How to Pay Highly Qualified Temps and Contract Workers

July 26th, 2013

As a result of the recent economic slowdown and waves of layoffs across almost every industry, the workplace is now flooded with two types of agents: 1.) workers who have stepped into the role of full time contractors, freelancers and consultants, and 2.) employers who are seeking safety and low risk by hiring on a cautious, contingent basis. While they slowly regain budget resources and confidence in a secure future, many employers are trying to eliminate the risk and investment of long term hiring and are turning to temps, consultants, and freelancers to take on targeted short term projects. And of course, these short term workers are available in spades.

But one difficult question stands in the way of an otherwise smooth relationship: how should these contract and temporary workers be paid? If you’re looking for a safe way to handle contingency staffing needs and payment issues creating an obstacle, keep these considerations in mind.

1. Conduct standard calculations first. Determine the market value of full time work in this specific area. Factor in your geographic location, the level of experience you’re looking for, and the education credentials this work will require. Once you’ve settled on a fair annual salary, divide that number by 2,080 to obtain the hourly equivalent.
2. Recognize that contingent workers are often specialists, not generalists. If you’re asking a contingent worker to apply a skill or form of expertise that can’t be found among your generally trained full time staff, this person’s salary may need to be slightly higher.

3. Most contingent workers and freelancers handle their own taxes, insurance and other paperwork associated with staying in business. Since you won’t be handling this and your employee will, she’ll have further incentive to charge a slightly higher rate.

4. Motivation will be more essential for talented contingent workers than full time employees, so make sure you provide an adequate system of rewards and a respectful work environment. If you treat contract workers poorly, you’ll lose them much faster than full time staff members. Remember, contract workers have a long list of other clients competing for their attention. 

If you aren’t sure you’re up for the task of generating a market based pay scale and working to keep contingent employees on board, partner with an experienced staffing agency that can handle this task on your behalf. Reach out to the NC staffing pros at PSU for more information about how this process works.

The Anatomy of a Winning Resume

July 19th, 2013

Are you ready to create a resume that highlights your strongest credentials and throws your competitors into the shade? Are you ready to make it clear to your potential employers that you know how to bring value to the position and help the company meet its goals? Great! But as you move forward, you’ll have to make your case in standardized way that employers find easy to read, scan, and remember. Include each of these elements and make such each one stands out clearly.


Start with a clear summary between three and five sentences long. Place this section at the top of the page, right under your contact information. Your summary should explain who you are and what you can do, but most of all, it should show employers how you intend to contribute to the success of the company.


Under the summary, list each of your educational credentials including your college degrees, graduate degrees, licenses, and certifications. Include the name of each institution and your course of study there. If you’ve attended college, don’t include your high school. And if you graduated from college more than three years ago, don’t include your GPA.

Work History

Feel free to arrange your work history either chronologically (with your most recent position first), or by order of relevance to the open position. Just make sure each entry includes your employer, your job title, your dates of employment and a few bullet points outlining your most important accomplishments while you held each job. Make sure your listed accomplishments are unique, not just restatements of the basic requirements of the position. If possible, quantify your accomplishments, by adding numbers to projects you completed, the new products you developed, or the revenue you raised.


This should be the final section of your resume, but it’s by no means the least important. Use this section to explain your unique skills that don’t necessarily relate to the positions you’ve held. These may include the languages you speak, the software programing languages you’ve mastered, musical instruments you play, sports at which you excel, and your artistic accomplishments.

For more detail on how to create a resume that emphasizes your strongest skill sets and places you credentials in the spotlight, reach out to the NC staffing and job search experts at PSU.

Is Your Company Ready for Boomer Retirements?

July 12th, 2013

A wave of baby boomers took the country’s maternity wards by storm in the mid-forties, just after World War II, and each time this generation reached a collective milestone during the next sixty years, they stepped into systems and institutions unprepared to handle their vast numbers. Now this group is standing on the brink of retirement, and once again, despite ample warning, they’re surrounded by companies and systems that are woefully unprepared for their mass migration from the workplace to the spa and golf course.

Is your company ready to handle a rapid disappearance of boomer employees? If not, here are a few steps that can smooth the process and ease the transition.

Training and cross training

Make sure that when your boomer population leaves, they don’t take years and years of deep institutional knowledge with them. Pair boomers with younger employees and mentees, launch shadowing programs, and make sure senior boomers are involved in new employee training and acclimation where appropriate.

Succession planning

Map out a long term plan for each of your senior, executive, and difficult-to-staff positions. Find a way to prepare for vacancies in these positions by building a strong talent pipeline. Hire new candidates with long term needs in mind, groom them for ascension, and steer them along the path with careful coaching.

Retaining older workers on a consulting or temporary basis

Just because older worker reach retirement age doesn’t mean you need to abruptly sever all contact. Find flexible working arrangements or develop consulting contracts that satisfy both parties and allow your remaining staff to reach out to departed coworkers for answers and guidance.

Opening temporary and part time positions for retired workers

Not all older workers really want to step away from their professions—or from the workforce—altogether. Make room in your labor force for experienced, highly skilled boomers who are interested in a reduced weekly schedule.

According to survey data, the two assets employers miss most when boomers retire are 1.) advanced writing and communication skills and 2.) the professionalism and work ethic that experienced employees bring to the table. Find ways to replace both without missing a beat or undermining your bottom line. Reach out to the NC staffing experts at PSU for help.

Salary Negotiation Tips for Employers

July 5th, 2013

As you identify your ideal candidate in a vast pool of applicants, move through the interview process, and become increasingly certain that your chosen prospect has what it takes to move your forward, you’ll need to start thinking about the offer process. And as you do so, you’ll need to balance two important but conflicting concerns: 1.) You want the best of the best. Now that you’ve found your talent, you’d like to seal the deal and keep her onboard after she’s settled in. And 2.) You’d like to pay the lowest salary possible…without threatening these goals.

How can you get the process off the right foot and make sure the outcome of the negotiation satisfies both sides of the table? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

1. You’ll need to be smart, but also fast. Timing is critical when you’re trying to land the best candidates. Every idle hour that goes by is an hour in which your competitors are reaching out and taking action. And even if this isn’t happening, the best candidates are still the most vulnerable to changes of heart and unexpected opportunities. So don’t hem and haw over a few dollars. Make a decision and act.

2. Determine beforehand if you’ll be open to negotiation. Don’t be caught off guard if you make an offer and receive a counter offer instead of a simple yes or no. Know how you’ll respond. Again, timing is crucial.

3. If you plan to make a lowball offer due to budget constraints (or willingness to take a risk), be ready to emphasize the perks and benefits that may make up for monetary compensation, like a strong health insurance package or a 401K.

4. Remember that the risk of a lowball offer doesn’t end when the candidate says yes. Low offers typically lead to lingering doubts and regrets on the candidate’s part, and if even the slightest hassles meet her on the job (like a surly boss or cramped workspace) a salary at the bottom of the market range won’t be enough to keep her nose to the grindstone when she could easily dust off her resume and correct this error.

5. A salary premium for a highly trained candidate will be a cost that you incur year after year, including annual standard pay raises. But if you take on an untrained/uncertified candidate at a discount and then provide or subsidize this training, you pay those tuition fees only once. Keep this in mind as you wind down the selection process.

For specific tips and guidance as you calculate salary offers, reach out to the NC staffing experts at PSU. Put our years of negotiation experience to work for you.

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