Addressing Gaps in Your Work History

January 30th, 2019


During an interview, you need to navigate tough questions like a professional. Speaking to your strengths, answering scenario questions, and discussing conflict-management styles all help you prove your candidacy. But addressing gaps in your work history can be challenging. Job seekers know this can often be a “red flag” for employers, but if you follow our short guide, you’ll be able to talk through it honestly and impress a recruiter. Here’s how you explain the blank areas of your work history:

1.   Honesty Is the Best Policy

Be straightforward with your interviewer. If they ask a question like: “We don’t see anything listed for 2015, can you talk about that?” here’s your plan. Take a deep breath and remember that having a lull in employment doesn’t make you less qualified for a position. Your reason for being without a job for a stretch is probably a good one. Talk it through and be honest about your situation if your work history gap was due to:

  • Being laid-off
  • Poor fit
  • Unhealthy working conditions or toxic company culture
  • Education-based (you were an active student or just graduated from a course of study)
  • Taking time off to raise a family

If things were a little more complicated, for example, you had urgent personal issues to attend to that required you to leave your job, leave it at that. Your potential employer doesn’t need the dirty details of your family’s transitions or challenges.

2.   Discuss Your Growth

A small pivot can be handy so the recruiter doesn’t focus too much on how long you were out of work and why. It’s great to be able to discuss the constructive things you were able to do during this time. If you have a gap in your work history on your resume, discuss the skills and abilities you worked on. If you took on freelance work, volunteered long-term, started online courses or began learning a new language, talk about it with your interviewer. This shows you’re a self-starter with initiative, and employers always look for a candidate that can develop their skills independently.

3.   Prove Your Performance

If you were terminated from a previous job which led to a spell of unemployment, this is where you need to impress. Any specific information you can give about your excellent productivity on the job will assist you in making your case. It may be helpful to bring a particularly successful report or be able to provide web links to successful projects you worked on. Hard evidence can help your potential employer prove to the team you are an asset.

Ready to find the perfect position for your qualifications? Try SmartTalent, a top Washington staffing agency that offers professional guidance and premium listings to help you further your career on your schedule.

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Managing Remote Workers

January 25th, 2019


If you’re managing staff members who work remotely, setting your team up for success is more important than ever. As the telecommuting economy booms, you need to be prepared to accommodate and effectively manage your remote workers. Managing remote workers isn’t just about making sure tasks get done, you always want to focus on making remote workers feel included. Everyone wants to be a part of the team, even if it’s from the comfort of their couch. Here are our best tips on how you can manage your staff from a distance.

Tools

As you manage your off-site team, you’ll notice the importance of communication and making it simple for your employee to succeed. Talk with your remote workers about how you can effectively communicate back and forth and make a plan to invest in tools to help your team succeed. Try Slack, Skype for Business or another quick communication tool specifically to address day-to-day proceedings. Research what tools cater to remote workers and find out how your staff members can incorporate them into their routines.

Expectations

There are several ways you can help your staff members succeed in a remote setting, and one is to help them have precise expectations. Are deadlines fluid based on your employee’s workload, or is there a rigidity to what tasks need to be accomplished. If you require a weekly update, be clear about when that is due and what it should include. With telecommuting staff, it’s extra important to clarify your expectations with your staff members. A “work plan” with detailed descriptions of tasks with their due dates may be a helpful way to stay organized.

Be Communicative and Respectful

With so much to juggle in the workplace, it can be easy to neglect the workers who aren’t right in front of you. Schedule a monthly check-in to discuss progress and any concerns and go above and beyond when it comes to communicating. When a remote worker sends a message, remember they can’t just pop in to follow up with you, and they may be frozen on a task until they hear back. Even if you don’t have an answer for them right away, follow up to tell them you’re aware of their inquiry and you’re working on it. This little update can help your remote workers feel like you’re looking out for them.

Looking for better ways to manage an effective team? Try SmartTalent. As a top staffing firm in Washington, we can help you kickstart productivity or bring in fresh talent to keep your team motivated. For more info, check out our website today.

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What to Do When Your Boss Doesn’t Seem Invested in You

January 18th, 2019


One of the most important aspects of your job is your supervision. Great leaders make time for their workers, provide detailed feedback, and show appreciation. It’s essential for you to feel recognized in the workplace because overlooked staff members typically experience low morale and decreased performance.  If you’re feeling like your boss is not invested in you, consider some small changes to help you feel like you belong.

