How to Make Your Resume More Appealing

May 23rd, 2019


Once you score an interview, you can turn on the charm. You can react to the ebb and flow of conversation. You can engage with the people making the hiring decisions on a personal level.

However, you can’t do any of that if you can’t get in the room. Without a stellar resume, you’ll never get the chance to uncork the charisma.

Resumes, by nature, are cold and official documents. It’s hard to infuse them with any of the personal charm you can bring to an interview setting. But they don’t have to lack all spark. You can take some steps to improve engagement, so the resume can open the door to your next opportunity.

Here are five steps you can take to make your resume more appealing:

Constantly Consider Your Format

Resume formats can seem boring, but they can actually be quite dynamic. Expectations change all the time.

If it’s been a while since you last looked for a job, the file currently saved on your Word 2010 file might look outdated. The first step in preparing your resume should involve thorough research about the current gold-standard format.

Periodically Re-Proofread

A bad habit sinks in when you apply to a lot of positions in succession. You write the resume, assiduously proofread it once, then blast it out unread to dozens of potential employers. However, if an error snuck through your original review (one “there” instead of “their,” etc.), you’ve now shotgunned that error all over the Internet.

You don’t need to read through your resume every time you send it. But every so often, give it another once over just in case.

Target Keywords

Many employers use software to speed the recruiting process, especially the tedious task of sifting through resumes. These programs use algorithms to look for particular keywords. Make sure your resume scores well on these products.

You might roll your eyes at the prospect of gaming a computer system to get your resume looked at by an actual person. However, it’s a necessity of our times. Every time you send a resume, make sure it includes appropriate keywords. Use the job description to figure out likely suspects.

Focus on Concrete Achievements

Remember: to score a job, you have to separate yourself from the competition. It’s not enough to be adequate. You have to be the best suited among the candidates applying.

As such, don’t spend a lot of time proving your competence. Underline your exceptional qualities instead. Don’t just list the positions you’ve held. Describe how you excelled in them.

Customize Your Resume for Each Opportunity

Don’t assume that one size fits all when it comes to resumes. Different positions require different points of emphasis. It might seem like quick-fire submission of a generic resume to a large number of companies will increase your overall chances of landing an interview. But your chances for each individual position are diminished.

Treat the resume you have saved as a template. For each position, tweak and tailor it until the document exactly suits the opportunity. The process might add a few extra minutes for each submission, but you’ll significantly increase the chance of a response.

Need more advice on how to land that perfect job? A strong recruiting partner, like SmartTalent, can give you the expert guidance you need to keep your career moving forward.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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Leveraging Job Rejection

May 21st, 2019


You thought you did everything right. You micro-targeted your resume to impress this company. The interview allowed you to present yourself at your most impressive (and at your most charming, if you do say so yourself).

But they picked someone else. And now you’re left staring into the void of rejection … an abyss of self-doubt and self-recrimination. It has all the pain of a romantic break-up, with the added torturous twist of denying you a paycheck as well.

However, as much as it seems like personal rejection in the immediate aftermath, resist the temptation to wallow. To succeed long term, you have to move on. Moreover, like any experience, you’ll make the most out of the situation by turning it into a lesson.

With that in mind, here are five ways to leverage that rejection into longer-term career success:

Don’t See It as a Personal Failure

You may have been passed over for this position, but that doesn’t make it a failure. You never know who got hired over you. You may have been up against a PhD candidate in your field. Maybe the CEO’s nephew applied. They may have had an internal candidate in mind all along.

There are dozens of reasons why you could have been rejected that have little or nothing to do with you personally. Don’t dwell on the situation. Apply for the next opportunity and move on.

Build Your Network

The first step is not to burn any bridges. Even if you legitimately feel you were unfairly passed over, don’t send that 1,000-word “I’ll have you know, sir…” email. Remain courteous and professional in response to rejection.

In addition, keep in mind the relationship here hasn’t really ended. If you lost out in a close competition, you might still have a chance at a future position. The person they hired might flame out. You never know.

Keep in contact with the company. Check in now and then. Another opportunity might open up at the company and you want to be positioned to jump at it.

Inquire About Contract Work

In a world increasingly influenced by the gig economy, you can’t consider a rejection for full-time employment at the end of the process. If anything, it could signal the beginning of other negotiations.

The company that turned you down as a full-timer might need your skills on a less-formal basis. Inquire about part-time or contract work. Even small projects could help you develop a relationship that could evolve into a long-term position someday.

