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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How to Ask for a Raise

January 2nd, 2019


Requesting a raise from your supervisor can be a difficult conversation. What if they say no? What if they offer you something insulting? How can you adequately prepare for the conversation? If you’re looking for a raise, there are a few tricks and methods that can help. Here are our tips on how to ask for a raise the right way.

Keep Things Professional

There are a few ways to ask for a raise:

DO: Set a specific one-on-one meeting time with your boss

DON’T: Bring the matter up casually in a text or email

DO: Look the part – dress well and have a clean appearance

DON’T: Ask during a stressful time period

If you don’t follow these basic guidelines, you’re starting off on the wrong foot and you’re less likely to obtain the raise you’re requesting. Treat your raise request as a serious meeting, even if you have a good relationship with your supervisor.

Practice Your Pitch

Rehearse what you want to say! Write down a speech, or some bullet points on an index card, and say it out loud a few times. This can be in the mirror, to a trusted colleague or even to a family member! Tripping over words is not a good look when you’re trying to prove your credibility.

Tell a Story

If you want to convince your supervisor it’s time to up your pay, paint a picture. People like to hear descriptive examples, typically in the form of a story. Instead of claiming to improve and saying you’re a great employee, show it. Give specific examples of your experience at work. If you recently pioneered your own initiative, talk about the steps you took to implement tasks. If you’re a team player, talk about your effective method of communicating with workers. Show why you deserve to be paid more for the work you continue to do for the company.

Looking for more ways to prove yourself on the job? Check out the resources from SmartTalent! As a top Washington staffing agency, we know how to improve your abilities and help you take your talent to the next level. Take a look at our resources today to learn more.

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Change Careers Without Taking a Pay Cut

November 7th, 2018

If your career is in a rut or you want to branch out into a different field, it can be hard to make the change when you count on your salary to pay the bills. While changing jobs does sometimes result in a pay cut, it doesn’t necessarily have to. In fact, if you follow these tips, you may be able to transition into a new position or industry without experiencing a decline in your take home pay.

  • Leverage your transferable skills. You don’t have to start at the bottom of the corporate ladder when you change careers because you already have job skills that can get you a higher-level position in your new field. Just be sure when you create your resume, focus on the skills that will help you excel in the new industry. For example, if you’ve been a manager before, focus on your leadership skills and you may be able to come in at the management level in your new job.
  • Look for a career on the same level. When you start looking for a new position, don’t focus on entry-level jobs that are likely to have a lower salary. Look for positions on the same career level as your current job you’d be a good fit for. Just be sure to tailor your resume to show off to potential new employers why you’d be right for the position you’re interested in.
  • Tap into your network. Chances are good, you know some people in your chosen field. People you know are more likely to give you a chance when you make a career transition, especially if they’re familiar with your current professional success.

 By taking these steps to transition your career the smart way, hopefully you can move into a new job without experiencing a big cut in pay. Keeping your salary the same when you change careers may be essential to transitioning into a new profession, but don’t give up hope that you can change tracks – just be smart about how you make the shift.

SmartTalent can help with your career transition in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett and surrounding areas. Just give us a call today to learn how our staffing service can help you.

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Help Your Employees Avoid the Risks of Fatigue

February 15th, 2018

As many as a third of adults are not getting enough sleep in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If your staff is too tired, this hurts employee productivity and can even create a serious safety risk on the job.

While you cannot make employees go to bed on time, there are things your company can do to help fight fatigue on the job to make your workplace safer and more productive. Some of the key steps include:

  • Implementing a fatigue-management program. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine recommends companies have a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) which includes a fatigue policy, fatigue reporting, fatigue training and investigation, and a fatigue accident investigation system.
  • Make sure you have enough staff. Asking employees to work overtime or long shifts significantly increases the risk of workers becoming overtired, unproductive and making potentially dangerous mistakes.
  • Limit the number of night shift workers. Employees who work overnights are more tired than those who work days, even when they sleep during the day, because the body’s natural clock never fully adjusts to switching days and nights.
  • Provide training and education to staff members. Training can focus on how to get a good night’s sleep as well as the importance of getting sufficient rest.
  • Establish a workstation aimed at reducing fatigue. Temperature, lighting and noise levels at work can all impact whether a worksite is more likely to make employees tired.
  • Schedule strategically. If there are critical or high-intensity tasks that require a lot of focus, schedule these tasks at a time when staff members are most likely to be awake and alert.

If your staff members are overworked and have too much overtime, it may be time to hire some new employees, so your current staff can get sufficient rest. SmartTalent can help. Let us work with you to find qualified candidates in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynnwood, Everett and surrounding areas who will be an asset to your organization and make life easier for current staff members. Call our professional staffing service today to find out how we can help.

