Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

5 Ways to Nurture Your Career with Temporary Assignments

Gone are the days when temp work meant filling in for someone on vacation, leave or other absence. Today, temporary assignments can help pave the way to a rewarding and fulfilling career. In fact, temporary work can help enhance your career by helping you build skills, get your foot in the door at specific companies, land a full-time job, and more. Here are five ways to use temporary work to advance your career.
  1. Improve interviewing and job search skills. Trying to find a job on your own can be a real challenge--especially if you've been out of work for a while or if you are transitioning to a new field. Our staff can help you improve your resume and practice your interviewing skills. Plus we will show you how to put your best foot forward to take advantage of new opportunities.

  2. Build your resume. Temporary assignments allow you to quickly build your resume. Temporary assignments give you hands on experience in your field of choice. And as you develop new job skills, you'll be qualified for an even greater range of assignments--all while establishing valuable new career contacts. Even more, many staffing firms (including PrideStaff) offer a wide variety of free training and tutorials that can help make you stand out as an even stronger candidate.

  3. Get your foot in the door. If your goal is to find a permanent position, temporary work can help you get there. More than 50% of temp assignments lead to other opportunities or full-time placement.

  4. Uncover "hidden" job opportunities. Did you know that many jobs are not advertised publicly? Working with a staffing agency allows you to find job opportunities that you could not find on your own.

  5. Get the "inside scoop" with a variety of highly desirable employers. Wouldn't it be nice to know what an employer is looking for BEFORE you go on your interview? Well, we already know! As staffing specialists, we really get to know our clients. We can tell you what an employer wants in a new employee. We can teach you about the employer's corporate culture, interviewing style, decision-making "chain of command", etc.--which will help you be much more successful in your in interviews. When it comes to landing a job, our inside scoop gives you a definite advantage over your competition.
So, if you're looking to build your resume, learn new things, or even change careers, give us a call today!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The importance of Synonymous Job Titles in your Sourcing Strategy

by Shally Steckerl

Showing up to the requisition intake meeting from a position of immediate value is one of the fastest and most effective ways to gain your hiring manager's trust and build your credibility. Recruiters can do this by bringing with them a few key pieces of information they can confirm or validate with the hiring manager. Job titles from competitors or from organization which hire similar talent are an important criteria in developing the sourcing strategy. But where can you quickly get job titles in preparation for your hiring manager meeting?

There are numerous sources for researching job titles. Here are my favorites:

  • This vertical search engine harvests and collates job postings from multiple web destinations. Indeed is particularly useful when you have a large selection of fairly unique keywords in your position description. In the search box type in the skills or keywords listed under "must haves" in the requisition. After you search, look on the left side where you will see a navigation bar displaying a section called "Job Titles." Click the arrow to expand that section and also click on the "more' link at the end of the list, and you will find an expanded list of job titles companies use when they post jobs containing some of the same keywords for which you searched.
  • Depending on who you ask, an estimated 54% of recruiters already use LinkedIn extensively as a search engine but this professional networking destination also provides some neat competitive intelligence, particularly the job titles that companies utilize. This is a great source when you have a short list of competitors or "similar companies" and want to know what job titles those particular companies use. Under Company Search search using the name of each company and you should see a company page. On the right hand side of that page you will see some insights from your network about that company, including a list of the top five job titles people from that company use on LinkedIn. If you want to find out more you could use the advanced people search to find for all employees of that company listed on LinkedIn, and enter a keyword or two from your job description. While this may require a bit of manual digging and scanning some pages of results you will uncover their internal job titles and possibly also obtain some department names and other useful competitive intelligence.
  • This vertical search engine and competitor to Indeed also shows you job titles, but in addition combines with LinkedIn to show you people you may already know who have your target job title at your target companies.
  • Google Sets Typically used to generate keyword suggestions based on a set of terms you provide, you can also use this to expand your list of job titles. Start with a handful of closely related job titles and you will find some additional ones you may not have already considered.
  • this business directory has a free version you can use to validate the job titles used by the approximately 21 million people listed. Both private as well as public companies show up. Search for a company name and you will see a list of departments (such as Sales, Finance/Accounting, Engineering, HR, IT, etc.) or levels (C-level, VP, Director, Manager or Staff). Clicking on any one of those will give you a sortable list of job titles as they appear in those individual's business cards.

