Why Confidence is Key in Any Job Interview

April 26th, 2021

Despite what our culture might have us believe, shouting affirmations at yourself in the bathroom mirror won’t change a few essential facts: either you know how to do a specific task or you don’t. Either you possess a strong base in a specific area of knowledge, or you don’t. You can’t shout or affirm yourself into being better at something than you are. Cheering yourself on can be a hollow gesture if you don’t truly believe you have all the tools and experience it takes to accomplish a difficult thing.

But here’s the counterpoint: Before you land a job and start working, you don’t actually KNOW if you’re qualified and ready. You have no real idea what the job will require. Nobody does. And in most cases, the employer doesn’t either– That’s why they’re hiring someone.

So with that in mind, confidence is like money left on a negotiating table: It’s yours if you take it. If you don’t take it, it just lies there. You don’t know for sure if you’re ready…so give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You may not have it all, but what you do have is plenty. Here’s why.

Confidence is sometimes all that matters.

Someday you might interview for a job as a juggler, and if you can’t juggle you won’t get the job (it’s for the best). But sometimes, the confidence you radiate IS actually the reason why someone may want to hire you. Sometimes the skill set makes or breaks the deal, but sometimes confidence ITSELF is the capital in which you trade. Your confident demeanor may be the actual item your employer would like to buy…so sell it.

Confidence helps other people relax.

The next time you step into a room, try an experiment. Step across the threshold as if you’re looking for someone. Then cast your glance around the room making brief eye contact with every person present as if that person is the one you’re looking for. Smile as you do this. As you rest your eyes on each person, say in your head “there you are!” See what happens.

Confidence in yourself will make the whole team stronger.

If you believe you can do it (whatever it is) others will believe it too. As they relax and put their trust in you, their own confidence will build, as will their trust in each other.

What you don’t know, you can learn (and you will).

No matter what this job entails, if you don’t have it, you can gain it. Otherwise, you would not have been called in for an interview. You’re in the ballpark, whether you’re an exact match for the role on not. Your interviewer knows this, and you should too.

For more on how to gain confidence and use it to your advantage during your job search, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.

What Makes a Great Employee

April 12th, 2021

You’ve just reached the end of a promising interview with a candidate who seems to have it all, at least on paper. Everything looks great; the person is friendly and pleasant, the resume checks every box, and you’re ready to cancel the other scheduled interviews and get the onboarding process started immediately. But before you do, pause for a minute. Are you actually sure the candidate will help your company make money and grow? Or do you just feel a warm sense of personal connection?

Keep these considerations in mind before you sign anything.

Great employees and pleasant new friends are often one and the same. But sometimes they aren’t.

If you’ll be sitting beside this person every day, you definitely want a candidate you can get along with. But you aren’t just going to be sitting beside him or her; you’re going to be counting on her to engage with the tasks of the day and tackle them independently and successfully. Can you trust this candidate to care about the work that you care about? Can you leave him alone and know he’ll follow through? If you aren’t sure, make sure the interview entails a few questions about his personal interest in this industry, this company, and this career.

Tests can help.

Will this candidate need to use a certain program every day, like Excel, Word or Photoshop? If so, conduct a hard (as in, measurable) assessment of his or her skills with this tool. Numbers don’t usually lie. If the candidate is brilliant and friendly but totally unfamiliar with the tools of the job, you’ll be investing in significant training after you hire them. Can you afford that time?

Does the candidate seem willing to invest in you?

The candidate seems enthusiastic about the job, but if she’s hired, how long is she likely to stay? If you want someone who will stay on board for at least one, three, or five years, ask directly if she’s likely to do this. She may shape the truth to fit the needs of the moment and land the role, but she may also

simply tell you the length of time she has in mind. Six months may be fine; ten years may be unrealistic. There’s no harm in asking.

Do you find the candidate threatening?

It can be exciting to sit across from a go-getter who will step in the door and start changing the company right away. But in actual practice, many employers aren’t ready for this kind of change-driving problem solver, especially if the “problems” are things employers are not ready to solve right away (or ever). Will you find yourself at cross-purposes with her enthusiasm and ambition? Be honest with yourself. If you’re looking for a candidate who will sit quietly and stay out of the way, put this one in the maybe file and get ready for the next interview on the schedule.

