Archives for Candidates

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

 

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

 

 

Authenticity- Be yourself!

Be-yourself-in-a-worldAuthenticity is important.  Authenticity in interviews is very important.  What is authenticity?   How can we be authentic in interviews?  It is actually quite easy to define.

We define interview authenticity as you being you in the interview.

You are who you are. You have hair of a certain color; you are so many inches tall; you weigh so many pounds, you talk the way you talk, and your attitudes and experience are what they are.  That is the authentic you.  Authenticity is not something you can conjure up for specific occurrences such as an interview.  Too often, we have seen the situation where a person studies all he or she can about the company with which they are about to interview.  Is that a bad thing?  Absolutely not; you ought to learn as much as possible about your prospective employer before you interview.  But you should not try to be someone you are not and never have been.

Being authentic during the interview simply means that you act like yourself.

You don’t create some new version of yourself because you think that might work better for you during the interview.  You might be able to fool the interviewer once in a great while, but even then what have you gained?  The company thinks they have hired a person who doesn’t really exist.  You cannot be someone other than who you really are.  Actors and actresses play roles but that is only for the time they are onstage or in front of the camera.  You cannot play a role as an employee for 40 or more hours a week and for 50 weeks out of the year with two weeks of vacation to be your real self.

It is important tauthentic-self-picture-quotehat you be your real self during interviews.  That is how you achieve authenticity in the interview.  If the employer isn’t willing to hire the real you, then you are spared having to act the part of someone different for the rest of your career with that employer.  You know that would be impossible, but it is amazing how many times people who are seeking a new position are tempted to do just that.  There can be a lot of pressure to land that new job.  Bills are piling up; your spouse is counting on it; you need that ideal position to feel good about yourself.

But, no matter how rough the situation might be, do not fall into the trap of trying to act like a different person because you think that’ll get the offer to come your way.  It will almost always do just the opposite.  Even if that acting works once in a while, you would be miserable from the first day on.

Be yourself.  Walk the way you walk.  Talk the way you talk.  Tell the truth about your experience and education.  Act the way you’d want to be able to act if you were hired.  Be the real you; that is authenticity in the interview.

Tom Krist

 

 

Tom Krist, CEO

 

The Early Bird Gets the Talent…

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Hire early for best results.  This seems a recurring theme for a WFA Staffing Blog, but that is the case for a reason:  there is a shortage of qualified people seeking positions as has been the case off and on for the past year.  We find candidates who have interviewed and made favorable impressions not being available any longer after a wait of only a week to ten days.  This seems more and more to be the ‘new normal’.  Frankly, we had expected this to be a passing phenomenon since we have seen that pattern before, but this seems to be more widespread and of longer duration than we’ve experienced in a long time.So consider a new hiring strategy…

If there is one message that seems to be apparent, it is this:  when you find a qualified person who seems to be a great fit for your organization, you may want to consider expediting your normal hiring timeline.  The chances are increasing that this person may no longer be available when you decide to pull the trigger.  That has happened to us several times very recently.

As we stated at the beginning of this blog, what has been the case in select categories now appears to be the case almost across the board.  Obviously, those positions with stiffer qualification and experience requirements might remain open for a bit longer, but the qualified candidates for those higher level positions seem to also have more choices.

The early bird indeed is coming away with the deal.

Talent is in the driver’s seat today and the talent we see does not seem hesitant to make life-altering decisions very quickly when the ‘right person and the right employer’ find each other.  Consider free agency; the top athletes usually receive immediate offers and are not left ‘on the market’ very long.  It is the wise employer who recognizes this market and alters the process accordingly in order to bring the right people on board.

As always, we are here to help and part of that help in today’s market is the advice you have just read.  If we seem to be pushing a bit, please understand that we are trying to help you avoid being disappointed.  Open positions, or under-performing employees, are costly to any business.

Fred D'Amato

Fred D’Amato, President

 

Is it time to shorten your hiring process?

Help wanted Our last WFA Blog dealt with what is being called the ‘Silver Tsunami’ and the impact that is having on employers as retirements take valued skill sets off the market.  The State of Wisconsin has released its latest figures showing a total of more than 94,000 open positions across Wisconsin at this time.  This includes all types of positions.  That is coupled with a relatively low unemployment rate of 4.4% in Wisconsin again across all types of positions.

