Should You Start the Hiring Process or Look Internally?

April 18th, 2019


A position opens up in your organization. You have a number of strong internal candidates. However, some of the managers prefer looking for someone from the outside.

What should you do? Should you promote one of your current employees? Or should you launch a hiring process to bring in an outside ringer?

Unfortunately, there are no definitive answers for those questions. Whether or not you bring in an outside candidate has a lot to do with your circumstances.

The basic choice comes down to consistency versus variety. Which of those best fits your situation depends on a diverse set of factors. However, there are some general arguments for each strategy that can help you decide which one suits your hiring needs:

Advantage, Internal Promotion: Known Quantities

When you hire a new employee, you don’t really get a lot of information before you need to make a decision. A resume, one or two interviews, some bland recommendations from their hand-picked references – not much detail on which to make a choice.

For that reason, hiring an outside candidate comes with a big risk. What if it doesn’t work out? You’re stuck starting over, after a waste of time, money and managerial reputation.

Promoting an internal candidate eliminates this risk. You have a long history with the employee you’re moving into the new position. It gives you more confidence in the hire and provides more continuity.

Advantage, Outside Hire: New Ideas

Talking to the same people day after day leads to constrained thinking. You hear the same ideas and settle into a shared set of assumptions. Promoting from within only encourages this loop. You entrench the same people and the same thinking.

Bringing in an outside candidate can break through this. They can bring with them new ideas and a new viewpoint. Beyond the skills of the individual hired, the sheer fact they haven’t developed within your company will grant them a fresh perspective.

Advantage, Internal Promotion: Long-Term Incentive

When employees know they have something to work for, they can show surprising determination and ingenuity. Unfortunately, your resources limit how much you can use salary as a carrot. Internal promotion can provide another possible way to motivate employees.

For the particular position you currently have open, interested employees are likely to put in extra hours and additional effort to impress you. You can use the situation to unlock skills and personality traits that might otherwise remain hidden.

Meanwhile, a culture of internal promotion can contribute to long-term productivity and morale. New hires know if they work hard and provide value, they can move up in the organization.

Advantage, Outside Hire: Tamp Down Factions

Promoting from within can become a fraught political process. In theory, you choose the person best suited for the position and offer them the job. In practice, though, you have to worry about the impact on everyone who doesn’t end up getting the gig.

Should you focus on seniority, even if the employee with the longest tenure isn’t the most qualified? Should you focus on education and experience, or on the person with the highest long-term performance ceiling?

Whomever you select, several employees will likely feel passed over. That might create morale-hurting bad feelings that can fester for years to come.

Bringing in an outside hire short-circuits this grievance spiral before it starts. Employees might argue against the decision to hire from outside, but at least there is no suggestion you passed them over personally.

However you choose to handle these complicated scenarios, a strong relationship with a staffing firm can ensure a positive outcome. By using a top-flight recruiter, like SmartTalent, you can ensure your staff is filled with competent, inventive workers ready to step up when needed. Or, if you prefer outside hires, SmartTalent can streamline the process for you and bring in the top talent you need to supercharge your team.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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3 Ways to Become Irreplaceable at Work

April 16th, 2019


Protecting a job is almost as important as finding one. When you land a position you love, you want to stay there as long as it continues to feed your long-term career plans.

Unfortunately, the vagaries of corporate life might not cooperate. Situations beyond your control can push you out of a position you love well before you’re ready to leave. Takeovers, management changes, restructuring efforts and layoffs all represent unexpected corporate detours that can divert your near-term career plans.

While you can’t control the decisions that lead to these events, you can put yourself in a strong position to weather them when they come. If you make yourself a key contributor, you can survive almost any shift in company structure.

The best way to protect your hard-earned position is to become irreplaceable. With that in mind, here are three key ways to make that happen:

Stepping up When Needed

You can’t become a central figure in your office by hiding in your workspace and avoiding eye contact with your boss. You need to seek out new tasks and responsibilities.

