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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

 

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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What Do the Wal-Mart Pay Hikes Mean For Us?

walmartWal-Mart has taken a position on the minimum wage by setting its own minimum wage.  Wal-Mart says it will increase its minimum wage to at least $9.00 per hour by April and to at least $10.00 per hour by February of 2016.   This will affect some 500,000 Wal-Mart associates.  It is a big step for the 48-year old CEO, Doug McMillon, who states that he believes this move will help to improve customer service; McMillon earlier said he thought this had slipped across the Wal-Mart universe based on results and on his surprise store visits.

What is this likely to mean for all the rest of us employers?  There may be some downward availability of temporary labor that could drive that cost up at least in the short term. We do not expect this action to materially impact the bulk of our client employers.  Wal-Mart’s competitors will have to decide if they will follow the leader.  Stockholders are already registering some concern over this move; it will be interesting to track the price of Wal-Mart shares over the next few months.  Wal-Mart shares dropped 3.2% on the announcement.

In the world that WFA Staffing and its client employers occupy, the Wal-Mart move is probably more ‘water-cooler’ talk than anything else.  Things are not likely to change much, if at all, except for the large box retailers…and it may not change much for them either.

For the customers that patronize Wal-Mart, there may be an improvement in customer service although that is difficult for anyone to accurately assess.  The result will be shown over time as Wal-Mart posts sales numbers and profit numbers.  The profitability of a large box retailer that raises its labor cost may lag as the company takes the hit that the increased expense will cause.  Any sales increase will probably be more gradual and any profit increase will be slower yet.

It is difficult to see how Wal-Mart will be able to avoid raising prices through an increase in sales volume since that would likely only happen gradually.  There is also the question of what the reaction of the major competitors of Wal-Mart will look like.  If they choose not to follow suit, they might eke out a more apparent pricing advantage.

It might well be that Wal-Mart will find at least some of this extra money by driving even harder bargains with its suppliers.  That is not an unusual approach for this company.  The reality for many of those suppliers is simple; they are very dependent upon the volume they do with Wal-Mart, and consequently do not have much leverage over the retail giant.  When Wal-Mart hollers “jump”, they do their best to clear the new hurdle…or they suffer the loss of business that might threaten their existence if they do not have substantial bank balances.

In the meantime, WFA Staffing will continue to work to earn your business by fulfilling your staffing needs with good people at competitive prices.

 

Alan Campbell, Account Manager

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Finding a Job is like Running a Marathon

 

 

Running Full Suit

Finding a job is like Running a Marathon!

I received a call last week from a great candidate, Jim, he had just completed an interview.  The candidate said it went great and he expected a job offer.  Sounds great I thought.  So, I called the client and asked how it went?  The client said great and they would be extending an offer to Bob. Hold on I said, what about Jim.  Jim didn’t quite have the attributes they were looking for.  So, it was time for another difficult call.  Not for me really, but for Jim.

How do you prepare for a call like that?  No one really can, but like a marathon runner, in order to even finish the race; we have to be ready for anything coming our way.

So prepare for each and every interview like it was a race you wanted to win.

First, study the company’s web site – all of it.  This is also a great place to find out how to dress for the interview.  It is ok to be a little overdressed but never underdressed.   Employers want to see that you have respect for the company and position that you are seeking.

Second, google the company and read any recent articles.  You will find out immediately about both the good and the bad and then you can prepare for it.

Third, if you know who you are talking to, check out their information on LinkedIn.  Immediately after the interview, connect with these people with LinkedIn.   So, yes this means you need to be on LinkedIn.  A must on this site is including a business like picture of you.

Fourth, just as important is to check out the people you are interviewing with on facebook.  Do not connect with them just see what they are interested in.  I would suggest not mentioning that you looked at their facebook pages but you can bet that the good HR people are checking yours out before you arrive.  Especially if they are interested in hiring you.

