How a Temporary Job Can Restart Your Career

October 23rd, 2020

When you reach a career crossroad, it can take a while to find a new direction and a new sense of purpose. There’s no point in rushing the process; if you get impatient and leap in the wrong direction, you’ll just wind up at the same crossroads again in a few months (or days). Instead, pause and give yourself some time to make a wise and considered decision—while still maintaining the ability to pay your bills. A job and a career are two different things. In every life, there are times when we need to focus on one or the other.

Here’s how stepping into a temporary job for a while can help you move closer to your next career milestone.

A temporary job means low levels of commitment.

A temporary job is not a life sentence. Far from it. A six-month gig is by no means a full and total career pivot, but it CAN offer many things that can help you find your new purpose, for example, a chance to pause and think about what your last job may have lacked.

A temporary job brings in some fresh air, socially.

Your temp job—no matter where or what—will bring new faces, new friends, and new networking opportunities. Every time you meet a new person, you open a door. Open some doors and find out where they lead.

A temporary job helps you build new skills.

Again, no matter what your temp job entails– even if it doesn’t align with your current career—you’ll learn something new. You’ll learn how to use a new software platform, how to speak a new professional language, or how an unfamiliar business model works. Embrace this chance to learn something and expand the limits of what you know about the world.

A temporary job keeps the clock running.

Employers can sometimes be turned off by employment gaps in your resume, and this isn’t always a sign of narrow-mindedness; sometimes it’s a decision made by non-human algorithms and database management tools. If you stay steadily employed, you increase your options down the road.

For more on why and how to keep (or get) your career in motion with a temp job, contact the staffing team at PSU.

How to Get to Know the Real Candidate in an Interview

October 9th, 2020

If you encourage your candidate to open up during the interview and show his or her true personality, you’ll get a much stronger sense of the person’s fitness for the role. But to do this, you’ll need to set an appropriate tone and help the person relax.

Here’s how to make that happen.

Be friendly.

We all have a natural instinct to smile back when someone smiles at us. Humans are wired to be socially connected to others, and we mirror each other’s moods and feelings in a rapid and unconscious way. If you want to make someone feel guarded or tense, there’s no faster way to do this then by projecting those feelings yourself. And the opposite is also true; if you treat the candidate like a friend and demonstrate goodwill and trust, you’ll get the same in return. Smile, show interest in their comfort and behave as if the meeting is an enjoyable, warm and positive experience for you.

If you ask, be sure to share (or at least try).

Personal questions are friendly and engaging, and questions that stay within professional boundaries are necessary for a job interview, of course. But the difference between a conversation and a grilling session can come down to one word: balance. Make sure your levels of disclosure are (or at least feel) mutually aligned. If you ask about the candidate’s pets or her summer trip to Spain, offer something about your own pets and travels. (Remember, questions about family are absolutely off-limits in an interview.)

Encourage.

When your candidate shares an accomplishment, praise the accomplishment. When she describes a past struggle, sympathize. When she shares a goal, encourage her and show confidence in her eventual success. None of these will be mistaken for an implied commitment or job offer; they’re just gestures of warmth, interest, and kindness.

Discuss her long-term career goals, not just the goals of the company.

We often advise candidates to keep the focus on the employer’s needs, not on the needs of the interviewee. The opposite also holds true. This is a partnership; each side should emphasize what the other party has to gain if the agreement is to move forward.

Let the candidate be nervous.

Don’t comment on the candidate’s jumpy nerves or shaking, sweaty hands, even to reassure or to make a friendly joke. Be polite and ignore them. Often these physiological responses to stress are involuntary, but as a culture, we associate them with a lack of confidence or sincerity. Don’t do that. Just pretend they aren’t happening and recognize that all of us have been and will be on both sides of the interview table again and again, and you’ll want the same politesse the next time interview palm-sweat happens to you. For more on how to make your candidate feel open and engaged, turn to the interview experts at PSU.

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