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How Can You Identify High-Potential Candidates

January 9th, 2018

When your company is hiring, you may get hit with a deluge of applications – many of which may be from unqualified candidates who aren’t really a great fit for the position. Navigating through the vast pool of potential candidates can be challenging, especially when you’re looking for the cream of the crop to move forward in your hiring process.

So, how can your company separate out the high-potential candidates from the mediocre ones? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Look for applicants who have customized their information: Candidates who are passionate about the job will take time to research your company and write a cover letter and resume that speak directly to what you are looking for. If a potential candidate sends a generic resume, either they’re not that excited about the position or they don’t have the wherewithal to customize their application material in the most effective manner. Either way, you’re better off with someone who has gone the extra mile to produce personalized application material.
  • Check for quantifiable proof of accomplishments: A high-potential candidate will have specific accomplishments they can point to, rather than vague generalities. Look through resumes you receive to see which candidates can showcase objective proof of success like awards, sales numbers, a history of promotions and other professional accomplishments.
  • Work with a recruiter: This could be the best way to find high-potential candidates because recruiters have a vast talent pool to draw from and they get to know the candidates they are helping to place. A good recruiter will understand exactly what your company is looking for and be able to find a candidate with the key skills who can thrive.

When you want to make sure you’re not missing out on high-potential candidates who would be a great fit for your organization, SmartTalent is here to help. Our staffing service has a vast network of skilled workers in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynnwood, Everett and surrounding areas who would be the perfect fit for the open positions at your company. To find out how our staffing service can help you find candidates you’ll be thrilled to hire, give us a call today.

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Customer Service is Key to Your Company’s Success

October 10th, 2017

Every business, whether it provides a product or a service, needs to also provide one key thing: good customer service. Customers won’t come back to a company that treats them poorly or does not appreciate their business. Every person your clients deal with at your company will shape the experience the client has, so it is important that customer service isn’t just a job: it needs to be way of life at your organization.

To make sure you’re providing the very best customer service in all client interactions with staff members:

  • Know how to hire customer service staff: Your customer service staff are on the front lines when it comes to dealing with current and potential customers. You need to hire staff members who can express empathy, solve problems and be great brand ambassadors. Conduct your interviews carefully by asking about the candidate’s customer service philosophies, past successes and problem-solving skills. Consider working with a staffing service to make sure you’re hiring the very best customer service representatives.
  • Develop a corporate culture focused on customer service: Every department at your business needs to remember their jobs only exist because you have customers. This means when they’re doing their jobs – whether they’re in IT, on the executive level or in marketing – they need to think about how they can best serve the end user of your products or services.
  • Provide training on customer relations to staff members: All staff members who work for your organization should know your company policies on customer interaction and should be trained on how you want your brand to come across to the public. Staff should be reminded they are acting for the company in all interactions and should maintain a professional demeanor whenever they are acting in their official capacity.

SmartTalent can help you to hire customer service professionals and other staff members in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynnwood, Everett and surrounding areas who understand the importance of providing customers with an awesome experience. To find out more about how our staffing service can help you to make sure every member of your team is committed to positive customer relations, give us a call today.

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Tips for Successfully Job Searching with a Recruiter

April 11th, 2017

Job searching can be really difficult, as there is a lot of competition for top jobs. Sometimes it can be difficult to even get an interview with the employers you are most interested in working for.

One of the best ways to streamline your job search and make it easier to find a job is to work with a recruiter. Staffing professionals know the job market in your area and have an in with companies that are hiring.

A recruiter can help you to explore opportunities with many top employers who are looking to employ people with your skill set. However, there are a few things you will need to do as a candidate to maximize the chances a recruiter will help with a successful job search. Some of the things that you should do to work successfully with a recruiter include:

  • Being honest at all times with your recruiter. When you work with a recruiter, be honest in all of your encounters. If you are not upfront about your skills or the positions you are interested in, a recruiter is not going to be able to find a job that is a good fit for you. Recruiters are good at what they do and they care about making sure both employers and employees are happy. By offering a recruiter a true glimpse into what kind of employee you can be, a recruiter can find a company where you will excel.
  • Showing off how professional you can be. Recruiters have a lot of connections with many companies. You don’t want to botch an interview with a recruiter by coming off as unprofessional or you could lose access to all of those different businesses doing their hiring through staffing professionals. When you meet with a recruiter, show off your skills so the recruiter will be happy to recommend you to employers. Show up on time, dress nicely, talk politely and professionally, and respect the effort your recruiter is making to help with your job search.
  • Providing good feedback. You need to be honest with a recruiter about your interest in job opportunities and about how interactions with hiring managers go. By giving honest feedback and sharing your opinion of job opportunities or work you have done, you help your recruiter to learn more about what type of work is right for you.

If you want to work with staffing professionals who have helped many people to find their dream jobs in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynnwood, Everett and surrounding areas, SmartTalent is here to help you. Give us a call today to discover how a skilled recruiter can make job searching easier and more likely to result in a great new position.

