How to Rehearse for Your Next Job Interview

June 14th, 2012

It’s a fact – job interviews are stressful. Even the most qualified candidates who graduated top of their classes in school experience some degree of sweaty palms and nervous tremors at the prospect of going to a job interview. One way to quell those nerves and dry your palms is to rehearse for your next interview. The problem is that this is advice you’ve heard before. You simply don’t know how to go about doing it. Here’s what you need to do to get started.

1)   Wear the clothes you plan to wear for the interview. It will help you feel more comfortable and confident in those clothes and, oddly enough, help you feel more relaxed in them when the real interview comes along. It will also give you an indication ahead of time if there’s something about the suit that makes you uncomfortable or could become a point of embarrassment during the interview.

2)   Use the Internet to write up a likely list of interview questions and have a friend ask the questions while video recording the mock interview. This will give you a valuable resource to go over later and find weak points to concentrate on and strong points to maximize in the interview process. The video can be an incredibly useful tool in helping you perfect your interview questions, answers, and body language “tells.”

3)   Rehearse on your own in front of a mirror. This differs from the mock video camera rehearsal in that it’s just you and the mirror answering the questions. Make eye contact with the person in the mirror. Does he seem sincere and earnest when answering the questions? More importantly, does he come across as personable and someone you’d like to work with? Pay attention to your smile and how nervous you appear. Also listen to the words you’re saying and hear them coming from the face in the mirror. Do you believe that person could be a true asset to the business or organization in question?

4)   Let your personality shine. People don’t want to work with robots that can memorize and recite facts and figures. They want to work with real people who are capable of doing the job with gusto. If you get the job, you’re going to spend a lot of time each and every day in your place of employment. Practice moments when you can let your personality shine a bit in the interview. Work your personality and perspective into the answers you provide. Give the interviewer a glimpse into who you are and not just what you can offer.

You’ve worked so hard just to get to the interview stage. Rehearsing ahead of time won’t eliminate all the nerves you’re going to have, but it can definitely help you get them under control.

For more support with your job search, including access to full time and temporary assignments, consider the advantages of contracting with a quality employment resource like Davis Staffing.

How to Create a Fair and Appropriate Social Media Policy

May 18th, 2012

The days of wondering if social media is going to become an issue in the work place are far behind you. If you don’t take swift action now to establish a social media policy that’s fair to all, your company could face some serious social media blowback. This isn’t a problem that’s limited to big business. Any business that has employees needs to adopt a strong social media policy.

The bottom line is that your employees represent your company—even when they’re off duty. Having an effective social media policy not only insulates the company, to some degree, from blow-back, it also gives them grounds for dismissing employees who cause the company problems (including bad publicity) due to their own social media contributions.

Walking the Tightrope

Unfortunately, there’s an up and a down side to creating an explicit social media policy. When used wisely, employee’s social media contributions can actually do a lot of good for businesses. However, the situations we hear about in the media almost exclusively focus on social media gone wrong rather than all the wonderful ways it can be used for the greater good. In other words, the policy is needed, but you should make an effort to not make your social media policies stifling. Social networks, after all, are places where the average person turns to let his or her hair down and unwind.

Get Employee Input When Creating the Policy

Your employees are the perfect source for information about the specifics you should put into place in your company’s social media policy. Find the employees that have the most active social media lifestyles and bring them in to serve as consultants for the policy. This also helps all staff members understand that they aren’t being singled out by management with the social media policy.

Focus on Positive Language

Any policy is easier to take when it’s phrased in a positive way. Focus on what they can do and what you encourage them to do in their social media activities. Request that employees include disclaimers and provide full disclosure that they are, in fact, employed by your company, when they post. Also ask them to let their circle of friends know that they are stating their own opinions and that those opinions do not represent the thoughts or opinions of the company.

Social media policies are, first and foremost, about protecting the image of the company. While it takes all kinds of brilliant minds attached to varying opinions to make your company tick, these diverse thoughts and opinions can cause public relations nightmares for the company without a social media policy in place to harness them. Be fair. Be appropriate. And, be consistent in your enforcement of these social media policies.

Learn more about HR policies and management concepts by talking with the experts at Davis Staffing today!

