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.

 

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.


 

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.