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Hot Job: Quality Control Technician

March 29th, 2017

Companies depend upon quality control technicians to protect their business brand. A company is only as good as the products it puts out. It is the job of a quality control technician to ensure that every product meets the exacting standards of the business.

Working as a quality control technician is a great profession for a detail-oriented person with the right background, skills and abilities. You may wish to consider a job as a quality control technician if:

  • You are interested in testing and inspecting products. Quality control technicians have an active oversight role during all phases of product development. It will be up to the quality control technician to develop protocols and carry out testing processes to ensure the products being produced meet or exceed minimum standards. Your job may involve doing all sorts of testing, from testing torsion to measuring acid/base chemistry.
  • You are skilled at preparing reports and making recommendations. It is imperative a quality control technician is able to produce reports of deviation from acceptable standards and the technician is able to develop a plan of action when corrective measures need to be taken. If you do this job, you should be able to look at the big picture to effectively conduct process audits and make recommended improvements in the manufacturing process.
  • You want to work with department heads to improve production. Working closely with department heads, you will have the power to implement positive changes that facilitate the efficient production of high-quality products. Communicating effectively and working collaboratively are essential to maintaining the highest quality control standards so the efforts of a quality control technician can help build a company’s reputation for reliability.

If you have a background in understanding business procedures, preparing reports and manuals, working with mathematical concepts and problem solving, you could be a great candidate to fill open jobs as a quality control technician. Let SmartTalent help you jumpstart your career in this profession. Give our staffing service a call today to find out how we can help you to find work you’ll love.

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Text and Email Etiquette When Applying for a Job

February 9th, 2017

In today’s world, email has become one of the most popular and predominant forms of communication. Email is frequently used by job seekers who are applying for a job or in the midst of a job search. If you’re a job seeker and you’re going to be using email, you need to make certain that you follow proper email etiquette so you do not turn off potential hiring managers.

Some good email rules to remember during a job search include:

  • Keep it professional. While email is a more casual method of communication, you should not treat your email communications casually when you’re looking for a job. Write in a more formal tone, and avoid using slang terms, swear words, overly colorful or personal language, or any type of language that could be off-putting to a hiring manager. 
  • Proofread your emails. A professional email sent as part of a job search should be written with proper grammar. Make certain you avoid spelling errors. You should proofread your email carefully to find any problems — do not rely on spell check alone to catch mistakes, as spell check can miss things including misused words (think from vs. form or their vs. there). If you’re not certain your grammar or spelling is correct, consider asking someone you trust to read the email before you send. 
  • Follow instructions for communication. While it is tempting to want to communicate by email as much as possible, you need to follow the hiring manager’s instructions. This means if the hiring manager asked you to call to set up an interview, pick up the phone instead of sending an email.

Knowing the rules for email is important, but you ultimately need to make contact with companies in person in your job search process so you can impress hiring managers. SmartTalent has relationships with companies in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynnwood, Everett and surrounding areas, and we can help you land interviews with employers who are ready to hire people with your skill set. Contact us today to find out more about how our staffing service can make applying for a job easier.

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Strategies to Help Employees Work Together Better

December 20th, 2016

dec-strategies-to-help-employees-work-together-betterThe ability to work well on a team is one of the most prized characteristics people look for when hiring staff. While you may have great people on your payroll who are good at teamwork, this doesn’t mean your job is done. Motivate your workers and make sure they are working together so you can maximize productivity and keep employee motivation high.

So, how can you foster teamwork among the members of your staff?

  • Set clear and concise goals for your team. Everyone should know exactly what they are working towards because it will be easier for them to come together when they are all on the same page about the final goal.
  • Communicate your expectations. Not only is goal setting important, so is setting clear expectations for things like timelines and how the team should work together. While you need to provide room for flexibility and creativity, there is nothing wrong with taking the lead a little at the beginning to get everyone on the right path as far as what they are expected to accomplish. 
  • Create a creative atmosphere. You need to leave opportunity for brainstorming and for every member of the team to bring their valuable input to the table. Be sure there is the chance to share ideas and for all voices to be heard throughout the project. Don’t micromanage or stifle new ideas.
  • Make sure every member of the team has the chance to contribute. If some team members feel their ideas aren’t being listened to, they might tune out. On the other side of the spectrum, team members who feel they are pulling more than their weight may get angry. Monitor developments to make sure everyone is participating and contributing.
  • Leverage the strength of team members. While people should be working together on the team, you want each team member to be able to take charge of the specific areas where they excel.

The ability to get your staff to work well as a team starts with hiring great people. SmartTalent can help you find employees who are going to be great members of your workforce and excel at teamwork. If you need help with hiring in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett and surrounding areas, give us a call today.

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