Volunteer for assignments. If you see a task that needs to be performed, pitch yourself for the role. Don’t just nominate yourself for projects your boss proposes, create opportunities for yourself by seeking out new possibilities your manager hadn’t even noticed.

This strategy will help your short-term prospects by putting yourself on your boss’s radar. You’ll become the go-to employee when new projects arise.

Beyond the short-term benefits, you set yourself up for long-term success. All the additional projects you complete allow you expand your skill set and make yourself more attractive for future employers or higher-level positions at your current firm.

Specializing

Any business book will tell you that to have a successful company, you need a point of differentiation. That means you need something that makes the operation special. As an employee, this kind of advice may seem distant from your day-to-day experience. But while you aren’t the business owner, it has some value and relevance for your life.

You need to take this advice to the micro level: To stand out at work, it helps to have a skill that no one else can match. The further you dig into a specialty, the more necessary you become.

Become the only employee who can handle certain tasks. It may seem like concentrating too heavily might make your usefulness too narrow. But specializing in a key task makes you irreplaceable if a corporate shakeup does occur.

Networking

Relationships drive business. You’ve learned this in the job-hunting process. When you’re out of a job, the first thing you do is check in with your network to see what positions are available.

But networking isn’t only useful for finding a job. It can serve a key component in keeping one as well.

Building strong relationships with both management and your co-workers puts you in a good position to survive any unexpected reshufflings. You can call on these connections to protect your position in the worst-case scenario.

Meanwhile, having a wide acquaintanceship within the company can tip you off to upcoming changes ahead of time. The chances of an unexpected reshuffling diminish (at least the “unexpected” part), because you can count on getting advance warning.

Building a career takes a lot of help. Beyond your personal network, your development will benefit from professional input. Teaming with a strong recruiting firm can help you find strong opportunities and develop the skills necessary to keep them.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out what we can do to secure the perfect position for both your near- and long-term growth.

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How to Know If a Candidate Is Lying to You During the Interview

April 11th, 2019


A job candidate flies through the recruiting process. Great resume. Stellar interview. Says all the right things and describes all the right experiences.

You bring them in for their first day. Disaster. They have no idea what they’re doing. It quickly dawns on you: the perfect resume, the impressive interview … all lies.

Now you have to cut loose that grifter you just hired and return to the recruiting process, an expensive move that not only slows down progress on other projects, but makes you look foolish within the company.

If only there were ways to spot the liars in the moment, all of this could be avoided.

Unfortunately, it’s not practical (and possibly not legal) to resort to lie detectors or truth serum. Wonder Woman’s golden lasso is fictional, and you don’t have time to train at Quantico to become an FBI interrogation specialist.

However, there are some red flags you can keep in mind while conducting the interview that will show a candidate is fudging the truth. Here are some of the best ways to cut through the lies:

They Use Vague Language

You can expect a candidate to spin their experience a little, framing their qualifications in the best possible light. It’s not lying, per se, but taking someone’s claims at face value can lead to costly hiring mistakes.

Watch out for descriptions that lack specificity. How long did you hold that position? “Around a year.” Do you have any specific experience in this area? “I participated in a project that was very similar.”

The best counter to these kinds of fuzzy descriptions is to drill down with follow-up questions. Make the candidate prove their case by providing details on the topic.

Their Stories Don’t Make Sense

People use vague language when they are trying to shade the truth a little. However, that ethical dance doesn’t really apply to full-on liars. They don’t obscure. They just make stuff up.

In these cases, a person’s story might come highly detailed. But remember: A great novel is highly detailed … but also made up.

To counter this, apply the common-sense test.

Does it make sense that a 25-year-old would be CEO of a Silicon Valley startup, and then two years later, apply for your data-entry job? If her uncle is the Sultan of Brunei, why did she go to a community college in Cleveland?

Check every claim against a healthy skepticism and use your knowledge of the world to counteract any attempt to get one over on you.

Double-Check With Outside Sources

Think about the detective in a murder mystery. They need to wade through suspects’ stories and find out who committed the crime. How do they sift the fake alibis from the real ones?