Is this starting to sound like a lot of work?  Well hopefully so because it is.  Believe me when I say company hiring executives are impressed when you tell them you like the company statement of purpose on the web site.  Remember the people you say that to are likely the ones that helped write it.  Sounds like a winner to me.  Thousands of people run marathons every year and many don’t finish.  Like getting a new job, none of the finishers get to the finish line without a great deal of preparation.

Finally if you don’t make it to the finish line, immediately start preparation for the next race. The race goes on whether or not you are in it, so get over the pain of losing and get ready for it.  Your competition is!

 

Todd Strehlow, CPA - WFA Staffing - Milwaukee, WI

Todd Strehlow – CFO

What’s Your Gut Feeling

Gut Feeling picture theoffice

What’s Your Gut Feeling

 

Those of us in the staffing industry have heard many times about the use of quantifiable metrics in the process of finding suitable candidates for positions we’ve been retained to fill.  That is important, certainly, since those metrics tell us about the measurable results a prospective candidate brings with him or her to the interview process for a new position.

The hard facts are very important, but not at the cost of overlooking the less quantifiable aspects of each candidate.  If there are three candidates equally as qualified for a given position, how do you determine the one that would best serve the employer?

That is the question answered by those sometimes ‘gut feel’ occurrences that you experience as you go through the interview process.  There are certain intangible areas to each candidate and it is those that often color the outcome of the process.  Those are the things that, in the end, often prove to have been the ‘clincher’ that helps the employer reach the final conclusion in the case of each candidate.

We would all probably feel better if we could ignore this fact and make ourselves believe that quantifiable facts are the end all and be all in hiring the right person.  Those are certainly very important and we pay very close attention to ascertaining that information for each candidate we court on behalf of our client employers.

There is, however, a reliance upon intangibles that only evolves from experience gained in the process of hundreds and thousands of interviews.  Intangibles often figure in both successful hires as well as in unsuccessful hires.  None of us is perfect, but the more we’ve practiced the art of the successful hire, the better at it we become.

Frankly, we rely on the intangibles at each step in the process.  The quantifiable pieces are either there or they’re not there; that is determined fairly quickly.  We are always looking for those things that point to future success.

If you are a long time client, you know that we rely heavily on having learned what makes your company work and on what you expect of your employees.  If you are looking for a staffing firm, you’ll find that we are anxious to get to know you and your company beyond the simple what do you do and how do you do it kinds of questions.  We want to get to know you and the culture of your company; we want you to be comfortable with us and we want to be comfortable with you.

If you’ve not had that experience before in the arena of staffing firms, give us a call.  We’ll either measure up to your requirements or we won’t.  We think we’ll win a lot more of those reviews than we lose.  That may sound a little prideful, but it is based on experience, results and longevity.  And yes…we are proud of that.

Fred D’Amato – Vice President

Fred D'Amato

Try Before You Hire

Classifieds Job Market circling newspaper

Try Before You Hire

Bloomberg has reported a statistic that helps us to better understand the labor market.  They report that there are now some 2.8 unemployed people for every job that is available in the United States.

For politicians seeking votes, this is a large prospective pool from which to attempt to draw those votes.  For members of this pool of unemployed people, this is a large group that each would love to see grow smaller as the result of their personal departure from membership.

For employers seeking the right candidate(s), this is a pool that is both exciting and challenging at the same time.  There are excellent people in that pool, just as there are those in the pool who aren’t as desirable as others.  That brings to bear the services we offer day-in and day-out.

WFA Staffing works diligently to help you select that best available candidate for your open position.  Our years of experience, and our thousands upon thousands of interviews over time, help us to find the best available candidates time after time.  Do we have a 100% success record?  No; unfortunately we all make hiring mistakes.  What we do have is the ability to react quickly if and when a candidate does not measure up to expectations, and to help you remove the problem and find the replacement quickly.

Our temp-to-hire program is especially well-suited as the tool to help the employer “try out” the candidate before making a final decision.  If the person isn’t getting the job done, or isn’t getting along with other employees, we can make the change occur very quickly with minimal disruption to our client employer.

