“Tell Me about Yourself”

June 17th, 2014

“Tell me about yourself.” When asked this question in an interview, there multiple different correct answers, but there are also wrong ones. The key is understanding what the interviewer is really asking. When interviewers ask this question, they are trying to grasp your background so they can assess whether or not you would be a good fit for the company. You can answer this question in a job interview to provide information about yourself as a person and highlight your career aspirations. Here are some recommended topics to cover as part of your answer:

Past Job Experience 

The interviewer has already seen your listed job experience; this is your opportunity to elaborate further and highlight some of your biggest career accomplishments. Make sure to emphasize any impressive career accomplishments that would directly benefit the position for which you are interviewing. It’s also a good idea to mention several of your proudest moments in your past – but not too far past – jobs and what you learned from each specific experience. 

Future Goals 

When answering this question, make your professional goals perfectly clear. Providing your future goals to the interviewer shows them you are motivated and organized. You will also give the interviewer a clear idea of your potential, and how your goals align with their opportunities. These goals should be framed within the context of job descriptions and company opportunities. 

Brief Insight into Your Personal Life 

While interviewers primarily want to know about your professional life, they also want to know about your personality, and character. Use this question to throw in a few statements about your passions and hobbies. Make sure these hobbies are self-enriching, use the type of skills that will benefit the position, reveal your character, and present the qualities you embody. Keep any forays into your personal life brief, because you are ultimately interviewing for a career. 

It is an interviewer’s job to develop a tangible idea of who you are as a person and how you would do working for a specific company. If you answer correctly, you could potentially be unforgettable in the mind of the interviewer and therefore increase your chances of receiving a job offer. If you feel confident you could answer this question but need help finding interviews, contact Olympic Staffing for job placement help and services.

 

 

Salary Negotiations

June 10th, 2014

What Factors Determine How Much I Can Negotiate My Salary?

One of the most important factors surrounding a new job is salary. Many people wonder if they can negotiate the salary. Salary negotiation is different for everyone depending on several various factors surrounding timing and comparison. Factors that determine whether you can negotiate your salary include:

Has The Company Been Searching For a Few Months? 

Your salary-negotiating options increase if a company has been searching for a candidate for several months. They may be desperate to fill it as quickly as possible, and therefore, more open to salary negotiations than they would be if the position had just been listed. 

Have You Held Several Jobs in the Last Few Years? 

If you have held several jobs in the last few years, you have a slim chance at negotiating your salary. The reason for this is that employers will see you as a short-term investment for the company as opposed to a long-term hire. If you can convince the employers that there was a motivating factor contributing to the job changes, you might have some leeway with your salary negotiations. 

What Stage of Your Life Are You In? 

If you have just graduated from college or left your first full-time job, your chances of negotiating your salary are minimal. Though you may have several years of experience, you have not had time to develop a niche, which employers view as a premium. If you are in a more established stage of life, however, your salary-negotiating options improve. The reason for this is that employers associate age with wisdom and life experience. 

What Are You Paid at Your Current Job? 

If you are applying for a job that has the same or a slightly higher salary than your current job, you can negotiate a higher salary. The reason for this is that with each job, you gain more experience and increase your value as an employee. You can back up this claim with facts in your interview to ensure you have a more successful negotiation.

What Are Others Paid To Do a Similar Job at a Different Company? 

Do your research before you negotiate your salary. If other jobs in the same industry are offering the same amount, you should not try to negotiate. If other jobs in the same industry are offering a noticeably higher amount, you should try to negotiate. Note: do not make comparisons in your negotiation conversation, because this can often have a negative effect. 

Do You Have Less or More Experience Than Others in The Industry? 

If you have significant experience in the industry for which you’re applying, you should be able to bring up the topic of salary negotiation comfortably. If you have recently switched to that specific industry, however, avoid salary negotiation conversations. 

Salary is an important factor surrounding whether or not a specific job is right for you. Many people struggle over the issue of salary negotiation when an offer comes in that is too low for their personal comfort. If you have a certain salary range in mind, contact Olympic Staffing. They will match you up with a job that has an appropriate salary range for your skillset and help you make steps forward in that industry.