The detectives compare the various tales with other evidence. They check one story against another. They use physical evidence to prove or disprove a claim.

Utilize the same basic principle when dealing with job applicants. You don’t have to break out the CSI gear or start using a hot interrogation lamp. But compare their claims to harder evidence.

Look at the candidate’s social media feeds to compare dates. Talk to references to confirm skills and experiences. Double-check with oversight bodies to make sure all credentials and certificates are authentic.

Sifting through the claims made by job applicants can represent a frustrating chore. Using a qualified staffing agency allows you to skip that step.

SmartTalent will provide you the best talent available; prevetted and verified. Contact SmartTalent today to find out how we can upgrade your team quickly and efficiently.

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Is Your Work-Life Balance Tipping More Towards Work?

April 9th, 2019


Balance in any endeavor is difficult. In fact, it’s definitionally precarious, as it involves an attempt to hold steady between two intense, competing forces. Consider the difficulty faced by tightrope walkers or NASA engineers attempting to send a satellite into orbit. Or just think back to yourself as a little kid, first learning to ride a bike.

Given these inherent problems, it’s no surprise you have trouble maintaining a satisfying work/life equilibrium. It’s a constant struggle of recalibration.

So, what can you do if you start to lean too far in one direction? What happens if work’s gravity starts to get the upper hand and you feel the other aspects of your life being neglected?

There are steps you can take to even things out. Here are some tips to help readjust when your work/life balance starts to tip too far toward work.

Don’t Make Excuses for Missing Out on Life

A lot of workaholics spin the devotion to their professional life as a crypto commitment to family and fun. “I’m doing this for my kids,” or “we have to have enough for retirement,” or “if I work hard now, I’ll have enough money to live it up when I’m older.”

Unfortunately, these are usually empty justifications. Be honest with yourself and realize the potential damage an over-emphasis on work can do.

Make a Strict Schedule

When mapping out your workday, you budget your time judiciously. Keep up this policy … just include your free time when figuring out your schedule.

Treat a date with your spouse like you would treat lunch with a client. Give your kid’s softball game the same priority level you would give a project meeting.

Put Devices Away

You might promise you’ll focus on family dinner, but if the phone dings, it’s hard to ignore that text from work. Don’t tempt your willpower.

Like an alcoholic throwing away all the bottles of booze in the house, sometimes you have to get some physical distance from your addiction. (Yes, we’re counting work as an addiction in this case.) During family time, stick your phone in a drawer in another room and keep your laptop in its case. Do whatever you have to in order to put them completely out of your mind.

Stop Multitasking

You know how it goes. You sneak back to the hotel during a family vacation to jump on a conference call. You try to bang out some emails during halftime of the basketball game.

But these attempts usually end up causing hurt feelings, while simultaneously lowering the quality of your work. Trying to split the difference between work and free time leaves you shorting both.

Take a Big Annual Getaway

Most of the year, you might have to dedicate yourself to work. Your job may require your almost undivided attention, and your family and friends will just have to learn to deal with it 50 weeks out of the year.

Even so, try to make up for it with a complete work-free holiday. When you unplug from work, unplug completely. Dedicate yourself to your non-work life during a grand, annual adventure.

It might not fully make up for the time you miss, but you can build memories and relationships, as well as stoking outside interests. It will help keep you a well-rounded person.

Great companies realize they ultimately benefit from allowing their employees to enjoy a positive work/life balance. If your current employer takes an overly shortsighted view of the subject, it might be time for a change.

SmartTalent can help you find a position that fits perfectly into your ideal lifestyle, allowing you to achieve the type of equilibrium that maximizes your overall satisfaction. Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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Simple Ways to Make Your Onboarding Process More Enjoyable

April 4th, 2019


The first day of any new endeavor is hard (flashbacks to junior high or summer camp). Beyond these normal anxieties, however, onboarding at a new job comes with a special torture inflicted by all the requirements of corporate bureaucracies, namely: complete, utter boredom.

The start of a new job can feel dreary and uninviting. The first days are filled with paperwork and pedantic instruction on corporate minutia.

