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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

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.

Constructive Criticism

Contructive CriticismCriticism is something each of us has or will receive.  It is up to each of us as to just how we’ll respond to criticism, and it is up to each of us as to what we will take away from the experience.  There may be a way to avoid criticism, but that would probably entail each of us working for ourselves with no other employees, and then ignoring all the things we’d really know deep down that we should’ve done differently.  Our business probably would never really get off the ground if that were our approach.  We would probably become our own worst critic!

There are people who are able to criticize without that criticism feeling as though someone had stomped on your foot…or worse.  There are other people who seem to be able to criticize only if the message is hurtful, and we never quite know if the message was intended to be hurtful or if that person simply didn’t know how to make criticism feel better, or didn’t care one way or the other.

The people in our lives who know how to criticize without hurting us are showing us they really like our work and want us to do better for them and for ourselves.  That is a most valuable gift.  If you know someone who has that gift, try to determine how you might be able to copy their approach so your conversations with subordinates, even if somewhat critical of their work product, would seem to be meant to help them become better at what they do for the company.

I can remember working for a man who seemed to know when I was capable of a better work product and who would gently let me know he saw that in me and wanted to help me become even more important to his company.  I got the message and I wanted to please him with improved performance.

If you have the need to criticize, try to be professional in the manner in which you criticize and avoid any remarks that might be taken personally by the recipient.  If you are the recipient, try to be receptive to the criticism knowing that if the manager didn’t want you on his or her team, you’d have never been given the chance to improve.

By the way, this world of criticism is also at work for sales people who interact with prospects and customers.  Usually the sales person is the recipient, fairly or unfairly, but these are learning opportunities and can be turned into situations that result in a long-term customer with whom you have a good understanding.

 

Tom Krist

 

 

Tom Krist, CEO

Reflections on 70….

My 70th birthday was one of the most interesting and enjoyable birthdays of my life!  Reflecting back on my years of life it was hard to comprehend how quickly time passes by and suddenly you are 70 even though you feel like 50!

Birthday 70At first I was not happy about the event but as the day went on and I reflected on my life, friends, wife, family and yes, work, I felt a sense of pride and luck to be in my current status. The luck part I will give to the glory of God and I have been truly blessed!

I have already thanked God for my life and now I want to thank all of you for being a part of it. My party, gifts and most of all, many generous comments and wishes from friends, co-workers and clients all meant a lot to me.

Never have we ever had a better team at WFA than we do today and never have we had a better group of clients than we have today! Thanks to our employees and clients we have once again just been honored as one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s fastest growing companies. I believe God also had a big part in our success at our company.

Regardless of your age take time to count your blessings-                                                            We are all pretty fortunate to be where we are today.

Tom Krist
Tom Krist- CEO

 

Vacation- Casualty or Necessity?

Boss-at-the-beachA recent story by Gail Rosenblum in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis – St. Paul) highlighted an interesting set of statistics from a report originally titled “The State of American Vacation: How Vacation Became a Casualty of our Work Culture”.  That report queried more than 5,600 American workers (including some 1,200 managers) and was conducted by Project: Time Off.  Conclusions:

Fifty-five percent of the American workforce did not take did not use all its vacation time in 2015.

That represented the first time this report has found more than half of workers not using all their vacation time.  658 million vacation days were left unused and only 436 million of those were able to be ‘rolled over’ and used later or paid out.  222 million vacation days simply vanished.

Obviously there were hits to the economy as the result of vacation dollars not being spent but more significantly there were also hits to those not using their vacation time such as simply burning out at the job.  But there are more interesting statistics, too.  Half the group of those using all their vacation days included government employees and non-exempt employees who were paid hourly wages. The least likely to use all their vacation days were professional, white collar exempt employees.  The author wondered if they had the “out of sight, out-of-mind” kinds of thoughts driving their decisions.

Beach vacation

Many laid claim to finding their desks piled high with work left undone upon returning from vacation as the primary reason for not using any or all of their vacation time.  Others said that no one
else could do their job.  Still others expressed feeling guilty for taking vacation when co-workers didn’t take vacation. There is no doubt that we need our vacation time to recharge our batteries.  We need to be able to turn off the workplace and turn on the vacation time effectively rather than to be constantly worrying about what isn’t getting done, or what will be waiting upon our return.

If you have slipped into the mindset of not using all your time off, maybe you need to work to get out of that rut, because it is a rut that can be bad for you as well as being bad for your employer.  Some employers deal with that issue by closing their plant completely if they have that luxury.  Not many can afford to do that, though.

This is a mutual problem; it is a problem of prospective burn-out for the employee and of diminished results for the employer.

Maybe we each need to step back and take a long look at ourselves, and if we are the employer, at our employees and their habits so far as vacation time is concerned.

If you are an employer, have you looked at this kind of statistic?  If you are an employee, have you fallen into the rut of not taking all your time-off in favor of bumping up your income or simply not being ‘out of sight, therefore out of mind’?

 

Fred D'Amato

 

Fred D’Amato, President