Three Small Moves That Will Help You Become a Better Leader

August 29th, 2014

Are you looking for strategies that will help you become a better leader and build loyalty, motivation, and retention among your staff? Add these three moves to your management plan.

 Stop trying to “be a better leader”.

Like most personal strengths that generate value for other people, “leadership” isn’t really about you. Ask yourself: Which would you rather have, a blue leadership ribbon that you can hang on the wall? Or a happy, well-oiled, enthusiastic team, a team that successfully raises their sales numbers (or improves their patient outcomes, cleans the warehouse in record time, overcomes a conflict, paints a mural, completes a merger, or lands a grant)? The success of your leadership depends on what you do, not on what you are. Turn your attention outward toward your team and focus on your shared goals. Stop worrying about yourself and how well you’re scoring in a contest that exists only in your head.

Want the right things.

Imagine a little league coach ushering a team of six-year-olds toward a regional championship. If the coach is a responsible, intelligent person, then what is he really trying to accomplish? Does he actually care about a plastic trophy that could easily be bought at a store? Nope. Does he care about the glory that the trophy will bring him, or the impact this trophy will have on his resume? Nope. Does he even care about winning? No. His goal is much more complex than that; it involves providing twenty children with a valuable life experience, a fun memory, and some important lessons about the world and how it works. In other words, his goal is not the stated goal, and his reward is not the actual reward…it’s something else. The same applies to you. Know what you’re fighting for and why.

Lead from behind.

To get respect, give respect. And do your part first. Don’t march out in front of your team before you’ve earned the right to their obedience and loyalty. Instead, provide them with an example. Roll up your sleeves and take on the ugliest, most difficult tasks. Come in earlier and stay later than they do. Get behind the slowest runner and give that weak link your full attention. Find out what your team needs and provide it without waiting to be asked. Be a servant, a supporter, a guide, a resource, and a role model. Do all of these things before you start barking orders.

For more simple moves and practical tips that can help you lead your team across the finish line, contact the management and staffing experts at PSU.


Working With a Staffing Agency: The Benefits of a Partnership

August 22nd, 2014

If you’re company is growing, but the future is still uncertain, how can you add hands to your team without making commitments you might not be able to keep? If you need to hire new team members but you just don’t have the time and resources to sift through a giant pool of resumes of your own, how can you get the qualified, experienced staffing help you need to cut this task down to size? And if you’re worried about a new candidate who may or may not have what it takes to stick with your company over the long term, how reduce risk and give both parties a way to exit the agreement if it doesn’t work out?

The answer to all three may be the same: Consider a partnership with a strategic staffing agency. Here are a few of the ways your company can benefit from the support of the PSU staffing team.

1. We offer the highest level of talent…

Our network is wide and our experience runs deep. During our decades of service to companies like yours, we’ve formed countless industry connections. We understand how your business works, and we know where to find and how to attract the kinds of candidates you need. We’re also great listeners; as you describe the details of your open position, we take careful notes and stay in close touch.

2. …With the lowest level of risk.

When we introduce you to the full or part time candidates you’d like to bring on board, we keep our own commitments high so yours can stay low. If you like your new team member and want to hire her full time, you can do so as soon as her contract period ends. If not, just let us know and we’ll send you someone else.

3. Reduce your administrative hassles.

Employees are paid by our agency, not by you. So you can leave the paperwork, insurance, tax reporting, and other hiring issues to us.

4. We know what to look for in a top notch employee.

We can support your selection process by providing the tests and background checks you need, and our first round screening interviews are carefully designed to catch red flags and signs of a highly successful hire.

Don’t tackle your hiring and staffing challenges alone. Contact the Belmont staffing experts at PSU and arrange a consultation today.


Cover Letter Essentials: Four Ways to Stand Out

August 15th, 2014

What sets a good cover letter apart from a great one? And what sets a strong candidate apart from average middle-of-the-road applicant who holds the minimum requirements for the position, but not much else? Here are four cover letter moves that can set you apart from the crowd.