For more on how to hire the right candidate, not just the “best” candidate, turn to the staffing pros at PSU.

How to Stay Motivated at Work Every Day

March 26th, 2021

It’s Monday morning and you feel a familiar sensation coming on. Your eyes keep drifting toward the window, and your thumbs keep scrolling through the internet. You’re daydreaming about parallel lives you could be living, other jobs you might have, other cities you might live in…none of which reflect your actual life. You know you should be focusing on the work your boss has asked you to complete, but it’s hard to channel the full force of your creative energy into this task, because quite honestly, you don’t want to.

You’re not motivated to do your best work, because you ARE motivated to do something else, somewhere else, and the prospect of winning your boss’s approval just isn’t snapping you back into the moment. Here’s something to consider: It’s time to forget about your boss and start working for your OWN approval.

The strongest motivation doesn’t usually come from the desire to please and impress someone else. It comes from the end of a day in which we’ve pleased and impressed ourselves, a day in which we’re truly proud of 1) what we’ve done and 2) what we’ve overcome in order to do it.

To stay motivated every single day at work, keep these simple tips in mind.

Pay attention to how you feel at the END of the day. Before you fall asleep, list the things you’re glad you did. Consider how you’ve spent your precious time. What are you most proud of and why?

When you get up each morning, identify what you’re most excited to experience during the day. Are you excited to give that 2:00 presentation? Are you excited about an opportunity that might come your way today? Are you excited about something you have planned after the workday ends? Clarify what lights you up inside…and what doesn’t.

After a few weeks of this, take a hard look at your job. How much of your excitement, pride and motivation are exclusively linked to this place? How many of these things could you easily find somewhere else? If your answer is “all of them”, it may be time to start looking beyond these walls for your long-term source of fulfillment, ambition, and growth. Contact the team PSU. We can help you apply your self-knowledge, accomplishments, and personal goals to find a job that actually gives you what you need.

Why You Never Seem to Reach Your Career Goals and How to Change That

March 12th, 2021

Every year you wake up on January first with ambitious career plans. In addition to working out, cutting out sugar, and getting more organized, you decide this is the year to truly shake up your career. You start out with the best of intentions.

But somehow, your plans don’t entirely pan out. You end each year with a few small accomplishments under your belt, but no really significant changes to your circumstances. Why does that happen and how can you fix it? Here are a few possibilities to keep in mind.

You may be aiming in the wrong direction.

Say you work as a middle manager for a small accounting firm. So each year, naturally, you decide you’d like a promotion to a senior position doing essentially the same work in the same industry. You aim to climb the same accounting ladder that you happen to be on, for no other reason than the fact that you’re on it. Stop and think. If you don’t care about accounting and would prefer to be a healthcare professional or a mechanic or an administrator, climbing this ladder won’t get you where you really want to go. Some part of you knows that. Listen to your instincts and climb if you choose, but know that you can’t climb your way to a destination that doesn’t exist.

You may be biting off too much at once.

Instead of a shortlist of impossibly small jumps, like “get a promotion”, “get 20 percent raise”, “become CEO of the company”, try breaking your steps down into smaller and smaller substeps. Take each goal and turn it into at least ten small partial goals. Then break each of those partial goals down into an even smaller set, and keep doing that until the step in front of you is so easy you can do it in ten minutes. Take that step, and you’ll be on your way.

Don’t listen to other people.

In life, it seems like every motivational speech and every inspiring poster tells us to listen and to share. But when it comes to setting career goals, it’s often better to keep your ambitions and plans to yourself, at least at first. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself, so no one is actually qualified to tell you what you can or can’t or should or shouldn’t do. They WILL tell you if you let them. So don’t let them. You have a long journey ahead, so pace yourself by keeping your own counsel as long as you can.

Take yourself seriously, but not too seriously.

Plans change. That’s okay. Give your goals an honest effort, but don’t rigidly cling to a plan of action that doesn’t speak to you anymore. Be strong and flexible at the same time. Hold on until it’s time to let go. Then shift in a new direction.

