Investing in your Employees: Continuing Training

December 4th, 2015

When you collect resumes and begin sifting through a pool of candidates to staff an open position, you’re probably looking for a perfect match. Most employers search for a candidate with all the necessary training, experience, and credentials they need in order to step immediately into the job, take the wheel, and thrive. Employers often assume that it’s the candidate’s responsibility to procure these credentials, and they don’t concern themselves with when and how this gets done.

But if you’re following this model, think twice. There are plenty of reasons to take responsibility for training your own candidates, and plenty of ways this move can pay off for you in the long run.

Hiring untrained employees.

Face the facts: at the entry level, most candidates learn the ropes of the job while on the job. If you take full responsibility for training your candidates and bringing them up to speed, you’ll be able to cut payroll costs by bringing on slightly underqualified employees. And as a bonus, you’ll be helping these newbies adapt to your own operations and procedures; they won’t have to unlearn the habits they’ve picked up elsewhere.

Offer ongoing training.

After bringing on untrained team members and getting them up to speed, continue to invest in their education and growth. Offer tuition reimbursement, mentoring, in-house training, or offsite training and courses through local universities and trade schools. If you raise your base salaries by about five percent per year, you’re still saving money on these employees years down the road—and they’re profiting too. Their skills, expertise, AND salaries are all increasing at a steady rate, thanks to your investment and tutelage.

Demonstrate self-reliance.

Too often, employers glance over a college educated candidate pool and sigh with despair, or worse, cry out in petulant frustration because “today’s graduates don’t have the skills” that they need. These employers expect these skills and capabilities to simply appear in the candidate population as if by magic through the actions of universities and the public school system. Avoid this sense of entitlement and take responsibility for your own success. Hire smart, ambitious candidates with high potential, and then teach them what they need to know in order to thrive in your industry. Your investments will pay off as your employees grow and learn. Ideally, a sense of gratitude and commitment will keep them on board as the years go by and their value increases.

For more on how to identify and hire the high potential candidates you need, and then retain them as they grow, reach out to the expert staffing team at Personnel Services Unlimited.

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Make a Great Impression during Your Phone Interview

November 13th, 2015

Once an open position has been posted and a pool of applicants have submitted their resumes, employers tend to choose either of two options: They can narrow the candidate pool to a small group of final contenders and then call each contender in for an in-person interview. Or they can narrow the pool to a moderate size and then screen each applicant over the phone before issuing interview invites.

Managers often choose to conduct phone screenings first, since this process saves time and money for both parties. Sometimes a few simple, direct questions can remove candidates from the list if they misunderstand the nature of the position, or they’re unable to accept the job if it’s offered.

So if your employer contacts you for a phone interview, how can you make it clear that this job is the right one for you? Keep these tips in mind.

Listen carefully.

This job may NOT actually be the right one for you, and you can save yourself plenty of hassle and headaches if you discover this sooner rather than later. Listen to the interviewer, don’t just wait for your turn to talk. She may offer valuable information about the job’s long hours, required travel, limited opportunity for advancement, or meager salary. If you still want the job, carry on. But if not, now is the time to ask follow up questions and potentially reconsider.

Be direct.

During your in-person interview, you may be asked open-ended questions that require thought and soul searching, like “What are your greatest strengths?” and “Where would you like to be in five years?” But phone interview questions are typically more straightforward, so be sure to give straightforward answers. Be honest, be clear, and keep your message short.

Consider your non-verbal gestures.

You may think that your non-verbal gestures don’t matter, since your interviewer can’t see you. But think again. Stand up (or sit up straight) as you speak. Make sure you smile when you say hello (people can hear a smile in your voice). And speak clearly and slowly—don’t rush or mumble.

Pause before you speak.

Don’t talk over your interviewer. It’s better to deal with long awkward pauses (they’re not as awkward as you think) than confusing verbal pile-ups. Let your interviewer finish speaking, then pause for two full seconds before you respond. Take your time. When you can’t see each other, it’s better to move too slowly through a conversation than it is to rush.

Deliver a shortened version of your elevator pitch.

You may have a prepared statement in mind that you plan to deliver during your in-person interview. If so, offer a stripped down version of the same basic talking points before you end your call and hang up the phone. Mention or two of the most important reasons why you feel you’re a perfect match for this job.