Make Your Mark

One way to gain respect from your supervisor is to stand out in a professional manner. Prove your worth by volunteering for assignments or even innovating your own projects when possible. The more initiative you take, the harder it becomes for your boss to overlook you. Don’t hide if you feel like your boss doesn’t see your potential: prove it to them! Contributing to the team’s success will help you feel inspired to stay on and gain appreciation from your colleagues and your supervisor.

Stay in Touch

Keeping your boss in the loop is an essential way to mitigate any doubt your employer may have. If your boss doesn’t seem invested, frequent emails about your progress are a tangible way to measure your productivity. Your boss may be ignoring you because they are concerned you’re not being efficient. Sharing updates is a positive way to connect and keep your boss in the loop. The more you communicate, the less likely it is you’ll make an error.

Have a Conversation

Even if you don’t have an ideal relationship with your supervisor, it’s necessary to sit down and discuss your contribution to the team and your overall success in your position. The best way to understand your supervisor’s motives is to ask. Plan a one-on-one meeting where you can discuss your duties and ideal career trajectory and bring up your impression that the boss isn’t invested in you. Hopefully, a productive talk can ensue where your employer can discuss changes and mitigate your concerns. If not, it’s time to look elsewhere for employment.

If you need a new position, contact SmartTalent! As a top temporary staffing agency, we can help you find the right role immediately if you’ve decided it’s time to move on. Take the guesswork out of the job search by teaming up with our staff today.

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Is Your Onboarding Process Working?

January 16th, 2019


Evaluating your systems should be a way of life, especially at the beginning of the year. Take a good hard look at how you can improve your processes early in 2019. Today we’re focusing on onboarding. But how can you measure where you might be going wrong? One way to know your onboarding process isn’t working? Turnover. If you’re seeing a rapid cycle of employees quitting, it could be your onboarding system.

Be Inspirational

Remember starting your job? There’s always uncertainty. A new position can create several emotions and reactions, from excitement and curiosity to confusion and fear. Remember where you started and encourage new workers to settle into their new positions. Workers that don’t feel welcome or are overwhelmed by an ineffective onboarding process simply won’t stick around.

Assess the Process

What does it look like when your new employee completes preliminary training? Or even walks in the door? Evaluate your onboarding process from start to finish: including the more trivial details. Go through the onboarding procedure yourself, as if you were a new staff member. When you enter the workspace, is it welcoming? Do you have specific staff training new workers, and are they cheerful and well-versed in the procedure? Review what onboarding entails: You shouldn’t be tossing a packet of rules on the table and throwing them right into the deep end.

Check Your Timeframe

Is your onboarding process two days of training? Training shouldn’t be on overview of the bare minimum that a new staff member needs to know. Onboarding is referred to as a “process” for a reason. You should be looking at what your new employee receives within the first day, the first week, and even the first few months of their tenure.

  • Day One: Introductions
  • Week One: Understanding of job expectations and projects
  • First Months: A scheduled one-on-one meeting with you to discuss highlights and challenges within the new role

To learn more about how you can onboard and retain quality staff members, consult the professionals at SmartTalent. As a top Washington temporary staffing firm, we can help you gain access to top-level candidates and help you fill gaps in your team today. Check out our website today to learn more.

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How to Sell Yourself During a Phone Interview

January 11th, 2019


Impressing your interviewer over the phone, where you can’t make a visual impression, can be challenging for any candidate. To sell yourself over the phone, you’ll need to be cool and collected, while also appearing vivacious and enthusiastic, yet not over the top. Sometimes the phone interview can be more difficult than an in-person interview. Here’s how you can impress a potential employer during a phone screen.

Be Prepared

No matter what your expectations for this interview may be, it’s important to treat this opportunity seriously. You need to dress sharp (to inspire confidence), speak clearly and concisely, and have all necessary information promptly at hand. Cover the basics: Set aside an hour for the interview in a quiet, private location. Take time to review your resume, cover letter, and the job posting before the call. We highly recommend printing a few copies of each of these documents to spread out in front of you for quick reference. You don’t want to get stuck trying to remember what months you worked in your previous position, or what skills the posting seeks. Creating visual reminders can be helpful and even necessary, so don’t get caught unprepared.

Be Aware

Have you ever had a conversation with someone on the phone talking a mile a minute, where you can barely understand what they were saying? Don’t be this person during your phone interview. Take deep breaths when you need them and speak slowly and clearly. Running away with the conversation does not impress employers. Monitor your speed and breathing, and make sure you’re not making any thoughtless mistakes – breathing intensely into the phone, chewing gum or food.

