~The Productivity Advisor~

Changes in Attitude…

Many things can happen to drive changes in attitude.

Life just doesn’t seem fair all the time.  We go along just fine for a while and then something happens.  We lose our job, or we get sick, or we get hit by another car as we’re driving home.  All sorts of things can and sometimes do go wrong.

The thing that matters the most is not what happened to us.  The thing that matters the most is what we do about what happened to us.  We have choices.  We can roll over and moan and groan and whine about how unfair everything is.  You can lament that you always seem to get hit with something, if not literally then figuratively.

Maybe you missed out on that perfect job. Or perhaps your new vehicle has a crinkled fender or worse.  Maybe you’re sick and just don’t seem to be getting better as quickly as you’d like.  There always seems to be something that interferes with our life.

If this sounds like how your life has been going, there is good news.

The change you are seeking is there right now.  It is that thing we call attitude. 

If our attitude is negative, everything will continue to go wrong for us.  If our attitude is positive we’ll get back on the track very soon and be better than ever.  And, as our attitude improves, those who are around us will be happier than they’ve been for a while, too.  When we are around a person who is down in the dumps, we get a little down in the dumps, too.

I think most of us know someone like the person for whom everything seems to go wrong.  We might even see that person each morning in our mirror.  If that someone is you and if that something happens to involve your job or lack of a job, we can help you.  That is what we do.  Of course, you are going to be the heavy lifter in this job hunt.

We can find possibilities and secure interviews for you.  But you are the heavy lifter that has to display a positive attitude and who smiles and who looks good in her or his clothes.  You are the one who is going to have to convince the person doing the interview that you are someone great to be around, that you have a sense of humor, a good work ethic and the energy to get the job done day-in and day-out.

Life gets a lot better when we get out of our funk.

Both for us as well as those around us.  You might be surprised at what a smile on your face can do to improve how you’re feeling.  Try it.  It works.  We’ll look forward to seeing your smiling face just as soon as you can get here; or just call us.  Smiles are also magic in that we’ll be able to tell you are smiling even on the phone.

We love helping people to be happy again.

Tom Krist

Tom Krist, CEO

 

Now Hiring: Where Are All the People?

Where are all the people coming from to fill the needs of employers in this market today?

Truth be told, there are difficulties even for us professionals to find the right people for the open positions our client employers have available.  That is no secret.  There are more openings than qualified applicants.  We’ve been through this before so it simply requires us to use different approaches and to condense time frames.

This is a two-pronged situation.

First, for those who are well qualified, this might be a golden opportunity to consider a change in your employment.

That is true almost without regard to what your skill set and experience might include.  If you are good at what you do, and if you have a solid track record, this is likely the opportune time to see what is available.  We can help you.  Call or stop in today!

If you are an employer who needs qualified talent to help you continue to grow your business, this is a good time to look even though this market is relatively tight.  There is good talent available especially for some skill sets BUT you will need to be ready to pull the trigger quickly when Ms. or Mr. Right appears.  A tight doesn’t mean an impossible market; but it does mean that we have to be able to close the deal more quickly than was the case six to eight months ago.  Candidates and employers are now moving more rapidly while still touching all the right bases.

True, employers are finding it tough to locate the right people today and to do that in a relatively short time frame.  Our team of talent scouts is good but they do not walk on water…at least not very often.  The sooner you can alert us to a coming need, the better for you, the candidates and us.

Unemployment is obviously standing at 3%.

There is a diminished talent pool.  Both statements are true.  We have found that these tight times can be some of the most lucrative for all parties.  It is good for employees seeking to make their move.  It is good for employers who have needs in such a hot market.  Both feel the need for a stepped up pace in the search, interview and offer/closing stages.  Foot dragging is not often a problem today.

We encourage you to look starting today, even if your plans call for bringing a new hire on are 30 to 60 or more days down the road.

Do your best to anticipate future needs today and let us begin the search process sooner.  We will still apply our usual critical reviews of references and so on.  Just because the market is a little tighter, mistakes simply can’t be tolerated in the search and hiring process.

We encourage prospective candidates to recognize that even with more openings today than is normal, finding the right spot rather than simply the next spot is even more critical than it has ever been.  We’re in the business of helping both sides especially in times such as these.  The value of our service increases in tight times.