For more on how to make meaningful progress toward your goals this year and every year, turn to the experts at PSU.

Why You Shouldn’t be Afraid of More Responsibility at Work

February 26th, 2021

Everybody loves getting a promotion, and there’s nothing wrong with taking home a bigger paycheck, especially if it comes with a more impressive title. The move from “associate” to “senior associate” is a celebrated milestone in our culture, and in addition to a roomier budget, it’s nice to give your parents a reason to brag to their friends about your success.

But there’s a catch, of course. Nothing in this life comes for free, and your employer is likely to expect two things from you in exchange for your bump in pay and status: first: more work, and second: a higher level of accountability for your actions and decisions.

At the entry-level, your pay may barely cover the rent. But your boss is there to cover your rear end if you make a mistake or drop the ball, even if the fumble is entirely your fault. As you move up the ladder, the people who surround you and rush in to solve your problems become fewer and farther between…and eventually, they may disappear altogether. That can be scary, especially for a young person with limited skills and experience. Working without guardrails will leave you with fewer opportunities to bounce right back after a mistake, and when you make a poor decision, you may have to face the consequences by yourself.

The Upside to Higher Responsibility

On the bright side, there are huge benefits to accepting new responsibilities, even ones you may not feel ready for—the most important benefit: Growth. Taking on responsibility and accountability beyond your comfort zone is like putting on shoes that are too large for you. They feel awkward and you’ll get a few blisters at first…but you’ll grow into them.

As you start actually to earn the responsibility that you’ve already been granted, those around you will begin to trust you more and more. They’ll start to trust you with business decisions that can impact the comfort, livelihood, financial wellbeing, and even the personal safety of other people. The more you HAVE to do, the more you’ll find you CAN do. And before long, you’ll have a winding stretch of road behind you and a shorter and shorter path ahead toward your goals.

Increasing skill, confidence and experience can start to increase your options. Not just the option to work where and for whom you choose, but the option to move into other roles and even other industries altogether. You’ll be on your way, and you’ll have that first big step to thank. To learn more, reach put to the career development experts at PSU.

Personnel Services Unlimited Turns 40!

February 4th, 2021

Here at Personnel Services Unlimited, we’re celebrating a big milestone this month: Our 40th anniversary! Our doors have been open since 1981, the year NASA launched the first Space Shuttle mission and audiences lined up to see Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen. Beverly Shurford founded the company that year with a mission to provide staffing and job placement services to companies and job seekers in the local area, and since then, that mission has expanded across three offices and multiple counties in North Carolina. Our second office in Rutherford opened in 1990, and our third office opened in Gaton County in 1995.

As we move forward into the new century, the company keeps growing, driven by strong ethical principles founded in a dedication to quality service, ongoing education, effective partnerships with our clients, and the promotion of safe, healthy workplaces for all employees. In the year 2000, Beverly Shurford retired, and Tim Blackwell took over as president.

Tim remains as committed as his predecessor to the success of the company and its role as a member of the community. “Being independently owned, we answer to our clients and candidates…not our stockholders,” he says. “It is our valued employees that really differentiate us from our competitors. Companies don’t do business with companies…people do business with people! And we are fortunate to have dedicated and committed employees!”

PSU has built a reputation as a principled company in an ever-changing industry. The employment landscape shifts and evolves over time, but our commitment to our workers remains as steady as ever. We find great people and connect them to great employers, and we’re proud of what we do and who we serve. Here’s to the lessons, growth and relationships of the past 40 years, and here’s to continuing success in the years to come!

Where are All the Good Workers?

January 22nd, 2021

Does your candidate pool seem to be missing some all-stars? Maybe the pool is large enough, and the top candidates on the list are okay…but they don’t seem like the best of the best. You expected at least a few applicants who would blow you away. But most of the resumes in the pool offer the bare minimum. What are you doing wrong? Here are a few possible answers.

You’re not looking in the right place.

If you’re just posting your ad on a generic job board, you’re doing the equivalent of putting a want-add in a local newspaper. Everyone can see it, sure, but most of them won’t. And the highly qualified and interested applicants you’re targeting definitely won’t, because they’re looking for postings on more specific sites. In fact, your all-star candidates may not even be spending their time looking online, and may instead be exchanging calls with recruiters and staffing agencies. The best candidates are usually the ones who don’t have to work as hard to collect options and opportunities—the opportunities come to them. So to attract their attention, you have to get there first.