Once you gathered all the variations of job titles, rank them as best you can based on your experience and intuition. Print the list out in and bring that list with you to the meeting with your hiring manger - or send it to them via email before your call. Together you can go down the list and strike out any job titles that are inappropriate. This process may also cause the hiring manager to brainstorm a few other job tiles derived from your list, or even entirely new ones your research did not dig up. The end result should be a nice list of ten or twenty job titles you can use when you search against all kinds of databases on the Internet.

If you liked this post stay tuned, my next one will be about that other critical component of your requisition intake meeting, the list of companies to target for your sourcing initiatives!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Join the National PrideStaff page on Facebook

Are you or someone you know looking for their next great opportunity? One of the best ways to stay informed of up-to-date job openings is to become a fan of PrideStaff on Facebook.

As a fan of PrideStaff, you'll have immediate access to:

-Up-to-date job openings all over the country
-Career and job search tips
-Fun photos of our PrideStaff team

Click the link below to access our Facebook page:
We look forward to becoming your friend on Facebook!

PrideStaff Las

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

20 Ways to Say No

By Ramona Creel

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own "do-it-yourself" organizing projects.


* let people know when you have accepted other responsibilities
* no need to make excuses if you don't have any free time
* no one will fault you for having already filled your plate


* you might be uncomfortable with any of a number of issues
* the people involved, the type of work, the morale implications, etc.
* this is a very respectful way to avoid a sticky situation


* you aren't saying that you will never help out again
* just that you feel your schedule is as full as you would like now
* understanding your limits is a skill that is expected of you


* if you don't feel that you have adequate skills, that's okay
* it's better to admit your limitations up front
* the best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed down the road


* life isn't about drudgery -- if you don't enjoy it, why do it?
* don't be afraid to let someone know you just don't want to
* someone else is bound to enjoy the work you don't


* be honest if your schedule is filled
* "filled" doesn't have to mean really filled
* know when you are scheduled as much as you are willing and stop


* let people know that you want to do a good job for them
* but you can't when your focus is too divided or splintered
* you will be more effective if you focus on one project at a time


* it doesn't matter what the commitment is
* it can even simply be time to yourself or with friends or family
* you don't have to justify -- you simply aren't available


* volunteering shouldn't mean learning an entirely new set of skills
* suggest that they find someone who has experience in that area
* offer to help out with something that you already know how to do


* people often ask for help because they doubt their own abilities
* let them know that you have confidence they will succeed
* you are actually doing them a favor in the long run


* don't be ashamed of wanting to spend time with your family
* having a strong family is an important priority in and of itself
* be willing to put your personal needs first


* often, you have to focus your energies on a work-related task
* you may have to give up some civic or community duties
* if you don't do it, someone else will take on the task


* it's okay to be selfish -- in a good way!
* treat your personal time like any other appointment
* block off time in your calendar and guard it with your life


* know when you aren't going to be able to deliver a quality product
* the reason doesn't matter -- not enough time, wrong skills, etc.
* whatever the reason is enough for turning a request down


* saying no doesn't mean that you can't help at all
* if someone asks you to do something you really despise, refuse
* then offer to help with something you find more enjoyable


* if you aren't available to help out, offer another qualified resource
* helping to connect people is a valuable service to offer
* make sure the person you refer will represent you well


* sometimes it's okay to just say no!
* just say it in a way that expresses respect and courtesy
* leave the door open for good relations


* if you really want to help but don't have time, say so
* offer to help at a later time or date
* if they can't wait for you, they'll find someone else


* unexpected things happen that throw your schedule off
* accept that you may need to make a few adjustments
* it is temporary and you will have more time when life stabilizes


* it's okay to admit your limitations
* knowing what you can handle and what you can't is a skill
* your time will be more efficiently spent on something you do well

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Human Resources in 2010: What to Watch

By Elizabeth Rice

While the beginning of a New Year traditionally represents a fresh start, the arrival of 2010 has many continuing to brace themselves for the ongoing effect of The Great Recession. Though we all hope the worst is now behind us, many companies and individuals alike are still tightening their belts and looking for new ways to reduce spending, while essentially continuing to hunker down for the indefinite future.

Employers in particular are facing the New Year amidst a myriad of potentially dramatic changes not only in projected revenue and expenses, but short and long term impact of the government’s proposed healthcare reform as well as new employment legislation. And now more than ever it’s important to make sure your company is in compliance with that legislation: the United States Department of Labor (DOL) received a $35 million increase to their 2010 budget, some of which has been allocated to hiring an additional 670 field investigators. This increase in bandwidth, combined with potentially hefty fines and penalties for non-compliant employers, mean that today’s companies simply cannot afford to ignore the ever changing world of employment law.