 

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

The Saga of the Job Interview…


The saga of the Job Interview…

This phrase conjures up different thoughts for different people. The person being interviewed thinks about not making any serious gaffes.  The person conducting the interview thinks about not making any serious mistakes in the process of interviewing the prospective employee.

The result of these two sets of dynamics can be problematic even though both the interviewer and the interviewee felt they’d been at the top of their game during the interview.  The interviewer made sure to avoid causing the interviewee any discomfort during the interview and felt the process had gone well.

The interviewee felt he or she had done an excellent job of not making any serious errors during the interview.  True, he or she might’ve played a couple of games during the interview but that wouldn’t matter after he or she had been awarded the new position.  A little misdirection here and a bit of a falsehood there weren’t the end of the world, after all.

So, two relatively well-meaning people met and got along just fine.  They smiled at one and other, were courteous, received good answers or provided safe answers that seemed to fill the bill.  There weren’t a lot of people applying and there was pressure to fill the spot.

So, this interview led to an offer.  This led to an acceptance, which led to a termination a couple months later.

The approach used given the tight applicant market had only served to bring the interviewer back to filling that same position.  The person, who was released or had resigned, blemished his or her employment record given the short period of time in that job.

Enter WFA Staffing and its professional people people.  We interview as a profession, not as an interruption to the day’s usual routine.  We are good at what we do because that is what we do.  Our interviewing is an integral part of our day, not an interruption to be dealt with as quickly as possible.  We are tuned in to the people we work with as well as to the clients for whom we recruit.  This is what we do, all day every day of the work week.

You may think us a little strange. Our recruiters like what we do; we think it is a great profession and are happy to do that work. WFA strives to satisfy our client employers as well as being helpful to the people seeking employment.  And yes, we have likely heard most all the stories and our antennae are ever alert for the parts of the story that need further verification.

That’s what we do for our clients.  And if you’re not yet a WFA Staffing client, that’s what we’d love to do for you and your business.

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Challenges of a shrinking workforce…

There is a shrinking workforce in Wisconsin and a recent BizTimes publication highlighted that fact.

WFA Staffing is in the business of locating qualified talent for our client employers, and have been doing that for a long time.  We know the difficulties in searches since we live it day-in and day-out.   Our recruiting staff has come to understand which searches will require a longer time frame, and we have had the opportunity to see what the going rates are in some of the toughest recruiting categories.

WFA views ourselves as partners with our client employers.  Our company has always thought in those terms and we find that many of our client employers are also thinking along these lines.  Our seasoned staff can help employers gain a feel for what timespans ought to be planned for in recruiting.  They can also advise on going rates for the talent being sought.  We know that some positions will simply be tougher to fill. We also want to be open with our clients in that regard.

Frankly, if you are not having those same discussions with our competitors, you might want to give us a call.

We are all looking for the right talent at the right price.

That may sound a bit crass but that is often the name of the game in today’s market.  Especially in certain sectors of employment, available people are in very short supply.  Even though it might be tempting, we do not reach out to former employees whom we have placed.  That is simply not the way we choose to operate.

Given the shrinking workforce, we have had discussions with good long-term clients who are re-thinking their staffing plans. Some are even at the point of relaxing their standards a bit just to be able to continue to serve their clients.  Gone are the days when an employee performing at 80% of requirements could be released.    Finding a good replacement in a few weeks, no longer is an option, at least in certain categories of positions.

Another critical aspect adding to this shortage of talent quite frankly is the numbers of candidates who fail the requisite drug tests.  That seems to be an increasing issue rather than simply being better some months and worse other months.

The laws of supply and demand are active in today’s marketplace.

 

The skill sets in greatest demand carry the highest costs but will also deliver profits in return.  Profits don’t flow if product quality or service is degraded, or if delivery times stretch out to untenable lengths of time for customers.

If you know you’ll have needs over the next few months, please let us know what those are likely to be so that we can be aware and get those wants into our system soon.  A new hire a week or two early is far better than a new hire a week or two or more too late.

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Fresh Start for a New Year

A new year has begun, 2017 at that, and we are already hurry-scurrying through the first weeks.

For some, this is a time of reflection on the year just past and on the things we’d have done differently had we the opportunity for a ‘do-over’.  For others the new year is simply that time when we shift into overdrive to gain a step or two on our competition, business competition or personal competition.