 

 

Reduce Employee Turnover

June 3rd, 2014

Whether you’re hiring new employees or maintaining relationships with existing employees, employee turnover is often a prevalent problem for businesses. Many employers use reactive measures instead of proactive measures, which ultimately do not help the situation.

Prevent employee turnover by taking proactive measures:

Use Behavior Based Interviewing. 

As an employer, it is your job to do a thorough screening of your potential hires before you invite them to be a part of your company. You can do this through the use of behavior based interviewing. Listen to the potential candidate’s responses as to how he or she would handle certain problems or tasks. If these responses seem to lack enthusiasm or creativity, you may be interviewing someone who is disinterested in the job. You will reduce employee turnover if you only hire candidates who genuinely seem interested in and excited about the job. 

Take All Aspects of a Potential Hire’s Life into Account. 

When you are screening your potential candidates, you need to look at all aspects of a potential hire’s life in order to reduce the risk that they will leave the company sooner rather than later. If your company values do not seem to align with the potential candidate’s values, there is a risk that the candidate would leave if hired. For example, if the potential hire prefers to work alone but the position requires a lot of teamwork, there is an obvious risk that the potential hire would leave to find a better-suited company. When you match up your company’s needs with the potential hire’s personality and situational aspects, you greatly reduce your risk of employee turnover.

Implementing Management Changes may also Reduce Employee Turnover:

Invest in Your Employees. 

Investing in your employees doesn’t solely refer to increased compensation and benefits. Investing in your employees means that you take the time to mentor your employees and give them growth opportunities within the company. When you create an environment where growth and personal advancement are encouraged, your employees will have more of an incentive to stay with your company on a long-term basis. 

Collect Regular Input and Feedback From Staff. 

If your employees feel stifled or micromanaged in a job, they will likely seek out other job prospects where they are given more freedom and expression. When you collect regular input and feedback from your employees, regarding how the company is being run or how they feel, they will feel much more included and a part of a team. This feeling of camaraderie and importance will carry over into employee happiness, which helps reduce employee turnover.

Preventing employee turnover starts with the hiring process and is achieved through making small management changes. Contact Olympic Staffing if you need help with the hiring process when looking for long-term and reliable employees. Our team will do a multi-step screening to ensure that you end up with low-risk, high-quality applicants for your company.

 

 

Don’t Leave Out Your Soft Skills on Your Résumé

May 27th, 2014

When you’re writing your résumé, you will probably focus on your education and work experience – your hard skills. There is another skillset that most job candidates don’t highlight but should due to its value in the recruiting process – soft skills.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are values-oriented personal attributes such as: “dependable,” “self-motivated,” or “flexible.” Soft skills are not measurable and usually compliment each other.

How Can Soft Skills Be Used on My Résumé? 

One way to highlight your soft skills is to feature them in your work experience role descriptions. For example, if you have a strong work ethic and want to communicate this to your potential employer, you could mention that you demonstrated a strong work ethic by staying late to see projects to completion. Share a specific example. Or, if you are a flexible person, you could mention that you had a flexible schedule when working at that start-up to make sure everything was finished in a timely manner.

Another way to feature your soft skills is to coach your references to use specific soft skills when describing you to a potential employer. This will help your potential employers see a full picture of who you are as a person. Make sure your reference knows what soft skills you want to be promoted for this specific job. 

What Are the Benefits of Using Soft Skills?

It’s important to portray yourself as a well-rounded candidate. When you provide soft skills for employers, you are showing yourself as a person and just not a job candidate. This will help the employers decide whether or not you’re the right fit for their company. The hiring process is often inundated with flashy work experiences or job titles. When you list your soft skills on your résumé, you’re setting yourself apart from everyone else and establishing yourself as a person.

It’s important to remember that your soft skills are just as valuable of a recruiting tool as your work experience. Don’t underestimate the power of communicating your core values and strengths to your potential employer. After you have updated your résumé, contact Olympic Staffing for your employment placement needs. They will arrange for you to interview with companies that match your existing soft skill set and would help a new skill set grow.