Critique Your Performance

Stay positive about the situation, but simultaneously use it as a learning experience. Look back at your interview performance and identify ways you might improve next time. If you’re in contact with any of your interviewers (another good reason to keep the lines of communication open), try to get feedback from them.

Introspection may be painful, but it can be enlightening as well. The key here is to remain objective. Don’t let the process sap your confidence. Identify areas of improvement without taking it personally.

Use a Recruiter

Having outside help can supercharge all these efforts. A recruiter will steer you to ideal situations, where your skills will be a welcome addition to the team. Meanwhile, your recruiter will do the networking for you, tapping into their contact web of hundreds of potential employers.

In addition, a staffing associate can give you advice and guidance that will help you impress even more next time out.

Ready for a staffing firm to jump-start your career advancement? SmartTalent can provide the resources you need to find the perfect placement quickly. Contact them today to find out more.

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Bad Week or Burnout?

May 16th, 2019


You’ve had a bad stretch – the professional equivalent of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Except, it’s lasted longer than a day … it feels like you’ve been overwhelmed for as long as you can remember.

And it’s starting to affect you. You’re tired. You’re irritable. You’re starting to spend most of your commute daydreaming about moving to some tropical island, and then drifting away on a lonely ocean raft.

Is this just a temporary blip? Or have you permanently burned out at this position? A bad week or a sign you might need a career change?

Here are some signs you might be looking at a longer-term problem:

Sustained Bad Attitude

Your co-workers have developed a series of nicknames for you: Grumpy, Crabby, The Grinch. You’ve become short-tempered and find yourself triggered into complaining at the slightest invitation.

Now, a bad week might prompt you to snip occasionally. One mild outburst doesn’t mean you need a sabbatical or a new gig. But a sustained period of unpleasant behavior might warrant some introspection, and possibly some resume polishing.

Getting Harder to Show Up

You start hitting the snooze bar a few extra times. Lunch used to consist of a sandwich at your desk. Now, it involves an hour-and-a-half epic feast at a restaurant as far away from work as you can reasonably get. You’re arriving late, leaving early and calling in sick at every opportunity.

An unpleasant stretch at work might have you daydreaming about checking out, but you eventually refocus and get your work done. However, if you start regularly playing hooky, it might signal a general lack of interest on your part.

Impact on Your Physical Health

A short-term period of intensified stress might leave you run down. But a little rest and relaxation should alleviate the problem. A couple of days off, or even a restful weekend, should reverse any preliminary physical damage to a tough week.

However, if you find yourself plagued by lingering illness or other physical manifestations of stress and frustration – like weight gain and insomnia – you might have to consider more drastic options.

Work Performance Slipping

You find it hard to fire yourself up anymore. You were once the company’s go-to employee. Now you’re happy to coast along. You’ve gone from great to adequate, and you just don’t care.

A bad week might leave you seeking the solace of a few slow days, just a respite to catch your breath. However, if nothing you do can reignite your inner drive, a more general funk may have become entrenched.

Daydreaming of Greener Pastures

Boil it down to this: How excited would you be for a new opportunity? If you have no interest in finding a different situation, if you’re excited to recommit to your current company, if you still think your present position offers you the best path to career fulfillment, then your recent troubles probably only indicate a short-term hiccup.

However, if your spirit leaped at the thought of somewhere new, if the prospect of different co-workers and a different boss fills you with glee, if you’d rather drive off into the sunset tonight than have to trudge back to work tomorrow, then you’ve probably reached full burned-out status. In that case, it might be time for a new opportunity.

If you’ve reached that crossroads, a recruiter provides a great entry into the world beyond your current slog. A top-flight staffing firm, like SmartTalent, can find you the kind of reinvigorating placement that will get your career back to its happy place.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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What Should Your Policy Be on Tattoos and Piercings?

May 14th, 2019


When your grandparents first entered the workforce, many companies had bans on tattoos and significant restrictions on piercings. The prohibitions were common and not something hiring professionals had to think much about.

At the time, tattoos were mainly for sailors and bikers, and piercings anywhere but a woman’s earlobes might only come up when casting a pirate movie. But culture has evolved since the days when memaw and papaw scored their first internships.

Now, tattoos and piercings are common in people of all ages and walks of life. In fact, it would be difficult to find a workplace where no one had a visible tattoo, or sported what had once been considered an unusual piercing. Declaring an all-out ban would shut the door on a lot of quality talent.

However, companies have the right to enforce a particular work culture, one expressed in part through dress codes and other restrictions on appearance. How to conceive those rules in the tattoo age?