It’s a shame, too, because the early stages of a person’s career set the tone for the rest of their tenure. Plus, the first few days mark the time of peak enthusiasm for the new worker … the point they are most impressionable and most excited about the fresh opportunity.

Wouldn’t it be nice to extend that excitement a little longer?

There are tactics that can improve engagement and diminish the dreariness. A little care in how the onboarding process is run and you can preserve that initial enthusiasm – at least until the real work begins.

Make Contact Before the Official Start Date

Don’t wait until the first day to talk to a new employee. Reach out ahead of time and keep in touch during the period before they officially join the firm. You can pass on important information and begin laying the groundwork for a strong working relationship.

Beyond building a connection with the new hire, you can smooth their way into the company. You can alleviate a lot of first-day jitters by detailing what the incoming employee should expect from the onboarding process.

New environments are scary because, well … they’re new. People don’t know what to expect. By providing an outline of the employee’s early tenure, you can prepare them for a pleasant and constructive first day, which in turn sets the stage for everything that follows.

Create a Welcoming Environment

Imagine you’re a new hire, nervous for your first day. You come into a new place, fresh, excited, wound up … and no one really cares.

The annoyed receptionist wasn’t expecting you. You sit around until the right person from HR shows up, gets your name wrong, and hustles you into a sterile conference room where you’ll begin hours of boring lessons and paperwork.

Now imagine an alternative reality: An upbeat receptionist greets you by name, walks you directly to a room where a small reception of your new co-workers has gathered to welcome you to the company.

A little effort on the first impression goes a long way to improving a new hire’s perception of the onboarding process.

Break Training Into Smaller Lessons

You need to communicate a lot of information during the onboarding process. Trying to deliver these all at once can be mind-numbing.

However, if you can find a way to break up the more boring and rote portions of the onboarding process, it can make them more palatable. If you have 12 hours of material to get through, don’t try to cram it all into two days. Break it up into smaller half-hour or hour chunks and spread it out over a few more days.

Mix small portions of the boring stuff in with more practical training and get-to-know-you activities with other team members. The process will feel more pleasant, and the new recruit will likely retain more of the information.

Include Social Activities

Much of the joy of office life (such as there is) comes from other people. The closer you are to your co-workers, the less like work the endeavor will feel. Also, a connection between employees will foster teamwork, eventually leading to a more efficient and more productive group.

With that in mind, take steps to integrate the new employee into the office social life. Set up lunches with co-workers during the onboarding process and arrange for at least one after-hours get together. It will also set the new employee up as a strong team member from the start of their tenure.

Successful onboarding becomes easier when you have the right recruits. Strong employees keep their enthusiasm and quickly absorb the preliminary information they need to become productive employees.

Top-flight recruiters, like SmartTalent, can fast-track that process. Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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How to Approach Your Manager About a Full-Time Opportunity as a Temp

April 2nd, 2019


You’ve been working at your current post as a temp for a while now. You love the position. You love the company. You love your co-workers. You respect your manager and you buy into the firm’s overall mission.

You decide your goal is to turn the temporary gig into a full-time opportunity. But how do you make that transition? It’s like the professional equivalent of figuring out how to get out of the “friend zone.”

While the precise process of transitioning to a full-time position differs from situation to situation, there are some common themes. Here are some general steps you can take to make your goal more likely to come true:

Lay the Groundwork

Once you decide to ask for a full-time position, don’t just walk into the manager’s office in the next moment and start talking about it. That kind of move represents a big commitment for a company, so don’t treat it like a casual request. You need to perform some due diligence and start laying the groundwork.

Do some research. Make a plan. Hone your pitch ahead of time. Realizing you want to transfer out of your temp role is only the first step in a long process.

Know the Situation

If your company has never turned a temp into a full-time staffer, you might be facing a significant struggle. However, if that kind of progression happens all the time, your task becomes much easier.

Find out your company’s policies on turning temp workers into full-timers. Have a feel for the process and an understanding of what kind of convincing your manager will have to make to the higher-ups.