A bit of each of those approaches is often ‘just what the doctor ordered’.  We certainly can be helped by a bit of retrospection, not to dwell on the past, but to gain from those experiences.  We ought to take the time to gain from all our experiences, from those that made us feel great and from those that had the reverse effect.  Both are important parts of who we are.

This is a great time in which to look around at the new world of 2017.

If we’ve had a plan for our careers, where are we in that process?  Are we where we wanted to be or have we surpassed our goals?  What is it that we want to be able to say we accomplished come this time next new year?

If we have had no plan for our careers, might it be time to create such a plan?  We are not technically in the personal consulting business, but we do a lot of that as we work to help people understand what we see as their strong suits and where and how they might make themselves more attractive to a new employer.  We have a very good feel for the marketplace and that may be something we can help you bring to your personal conversation.

If we reflect on the past year, as most of us do in one way or another, we probably find that we had anticipated some of what happened but were blindsided by other aspects.  That reflection might include personal situations, workplace situations, whether or not to add more education credentials, and where the future seems to be pointing for those  with our present skill sets.

Once we’ve had that personal ‘sit down’ with self, there is that whole thing of just what we decide we’re going to do to improve or change the situation.

If we are in an industry that is being chipped away at by new technology, we may be at the turning point personally.  If we have just accomplished adding another notch to the experience we have, this may be the year that we try out the new credentials.

Maybe we’ve had a life-changing experience.  If that is true for you, this might be a good time to re-think where you are and where you are going in the new year if you stay on the current pathway.  Part of the job we try to do is to help our candidates be as honest with self as is possible.  That is sometimes a bit awkward, but it is sometimes the wake-up call that is necessary to get a person back on the track best-suited to their experience and current situation.

Feel free to give us a call or stop to see us if you’re in the area.  We benefit by being of assistance to you and unless we get together, we’re both going to miss that opportunity.  Best wishes for a personal best in 2017!

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

Looking forward to 2017!


Merry Christmas and Happy 2017 from the whole gang at WFA Staffing.

We celebrate the birth of the Christ child at this time of the year. It is also a time of year when the calendar is winding down on 2016.  We have had a very good year . We are thankful to our clients, our staff and all the employees of WFA Staffing all across southeastern Wisconsin.

It seems that each New Year brings its own set of challenges.  2016 was no different in that respect and 2017 likely will be the same.  Life would be boring if there were not a few difficulties simply to keep us all on our toes and challenged to be even better at what it is that we do.

Our pledge to you, whether already clients and customers and employees, or whether you will become a client, customer or employee this coming year is quite simple. We pledge to be honest, to work diligently and to provide solutions for your needs as rapidly as is possible.

None of us knows just what 2017 will bring to us.  We can be reasonably certain this next year will bring more challenges, and that is good since a challenge requires a solution if we are to continue to excel.  Without the constant challenge, none of us would be as good at what we do as we have become.  Our competition is good.  Lack of competition is not good for any of us.

If this is the year in which you have promised you will improve your position, we’re ready to help you in that process.  Perhaps this is the year in which you’ll expand your business, we’re ready to help you in that effort.  Or if this is the year you told yourself you’d find a better partner, we’d love to try out for that spot.

We are not perfect and we know of no organization which is perfect.  Knowing that, we can always improve and that is the key for us all to be better in 2017 than we were in 2016.  Even though this was very good year, we’ll not rest on our laurels.  You keep us sharp.  You make sure we live up to our commitments.  We are thankful for you and what you do for us.  We hope that you are pleased with our mutual relationship.  If you are not yet a WFA Staffing client, and are seeking a pleasant and productive relationship, we stand ready to take the test.

Have a great Holiday season and call us early in 2017.

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President

 

 

The Power of Optimism

optimism-1 Optimistic people fare better in interviews all other things being equal. That is the simple truth. Most people like people who have optimism, so long as it isn’t exaggerated and overblown simply for effect.

Optimism and smiles tend to go together. (See our recent entry http://wfastaffing.com/smile/ ) So there is a double-whammy in the package of a person interviewing for a position who is both optimistic and who has a ready smile; those people usually will have a better experience sometimes because they expected to have a better experience.If we are self-confidant without being overbearing, and we couple that with optimism and a sense of humor, the odds are in our favor if we have the work-related qualification the employer seeks.  This might seem too simple to really have an impact, but it does have an impact.  This combination is sort of the ‘holy grail’ for prospective employers, or the trifecta that simply doesn’t present itself too often.