Value Attitude Over Job Skills

May 5th, 2012

Knowing what type of questions to ask a potential job candidate is often the most frustrating part of the recruitment process. While many employers continue to ask the same types of interview questions, the answers given don’t provide you enough information about the employee’s attitude. According to Mark Murphy, as written in his book, Hiring for Attitude, “46% of the people hired will fail in the first 18 months on the job – 89% of the time, it’s because of attitude.” In order to avoid the mistake of hiring an employee based merely on his skills and job experience, evaluate your interview questions first. Including specific questions and instances related to your industry will help you discover if the employee has the proper attitude for the open position.

The Importance of Valuing Attitude over Job Skills

Technical skills can be taught, but attitude is something an individual has naturally developed; this is one of the primary reasons why attitude should be valued over job skills. The attitude of an employee will most likely not change; therefore it is crucial for you to determine a candidate’s attitude during the recruitment process.

There is no right attitude; this will change depending on your company and industry. In order to determine the attitude you are looking for, take the industry, unique company needs, and job title into consideration. For instance, one company may find an employee who is motivated by success to be an excellent attitude to have, while others like to recruit employees who show that they are creative and can solve difficult problems using unique methods.

The attitude of the potential employee must also mesh well with the attitudes of supervisors, management, and other employees. No matter what type of company you have or in what industry you are experienced in, employees need to work together as a team. In order for optimum success, having employees with attitudes that work well together is vital.

Why Typical Interview Questions are Ineffective

The typical questions asked in an interview — “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?” are all legitimate enough questions.  But the employee is often expecting them and has their answer rehearsed before the interview even starts. Typical and behavioral interview questions aren’t industry-specific and won’t be tailored to your specific company and product. For this reason, more unique and original interview questions are needed to determine the attitude of a candidate.

How to Assess Attitude in Candidates

Choose interview questions that go beyond the typical types of questions asked. They will provide more insight into the individual you are recruiting. For starters, you compile a list of important traits and attitude types that are essential for your company and industry, whether that be someone who is good at problem solving or a quick learner. Reword this list into interview questions that will help you gather what type of attitude the candidate has. For instance, if you ask the question “Could you please explain an instance where you were asked to do a task you were not familiar with?” you have given the employee a chance to explain how well they learn new things and how exactly they go about learning something with little instruction.

Assessing attitude gives you the ability to hire employees who will be a good fit for your company, rather than those who will bring solely experience and a certain skill set. While skills are important, more attention should be paid to the individual’s attitude and answers to your unique interview questions during the recruitment process.

For access to a pool of highly skilled candidates in the Chicago, Northwest Indiana and surrounding areas, be sure to get in touch with Davis Staffing today. We can help you select the right candidates who have the skills and attitude to help your company succeed.

What You Should Know About the NLRB

April 22nd, 2012

Any government agency that uses a set of initials in place of its name makes most ordinary citizens a bit nervous. They can spell bad news for people who don’t tow the line and follow the rules they set forth. The same holds true with the National Labor Relations Board, otherwise known as the NLRB. This organization was created as part of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

The NLRB is supposed to be a completely independent agency of the government, and is in charge of overseeing labor union elections as well as investigating and eliminating unfair labor practices in union and non-union businesses. That’s the part that many business owners fail to realize.

With no union members on their payrolls, a lot of small business owners and managers are under the mistaken assumption that the rules set forth by the NLRB aren’t meant for them. That isn’t the case at all. In fact, most decisions made by the NLRB board impact all union, non-union, private-sector, and non-profit companies that employ one or more people. Very few of their decisions are limited to union employees alone.

The Impact of the NLRB on Your Business

Sadly, this is an instance where the things that you don’t know really can hurt you – a lot. First of all, congressional approval isn’t needed for the rulings of the NLRB board to become law. While the board itself is supposed to be apolitical, it tends to rule according to the political affiliations of the members. A Republican-leaning board tends to side with the companies more often than not, while a Democrat-learning majority often rules in a pro-union manner.

Here’s where things can get a little confusing. It’s common practice for the NLRB to reverse the decisions of previous boards. This means it’s up to the business owners to stay on top of what’s going on with the NLRB. Whether you’re privy to decisions or revisions, you’re ultimately still responsible for upholding the rulings sent down from the board.

