Why You Should Get Rid of the “Biggest Weakness” Question

February 16th, 2016

If you’re interviewing people for jobs, the chances are that you’re going to want to ask the dreaded biggest weakness question. However, you should avoid asking this for a multitude of reasons. If you do so, you will find that your candidate pool will increase significantly. Here’s why.

It Makes People Uncomfortable

People are uncomfortable with this question because it makes them think about their weaknesses. While this is a valid thing to know, asking it during a job interview can often be seen as being inappropriate. Your candidates may act and look uncomfortable if they can sense that the question is coming.

It Provides Canned Responses

Because this question is used so much in interviews, people have had a long time to come up with a canned response. This doesn’t showcase the individual as much as it showcases their ability to research and plan for set situations. Though planning can be a good trait, it might not be the one you’re looking for necessarily by asking this question.

It Doesn’t Give You a Sense of the Candidate Under Pressure

Everyone expects this question, so they aren’t really under pressure if you asked it. If you want to see how the candidate acts under pressure, try asking them about a hypothetical situation or rewording the question, so that it’s slightly different. Even the slight variation would be enough to get them out of their canned response mode.

It Makes You Seem Unoriginal

If you ask this question, your job candidate may be questioning how much effort you are putting into the interview process. Asking about a candidate’s biggest weakness makes you seem unoriginal and like you don’t care about their answer. Once again, try asking another question if this is a part of the interview you would like to explore.

If you need help fielding candidates for interviews, contact Olympic Staffing. We are trained to do pre-screenings for you so that you only have to worry about spending your time with pre-qualified candidates. It’s our job to help you make the best hiring decision for your company.

 

Making The Most of Your New Hire’s First Day

February 9th, 2016

Hiring a new employee for your company is a big step. To get your new hire on the right foot, there are specific things you should do on his or her first day to set him/her up for success. Consider these tips.

Introduce Them to People

Make your new employee feel like they’re cared about and part of the company. The easiest way in which you can do this is to introduce your new employee to people. While they might have a hard time remembering names, your current employees will remember that there’s a new employee in the coming weeks and will make an effort to include them.

Brief Them on the Company Policies

It’s hard to be the new kid in town. One way you can combat this feeling of being new is to brief your new employee on the company policies right away. Though it might take a few weeks to stick, it would be helpful for them to start learning how to do things the right way from day one.

Don’t Overwhelm Them

Make sure you don’t overwhelm your new hire on the first day. They are going to have to learn names, policies, and rules – all while trying to do a good job for their hired task at hand. If you have a lot, you need to tell them or show them, try to break it down into deliverables that can be spread out over their first week.

Ask for Their Input/Feedback

The best way to make sure your new employee has a great first day is to ask for their input/feedback. Encourage them to speak up if they have any questions or to ask for help if they need it. After the day has concluded, you can ask them what they think about what they have been assigned so far or any other details that are pertinent to the company. Not only will you receive valuable information, but your employee will feel included and start to bond with the company.

Figuring out the right person to hire for a position can be tricky – let us help you. Contact Olympic Staffing and we will find the best and brightest candidates for your job requirements.

 

E-Mail Etiquette Reminders

February 2nd, 2016

In today’s world, e-mail is used for practically all types of communication. Because e-mail is used so frequently, it’s easy to let professional courtesy slide in situations that demand it. To be a polite and productive employee, you should strive to stay on top of your e-mail behavior. Here are a few e-mail etiquette reminders that everyone in the workplace should keep in mind:

Don’t Send E-Mails Too Late or Early

If you’re working late (or early), it can be tempting to send an e-mail at that time, so you no longer have to think about it. However, receiving a work e-mail during off-hours can often be disruptive and can be construed as being disrespectful. If you write an after-hours e-mail, either save it as a draft or schedule it to go out during work hours.

Only CC in Appropriate Circumstances

There is a simple protocol around CC’ing and when it should be used. If it’s directly related to someone, significantly relevant, or important to keep them in the loop and updated, a CC is appropriate. If it doesn’t fit at least two of those categories, don’t CC it. It will only be an encumbrance.