If you are one of these people, you have probably been quite successful and you might not even understand why, or you may never have given it a thought because life has always been good.

So, what about the person who hasn’t experienced this before?  Is all lost for that person?  Certainly not, but you have to become aware of those things that can help you with optimism in the interview.

You need to have self-confidence; that is hard to fake.

You have very solid attributes. You need to take inventory of those and be sure you make use of them.  A ready smile is valuable.  A good self-image is important.  If you need to buy a new outfit for the interview, maybe that is a good investment if it helps you feel better about yourself.

You need to have a download-3positive view of yourself, without being egotistical, and about the world around you, and recognize and convey that you are a good person, and would be a valuable employee, if this proves to be the right setting.  You need to have your ‘elevator speech’ prepared.  What in the world is an elevator speech?  It is that 45 to 60 second talk that tells who you are and why you think you can be a value to this employer.  You may review your education and experience in short, succinct bites. And don’t forget about your personality and values.  It needs to feel natural and to be ready to be provided every time you encounter a new person or new situation. Maybe it is better thought of as the response to the interviewer’s request:  “tell me a little about yourself”.

Self-confidence and optioptimism-is-the-faith-that-leads-to-achievementmism about who you are will go a long way toward a favorable interview experience and for your future.

Al Campbell, Account Executive

 

 

“Procrastination is the Thief of Time…”

This blog is about procrastination (I’d have done it earlier but something else came up).  Maybe a poor attempt at humor, but there is a factual basis for the statement. How many times can you think of when you had an unpleasant or difficult task to perform, and you found ‘reasons’ to put off that task?

procrastination-1Charles Dickens is quoted as having said:  “Procrastination is the thief of time”.

This is similar to holding a mirror in front of our face hoping to see someone else’s reflection.  We are all, at one time or another, more or less often, guilty of procrastinating.  Maybe one of your associates walks past your office and stops to talk about something.  Perhaps you see an interesting thing on the Internet and take the time then and there to review it.  You may even shuffle that vexing matter to the bottom of the ‘stack of things’ to do; maybe you have even shuffled it to the bottom before.  Maybe the chit chat at the coffee pot was particularly engaging this morning.

A blog on leaderchat.org laid out the steps one can take to overcome the issue of procrastination:

  1. Establish your objective.
  2. Define what you want to achieve in the order of importance of each task.
  3. Gather whatever information you will require in order to make a decision.
  4. Consider all the sensible options and then select the best of these.
  5. Finally, take action.

Getting payroll ready is a tapaper-office-procrastinationsk that has a defined end date.  There are steps that have to be taken sequentially in order to make that happen.  You need specific information to complete the task.  There are usually no options since there is one system to use, one date by which it needs to be done, and the usual elements of information such as hours worked, people placed, client positions filled, etc.

While this is a reasonably well-defined task, these same steps can be used in more free-form situations which might lack the definition of doing the payroll.

The more complicated the task, the more time it is likely to require.  That might well suggest that this task be placed at the top of your ‘to do’ list since it will take more time to complete and you’ll likely need to be ‘fresher’ to get it done.  You might also find that holding off on tasks you enjoy in order to complete the tasks that are more a burden works since you’re rewarding yourself for a job well done by having cleared a less desirable task from your list, and giving yourself the chance to go after a more enjoyable task.  It may also stand to reason that the less enjoyable task could well be the more important task.

We usually know when we are procrastinating.1216_procrastinating-stay-on-task_650x455

Procrastination once in a while may not be a bad thing, either.  It is sort of the forbidden fruit thing, so long as it does not become a habit.  Maybe we procrastinate occasionally by taking a walk and re-energizing ourselves.  That can have a great effect on attitude.

And, finally, by thinking about procrastinating, we might also find that we are serving others as their excuse to procrastinate by stopping to chat.  This is a beast that can be difficult to bring under control, but, as usual, simply concluding that you do procrastinate can go a long way toward curing yourself of the problem.

 

021_phixr     Alan Campbell, Account Executive

Trust Your Team

trust“A team is not a group of people who work together.  A team is a group of people who trust each other.”      Emmanuel Giavarini, Managerial Comm. Mgr. for a French Transportation System 

This quote attributed to the person identified above was found on her Facebook page and immediately made an impression on me.  I suspect it may have that same effect on other readers.