We have seen a lengthening of the recruiting process in our world, and we have seen a near-critical shortage of available candidates in certain specialized areas of employment.  The indication is that this tight market may continue for some time to come, especially in certain specialized areas of employment.  Given this somewhat unique employment environment, we offer some thoughts about how employers might avoid having open positions for long periods of time:

First, the days of having ample time to think about making an offer seem to be drawing to a close in many sectors.  There are segments of the workforce where offers are now being seen at the time of the initial interview or very soon after that point.  That is occurring in most sectors of employment even including certain of the more highly skilled positions, which is a bit unusual, and seems driven generally by the sparsity of candidates.

If you are able, when you see a good candidate, you may need to make a decision, at least by the following day or two.  If you are able, you may find it beneficial to think of extending an offer to Job offera candidate that has 80-90% of what you seek where you might’ve delayed prior to this time thinking you’d see a better candidate soon.  The decision can be likened to a Hobson’s choice of “taking what is available or nothing at all” as that term is defined.  Neither is particularly good but one is probably better than the other in any given situation.  You are the only one who can make that decision.  We’ll continue to seek the best candidates for each job order.

 

Tom Krist, President

Tom Krist

Silver Tsunami

happy-retirement-150x150We hear about the impact millennials (those typically with birth years from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s) are having and will continue to have on the workforce.  But, there is another phenomenon that has been given the name “silver tsunami”, and that is the growing segment of employees nearing or at retirement age, and concerning just what impact the loss of that experience pool will have going forward.

Employers are faced with ‘silver tsunami’ issues such as who will retire and those who will want to continue working, and what those decisions will do to employee benefit practices for example.  If you haven’t given any thought to this, you might wish to engage your employee benefits broker or consultant to begin the planning for this possibility.

There is another very intriguing aspect to this ‘silver tsunami’ wave, and that centers in our world, the world of employment and recruitment.  ‘Silver tsunami’ workers have significant organizational wisdom that might be lost upon their retirement. Silver tsunami 34 There is also the intriguing potential for employers needing skilled talent no matter the age, to focus some recruiting efforts on the ‘silver tsunami’ group.

There are ‘supply issues’ in the current employee talent pool and you probably know that as well as we do.  There are simply too few qualified people available in certain fields to meet today’s demand.  The ‘silver tsunami’ group might provide part of the solution.  Recruiting in that pool may provide more talent and better availability if the attained age is not a problem for the hiring employer.

We need to review our recruiting practices to assure that we can find those who may have ‘aged out’ in one company while they still want and need to work.  A recent Society for Human Resource Management and Sloan Foundation survey found that 66% of HR professionals said their organizations now employ older workers who have retired from other organizations or careers.  Of those people being hired from that pool, 58% said they went to work after retirement because they enjoyed it and needed to find something to do with all the time they suddenly had available.  Another 45% said their reasons centered on health care benefits.

Obviously, millennials are very important, but we need to be reminded not to lose sight of the value to be found among those in the ‘silver tsunami’.

 

Tom Krist, President

Tom Krist

Politics as Usual

thGEO34GX5   As if you weren’t already aware, we are in the midst of a prolonged political season that already shows signs of deep emotional investment by people on both sides of the aisle.  Given 17 current presidential candidates in one party alone, there is plenty about which to disagree even in a single political party.  We have enough issues in our day-to-day business operations to keep us all on our toes without introducing something as potentially volatile as politics.

A Packer-Bear rivalry can sometimes be fun in a workplace environment because we seldom are as deeply committed to a football team as we can become to a particular politician.  Differing political views, while healthy and normal are simply not desirable for display in a work setting.

Many of us are very committed to our political party or candidate of choice and are active in those events and in supporting the candidates of our choosing.  Even then, we are wise to avoid politics in our respective businesses because that can lead to dysfunction.  And dysfunction is the opposite of what we all strive to create.

The staffing business is especially prone to these kinds of disagreements since our ‘product’ is people, and our customers are people and it is people who have political opinions.  If we were to display political banners or wear political buttons in the workplace, we’d likely lose a few candidates or customers if not more.  And we’d probably lose them for a long time since those memories stay with us for a long time.

So we, understandably, are more tuned in to this kind of thing but it can be just as concerning in a warehouse or on a factory floor or within a sales force.  There is more than enough in the normal course of things that can produce workplace angst without adding fuel to the mixture.

Now to work at practicing what has just been preached…

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Alan Campbell, Account Executive

Interesting Times…

 

imagesThe business of finding talent has gotten considerably more difficult of late, and it does not appear that will resolve anytime soon based upon what we see locally and nationally.