Your post is not appealing.

If your post gives off an aggressive vibe with a long list of all the qualities you’re NOT looking for, that may be part of the problem. By the same token, a long list of demands may also work against you, especially if your demands are confusing. For example, don’t ask for more than five years of experience if you’re looking for an entry-level candidate. And don’t expect a candidate with more than five years of experience to accept an entry-level salary. Don’t ask for qualities that are vague or contradict each other (someone who “doesn’t follow the crowd” but is also a “team player”) and be as clear as possible about the requirements and parameters of the job.

Your post doesn’t offer meaningful information.

These days, you can assume candidates will ask a set of specific questions about the job, so don’t make them ask—Just offer this information upfront. For example, is the job full or part-time? Will the candidate be working remotely or not? (Because of the pandemic, this issue should be immediately addressed to avoid confusion and misunderstandings). And if you can’t give a clear picture of the salary, at least state a maximum that you can’t go above. Explain the title of the job, explain where the company is located, and explain what the company does.

You aren’t selling yourself.

To attract true superstars, you need to offer something…anything. You’re trying to entice a candidate who could work anywhere, so why should they work for you? Say something positive about the job or the company that might grab a busy job seeker’s attention.

For more on how to bring highly qualified candidates into your applicant pool, and eventually, into your company, turn to the staffing pros at PSU.

How a Staffing Agency Can Save Your Company Money

January 8th, 2021

When is the best time of the year to take a close look at your organization and find a way to cut costs? EVERY time of the year. There’s never a season, winter or summer when you won’t benefit by looking for new efficiencies and new ways to get things done. And this winter, it’s a good idea to consider partnering with a staffing agency. Here’s how that partnership can help you streamline your business and do more with less.

Staffing agencies gather candidates from sources you may not have considered.

Professional staffers and recruiters have a wide network of contacts and years of experience building relationships in your industry and your local area. They know where to find top candidates and they can quickly generate a pool of resumes that might take a long time to gather on your own. They often have access to local college and trade school job placement offices, and they have the tools and experience to target the exact candidates you’re looking for.

Staffing agencies screen candidates so you don’t have to.

When we collect resumes and applications from potential candidates, we subject them to an initial review and then a phone screening, during which we ask practical questions that can eliminate the first round of applicants and save you hours of time and hassle. If you’re looking for candidates who live within a geographic area, we can easily screen those who fall outside of that region. We can also have a quick discussion with each one about your must-have qualifications, including abilities, salary caps, and availability.

Staffing agencies reduce costs by reducing risk.

Personality match and cultural fit contribute greatly to candidate success. Sometimes even the most qualified candidate just doesn’t get along with the team or isn’t happy in the role. But hiring is expensive, and a change of heart by either party within the first few weeks can really set you back. Staffing agencies remove some of this risk because, during the initial period, the candidate works for the agency, not for you. If you need a replacement or you need to start over, we can take care of that for you.

Staffing agencies lift the burden.

Because the candidate works for the agency, we take care of tax withholdings, insurance, and other hassles that you may not want on your plate. We also help with background checks, drug screenings and other issues that can free up your time and take the pressure off your budget. For more on how our staffing agency can help you cut costs and save time, contact the experts at PSU today!

Make a New Years Resolution to Finally Quit Your Job

December 18th, 2020

New Year’s resolutions are different for every person and every set of circumstances, and while some people may be setting their sights on stepping into a job this year, it’s time for you to focus on the opposite. It’s time for you to let go of the job you have. This can be much harder than most people imagine.

Our culture teaches us to relentlessly worry about our job status—Do we have a job? Could something terrible happen if we lose our job? What if we can’t find another job? We’re always taught to cling to whatever “job” we have, even if that job makes our lives measurably worse because the alternative—no job—is believed to be a bad trade. But sometimes that’s just not true. If your life is going poorly right now and your job is the cause, it’s time to get out. You’ll need to step into the unknown in order to reset and make a meaningful change.