In this new age of the Affordable Care Act, it is even more important than before that you, the employer, have the flexibility this program provides.  You can determine good employees secure in the knowledge that you have only to make a phone call when one of the people on a temp-to-hire probationary period proves not to be a person you wish to retain.

Give us a call or send us an e-mail, and we’ll get the ball rolling immediately so you can remain focused on running your company and making a profit.

 

Tom Krist – President

Tom Krist

 

Toughest Job? Finding your next job!

Cece Frustrated Pic 2 - 10-10-13

What’s the Toughest Job? Finding your next job!

If you’ve had a long career working at one or two firms, finding a job 20 years ago was remarkably straight forward.  You heard company XYZ was hiring, went over to XYZ company and completed an application and then you were hired.

Job hunting is very different today.  It involves searching for a job on-line, completing an on-line application or forwarding your resume and crossing your fingers.  Only rarely do you receive an indication that your application has been reviewed.

This new hiring practice can be very frustrating to the candidate.  There are several steps a “mature” candidate can take to generate job interviews and find that next job.

*Don’t begin your resume with “over 20+ years of experience in…”  In some cases, to the hiring manager, five (5) or Ten (10) years of experience can be as valuable as 20+, depending on the position. (Read the job description) Plus, the person reviewing your resume or interviewing you may only be 32 years old and may view you as a fossil.

*Include specific duties and accomplishments during your last 10 years.  Don’t go back to your first job out of high school or out of the military.

*Don’t put down the year you graduated from high school or list your grammar school.  It’s important that you have a high school diploma, but the hiring manager doesn’t need to know what year you earned it.

*During the interview, don’t launch into a laundry list of your frustrating experiences looking for your next job.  The hiring manager doesn’t have time to listen to that.

*Discuss your skills, solid work history and how important it is for you to go to work every day and perform to the best of your ability.

*If appropriate, in the interview mention that at this point in your life, you don’t have major family demands—day care, school functions, sporting events, etc.—that requires you leaving work randomly.

*If the interviewer leads up to it, explain that you have no reason or desire to text people during the day or surf on Facebook.

 

Experienced employees deliver great benefits to companies.

To find that “next job”, focus on your positives instead of your longevity and frustrations.

 

Tom Deffke – Senior Account Executive

WFA Staffing Group

Tom Deffke

Great Candidates are Hard to Find

“Great Candidates Are Hard to Find” question

It seems that all employers agree, it is harder than ever to find great candidates.  We are all looking for that same person, great experience, good work ethic, acceptable background and a job history second to none.  It seems like those employees used to be easy to find.  I think the headlines of high unemployment have lead us to a false belief.  Those people have never been easy to find and now it is even harder.  If you have a record like that, even in the recession of 2009, most likely the employee found a job.  That is because that type of person looked for and found a job even if it wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.

So, what do we do now?   Even back in 2010, when it should have been easy to find people. An article in CBS Money watch, I can’t find a good employee from Generation Y, goes on to discuss how hard it is to find good people. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505143_162-40241500/i-cant-find-a-good-employee-from-generation-y/

Perhaps we are looking for too much. One of my early clients when I was a self-employed CPA frequently told me that she had to hire and fire 10 people before she found one that was good enough for her to keep.  Admittedly she was a person of high expectations, but shouldn’t we all be?  After all, we are paying the person for their work.

This in fact may be a large part of the problem.  Due in part to the recession, many current employees are doing their own job plus at least part of the job of someone that was laid off back in 2009 or 2010.  By 2013, these people are simply worn out.  AOL Workers Stressed  So when someone new is actually hired, even if they underperform, the current employees don’t want to let them go simply because they are desperate for some relief.

Bottom line, this is a great reason to use WFA.  We personally interview all candidates.  The average experience of our agency is over 15 years. Yes, in the people business “Experience Counts” Call us and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

-Todd Strehlow, CPA

CFO/Principal at WFA Staffing Group

Todd Strehlow, CPA - WFA Staffing - Milwaukee, WI