Think About Timing

You don’t want to ask to become a full-time staffer the day after the company lays off 200 people and announces a hiring freeze. However, if you know the company has been actively looking to hire, or if a project you have worked on just received the green light to expand, it might be the perfect time to float the idea of a more permanent role for you.

Drop Some Hints

You don’t want to surprise your manager with a request for a full-time assignment. It would be like talking about marriage on a first date. You want to ease into the conversation.

Bring up the idea slowly at first, letting the topic flow naturally out other business conversations. Get a feel as to your manager’s opinion on the subject before making a formal request. Ideally, your official conversation on the subject should start with something like, “We’ve been talking for a long time about me taking on an expanded role …”

Make a Thoughtful Pitch

Don’t expect the company to make you a full-time employee out of kindness. You shouldn’t center your request on ideas like loyalty or hard work. It’s a business, after all. You have to make a detailed case about how the move would boost the bottom line.

When you make the request, back it up with meaningful evidence. Come armed with stats and details about your contribution to the team. Explain how making you a full-time employee will help the company long term.

Finding opportunities that can grow into long-term relationships is the key to building a sustained career. SmartTalent can help you find these kinds of placements. Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.

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Spring Clean Your Resume

March 27th, 2019


Maybe it stems from a long-buried hibernation instinct, but it’s difficult to get anything done during the winter. Vacations, holidays, New Year’s hangovers, the general malaise of short days, bad weather and having to wear multiple layers – it all contributes to an overall sluggishness that drains the willingness to do anything productive.

Luckily, spring brings a sudden burst of energy. Stereotypically, this gets channeled into a thorough house cleaning. But you can gain more long-term value by directing some of this added vigor toward your career.

Your resume is a great place to start. You probably haven’t looked at it since the last time you went job searching. It may seem unnecessary (especially if you happen to like your current position), but regular updates in times of relative calm will prevent a panicked overhaul the next time you need to use it.

With that in mind, here are a few major points to focus on while giving your resume a spring cleaning:

Clean up Grammar and Word Choice

Look for small things that could be updated. Hopefully, you don’t have any grammar or spelling mistakes (or how did you ever get the job you have now?). Read the resume with fresh eyes to make sure.

Fine-tune the language and make any necessary improvements. Seek out passive constructions and add in those vibrant, descriptive words where you can.

Review the Formatting

Consider the potential benefits of a complete overhaul. Yes, that might open the door to a significant amount of work. But like finally tackling an overstuffed closet, sometimes you need to do more than a quick straightening up.

Standards change. If you’ve been out of the job market for a lengthy period of time, the expectations for resume presentations may have changed. Research the current style and update your resume accordingly.

Remove Outdated Items

Hopefully, your career has progressed steadily over the past few years. New experiences have taken precedence over things you learned years ago. And, triggering as it may be to think about, many of your older competencies may have become completely outdated at this point, overtaken by updates in technology or evolving industry standards.

Remove anything that is no longer a meaningful selling point.

Also, watch out for other kinds of dated information. Still got your high school GPA on there? Still touting that half marathon you ran in 2011? Better nix that stuff as well.

Add Anything New

Maybe removing older items from your resume brought up uncomfortable thoughts about aging and your own mortality. Well, cheer up: The flip side of the process is much more upbeat. The outdated items on your resume can (hopefully) be replaced by a host of new skills and competencies that you’ve picked up recently.

Add all the new skills you’ve developed since the last time you updated your resume.

Start a Plan for Next Year

Your resume clean-up shouldn’t end with an update of your resume as it is now. It should also include thinking about how you’d like your resume to look in the future. A kind of job-search vision board.

Think about things you wish were on your resume that aren’t there now and consider what it would take to acquire those skills.

When updating your resume, it can help to have an objective third-party take a look. Working with a recruiter gives you the fresh eyes you need to sell yourself effectively. SmartTalent can provide the direction and advice you need to maximize your potential.

Contact them today to find out more.