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you craft your policy:

Don’t Get Personal

You need to remember your personal feelings on tattoos and piercings have no role in the decision making. You can’t let “get off my lawn” thinking take over or turn your company’s hiring policy into an extension of your individual fashion sense.

Market-Focused Solutions

If you can’t rely on your personal judgment, what metric should you use? Well, you run a business, so a key component to your policy should come from simple dollars and cents. Keep the market in mind.

There are two markets at play. You need to make your customers feel comfortable with the employees they interact with. Meanwhile, you want access to the best talent you can get.

Consider Industry Standards

When you set a dress code, keep industry expectations in mind. What does the competition do and what do customers (and potential employees) expect?

Run a Wall Street hedge fund, blouses and pencil skirts or $3,000 suits might represent de rigueur. Run a skateboard design company, knitted caps and shorts might define the uniform.

The same calculus should apply to your tattoo and piercing policy. Neck tattoo on your investment banker? Maybe not. On your skateboard designer? Sure, they’ll fit right in.

Customer-Focused Positions vs. Internal Positions

One market you had in mind centered on customer expectations. Not all positions interact with the public. Those employees that have significant contact with clients might require stricter considerations compared with positions focused on the back office.

Meanwhile, the placement of the tattoo or piercing can matter in these calculations. Images on the arms or legs can be covered up, if you feel that’s necessary for customer-focused work. That becomes more difficult with images inked onto the neck, face or hands.

The Message, Not the Medium

The fact that someone has a tattoo should have no bearing on their prospects as an employee. However, the type of tattoo and the way it is presented might enter into your consideration.

After all, there’s a qualitative difference between having a cute butterfly tattooed on an ankle, and having a confederate flag tattooed on a forehead. So, when writing a policy, don’t declare blanket bans; leave yourself some room to deal with individual situations that might come up.

When making any policy, maximizing the level of talent you can attract should weigh heavily in your deliberations. Without the best employees, it’s impossible to achieve your business goals.

SmartTalent can help you find the talent you need. A leader in the staffing industry, SmartTalent has the reach and experience to bring you the top-flight workers that will bring you to the next level. Contact us today to find out more.

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How to Prepare for Your Employee Evaluation

May 9th, 2019


It’s the most stress you’ve experienced since you interviewed for the position. Your annual evaluation. Every year, it feels like you have to apply all over again.

And like a job interview, the more you prepare, the more comfortable you will be. Also, the additional consideration and effort you put into getting ready will help you achieve a better outcome.

However, the kind of preparation necessary for a good performance at an annual review differs from the type needed for an interview. When you’re looking for a job, getting ready takes the form of fevered cramming, as you’re forced to get ready for short-notice meetings with strangers.

The annual review requires more a slow burn. You work closely with the people evaluating. And you have much more time to craft the narrative you want to sell.

With that in mind, here are some steps to take to prepare for your annual evaluation:

Make Sure You Responded to Last Year’s Comments

You need to start preparing for your evaluation early, even as early as the moment you leave the previous year’s meeting. Don’t just sweat it out the day before. You’ll need time to review last year’s feedback and build up an impressive portfolio of achievements to laud this year.

Write a List of Accomplishments

Go into your meeting with ammunition. Know exactly what sets you apart from your peers. Be specific. Have dates and statistics. If you beat output quotas, how much did you beat them by? If you volunteered for overtime, how often did you step up?

A year is a long time. It’s easy to forget specifics as time moves on. Keep a running tally all year long so you have it handy when the time comes.

Anticipate Criticism

You’re going to receive some negative feedback. Hopefully, your boss delivers it in a constructive way (not that a constructive delivery always softens the blow), but you can’t go into the meeting expecting a non-stop praise-fest.

Instead, steel yourself for the inevitable, so you can respond calmly and professionally. What’s more, anticipate the specific feedback you might receive. Put yourself in your boss’s position and guess the critiques they might have. That way you can consider possible replies and perhaps craft counter-arguments that will allow you to mitigate the criticisms.

Figure Out Your Goals

The evaluation isn’t just about absorbing punishment and making an argument for yourself as a good worker. It’s also a time to advance your own career goals. Of course, to advance them, you need to know what they are.

Think about how you want your career to develop, both in the near term and over the long haul. Formulate these as articulately as possible and discuss them during your evaluation. There may be steps you can take to acquire skills and steer your duties toward your long-term plan.