How To Best Implement Succession Planning

May 20th, 2014

Succession planning is a complicated task that takes years of effort, performance management and communication. If done correctly, it can be an invaluable tool for any company. Here are some tips regarding how to best implement succession planning for your company:

Nurture Your Leaders But Don’t Isolate Any Employees. 

You may have an idea of which employees will someday be effective leaders for the company. That’s perfectly acceptable, but don’t isolate any employees while you’re in the succession planning process. New talent could easily arise from your existing pool of employees, so respect your employees and continue to give them growth opportunities.

You are allowed and encouraged to nurture your strongest leaders to plan for their future within your company. As long as this nurturing isn’t exclusive and allows for growth and improvement from all employees, it is to be encouraged.

Seek Diversity Within the Company. 

When succession planning, you can shape the future of your company in a structured and responsible way. One of the easiest ways to guarantee the succession planning process runs smoothly is to incorporate diversity when choosing your leaders. Choose different leadership styles, personalities and values to ensure that your company will look at decisions from all different angles. This will also allow your company to see if a certain aspect of the business should be conducted in another manner. 

Check in with Employee and Company Goals on a Regular Basis. 

The goals of the company and the employees can often be lost when in the midst of succession planning. Check in with your employees on a regular basis to see that their goals are being met and that they are contributing to the company’s overall goals. While it’s important to plan for the future, it’s also important to remain in the present so the future leaders can work with a successful company.

Succession planning takes a lot of hard work and determination.  When done correctly, it can lead to some incredible results for both your business and your employees. If you would like to hire some new candidates for your business who are leaders, contact Olympic Staffing. They will put you in touch with several candidates who display the leadership qualities needed for a succession-planning candidate.

The Pros and Cons of Challenge-Based Interviewing

May 13th, 2014

Many companies have adopted challenge-based interviewing to help decide which candidate is best suited for a particular position. Challenge-based interviewing refers to an employer requests that the candidate perform a task that matches a skill listed in the job description. For example, if you are hiring a new web designer, you can ask them to complete a code or website sample as part of the interview. If you are looking for an administrative professional, you can ask them to do some virtual data entry for you. 

Overall, challenge-based interviewing has both pros and cons depending on your company’s needs.

Pros:

Eliminate the Weak Candidates. 

When you implement challenge-based interviewing, you will automatically eliminate the weak candidates who are mass applying for jobs. By adding in that extra step or challenge, you will only receive applications from potential candidates who are truly serious about the position. 

Equalize the Recruiting Playing Field. 

It’s hard to gauge how well a candidate will fit in with your company when the candidates come from such different backgrounds, experience levels, and individual skills. By giving each of the potential candidates the same challenge to complete, you are essentially equalizing the recruiting playing field. If two candidates perform similarly on the challenge, you can then focus on other aspects that are important to you, such as personality. 

Receive Proof of a Job Candidate’s Supposed Skill Set. 

Job candidates often embellish certain skills when applying for a certain job to appear more impressive. For example, a potential candidate may say he or she is well versed in Photoshop, but actually knows little more than the basics. By asking the potential candidate to complete an advanced Photoshop challenge, you can verify that your candidate’s skill set will actually meet the skill set required for the job description.

Cons:

The Process is Time Consuming. 

You will have to spend more time looking at applications and final products if you decide to take a challenge-based interviewing approach. If you are looking for a quick turnaround time, this might not be the best approach for your company. 

You Could Eliminate Candidates Who Would Be a Good Fit for Another Position. 

When your interview with a candidate is challenge-based, it generally limits you to seeing the potential of the candidate for that specific challenge or job skill. The downside to this is that you could easily overlook and eliminate a candidate who is a good fit for another position in your company.

The Nontraditional Approach Could Backfire in Traditional Companies.

Using a challenge-based interview to recruit new employees is definitely a nontraditional way of expanding your company. This tactic could backfire in companies that place value on traditional employees with job descriptions that are fairly basic or don’t leave much room for creativity.