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Balancing Productivity and Fun in the Workplace

March 21st, 2019


Work can’t be a constant laugh-fest. If the office perpetually resembles an after-hours club in Ibiza, no work will get done. Alternatively, if each day seems like a dour slog through a Stalin-era gulag, it doesn’t bode well for long-term efficiency either.

It’s easy to mistake serious and boring for professionalism but tamping down too much on workplace joy can lead to long-term negative consequences. An unpleasant environment will foster increased turnover and an unengaged workforce will ultimately prove less productive than one infused with a sense of exuberance.

Business books love to talk about culture. Often, details are left vague, but one goal of a strong corporate vibe is to inject some joy into the worker’s experience. It opens up creativity and helps bind people to the company.

But, of course, chasing fun can go too far. If the workday becomes one long ping-pong tournament/gossip chat show, there might not be a company to enjoy for very long. Work shouldn’t become a clubhouse.

So, how do you find the proper mix? Here are five key aspects of balancing fun and productivity.

Eliminate Negativity

The first part of a doctor’s Hippocratic oath says, “Do no harm.” Keep that in mind for setting the workplace mood.

Don’t inject negativity unnecessarily. Even when focused on production, keep the mood upbeat and supportive. It doesn’t create “fun,” per se, but it will provide a pleasant experience, which for an office environment, can seem at least fun-adjacent.

Provide Clear Production Targets

Set transparent deadlines well in advance and workers can find their own work/fun balance. If people know what they are supposed to produce and when it’s due, there will be little confusion about when work needs to get done.

Coming up on a project deadline? Everyone knows it’s time to buckle down. Finished everything early? Maybe the team can check out at 4:30 on Friday and meet up for some jalapeno poppers.

Celebrate

Use fun as an incentive for productivity. When your team reaches a goal or achieves a target, reward them with a celebration.

This can take the form of an at-work treat, a small break-room party or bringing in a fun lunch. Or you can splurge a bit and take everyone out for something more grandiose.

Build Relationships

Don’t forget: Fun acts as fuel for teamwork. People who know and like each other will work better together.

For that reason, don’t view production and fun as complete opposites. Joy and laughter can drive creativity and lead to better work results in the long run.

Enjoying Work as Work

By enjoying your work, productivity becomes fun. Beyond helping foster teamwork, fun can become the driving motivation for employees to push themselves further.

Want people to volunteer for longer hours? Looking to see your team members stretch themselves? Help them enjoy their work and they will happily commit to more responsibility.

Having the right employees can make productivity/fun balance easier to find. Competent, upbeat and engaged professionals naturally mix business and pleasure.

SmartTalent can find the right staff to fit your ideal culture. Contact them today to find out more.

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Tips for Interviewing With a Recruiter

March 19th, 2019


In any sports league, there’s preseason and then there are the games that matter. The players tend to go through the motions on the preseason schedule, saving themselves for the games that actually count in the standings.

People often treat an interview with a recruiter like a preseason game. They assume that since the recruiter gets paid to find you a job, the meeting with them becomes a perfunctory obligation, just another step in the process for signing up with the staffing agency.

But an interview with a recruiter provides an important opportunity. It helps you direct the course of future placements, giving you a chance to lay out your preferences and your pet peeves.

For the recruiter, the interview offers an occasion to get to know you. They can also provide meaningful feedback that can help with your long-term career development.

A meeting with a recruiter can represent an important step in landing a meaningful position with a quality company. The recruiter’s goal is to put you in a position where you can leverage your skills and advance your career. The interview is your chance to help them do it.

Don’t Think, “It’s Just a Recruiter”

Treat the meeting like it’s an interview with an employer. Impressing your recruiter will help your cause. It will increase their confidence and allow them to put you up for plum assignments.

Making the right impression involves simple things like dressing appropriately and putting on your interview “game face.” Show the recruiter how you’ll present yourself in the workplace. It gives them a better reading on you and builds a strong foundation for a symbiotic professional relationship.