Here are a few moves that can help.

Recognize your anxiety about quitting, and accept that this feeling is normal.

Your employer, your company, and all employers and companies everywhere have something to gain when your fear of the unknown makes cling to a job you don’t like. This fear is not an accident; propagating it keeps salaries down and keeps employees obedient and quiet. If the world beyond these walls felt safe and inviting, employees would leave as soon as their needs weren’t being met, and massive shifts would occur in our culture and labor market. Your fear is real, but it isn’t necessarily warranted. Once you recognize this, it’s easier to see past it and get a realistic view of what your life will look like when you’re no longer coming to this place every day.

You will find another job. It may take a while, but it will happen.

You got this job, and you’ll get another. And another after that, and so on. If you make it happen, it will happen. Decades ago, job “success” may have felt like marriage success—a lifelong commitment to a single employer that began with graduation and ended with retirement. Anything short of a 40-year stint may have been positioned as a “failure”. But that’s not the case anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long time. In fact, job success is now measured in increments of about five years. At five years, you can

and should be scanning the landscape for the next adventure, even if you’re content with your current job. And if you’re NOT content, there’s nothing to be gained by staying beyond this period. It won’t look impressive on a resume, and an excessive tenure can keep you from gaining important skills and experiences.

Pull off the band-aid.

Some employees hesitate to leave a bad job simply because they dread an awkward conversation with the boss. Don’t be held back by this. Speak your mind, explain what you need that the job isn’t offering, and state your intention to leave in exactly two weeks. You don’t owe your boss a detailed description of what you plan to do next. Whether you have another job lined up or not is not your employer’s business. How much that job may or may not pay is also your own concern. Don’t be bullied or frightened into backing down, and DO allow your boss to make an offer (pay raise, promotion, etc) that may entice you to stay. Have the courage to face down a ten-minute conversation that can change your life for the better.

For more on how to stand up and walk away from a job that isn’t giving you what you need, turn to the career management experts at PSU.

Set SMART Goals for Your Team in 2021

December 4th, 2020

The year ahead can be anything we want it to be, and if we set goals, plan well, and aim high, there’s a strong chance we can achieve almost anything we set our minds to. This applies to personal goals, and it also applies to the goals we set for our teams and employees.

So how can we aim for and achieve success, even when the future is unknowable? Start with SMART. When goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, they’re more likely to be met by the end of the year.

Here are a few ways to set SMART goals and make them happen.

Sit with each employee individually and establish a meeting with your entire team.

“Specific” goals can be defined as clear goals that are agreed upon by the relevant parties and written down. In order to achieve agreement and written terms, you’ll need to have clear conversations. Get buy-in from the employee by making sure she understands exactly what the goal—as written—means, and exactly what’s expected of her by December 2021. Don’t use abstractions, like: “Aim higher and do better”. Instead, focus on specific changes like: “Reduce error rates in quarterly reports”.

Measurable means measurable for both parties.

You may have some subjective feelings about your employee’s performance, and you may measure his success using your own terms. If he seems sloppy or lazy to you, that’s fine—You’re the boss after all. But tidiness and energy can’t be measured, and even if they could, you and your employee might measure them with different yardsticks. Choose goals that both of you will measure using standard and identical metrics.

Achievable doesn’t mean settling; it means being realistic.

We’re always taught to reach for the stars and shoot for the moon, but if you actually want to hit your target, you need to choose something else—not the actual moon. Choose a goal that makes sense, connotes a victory, and counts as achievement and forward progress. Don’t count on the interference of unlikely events, or the appearance of capabilities and options that don’t presently exist.

Relevance always matters.

You may wish your employee would smile more while she does her work. But is this relevant to her task completion or the revenues she generates for the company? It is not. Examine your motivations to determine why this matters to you, and in the meantime, keep this metric out of your formal goal-setting process.

Timelines help move things forward.

Every goal, subgoal, and sub-sub goal should come with a clear and reasonable deadline. Every time a deadline is missed, examine the reasons why it happened, try to remove those obstacles, and reset the timeline.

For more on how to put your team on track to success and keep them in motion until the end of the year, turn to the management experts at PSU.

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