Be Courteous with Attachments/Links

Before you attach a huge file, think twice. Big files can slow down your recipient’s e-mail processors. Also, be courteous when you send links. It takes two seconds to hyperlink the link so your recipient can easily click on it. Make sure to write links out fully so your recipient can see what s/he is clicking on.

Pause Before Sending a Frustrated Response

If you’re frustrated, pause awhile – maybe even several hours – before responding. This gives you time to think about whatever frustrated you and write a professional, rather than emotional response – or maybe choose to not respond at all.  Often, writing the e-mail and discarding it can have a powerful therapeutic effect if you just need to vent. Either way, sending a heated e-mail is rarely a good idea.

If you feel as though you have great e-mail etiquette and are looking for a job, contact Olympic Staffing. We will be able to help you find work with a company who will take note of your e-mail etiquette and will use that as another reason to hire you.

When Should I Take Vacation?

January 26th, 2016

As an employee, vacation is crucial. It’s the time when you can finally press the reset button and undo all the stress that has been accruing since your last vacation. It can be hard, however, to justify taking a vacation when you’re busy. Here’s how you should determine when to take a vacation:

Take Holidays into Account.

Depending on your personal preferences, you may or may not want to line up your vacation to be in conjunction with built-in holidays such as Christmas or Memorial Day. Some people need a holiday that’s separate from these days as they have family traditions or set plans every year. Some may like to vacation during this time to escape the madness of the holidays.

Assess Your Workload.

Only you can be the judge of when the best time is to take a vacation according to your workload. If you have worked for your company for a while or are in a highly specialized field, it can be easy to tell when your workload will be a little higher than other times. If you operate at a baseline business, however, you may just need to pick a time frame at random.

Confer with Your Colleagues.

It’s always a good idea to talk with your colleagues before you schedule a vacation to make sure they don’t also have a vacation planned during that same time frame. Even if you and your colleagues want to go around the same general time, you can likely stagger your schedules, so you don’t all leave the office empty-handed at once.

Discuss with Your Boss.

If you are in the position to do so, you should discuss the timing of your upcoming vacation with your boss. This will put you in a position of power for negotiating, and your boss will appreciate the fact that you talked to him or her. S/he may be able to provide insight into internal calendar milestones of which you might not have been made previously aware.

If you are in a workplace that doesn’t allow for you to take many vacations, contact Olympic Staffing. We will be able to match you up with a company that is more flexible surrounding your vacation plans and understands your need to go on vacation.

 

Using Technology for Enhanced Employee Communication

January 12th, 2016

There are many technological-based tools available to the modern worker in 2015. While it can be easy to get lost in the clutter of the digital landscape, there is a handful of technological resources that every employee should use to improve workflow. In particular, here are four digital resources that can be used to improve employee communication:

Slack.

Slack is a desktop-based app that serves as a glorified instant messenger service. You can message your colleagues, but you can also talk about specific subjects by assigning hashtags in your company’s Slack channel. You can share files and links in the message; you also build up a chat history so you can always go back to see when someone said something.

Trello.

Trello is a notecard-based project management system. You can visually organize your company’s thoughts and priorities in a notecard flow so tasks can be prioritized and completed. You can chat with people on the notecards, assign specific tasks, and comment on whether or not the deliverables are being handled on time. You can assign multiple boards and cards to people, so they know their responsibilities.

Asana.

Asana is a great way to communicate with co-workers in the office because you can have separate side conversations based off of specific projects. You can set the notification settings, so you are notified whenever someone makes a change to a project. If you have questions about that change, you can always reach out to them on Asana to clarify.

Skype.

Skype is a wonderful communication tool for those who are abroad. You can video chat and instant message for free. You can even opt to install the Skype app on your smart phone, so you receive communication wherever you are in the world, even if you’re mobile.

You will find that your life is a lot easier with these digital resources.  Many companies appreciate employees who are savvy with these and other technological options. Interested? Contact Olympic Staffing. We have a list of technological-minded companies in your area that may be a good fit for your professional needs and goals.