How can you stay out of trouble with the NLRB?

  • Carefully monitor new rulings. How are they going to impact your workplace as they are being considered? (you can generally tell how a ruling is going to go by who is on the board at the moment).
  • Avoid any illegal activity, including discrimination against hiring union members.
  • Be aware of any previous NLRB rulings that are on the chopping block at any given moment and how those changes will impact your business as well.
  • Educate your employees and strictly enforce policies that are designed to promote the NLRB rulings in place.

 

Your best defense against serious legal troubles with the NLRB is to stay on top of things. Avoid even the slightest appearance of wrongdoing. Keep your business on the straight and narrow and the NLRB shouldn’t find any fault with you or how you operate your business.

How to Have a Winning Employment History

April 13th, 2012

Having a winning employment history will help you to land your next job. Your employment history, you may be thinking, is anything but winning. It may be sorted, hectic and lack enthusiasm. You may even call it a lackluster description of the past few years. If you want to land that big job, though, you’ll need to ensure your employment history has something amazing to offer. It should tell the company what you’ve done and why you are worth hiring based on what you’ve accomplished thus far.

Tips for Making Your Employment History Stand Out

What will make your next employer read through your employment history and think you are a winner? It often depends more on how you write it than on what you include. In other words, the way you word your employment history on a job application or resume will have a direct impact on your future employability with any company. These tips will help you through the process.

  • Don’t write a job description. Most hiring managers don’t read the job description anyway. They don’t want to hear what you did on a day to day basis. It is not enough to really draw them in.
  • Allow your employment history to show your value. What did you have to offer the business? The value you present should be in things like the type of worker you are or the way you can consistently provide results. You will want to put more attention on your accomplishments here. Show what your potential value is to the company that hires you.
  • Be specific and use numbers. Just saying you grew the company’s customer base is not enough. Show numbers. Show specific data that can easily transfer into worth. Show how you helped your previous employer improve using measurable results whenever it is possible to do so.
  • Focus on the outcomes you brought to the table. In other words, talk about the result before you mention the problem. Allow the most important, most valuable or the most compelling aspect of your accomplishments on the job to be the leading factor when writing your employment history.

In addition to these tips, ensure your employment history uses action words and delivers information in a clear, easy to read manner. You want your employer to immediately see the value in what you are writing without having to read long, drawn out paragraphs of content. They just will not do so.

Even if your employment history doesn’t seem as stellar as you think it should be, by using these tools, you’ll be able to showcase your value and what you can offer to the company. At the end of the day, employers want to know what you can offer them and what they can expect from you.

Do’s and Don’ts of a Company’s Social Media Page

March 30th, 2012

Social media is all the rage these days – for many reasons. Businesses, of all shapes and sizes, need to incorporate social media into their business plans. With that in mind, however, there are certain things you should and should not do with your social media efforts. This is especially true if you plan to use social media as a means to reach out to new and highly qualified candidates for jobs you have available. Here are a few things you should consider when using social media if you want to appeal to a wider audience of potential employees.

What Candidates Wished Employers Posted on Social Media Pages

MiracleWorkers.com conducted a survey of healthcare workers which revealed that 40 percent of workers in the healthcare industry wished companies would post job listings on company pages. They’d also like to see more information about various career paths in their organizations posted on these pages.

WorkInRetail.com conducted a similar survey of retail employees and discovered they would like to similar information on job openings. But they had an additional request. 18 percent of retail employees responding to the survey also want organizations to list something fun about working for them as well as employee testimonials.

IT employees, according to Sologig.com are also looking to learn something fun about working for the company and hearing employee testimonials. 39 percent of workers in the IT industry are also interested in seeing job listings go social by appearing on company’s social media pages. They also want to know what types of products and/or services the company is working on too.

What Companies Should Not Do with their Social Media Efforts

There were several things that workers across the board (in all the industries surveyed above) agree companies should not do. Companies should not be sporadic in their social media updates. Businesses should not fail to respond to questions that are asked of them. They should also avoid company communications that read like advertisements.

The filtering of comments was another thing that really bothered job seekers in these industries. People would much rather hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about a company before deciding if they can live with the perceived negatives.