Be the Best

Remember, the guidelines for phone interviews are similar to those of in-person interviews: be the best candidate. Prove your abilities and demonstrate the experience that will make you a perfect fit for the position. Use personal anecdotes to answer questions instead of listing your skills. They’ve seen your resume, now it’s time to make it come alive. Impress your potential new employer by confidently and thoughtfully answering questions, and the in-person interview may be just around the corner.

Are you a job seeker looking to stand out in a field of candidates? Check out SmartTalent! As a top Washington staffing agency, we can review your job application materials and find you the perfect fit fast with our staffing agency. Take a look at our resources today to learn more.

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Are You Micromanaging?

January 4th, 2019


As a manager, you want your staff performing at their peak. To some, that means pushing employees to their breaking point. To the best leaders, it means inspiring workers to be productive and successful. If your employees keep looking over their shoulder and finding you there, you may see a decrease in effectiveness. Ask yourself if you are micromanaging your team. Here are some of the signs.

Reviewing and Redoing

If you find yourself double-checking employee work, that’s normal. If you’re triple checking and find yourself redoing parts of the task yourself, you might be overdoing it. Take a hard look at what tasks your employee can do unsupervised or successfully without revision and give them some space to do so.

Detail-Obsessed

Tinkering with every sentence of a brief, or doing basic tasks that aren’t in your job description? You’re micromanaging. The art of delegation takes time to learn, but it is your friend. You should be able to assign a task to someone else, trust them to complete it, and move forward with your responsibilities. You can provide guidance and answer questions, but if you’re delegating it, trust that your staff can handle it. Wasting your time down in the weeds may mean your most crucial duties are being neglected.

If you’re experiencing some of the negative side effects of micromanaging, such as low employee morale and turnover, look at your leadership style and consider taking a step back. Also consider the effectiveness of your staff. If you’re struggling to see progress, don’t micromanage: make a change. Consider bringing in new or seasonal staff to bolster your productivity.

For more insight on how you can inspire your team to succeed, check out SmartTalent. Our staffing specialists can help you change your leadership approach, as well as help you find quality candidates to fill out your team. Spend less time sifting through resumes and more time doing the work that matters with help from SmartTalent.

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Are Your References Saying Good Things About You?

December 27th, 2018

Often, you’ll be asked to provide references when you look for work. In these situations, it’s important to make sure that you ask the right people to vouch for you. Otherwise, you take the risk of someone actually giving you a bad reference – or an indifferent one – and hurting your job prospects.

So, how can you know who to ask to serve as your reference? Just follow these tips:

  • Ask someone you know professionally: References who know you personally aren’t going to give you the type of praise that you need to impress a potential employer. You want someone you’ve worked with recently, ideally in the field where you’re currently applying to work.
  • Choose people who you’ve had good experiences with: You need to make sure that your reference isn’t going to have anything negative to say about you based on your professional relationship. Think back over your behavior with a potential reference to spot any red flags you may not want a prospective employer to know about. If you were late on a big project at one of your jobs, for example, you definitely don’t want to ask that boss to be a reference when you’re looking for new work.
  • Make sure whomever you ask is familiar with your work: Anyone who is going to be a good reference will be intimately familiar with how you perform and will be able to attest to specific accomplishments. Don’t choose a department manager who you never had contact with just because they’re higher up in the company – the manager you worked with every day is much more likely to have specific accolades to share.
  • Provide your resume when you make the request: You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to serve as a reference for you. So, provide them with your resume and a little bit of information about the accomplishments you want to highlight so you can maximize the chance they’ll say the right things to bolster your application.

By making sure you find the right people who can vouch for your talent, you can maximize your chances of getting hired. SmartTalent can also help you to boost your career prospects by matching you with companies looking for people like you. To find out how our staffing professionals can help you find work in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett, and surrounding areas, give our staffing service a call today.

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Keeping Your Employees Motivated During the Holidays

December 20th, 2018

The holiday season is a busy time of the year. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when employees frequently become distracted. Your workers may be focused on festivities, eager for a trip to see family, or worried about fulfilling all of their family obligations – and their performance on the job can sometimes suffer because of it.