How to Write an Effective Job Description

January 5th, 2016

When you need to hire someone, the best way to tangibly figure out what you need is to write a job description. Job descriptions provide your expectations of the candidate’s qualities, as well as their responsibilities within the company. Here’s how to write an effective job description:

Consider Your Goals

Ultimately, what are your goals? This can be taken to mean in a company sense, or specifically for this position. Too many companies write job descriptions without a clear goal in mind, but this usually backfires. If you can define clear goals for your company or this new recruit, you will have a much easier time visualizing the role you need your new employee to fill.

Visualize The Perfect Candidate

If you can visualize the perfect candidate, you will have an easier time writing the job description. This will help because it can help you narrow down the skills, qualifications, and experience you actually want your candidate to possess.

Quantify Whenever Possible

It’s easy to get caught up in unquantifiable traits such as being a “hard-worker” or a “team player,” but these traits can be confusing and do more harm than good. If you can quantify your requirements such as asking someone to have 3 years’ experience with this and 3 years’ experience with that, it will be more helpful than asking someone to be “well-rounded.” The more the job description is quantified, the less chance it has to be vague.

Give Measurable Objectives

In the job description, make sure to give measurable objectives. What would you like the recruit to do, and when do you want them to do it by? Should they provide you with three references and two dates they are free to interview? Make sure to include all of that in the job description to be as specific as possible. The more specific you are; the better chances you have at achieving what you want.

If you have written a fitting job description and are in need of an employee, contact Olympic Staffing. We will be able to come up with a group of perfect candidates for your needs according to that job description.


 

5 Ways to Get Ahead at Work

December 29th, 2015

If you’re career-oriented, you likely have a specific set of goals and objectives you want to achieve. It can be hard to stay afloat of those goals and objectives on a daily basis as you keep up-to-date with your current tasks and projects. However, it’s important to consistently be working on your self-growth and development in the company so you can succeed. Here are 5 ways to get ahead at work:

Get Organized.

One of the biggest reasons why people can’t get ahead at work is because they’re not organized. Make sure that you work out a system that works for you to stay on top of your work. This could be as simple as taking five minutes out of your day in the morning or taking an hour at the end of the week to get organized for the following week.

Network Whenever Possible.

It’s hard to get ahead without help from other people. The best way to be helped by other people in your field is to network whenever possible. This will ensure that you not only meet people in your field but that you can establish your work objectives and see who can help you with a particular goal. Remember, of course, that networking is also about you helping others.

Help Out Team Members.

You also need to be helping out other team members. Your team members will remember you if you ever need a favor, and your supervisors will likely take note of the fact that you’re a team player and dedicated to having the whole company succeed as opposed to just yourself.

Put Together an Action Plan.

You need to have an action plan if you want to get ahead at work. This entails making a list of your goals and breaking it down into smaller, achievable objectives that can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. By doing this, you will be able to ensure that you’re working on your goals over time.

Stay Late.

Don’t be in such a rush to leave exactly at 5 every day. Make sure that you’re performing your duties and completing your tasks to your optimal perfection. This will help you stay on top of your tasks and signal to management that you’re dedicated to working hard for a good job, even if it means occasionally burning the midnight oil.

By doing any or all of these things, there’s no doubt that you will be able to successfully get ahead at work. If you are currently in a job that isn’t stimulating to you or allows you to get ahead, contact Olympic Staffing. We will be able to help you find a job that lets you put your proactive ways to good use.

Should I Freelance?

December 15th, 2015

Many people prefer freelancing to having a traditional 9-to-5 job as it offers increased flexibility and the ability to diversify work tasks. However, freelancing does have quite a few negative implications as it also represents a lack of stability and the potential for a reduced income. There’s a lot to take into account when you’re deciding whether or not to freelance.

Assess Your Finances.

If you have a high monthly financial commitment such as a mortgage, student loans, or car payments, you might want to rethink freelancing. While freelancing can be great for people who are starting out their careers without a lot of financial responsibilities, because of the unpredictability of freelance income, you may or may not be able to justify it based on your unique needs.

Consider the Lifestyle Changes.

On the other hand, as a freelancer, you will enjoy an incredible amount of freedom. Not only will you be able to choose where and when you complete your work; you will also be able to choose the types of projects on which you work. For people who are used to having a boss hover over them and point them in the right direction, freelancing will represent a significant change. You are in charge of your own output as a freelancer, which can be both empowering and incredibly overwhelming.

Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis.

You will need to take all of the costs and benefits associated with being a freelancer into account. In general, the costs associated with being a freelancer are going to boil down to having unpredictable income; the benefits associated with being a freelancer are going to boil down to having increased freedom and flexibility within the scope of work.

See the Demand.

Even if you’ve decided that freelancing is for you, you will still need to see the demand before you commit to it full-time. This could be as simple as asking your current employer whether or not there are any freelance opportunities available or doing a quick scour of a freelancing job portal.

If you have decided that you would like to freelance but don’t know where to start, contact Olympic Staffing. We can help you find short-term or long-range freelance assignments that are perfectly suited for your life depending on your needs. We will also be able to make recommendations on how to balance several freelance assignments at once.

Why You Should Have a Professional Portfolio

September 30th, 2014

Whether you’re looking for a job or are fulfilled and secure in your current job, keeping a professional portfolio is essential. A professional portfolio is documentation of your achievements. It may include visual examples of your previous work, written descriptions of prior job duties, lists of references, etc. Benefits of maintaining a professional portfolio include: 

You Are Always Organized. 

If you have held more than one position over the last few years, it’s easy to confuse certain tasks or duties that you’ve performed for the various companies. By creating a professional portfolio, you will always be organized in terms of dates, bosses, tasks, duties, and special skills learned. You will be able to compile all the information from each job or contract you worked so it is easily accessible in the future. 

You Will Be Reminded of Past Experiences. 

Having a professional portfolio serves as an excellent reminder for past experiences. No one remembers every piece of his or her work history. With a quick glance at your professional portfolio, you can recall that specific experiences and reference them for any current interviews or job opportunities. 

You Have a Tool to Show Future Employers. 

If you have a professional portfolio, you can bring it to interviews to physically show potential employers. They will be able to look through examples of your work and progress while you are simultaneously describing it to them. Not only will your potential employer be impressed with your organization, he/she and will be more likely to remember you over other candidates.

If you have developed your professional portfolio and are looking for a job, contact Olympic Staffing. We will match you (and your portfolio) with best match companies and positions.

 

 

How to Describe a Weakness in an Interview

September 23rd, 2014

Someday, you could be asked to describe a weakness of yours while in a job interview. Many people struggle with this question because they don’t know whether to give a real weakness or a strength that is disguised as a weakness. Here are some tips on how to describe a weakness in an interview:

Prepare for This Question in an Interview. 

Asking you to describe a weakness seems to be a reoccurring question in many interviews, so you might as well be prepared. Before your interview, compose a list of your legitimate weaknesses, both professional and personal. Then, make a list of specific skills and strengths needed for the position. Do not choose a weakness that will bring up an instant red flag. For example, someone interviewing for a management role should not talk about issues with delegating, but he/she could mention that sometimes they are not strong with details. You can ask family and friends for help if you are having a hard time thinking of weaknesses. 

Be Honest. 

Don’t make up a weakness that actually makes you sound great. Be honest with your employers and give them a genuine weakness you have. Your potential employer wants to hear that you’re human and can recognize your own faults. Once you describe an honest weakness, you will want to follow the next step listed below. 

Detail How You’ve Overcome That Weakness. 

Focus on what you have done and are doing to overcome the weakness. Make sure to detail how you’ve overcome that weakness so it isn’t counted against you in the overall scope of your interview. Balance it with strength. For example, the interviewee who was applying for a management position and has trouble with details, can talk about the chart system he/she developed to keep them attune to details, and then point out that as a manager, he/she sees the “big picture” vision and is adept at delegating wisely, making sure he/she is covering the details through his/her team. 

Explain That Your Awareness of the Weakness is Helpful for Self-Improvement. 

After you’ve explained how you’ve overcome your weakness, mention that you are try to remain keenly aware of weaknesses in general and are always working to better yourself. This will give employers who have any resting doubt more peace of mind. Even though the employers asked the question and want to know the answer, they also want to know that you’re working on self-improvement as much as possible. 

Contact Olympic Staffing. We will help you secure an interview and place you with companies that are well suited to your needs and skills.