More importantly, they want to see how the company responds to the negative. An aggressive campaign to respond in a positive manner to the perceived negatives shows that the company is interested in resolving the situation while filtering the content or removing the comments completely will make it look like the company is more interested in pretending it never happened than solving the problem.

Social media can be a real boon for businesses today – especially when it comes to attracting the ideal candidate. But using social media for recruitment requires consistent work and a consistent message to really attract the best of the best job candidates. Be prepared to make social media a key player in your company’s plan for recruiting today and in the future.

Ways to Explain Resume Gaps to an Interviewer

March 22nd, 2012

Resume gaps happen. Stuff happens in life. That’s all there is to it. You must deal with it in order to move forward. How you deal with it, however, can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to land the job you want in this economy.

While you may have been taught to believe that resume gaps are always bad news with potential employers, it’s no reason to give up completely. One thing is certain. Not dealing with it will make it the elephant in the room.

Keep these things in mind as you work on your resume and go through the interview process.

Be Proactive

If you have a gap in your resume you know the question is coming. Plan ahead and come up with an answer to give potential employers. It isn’t going to go away. You know it’s there. They know it’s there. The question is going to be asked. If not in this interview then it will be in the next. It’s better for you to have an answer planned than to stutter and stammer your way through the answer as you “wing it”.

Tell the Truth

You don’t have to give all the details or tell a long and sordid story. However, if you tell a lie and are caught, that is grounds for dismissal down the road. It’s better to be as honest as possible without over-sharing the details or leaving something off your resume. Most employers understand that life, and even layoffs happen. Tackling the topic head-on shows potential employers that you have nothing to hide.

Don’t Embellish

While it may be tempting to embellish events to make you look as good as possible, resist that urge. Take a “Just the facts ma’am (or sir as the case may be)” approach to the interview and don’t volunteer details or information that doesn’t directly related to your bid for employment. There’s no need to try to make the other person or company involved look bad. It will only reflect poorly on you instead.

Present Your Time off in a Positive Light

Make note of things you did during that time that will make you a better employee. It can be classes you took, events that occurred, and/or life lessons you learned during that period of time.

It’s the little things that will make the most profound differences in your job search. Most potential employers want to like you. It is your job to give them a reason to do so without misrepresenting who you are and the path you took to get there. You want the job but honesty and integrity about resume gaps will get you the job much faster and help you keep it much longer than trying to spin a story that really isn’t yours.

Importance of Hiring a Social Candidate – Not Just Someone Who Looks Good On Paper

March 14th, 2012

A social candidate is a professional who is able to interact within many social networks properly. A person who can work well with others is often times more valuable than the individual who has all of the technical skills, but lacks the ability to communicate his thoughts, needs and ideas with others. From the overpowering individual who does not realize working as a team is better to the shy person unable to communicate with the group, this lack of social skill can affect any work environment. You should be hiring a candidate who is stellar and that often means that his or her skills off the paper need to be just as good if not better than what their resume has to say.

How to Choose a Social Candidate

If you do not select a social candidate, you could be missing the best person for the job. Some equate hiring a candidate with all of the technical knowledge and no social skills like designing a racecar with all of the power possible but not putting in an effective steering and braking system. Rather, choose a candidate with the right skills – skills that can help the candidate to perform his or her job better. You will need a candidate with the skills to work with others.

What does a social candidate really offer? How can you tell he or she is the right person for the job?

  • He or she is self-aware. The candidate understands how the actions taken by the candidate affect others around them.
  • This person has a social intelligence. He or she understands the various methods for influencing other people’s perceptions and behaviors.
  • He or she has self-control. Even under a significant amount of stress, the candidate does not lose his cool. Rather, emotions and actions remain under control.
  • The candidate is sensitive to others. This indicates that the candidate can show sensitivity to others.

To find a social candidate for the job, you will need to ask questions and determine how the person reacted in the situations he or she was in. Is the candidate sensitive to others? You can often tell by discussing the influences on his or her career. Those that answer by including others around them during their career development are more sensitive to others.

You can often see the differences in the social skills of a candidate, too. Set up a luncheon for a group of candidates. Note how each individual interacts with others. Are they engaging or standoffish? Another option is to use personality tests or role-play to get a better ideal of the individual’s social skills.