When you’re hiring new employees, you’re going to have to decide whether or not challenge-based interviewing is for you. If you take into account all of the pros and cons of challenge-based interviewing, as well as what your company’s needs are, you’ll make the right decision and effectively recruit the best employees.

If you’re ready to start interviewing potential job applicants for your company, contact Olympic Staffing for a customized recruiting process, which can include challenge-based interviewing.

Outsmarting the Reverse Interview

May 5th, 2014

In most job interviews, you’ll be asked the following question: “Do you have any questions for me?” For many candidates, this “reverse interview” is a tricky decision between continuing to impress the interviewer or asking legitimate questions about the job. If you learn how to handle and ask reverse interview questions in the correct manner, you should be able to leave a positive impact and improve your chances of getting hired. Here’s how you can outsmart the reverse interview:

Don’t ask about hours and salary. 

The reverse interview is not the time nor place to inquire about specifics such as hours or salary. If you ask about these specifics in the first interview (especially hours), it will seem as though you are placing more importance on your schedule than you are on the company’s values. Before you accept the job, you definitely need to know your expected hours and salary. However, the more appropriate time to inquire about these details is after you have been contacted regarding a second interview. 

Don’t ask the interviewer too much about their personal story. 

Many candidates resort to asking the interviewer about their personal story when faced with a reverse interview. This can be a great tactic if the questions are framed within the context of their career growth. Asking too many questions about the interview can seem like you are trying to brownnose or manipulate them into hiring you. Be mindful of the questions you are asking, and keep them directed within the company to avoid any mishaps. 

Ask relevant questions, even if you don’t have any. 

The biggest mistake you could make at the end of the interview is to not ask any questions. Even if you already have all the job details and specifics, make it a point to ask a few questions at the end of your interview. Asking questions shows that you have a vested interest in the company and would like to know more about it. Some great suggestions for reverse interview topics could be: inquiring about company culture, asking about the predominant management style within the company, and inquiring about company and employee growth opportunities.

Don’t be afraid of the reverse interview. Instead, learn to embrace it. You’re being given the opportunity to learn more about the company and impress your interviewer at the same time. When you start thinking of the reverse interview as a positive aspect of your interview, you’ll find yourself more empowered to ask the right questions. Hopefully, you’ll receive a job offer as a result. Once you feel confident with your reverse interview skills, contact Olympic Staffing.  They will take your unique qualifications and match you with the right companies for your employment needs.

 

Does Your Company’s Benefit Package Entice the Best?

April 22nd, 2014

Think about the benefit package you currently offer to your employees. Does it set you apart from other companies or make your company a desirable place to work? Do your employees value the benefits you currently offer them? If your benefit package is not competitive, you aren’t making an effort to attract top talent to your workplace.

Remember, most “competitive” benefit packages touted by businesses already include medical, dental and vision insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and a matching 401k. Unfortunately, those benefits are now comparable to other plans instead of being competitive. One great example of how to make your benefit package more competitive is to consider what benefits you give surrounding health care. Most businesses offer basic health care, but fringe benefits such as wellness care, retirement plans, or supplemental insurance are often forgotten.

In terms of other benefits, employees were surveyed to see what benefits are most desirable in the workplace. The answers pointed towards flexible work hours, a relaxed work environment and organized company activities. Also, consider what qualities would you like in an ideal employee. Say you want someone who is driven, personable, self-motivated and a team player. To attract this ideal employee, your benefits package needs to be in line with these qualities. For example, to attract an employee who is driven, consider adding tuition reimbursement to your benefits package. Here are some ideas you can use to enhance your benefits package and successfully compete for your ideal employee:

  • Offer flexible time for your employees. 

Offering flexible time is a great way to attract employees who are multi-taskers and hard workers. Flexible time can include telecommuting; choosing what hours are worked, or being able to take days off, if more hours are worked on other days. Your employees will appreciate the fact that you are acknowledging their personal schedule. If you choose to have flexible time as a benefit, make sure that it’s explained clearly to ensure that employees feel comfortable using the benefit on a regular basis.