1. Set the right tone from the beginning.

Instead of launching your letter with a long, wordy, or apologetic preamble, just get the point. State the title of the job you’d like to apply for and how you found out about it, for example: “I’d like to apply for the marketing manager position posted on” Avoid openings like: “I’m so sorry to waste your time and I know you must be very busy, but if it wouldn’t trouble you too much, maybe you could consider me for the position of….etc, etc”.

2. Explain why you want this job.

In order to do this, you’ll have to provide a bit of your personal and professional background. Don’t talk about your family, marital, age, handicapped, race, or religious status, but feel free to share how you got into this business and what inspires your passion for this type of work. You can also explain what you’re looking for during the next step of your career and (so far) haven’t found.

3. Explain why you’re a perfect fit.

Visit the company website before you write your letter so you know how to tack this challenge. Explain what you know about this organization and its needs, and then tell your reader how you’re perfectly poised to meet those needs. If your skill sets, background, interests and ambitions all align with the company’s mission and goals, this is your moment to shine a spotlight on this alignment and draw it into focus.

4. Wrap it up.

Bring your letter to a polite conclusion and explain exactly what you’d like your readers to do next. Phrase your request in the form of an invitation. For example: “I believe I have the skills and experience necessary to thrive in this position and help your company reach its growth targets in the year ahead, and I’d welcome an opportunity to further explain my qualifications in person. I invite you to review my enclosed resume and contact me at your convenience. Thank you for your interest.”

At all times, keep your cover letter clear, concise, relevant and short. For more information, contact the Charlotte job search and employment experts at PSU.

Become a Better Interviewer: Five Simple Moves

August 8th, 2014

There are two institutions in the modern professional workplace that employers cling to, generation after generation, despite their tendency to return limited value. The first is the annual employee review, and the second is the job interview. Again and again, these two conversations generate a froth of useless anxiety (on both sides of the table) and a mountain of meaningless data. But employers persevere…simply because better alternatives have yet to be discovered.

Interviews are flawed by nature; they’re difficult to script, difficult to compare, and difficult to control. An offhand remark that sounds like a red flag to one supervisor may seem innocuous (or even appealing) to another. And empty questions like “Are you a hard worker?” keep showing up in interviews, despite the lack of real information they provide.

But despite these obstacles, you still need to meet your candidates in person before you make an offer (this will always be true), and you still need to push data aside and rely on your intuition and human intelligence to extract value from this conversation. Here are a few ways to cut though the nonsense and actually find a candidate who will join your company, stay, contribute, and thrive.

1. Drop the act.

Your interviewees may be eager for your approval. But they aren’t fools. If you try to manipulate, intimidate, cross examine, insult, bait, or challenge them, they’ll see through you as well as anyone would. You’ll lose the most talented applicants who have somewhere else to go, and you’ll select for the ones with the highest levels of desperation. Just be yourself.

2. Research the job first.

If you’ll be this employee’s direct supervisor, you already know exactly what she’ll be doing all day long. But if not, learn what this job entails before you step into the room. Too often, hiring managers face candidates with completely mysterious skill sets (this often happens in IT), and their questions are drawn from a script they don’t really understand.

3. Look for cultural fitness, not just skill sets.

Ask open ended, “behavioral” questions. For example, “Describe a situation from your past in which you were asked to cut corners in order to meet a deadline. How did you resolve this conundrum?”

4. Read between the lines.

The candidate won’t just answer through her words alone. So pay attention to everything that falls outside the verbal realm. Which questions make him tense up? Which questions elicit her passion and interest? Is he a shy person (despite what he tells you about his lion-like boldness)? Is she a risk-taker, as she says (despite her conventional career path?) Is she likely to be loyal? Is he likely to be warm and kind?

For more on how to get the most out of your interview process and find the best matches in your candidate pool, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.

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