When hiring a candidate for a job in which the candidate will represent the company, it is critical to choose an individual with social skills. One that is lacking could in fact hurt the company’s image or at the least reduce the productivity of the staff. Choose someone that can better the company through his or her ability to work with and through other people.

Best Ways to Use Twitter for Your Job Search

March 7th, 2012

You’ve probably heard about all the off-the-wall things that using Twitter has accomplished in the last couple of years. It’s helped free a kid from jail in Egypt, told stories about places where cameras couldn’t go, and been instrumental in keeping everyone apprised on the hot acts to see on American Idol for the past several seasons. But, did you know that Twitter can also assist you in your job search? Here are just a few of the ways that Twitter can help you find the job you’re looking for.

Join the Conversation

This is by far the best advice you can get when it comes to using Twitter for your job search. Don’t go in asking people to help you find your job. Join the conversation. Get to know people. Make friends and connect with people in your community, in your industry, and in your field.

Just remember that you are looking for a job. Make sure that all the posts and “Tweets” you make are professional. Avoid hot button topics such as politics and religion and don’t talk about the latest party experience you’ve enjoyed. You should also try to keep your conversations on Twitter pleasant and upbeat whenever possible. It makes an impression and lets people know that you’re not letting the pressure get you down. Also try to keep the focus on the positive things you have to offer: experience, knowledge, skills, and training are great traits to keep at the front of everyone’s minds.

Search for Jobs

Most people aren’t even aware that Twitter has a function that allows you to search for jobs. You can type #jobs into the search feature or TwitterJobSearch. Twitter moves fast and there is a steady stream of jobs being posted on this social networking giant at all hours of the day and night.

It’s best to get in on the job search quickly when you do find them because they usually aren’t open very long. You can even check back several times during the day to broaden your job search options.

Connect with People in your Industry

It’s a good idea to follow the Tweets of people who are in your industry. In fact, you want to follow the feed of all the industry leaders you know about. From their feeds you’ll be able to stay on top of the latest technological advances in your field, you’ll receive updates on training, and you’ll sometimes come across a job opening that’s perfect for you.

More importantly though, you’ll start to rub elbows with some of the elite names in your industry and there are a lot of reasons you want your name associated with their names. It’s also easy to build relationships based on common interests, passions, and experiences.

If you’re not using Twitter in your job search then you’re missing out on a wide range of potential jobs and careers. Make sure you sign up now and see what it can do for your job search today.

Happiness is the Ultimate Productivity Booster

February 29th, 2012

As an HR manager, it’s important to know what really motivates workers to be their most productive. In fact, managing productivity is one of the more important roles you play within your organization. You know it’s important to keep them happy. You understand that employees are generally more productive when they are happy. But, do you know why the happiness of employees in your company makes such a huge difference to efficiency? Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s a good idea to keep your employees happy.

Happy People Tend to have a Positive Outlook

This is double good news for your organization. Do you know why? It’s because the old saying about attitudes being contagious is true. If you have people who are happy with their jobs, happy to come to work, and happy in general. It sparks an entire wave of happiness within work groups that will spread like wildfire to the rest of the company.

Optimism is definitely something you want spreading through your company. It makes it a better place for everyone to work and keeps negativity, complaints, and overall pessimism at bay.

Happy People are Problem Solvers

Your organization doesn’t have time for people to stir the pot or create problems. We all understand that time is money. That’s why it’s great to work with people who are content, or dare I say, happy, in their work environments. They are not only less likely to complain and join in the controversy but they are also the ones who are most likely to seek solutions to problems rather than allowing the problems to slow them down.

People Who are Happy at Work Want to be There

This means they are less likely to call in sick or stretch the limits of their paid time off each year. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need to take their vacations and use that time to rest, relax, and recharge. It does mean that they are much more inclined to plan the time they need off ahead of time and give you plenty of notice.

Happy People are Healthy People

In addition to not taking sick time because they are sick of work, people who are happy with their employment situation also tend to be healthier people. There is less stress over the work situation. There are fewer instances of employee burnout.

Happy employees are not only productive members of the company but they are also generally pleasant people to be around. It’s worth going out of your way as an HR manager to make every possible attempt to keep the people who work for your company as happy as possible and to constantly strive to find new ways that are not overly disruptive or cost-prohibitive to keep employees happy.

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