Prepare Some Questions

Along the same lines, use the meeting with your manager to ask questions. In the normal course of business, it can be hard to find time to get your boss’s undivided attention. You have it during the evaluation, so use the opportunity accordingly.

Take the Review to Heart

Time to bring the advice full circle. As soon as you walk out of this year’s evaluation, start preparing for next year. Commit to a program to correct any deficiencies your boss pointed out. Also, draw up plans to achieve the goals you want to accomplish by your next review.

Evaluations lose their edge when you have a good relationship with your boss and work in an environment well suited to your skills. A strong recruiting partner, like SmartTalent, can steer you to these ideal situations. Contact SmartTalent today to learn what we can do to jumpstart your career.

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Does Your Work Environment Encourage Productivity?

May 7th, 2019


We spend most of our waking lives at work. In some cases, we end up spending more time in the company of our co-workers than we do with our friends or families. Creating a positive working environment becomes central in achieving long-term life satisfaction.

But, of course, you’re running a business. A working environment doesn’t just exist as an incubator for personal bliss. You want to create a situation that stimulates productivity and encourages efficient output.

Luckily, these two goals (a positive experience for workers and an environment conducive to high productivity) are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they usually feed on each other. Happy and secure workers are also productive and efficient ones.

With that in mind, here are four aspects to keep in mind to make your workplace the most productive one possible:

Physical Health

Your office probably isn’t an abandoned coal mine. It doesn’t have leaking barrels of toxic waste stored in the closets or piping hot chemicals running in troughs through the hallways.

Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t physical dangers to look out for. Make sure your workers are safe and secure. Maintain the highest safety standards, and watch for things like air quality and temperature. A comfortable and confident workforce is able to maintain the highest levels of efficiency.

Emotionally Supportive

Beyond their physical safety, workers should feel emotionally secure in their work environments. They should be protected from bullying, from both management and co-workers. You should keep all communications with them professional and constructive … the goal is to get work done, not cause hurt feelings.

Meanwhile, you should have protocols in place to arbitrate any worker disputes that arise. Having the infrastructure in place to diffuse any conflicts before they escalate will allow you to keep the highest possible team spirit.

Harassment Protections

In the wake of the #MeToo era, every company should be aggressive in implementing proper protections against predatory workplace situations.

All workers should feel comfortable coming to management if an incident takes place. There should be clear policies in place to spell out acceptable workplace behavior, along with procedures for dealing with complaints and violations. You should respond to any allegations quickly, with sensitivity and a sense of purpose.

Two-Way Communications

Don’t be afraid of complaints. You might not be able to fix every problem that comes up (“no, we can’t work outside on every nice summer day … and no, we can’t give everyone every Friday off”). But providing workers a voice can keep complaints from metastasizing into long-term morale problems.

Having a method for acquiring feedback gives you the opportunity to reply, improving what you can and responding to those things that are outside your power to fix. The mere fact that you’ve listened can go a long way to building a positive relationship.

Having a safe and encouraging work environment represents one factor in developing a creative and productive team. Hiring the right staff provides another factor. A top-flight staffing firm, like SmartTalent, can ensure your team has the competent, energetic workers you need.

Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.

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Your Interview Starts the Minute You Arrive – Make It Count

May 2nd, 2019


We often make up our minds about people in a millisecond. That represents Tinder’s main operating principle.

It also applies to business, especially to the hiring process. HR managers have to shuffle through a lot of candidates to whittle their lists down to a manageable size. They aren’t in a mood to give the benefit of the doubt or offer second chances.

For that reason, you have to be ready to impress … instantly. As soon as you walk in the door for an interview, consider yourself on stage. The company reps have come there to judge you; that’s the point of the exercise. Assume that judgment starts from the second they see you.

Here are some reminders to help you make the most of your first impression:

Show up on Time

On time doesn’t just mean on time. Show up at 8:59 for a 9 a.m. meeting and the people who count will probably consider you late.

You want to arrive a little early, so you aren’t hurried or panicked. You want time to prepare and center your thoughts. Ideally, you should arrive a little early, so you’re calmly waiting to be called the moment the interviewers are ready for you.

Dress for Success

Different companies have different standards of dress. Before heading to an interview, find out the appropriate clothes to wear. And don’t be fooled by terminology. Casual doesn’t mean “just out of bed.”

If there is any doubt, dress a little better than you think necessary. Interviewers are more likely to forgive overdressing than they are underdressing.

Sweat the Small Stuff

As you put yourself together for the interview, pay attention to the details. Look closely at hair, shoes, belt, jewelry – hiring managers are prone to snap decisions.