We, in business, work diligently to craft teams that perform at acceptable levels.  This is true almost without exception across all kinds of business organizations if the organization has more than one employee.  We tend to think about this in terms of the word ‘teamwork’; we are taught this from the time we can remember throughout our education.

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork!

How often, if at all, do we translate teamwork into trust in each other?  When that is stated, it makes sense without much thought being given to it.  If we watch our favorite football team, we see that teamwork is obvious in the level of trust amongst the players.  There is a chemistry that is immediately recognizable.  The quarterback calls a play and everyone immediately knows what each of the other teammates will be doing during the coming action.  Each player trusts that each of the other members of the team will be doing exactly what is expected, where it is expected and when it is expected.  This is especially true in practice when there may not be an opposing team involved in trying to thwart the play.

trust-me

Do you trust each of your team members to be where they’re supposed to be. Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it?

Of course you do since that is what it takes to produce consistent results.  This might be more easily observed in a manufacturing environment but it is equally as important in an office.

How often thotrust-e1400663980941ugh do we actually think of a team as being based on all the members knowing they can trust their other team mates?  If one member of the team doesn’t have implicit trust in each other member of that team, the team won’t function as well as it should. .  This is fairly easy to picture in a physical activity since there are physical actions that intertwine with the physical actions of the other team members.  Think of firefighters who instinctively know what every other person is going to be doing.

When we transfer this team trust concept to the office, it is potentially more difficult to picture. Thoughts are impossible to see.  Teammates know that there are things that need to happen but we are not necessarily able to see them happening.  We take it on faith that each step will occur as it needs to occur.

We trust each other; therefore we function as a team.  If that trust isn’t there, we do not function as well, if at all.  As the quote said,

A team is a group of people who trust each other.

021_phixr     Alan Campbell, Account Executive

 

SMILE!

smileWant to have a better today…SMILE!

 There is evidence that when we smile, even if we aren’t feeling it at that moment, we begin to feel better.

We can actually make ourselves feel better by smiling at others.  Now, wasn’t that easy?  When I receive a smile, I tend to automatically to return it.  If I am not ‘up to sorts’, I try to wear a smile and find that I work my way out of my funk and probably am helping others get out of their funk, too.

We don’t need to be goofy about it all.  A simple grin at another person will help you and the other person.  You might well find that you form a new habit.  You might also find that you develop a new friend or a deeper friendship.

We likemichael-phelps-happymichael-phelps-face-450 being around people who are happy.

We automatically work to stay out of the way of that guy or gal who is not happy almost as though we don’t want to catch whatever it is they’re having a problem getting beyond.

Be brutally honest with yourself and try to recall the last time you were in a funk.  Were people tending to stay away from you?  Did you continue to feed on your funk?  Did you ever get out of that funk all day, or did you take it home with you, too?

If you are seeking a new job, smile when you encounter anyone at the possible new place of employment, and continue to convey this positivity at all you encounter.  No one there wants to hire a sourpuss.  They probably already have their quota of bored, dreary,  or even scowling faces.

You don’t need to be happy-office-workeroverboard.

Just a simple show of your dimples, if you have those, is all it takes.  If you are about to interview with a person who has yet to find his or joy today, don’t go overboard but just smile a sincere smile as you introduce yourself.  You will almost be able to feel the atmosphere in the room changing for the better.

Another thing is very interesting, too.  When you are talking with a smile on your face that comes through even if you’re not in the same room with the person to whom you’re talking.  Your voice can convey the happiness on your face, just as it can convey the frown if that is pasted there.

If you are already a smiler, keep it up.

I have literally had people comment on my smile or lack of smile. If you smile once in a while, try to increase the frequency.   At the least, keep a happy thought in mind and that will begin to help you smile more often and you may find the people around are in a better mood too!

Tom Krist

 

 

Tom Krist, CEO

I lost one of my best friends this past year, who I truly miss.  He was a dear friend and a great mentor to me.  He helped me to get started in this business.  One of the things I remember most about my friend Jim is his wonderful, infectious, and memorable smile.  He could light up a room with that smile and he had the ability to smile in both good times and bad. This posting is in honor of Jim’s legacy.