To help your staff stay motivated throughout the festive season, some of the steps you can take include:

  • Offering incentives for performance: If you want to give staff members strong incentive to work during the holidays, offer incentives to help them concentrate. You could promise an extra holiday bonus if your staff meets certain objectives, or could provide special rewards when specific milestones are met.
  • Providing designated time for celebrations: You want your staff members to form relationships with coworkers and to be happy during the holidays in order to keep motivation strong. Providing time to celebrate together as a team can give staff members something to look forward to, and can also help to boost motivation by making their time at work more enjoyable.
  • Offering flexibility in scheduling: If your staff members are worried about missing their kids’ holiday play or about how they’ll handle their impending visit from family members while finishing up a big project, they aren’t going to be able to concentrate on their work. If you have the opportunity to be flexible about when your staff members get assignments done or come into the office, give your staff a little bit more freedom to fulfill holiday responsibilities on their own time. Your staff not only will concentrate better when they aren’t so worried about balancing family life – but they’ll also be grateful to you for the flexibility, and are much more likely to stay motivated because of it.

SmartTalent can also help you to find temporary staff to help out for the holidays or new full-time staff members who will be excited about their jobs and able to focus even during times of celebration. Just contact our staffing service to find out more about how we can help you find skilled employees in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett, and surrounding areas.

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Is Your Boss Babying You?

December 18th, 2018

Is your boss micromanaging everything you do and not letting you perform your work independently? It can be frustrating to feel your boss doesn’t trust you and worrisome to work with your boss constantly looking over your shoulder. If you find yourself in this situation, some of the steps you can take include:

  • Understanding their insecurities: If your boss is micromanaging you, there’s probably a reason for it. Your boss may be worried you’ll make a mistake that reflects poorly on them or that you’ll fall behind and affect the department’s performance. Try to understand what concerns your boss has so you can look for ways to assuage them, such as handing in error-free work or turning in assignments before the deadline.
  • Finding ways to prove your worth: If your boss doesn’t trust you to complete projects on your own, it can be hard to show you’ll perform up-to-par without intense supervision. But, there are always ways to take on extra projects or assume some additional responsibilities where your boss may not be so hands-on. If you can show you’re able to succeed in one area without strong supervision, you may be able to get your boss to give you more freedom in other areas.
  • Encouraging your boss to delegate to you: If you want more independent responsibilities, sometimes you just need to ask. You can encourage your boss to delegate by watching for the jobs your boss doesn’t like doing or for situations where your boss seems overworked. Offer to take additional responsibilities on your own shoulders. When your boss sees that he can count on you to take initiative – and you relieve your boss of some tasks he doesn’t like doing – you can build trust and your boss may decide to give you more independent responsibilities.

If you’ve tried everything and still find yourself frustrated because your boss won’t stop babying you, it may be time to explore new opportunities. SmartTalent can help you to explore open positions in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett, and surrounding areas so you can find a job where you’re trusted to perform your job independently. Give our staffing service a call today to find out more.

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How to Determine If Your Candidate is Reliable

December 13th, 2018

Are you looking for a candidate who you can count on to meet your expectations? It can be hard to determine if a candidate is reliable or not, but if you know what to look for in an interview, you can maximize the chances you’ll be able to hire someone you can trust.

Some of the key ways to tell if your candidate is reliable include:

  • The candidate shows up on time: Showing up on time is a good indicator that the candidate understands that they need to comply with expectations. A candidate who is late, on the other hand, is likely to disappoint you time and time again when it comes to fulfilling responsibilities.
  • He or she comes prepared to the interview with questions: Anyone who cares about the job is going to do their homework and be ready to both answer questions and ask intelligent questions about your business. If the candidate has questions that show that he’s clearly done his research, this is a good indicator that the candidate cares about performing his work properly and will want to excel in his job.
  • The candidate follows instructions: You need to be able to trust that the people you hire will do the work you assign them in accordance with your specifications. You can get an indicator of this by observing whether the candidate follows guidelines in the hiring process. If you request a cover letter, for example, anyone who submits a resume without one probably isn’t someone you’d want to hire.
  • The candidate comes across in a professional way: An employee you can trust will understand how to behave in a professional situation. This means dressing professionally, being polite to everyone at your organization, and answering questions with a business-like attitude. You don’t want an employee who you’re constantly worrying might embarrass the company by behaving unprofessionally.

SmartTalent can help you to find reliable candidates who will perform well for your organization. If you’re looking to expand your staff in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett, and surrounding areas, give our staffing service a call today to find out how we can help you.

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