Don’t let a single oversight define you. Don’t become the “dirty glasses guy” or the “lipstick on the teeth” girl.

Come Prepared

Have everything you need for the meeting. Bring some copies of your resume and a portfolio of your past work, if one is appropriate.

Also bring a notepad and some paper to keep notes. Theoretically, you could take notes on your phone, but that often backfires in an interview. It might seem more efficient, but some people might assume you are texting or otherwise not paying attention.

(And speaking of phones, make sure yours is on airplane mode before you walk into the room.)

Calm but Confident (Even If You Have to Fake It)

Get yourself in the right headspace before entering the meeting. Crank up Katy Perry’s “Roar” or repeat self-actualizing phrases in the bathroom mirror – whatever it takes to get in the right mindset.

If you don’t feel calm or confident, fake it. Think of it as playing a character. You only have to seem like a smooth operator for a half hour or so … then you can go back to the parking lot to hyperventilate in a paper bag.

Have an Ice Breaker in Mind

The beginning of the interview can be tense. Usually, the interviewers will take the lead, starting small talk or jumping into the questions. Other times, they’ll leave some space at the beginning. Just in case, have an opener ready.

Introduce yourself and make it clear how excited you are to be considered. Say something along the lines of “I’m so excited to be here … I love your [insert product here].” The point is to show you’ve done some research and are thrilled by the opportunity.

Preparing for the stress of finding a job gets easier when you have a strong partner. Teaming with a staffing firm, like SmartTalent, ensures you’re matched with opportunities that fit your background and advance your career goals.

Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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3 TED Talks That Will Motivate You in Your Career

April 24th, 2019


In our darkest moments, those times when the future seems grim and all our hard work seems destined to lead to little long-term benefit, we seek support from those closest to us. However, those might not be the best people to ask. They can give affection and emotional support. But are they in a position to give the best advice and the most inspirational pep talks?

Sometimes, it helps to get some direction from experts. Luckily, TED Talks is here to help. They provide advice and motivation from top achievers in various fields – the perfect thing if you need a little motivation to get your career going.

Here are three TED Talks to jump-start your career ambitions:

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love, so you might be excited about a TED Talk that advocates large feasts and constant dating as a way to improve your work life. That’s not the angle Gilbert takes, but her perspective still provides an important lesson about how applying softer skills to the office can lead to big, concrete rewards.

People sometimes view creativity as something separate from normal day-to-day jobs. Artists and authors (Gilbert included) leverage a lot of creativity in exchange for money. But most of us don’t have that kind of job. Filling out TPS forms or processing insurance claims or responding to customer-service tickets might seem a far cry from writing a book.

However, Gilbert argues that unconventional thinking provides a path to success in any field. Apply creativity to any task and you can find a better way to perform it … a version of the old “work smarter, not harder” career advice.

Tim Ferriss: Smash Fear, Learn Anything

You have to be interested in what someone has to say when they’ve written a book called The 4-Hour Workweek, right? That’s Tim Ferriss.

But he’s not on stage to teach techniques about how to avoid putting in effort at work (though he is serious about his free time; he holds the Guinness world record for most tango spins in a minute). Instead, he is about efficiency … about getting a lot done in as little time as necessary.

Here, he gives a lesson on how people learn. Specifically, he argues that many of the barriers we encounter are self-constructed. We worry we can’t learn a new skill, and this fear prevents us from really committing to the learning process.

Anyone who has ever been intimidated in a meeting or has felt overrun by the forward march of technology can attest to the truth in Ferriss’s thesis. Once you move past that fear, you can open up new horizons in your career that you didn’t know existed.

Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

People often seek happiness and satisfaction through work. They either look for a job that gives them personal enjoyment or they maximize their income as best they can, hoping to buy happiness with the cash they earn. Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall short on both ends: an unsatisfying job that also doesn’t pay enough to afford lavish hobbies.

Shawn Achor, psychiatrist and the CEO of Good Think Inc., suggests this perspective fails because it gets the order backwards. You might not be able to make yourself happy by becoming successful at work. However, he believes happy people will find themselves more successful in their working lives.

With this in mind, Achor argues that positive thinking can tap into this vein of happiness, and lead to career advancement in turn. A person can lift their view of the world, leading to better work outcomes, and from there, a more satisfying career path.

Finding a perfect work situation can go a long way in stoking motivation. A top-flight recruiter, like SmartTalent, can steer you to the perfect position for your long-term growth. Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.

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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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