  • Provide wellness incentives. 

Throw wellness-related benefits into the overall package to attract self-motivated employees. You will also attract employees who prioritize self-care and stress regulation, which may help decrease your employee turnover rate. By assuming the cost of wellness incentives such as a gym membership or fitness consulting, you’ll also be helping your employees stretch their paychecks further – another valuable benefit.

  • Include your employees’ families and pets. 

If your benefits package somehow includes your employee’s family and/or pets, you’ll be sure to attract personable workers who wish to achieve a perfect work/life balance. Family and pets are a part of most people’s lives. When you include them in your benefits package, you are sending your employee the message that you care about their personal life, not just their work life. You could offer to pay for spousal accompaniment on domestic business trips or have a “bring your dog to work day.” Whatever benefit you choose, if you acknowledge both the personal and work lives of your employees, gratitude will compute into productivity and long-term satisfaction.

  • Carve out team building time in the benefit package. 

If you want to attract an employee who is a team player, throw in some company team building activities as part of the benefits package. For example, you could host a paid company volunteer event once a month or venture on a paid company camping trip twice a year. If those two particular suggestions are out of your budget, you could always schedule an in-office day once a month dedicated completely to team building and fun.

Set aside the cost for an enhanced benefit package.

Many companies are afraid to enhance their standard benefits package out of fear that it will be cost prohibitive. When doing a cost-benefit analysis, the cost can range anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars per month, but the benefit is attracting motivated, productive and happy employees. In the end, the company benefits despite the cost increase. Employees who are motivated and happier are more likely to contribute to company growth and sales. Employee retention is another positive factor that is often associated with an enhanced benefits package.

Publicize your company’s benefit package.

If you aren’t publicizing your benefits package, you are not effectively using it to attract the top talent. Make your company’s benefits information available on your website, in the employee handbook and during job interviews. Your employees should fully understand what they are entitled to, and you are responsible to provide that information to them in a straightforward manner.

Once you’ve assessed your company’s benefit package, contact Olympic Staffing to help you hire the best candidates for your company.

 

Key Skills that Will Make You More Marketable

April 16th, 2014

Finding the job you want requires honing the key skills that will be attractive to most recruiters. Update your skills and showcase them on your resume so you make a positive impression before you utter your first hello.

So, what are the key skills you will need for any job?

The Highest-in-Demand Skill: Be a Team Player

Take a hard look at your resume. Are you a team player? Why is this the most valuable skill? Essentially, when you join any firm, you are joining a team to realize the vision of the company. Being able to operate within the team dynamic, and not be a loner, is instantly valuable and anticipated.

Believing you are a team player and demonstrating it on your resume are two separate things. Use powerful, quantitate information to define yourself as well as your experience. Terms such as collaboration, idea exchange, and team building support examples. If you are a recent college graduate with no job experience, substitute volunteer experience.

Additional Key Skills

However, team skills are not the only skills that make you marketable. Illustrate your work history with the resume builders below.

Analytical Skills

  • Critical Thinking: How did you analyze information and use it to solve problems?
  • Financial Management: Did you manage a budget, and maximize your employer’s ROI?

Leadership Skills

  • Delegation: When leading a team, how did you delegate tasks to complete a project?
  • Motivation: How did you inspire others to collaborate or achieve a goal or deadline?

Effective Communication Skills

  • Cover Letter and Resume: Your first expression of communication competency is a well-edited cover letter and resume (with no grammatical or typographical errors). Yes, first impressions do count and landing an interview—especially when the number of applicants far outweigh the number of openings—demands the priority given the resume.
  • The Interview:  Solidify your competency with polished communication: personal presentation (posture and body language, attire), thoughtful and well-enunciated responses, active listening, warmth, professionalism, and courtesy. Allow confidence to shine through to a prospective employer. 

Contact Olympic Staffing Services. We will help you take those key skills and market yourself into a winning candidate for our best match position.