An interview with a recruiter also represents good practice. The meeting has less inherent pressure than appearing before a prospective employer, giving you kind of a “dress rehearsal” for the more intense interviews you’ll have to face.

Be Prepared

To get the most out of your meeting with the recruiter, do as much homework as possible. Craft questions you’d like to ask and anticipate the kinds of information the recruiter will want.

This will lead to a more meaningful conversation. The recruiter will get a fuller picture of your goals and your skill level. And you’ll have a deeper understanding of the process and what you can do to facilitate a placement.

Think About Your Long-Term Objectives

Your obvious goal when meeting with a recruiter is to find a job. You might even be at the point where your goal is to find ANY job. But when talking to your recruiter, have some longer-term goals in mind as well.

A recruiter can help facilitate your general career development. By sharing your extended aspirations, you can steer the process toward a more meaningful placement.

Understand the Recruiter’s Goals

Your recruiter has dreams too. Their plans to retire in Bermuda someday don’t really play a role here but understanding their professional motivations can help develop a more mutually beneficial relationship.

With that in mind, ask questions. Find out how the recruiter makes money and what you can do to make their jobs easier. By figuring out how to help them, you facilitate their ability to help you.

Working with a first-rate recruiter makes the process easy. The highly trained professionals at SmartTalent will make you feel at ease and lead you down the path to career fulfillment.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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Making Safety a Priority on All Shifts

March 14th, 2019


Your business operates 24 hours a day. You can’t oversee it all that time (although you try). Additional shifts mean additional profits. Unfortunately, they also mean additional complications.

Take safety, for instance. Maintaining safety standards across your second and third shifts can pose a significant challenge.

Non-traditional shifts are often more difficult to control directly. You need to delegate much of the moment-to-moment decision-making to shift supervisor. This can lead to some variations in policies from one shift to another.

However, there are ways to keep safety a consistent priority across all shifts, even if you can’t personally supervise them day to day.

Standardized Protocols

Don’t let individual shifts determine their own safety procedures. No matter when they work, employees should follow the same procedures.

Create centrally produced safety procedures. If a shift requires different protocols for some reason (working at night, for instance), recognize that in the overall rules. Make sure all shift managers work from the same playbook and safety will remain a priority throughout the company.

Consistent Training

Many of the details of how to perform a job are learned in an informal way. Follow the lead of the experienced workers and do what they do.

That’s fine for most aspects of a job. But it can cause problems for safety matters. Corner cutting and alterations from accepted procedures lead to potential long-term problems.

For that reason, make sure safety issues are handled in a standardized, formal way. Everyone should get the same instruction, and training should be as comprehensive and detailed as possible.

Ongoing Refresher Courses

Training shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Even the most conscientious employees can use a refresher. They can forget things, or steps can get skipped enough times that they slip out of habit. An occasional retraining effort can help get day-to-day back to the stated ideal.

Meanwhile, training protocols can change over time. Periodic retraining sessions give you the opportunity to keep veteran workers up-to-date on the latest standards.

System of Communication

Managers of different shifts often work independently of each other. It can lead to a “right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing” situation. Do as much as possible to prevent this.

Install a method of communication between the supervisors of the various shifts. Conduct periodic meetings, or at least a conference call with everyone. If this isn’t possible, or for more immediate concerns, keep everyone in the loop using methods as simple as an email or text chain. Or you can create a more formal process of memos.

Whatever the method, the key is to make sure everyone has the same information and changes can spread through the company as effectively as possible.

Regular Reviews

Check in on your various shifts periodically. Make sure they are following the same procedures and all protocols are in place.

By scheduling regular reviews, you can avoid any resentment from your shift supervisors. By making it routine, it becomes a regular event in the course of business, rather than critique of anyone’s oversight or a symptom of micromanagement.

You stay informed, everyone stays safe and your managers keep the confidence they need to lead the team effectively.

Having careful and concerned workers helps make safety a priority, whatever the situation. Using a strong staffing partner, like SmartTalent, ensures you have this kind of staff. Contact SmartTalent today to find out what we can do to improve your safety profile.

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