With that reality upon us all, there are things prospective employers need to consider.  In some cases, if the desired talent and experience can be located, more money may solve the dilemma but the “more” may be a significant amount given the demand in certain sectors of employment.  There is a distinct shortage of high level, broadly experienced talent.  This may be a time when some decisions need to be made.

Does my company really require a top level person with tons of experience, or is this the time for my company to think about bringing on board a quality person who might not have quite the level of experience we’d love?  Would operating short-handed be better or worse than waiting for, or paying more for the right person?

There is a cost to be paid for not filling positions just as there is a cost to be paid for providing some OJT, but while providing the OJT your company will be gaining the benefit of that employee’s production or sales.  Will every one of those people who were hired with a bit less experience or a bit less education than desired be long term employees?  Maybe not, but they will have contributed something even while you were deciding if they were ‘keepers’ or not.  You may have to refine the training process or the score-keeping process or both.  And you will need to be willing to pull the trigger on termination decisions if that is required; and, that isn’t always an easy thing to do.

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On the other side of the coin there are also the intangible feelings of loyalty that may be created within the person who was given the opportunity to learn on-the-job that might not otherwise be present.   If you are fully staffed or nearly so, you have the opportunity to work through these tight hiring periods.  If you are short-staffed, you are probably going to suffer on production or sales or both and that can’t be offset.

 

Interesting times indeed.

Alan Campbell, Account Executive

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Attitude

Having-a-Can-Do-attitude

The importance of pride in our accomplishments is often overlooked or just plain never thought about.  That is all too true when it comes to too many of us.  If you take a moment to reflect on some of the people in your life whose attitude is always great, you will very likely find a person for whom his or her position isn’t just a job.

People who exude that special something in their daily interaction with customers or clients or fellow employees may not even realize it, but they take pride in their accomplishment right down to each piece they produce, or to each sales call they make, or to each customer they help.

You can probably already pick out a couple of people you interact with for which this is quite obvious.  On the other hand, you can probably also pick several people with whom you interact for which this doesn’t apply, or at least doesn’t apply often enough.

We are the only person that can control our own approach to the outside world.  We can affect the appearance of a positive attitude even on days when we might not be feeling 100% positive.  That isn’t to say that we ought to only act like we’re positive, but that doesn’t hurt to get us over a day or two where something has caused us to lose a little of our ‘positivity’.attitude

I know of a  collector for Waste Management who is legend among his clients.  I have never heard a bad word about him or his service; actually all I ever hear is how he always goes the extra mile to please his customers most of whom he never even sees on a regular basis.  I see others who always have a smile on their face and who are eager to be of service whether they are scooping potato salad into a container for me, or they are administering an eye exam or telling how much my car repair is likely to cost. I also know those whose attitude leaves something to desire; I do my best to avoid them since I don’t want to be affected by their ‘bad day’.  Put a smile on your face and go face the world; it makes all the difference.

Alan Campbell, Account Executive

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Wants vs Needs

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Two of the most powerful drivers in today’s world are what we might simply call ‘wants and needs’.  When we ‘want’ something, we are thrust into the race to obtain that something whatever it might be.  When we ‘need’ something, we are thrust into a similar race to obtain it.  Each of us would probably define wants differently than others; and, each of us would define needs differently from others.

WFA Staffing lives in that world of wants and needs, just as any other business or any other person.  We want to be successful but in order to be successful we must satisfy the needs of our customers.  One customer segment is our employer-customers that have needs for people with certain sets of experience and/or training.  WFA must find those people for the customers on an ‘as needed’ and ‘on-time’ basis with the basic attributes and the necessary experience that were ordered by the customer.

The other customer segment is that of people seeking a position who rely upon us to provide them with that position.  In those cases, we are the link in the chain that brings the needs and wants together in an efficient and effective manner to satisfy both of our customers.  We are the middle link joining the wants and needs of our customers.

We work to provide a turn-key experience for each of our customers.  When the telephone rings or the e-mail arrives, we have to be ready to move quickly in the case of both short-term and long-term temporary employees.  We have to move just as quickly to locate those people who might qualify for a permanent position that an employer needs to fill regardless of the qualifications required.

WFA Staffing conducts ‘job fairs’ occasionally to locate people with certain skill sets and certain experience.  WFA Staffing also conducts searches for people with very specific educations and backgrounds.  WFA covers the gamut.

We all have wants and needs, and WFA wants to be part of the solution no matter what you want or need in the way of employment, career enhancement, or team members.

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Alan Campbell, Account Manager