For more on how to ace your phone interview and land the job you need, contact the staffing and job search experts at PSU.

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What Kind of Resume Works for You?

July 31st, 2015

Traditional, business-standard resume formatting follows a time-tested set of organizational principles. This kind of resume usually extends no longer than two full pages, and it begins with the candidate’s name and contact information arranged in eye-catching way at the top of the page. The heading is followed by a brief summary of the candidate’s profile and target job, and the summary is followed by a subsection titled “education”. After describing his or her educational credentials, the candidate drafts a “work history” section, in which previous positions are listed chronologically, with the most recent at the top of the list. The resume ends with a final subsection for “special skills”.

But this is by no means a rigid format, and there are plenty of reasons why candidates may choose to vary from this well marked path. If you’re looking for work, here are some of the common alterations that might be better suited to your needs.

“Objective” instead of “Summary”

A “summary” emphasizes your most important credentials and the key aspects of your work history that employers may find valuable. But an “objective” focuses on the kind of job you’re looking for an the direction in which you’d like to take your career. Summaries document the past, while objectives focus on the future. The first may work well for experienced candidates, but the second may be the right choice for those with limited or no professional experience.

Relevance instead of chronology

While the standard work history section lists positons in chronological order, it’s also perfectly reasonable to list past positions by relevance instead. This may be useful for those who are currently working in non-relevant or stepping stone positions, paying the bills while they search for something better.

Ten pages instead of one or two

Most resumes stop after two pages. But if you just can’t find a way to tell your story in such a limited space, that’s okay. This often applies to academic positions that require long documents listing coursework in detail. These are usually referred to as curriculum vitae, or CVs. They accomplish the same goals and send the same message as a resume, but they require a little more breathing room.

Online instead of offline

Some candidates like to supplement their formal resumes with an online version, which can include supplemental material, graphs, photos, video footage, and links to completed work. If you choose this option, submit a formal resume as well. Just make sure that your contact information contains a URL that can lead employers to your online document.

For more on how to customize your resume to meet your specific job search needs, reach out to the experienced staffing team at PSU.

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Supplementing Your Staff with Temporary Employees

March 28th, 2014

There are several reasons why companies choose to take on temporary and contingent employees instead of hiring permanent, full time staff. And for each common situation, there are a few tips that hiring managers are wise to keep in mind. Whether you’re engaging in a complex transition, reshaping your workforce, or looking for support during a quick burst of activity that you expect to subside, temporary employees can offer a perfect, low-risk solution to your labor needs.

Staffing Transitions

You just lost a key member of your team, and the world won’t stop and wait while you launch a lengthy, meticulous search for a highly skilled replacement. But don’t worry; a recruiting firm can help you cover the gap with a capable, experienced employee on a temporary contract. And in the meantime, the same firm can help you publicize your open position and screen potential applicants.

Hiring Jitters

Maybe you’ve made some expensive hiring mistakes in the past. Or maybe during the recent economic downturn, you had to shrink the size of your workforce by letting loyal employees go. In either case, the experience can be traumatic and unpleasant. And now that you’re in a position of growth, you’re hesitant to take on permanent new team members who you may not be able to keep. The future is uncertain, and you’re looking for ways to manage your risk and grow your company at the same time. Temporary staffing contracts can easily become permanent if all goes well. If not, they keep risk and commitments to a minimum.

Temporary Labor Demand

Your busy season happens predictably during a few months out of the year (summer, the holidays, etc), and during this time, your business triples and you need extra hands to share the work and process a flood of orders. But when the season ends, your needs subside and your extra hands become idle hands. A temporary recruiting agency can help you deal with the overflow while keeping your expenses down and your business lean.

Project Assistance

You need to expand and consolidate your IT network after a recent merger. Or you need to implement a new back office management software system in a one-time, six-month operation. Or you need to clean out your warehouse and relocate inventory after a flood. Whatever you need, an experienced staffing agency can provide you with a ready team that can offer the specific, complex skill sets you’re looking for. Again, if you decide to take on some of your temporary employees on a permanent basis, you can. But if your needs drop when your project ends, the agency can accommodate you and also find new positions for your extra staff.

If any of the situations above describe your hiring needs, don’t wait. Contact the NC staffing and workforce specialists at PSU and arrange a consultation today.

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