016

January 8th, 2016

Your company is growing, your retirees are packing their bags, and you plan to staff several open positions during the year ahead. Are you ready for the challenges and opportunities the new year will bring? Balance caution and care with optimism and positivity, and as you do so, prepare to tackle these potential staffing obstacles in 2016.

The market will thin out slightly.

During the peak of downturn in 2008 and 2009, brilliant-but-unemployed candidates hustled for positions that offered half of what they were worth (if these candidates could find them at all). Some employers took advantage of the bounty, sending candidates through ridiculous hoops and subjecting them to ten rounds of interviews in exchange for absurdly low offers. But now the tables have turned. If you’re still picking your candidates apart or offering lowball salaries, stop. At this point, pressing your candidates too hard will not attract geniuses; it will drive them away. The best will accept offers elsewhere and only the desperate will remain.

Candidates are abandoning mainstream job boards.

The biggest job boards like Monster and Careerbuilder are still popular, for sure. But the best candidates aren’t searching there anymore. They’re searching geographic and industry-specific sites where the odds are more favorable, the lines are shorter, and the jobs are a better fit. Adopt the mindset of your ideal candidate as you approach your sourcing process. Enlist the help of a recruiting firm that understands your target audience.

Linkedin is fading.

Like the biggest global job boards, Linkedin still has a place in the staffing world, but it’s no longer the best place to find the savviest and most ambitious candidates in the marketplace. Again, a recruiting firm with an educated, youthful, and ambitious network can connect you to the talent you need.

Employees move faster.

A generation ago, employees often stayed with a company for decades after they were hired. But this is no longer the norm, and the stigma associated with “job-hopping” is becoming a thing of the past. If you want to retain your candidates longer than the average relationship of 2.5 years (and falling), you’ll need to tighten your staffing program and take a hard look at your workplace culture.

Passive candidates.

If you’ve been leaning back and expecting candidates to knock down your door and beg for your approval, reconsider this approach. Studies show that a surprising number of highly talented and happily employed workers are quietly open to new opportunities. Take advantage of this silent marketplace, not by pulling employees away from your competitors, but by raising your online profile and actively networking. If you have opportunities to offer, these passive candidates should know about them.

For more on how to find and attract the best candidates on the market in 2016, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.

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