Archives for Recruiting

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

 

 

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

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

 

New World of Social Media

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Chipotle has suffered for an extended period of time as health scares plagued it after several of its locations literally had to close their doors for a period of time.  The illnesses that appeared to have been contracted by Chipotle customers in those stores/restaurants were severe in many cases.  Of course, that caused the Chipotle chain to suffer whether there had been similar health scare issues or not. While that was happening, Chipotle also was Chipotlebecoming involved in another potential legal case involving social media.  An employee tweeted negative comments about Chipotle on Twitter and was subsequently terminated by the company.  A National Labor Relations judge has ruled that the termination was improper and ordered the former employee to be reinstated.  We don’t know what the comments were in a specific sense but it is becoming more and more obvious that employers need to be very careful, especially as they make their way through the new issues posed by social media.

The waters have been muddied.

What we thought was ironclad before is not necessarily being viewed in a similar manner in this ‘new world’ of social media.

drafting-employer-social-media-policies-350x431There appears to be a more lenient view of what is actually free speech and of what might be actionable language; if not more lenient, then certainly more problematic as the social media world’s issues are further legally defined.

The Chipotle example, at the least, lets employers know there needs be some further thought given to reprimands that might be considered, especially where social media is involved.  This might well prove to be a topic worthy of some legal review expenditures if there are unresolved issues in your workplace that involve social media.

The phrase ‘cut and dried’ does not appear to apply to the legal environment surrounding social media and its use/abuse in the workplace.  It is, in these kinds of cases, better to be wary than sorry as we watch the new social media world unfold and take shape.  It is certainly a double-edged sword.  While it probably goes without saying, we’ll say it to be safe:  contact your legal counsel and be sure you are in the proper and defensible place with regard to social media policy in your organization.

 

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Alan Campbell, Account Executive

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

 

New Year’s Resolution: Daily Planning

The New Year is Happy New Yearat the same time a bit of a mystery and an enticing possibility.  We have completed the old year even if there are a few things still hanging on from that period.  We are gearing up for the exciting next twelve months.  There is an aura of excitement over the unknown.

If you are like most people, you are making, or have made, your high level plans for 2016.  Those plans would be for the big things you see or hope for in your 2016.  Maybe they include the next vacation location or seeing a child off to a particular college.  Maybe you feel you are due for a different/newer vehicle in 2016.  Maybe you are even thinking of searching out a ‘better job’ which might mean simply a different boss, or better pay or even a position in a different city.

It is easier for most of us to make these high level plans than it is to make the detailed plans that week-by-week will get you to the place your high level plan calls for, and you are not alone.   Too often it is easier to dream the big dream than it is to deal with the realities that each day and each week bring with them.

We create problems for ourselves if we only do the big dreaming and never quite get down to the plan for today and tomorrow and next week.  We too often fall victim to the excitement and joy of the big plans instead of dealing with the day-to-day.

It is wonderful to have the big plan…but it is essential to have that daily plan, that plan that gets you from Monday to Friday with the accomplishments of each day upon which to build.   We need both the dream of the future as well as the plan for today and for this week and for this month.  And, we need for those to be properly aligned with one and other.  Today comes before next month.  And next month comes before the vacation you have planned.

Plans are important so long as they are workable.  Planning has to include a decided dose of reality if it is to be a successful plan.  We put twelve months into last year; each of the days came in the order they were shown on the calendar.  In order to be successful for the year, we need to string a lot of successful days together.  That sounds like a tough task but it is much easier since we can deal with today without worrying about next week or next month.

If we have a bad today, we can plan for a better tomorrow.  We have a whole New Year ahead of us, but we are in much better shape if we take that New Year one day at a time and get the most possible from each day.

 

Tom Krist, CEO

Tom Krist

Teamwork

Packers

When we think of teamwork, all manners of examples come to mind.  Recently, we Packers fans might be questioning the ability of a team to go from functioning beautifully to functioning poorly in the span of a couple of weeks.  On a football team we know there can be any number of reasons for such swings in performance from attitudes to injuries to simply having encountered better teams.  Football teams prove and re-prove themselves on a weekly basis.  There is little subtlety involved; the team wins or it loses or it ties.  The outcome is shown by the team’s place in whatever league it plays and by the presence or absence of trophies at the end of the season.

The Business Dictionary describes teamwork like this:  “The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.  Teamwork is often a crucial part of a business, as it is ofte n necessary for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstance.  Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.”

 

When we accept an assignment to locate the right person for our client, we take that very seriously.  For most of us in management, the need to terminate an employee relationship can be among the toughest decisions we have to face.  It not only affects the person being terminated, but it affects the rest of the team, as well.  Selecting a well-qualified candidate and finding that person who also is a proven team player is critical to us in our searches.  I have believed for a long time that before a person is given the responsibility to hire a team member, he or she should’ve been involved in the termination process up close and personal.

 

That ‘seasoning’team is part of what you hire us for; we know both ends of this equation and we factor all that experience into our recommendations to you.  Qualifications are important, but the ability to be a team player is also critical.  If we find past ‘teamwork’ issues in our vetting of candidates, we will not pursue that candidate on behalf of our client unless the client directs us to do so after we’ve explained the situation and our concerns.team

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Alan Campbell, Account Executive