Now more than ever, companies face the three fold challenge of adhering to new legislation, ensuring maximum cost effectiveness, and attracting and retaining great talent amidst a shifting job market. Though no one can be certain what 2010 holds for employers and HR professionals, early indicators point to a few emerging issues for the HR industry in the year to come:

Complying with New Labor Measures

2009 was an active year for employment law, a trend that shows no sign of slowing in 2010. The past year saw the enactment of a number of new federal initiatives, including:

• Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA): This initiative prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of their genetic information. Employers looking to ensure compliance with the Act are advised to review the legal definition of genetic information and subsequently reevaluate official company policies for keeping employees’ medical information confidential, as well as make sure that any company sponsored health and wellness programs are not in violation of GINA’s restrictions.

• Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act: While employees with disabilities have been protected from discrimination since the passing of the original Americans with Disabilities Act 20 years ago, the Amendments Act was introduced to broaden the scope of this protection. According to Monster, a significant point in the Amendment for employers to recognize is that an
employee will be considered disabled even if he or she is able to use a mitigating measure to overcome the effects of his/her impairment. This means that an employee who takes medication to control his epilepsy, for example, is still protected by the law.

• COBRA Subsidy Extension and Expansion: Included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 which was signed into law by President Obama on December 21, 2009, this measure was an extension of the COBRA Premium Assistance Act. The bill extends the COBRA subsidy from December 31, 2009, to February 28, 2010, and will expand the ARRA’s COBRA premium subsidy period to 15 months (from the current nine months).

According to, a number of additional employment initiatives are expected to emerge from Congress in 2010, including mandatory provision of paid sick leave, the Working allow non unionized employees to file grievances against employers), the Employment Non Discrimination Act (expanding Title VII protections based on sexual orientation), and the Patriot Employer Act (offering tax breaks to those companies that agree to union neutrality).

Staying on Top of Healthcare Changes

From living rooms to board rooms, this year’s hot button issue is sparking debate across the nation. For a large number of employers, the ability to offer comprehensive employee benefits,including health insurance, plays significant role in building competitive compensation packages. When it comes to proposed healthcare reform, however, there seems to be a great deal of confusion among employers regarding how it might impact their benefits packages as well as
their bottom lines.

According to recent reports from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and research by benefits provider MetLife, many employers (41 percent) aren’t sure what they will do regarding medical benefits should legislation pass, and the findings suggest they might not be fully aware that both the House and Senate bills would establish an expansive set of baseline coverage requirements along with broad based rules relating to guaranteed issue, premium rating, and prohibitions on pre-existing condition exclusions. Research results indicate that roughly 1/3 of employers surveyed expect their benefit plans to remain the same, while according to a separate study by HR consultant firm Mercer, nearly 2/3 of companies anticipate cutting health benefits to avoid paying an excise tax included in the Senate’s proposed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Regardless of your opinion on proposed healthcare reform, one thing is certain: following the new legislation developments closely will be of critical importance among employers and HR professionals of all sizes and across all industries.

I-9 and E-Verify Updates

While the immigration debate seems to have quieted down somewhat over the past year, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did take measures to improve the security of the employment verification process. Two major updates in employer verification this year were:

• Changes to the I-9 form: The USCIS revised its I-9 form, and as of April 3, 2009, required all employers hiring a new employee to use this updated form in order to verify new hires and re-verify the employment eligibility of any employee whose work authorization has expired.

• New E-Verify requirements: E-Verify, the Department of Homeland Security’s online system for determining an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States, caught the attention of government contracting and subcontracting companies this year when, as of September 8, 2009, the government began mandating E-Verify requirements for contractors and some subcontractors working under certain types of government contracts. And while currently only 3 U.S. States (Arizona, Mississippi, and South Carolina) have immigration laws requiring all employers (both public and private) to use E-Verify, a growing number are considering legislation that would make the system mandatory for certain types of employers and/or new hires.

By staying informed and up-to-date regarding the key issues facing employers and HR departments this year, companies can prepare accordingly, hopefully saving time and money while avoiding risks and potential penalties down the road. Watch.html

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Exempt Employee Definition: Five Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most common questions we receive cover the definition of an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The definition is important because an employer must pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours per week unless the employees meet that definition via certain tests regarding job duties and salary.

The FLSA provides exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees; outside sales personnel, certain specialized computer personnel; certain highly compensated employees; certain retail sales employees; and employees covered by the Motor Carrier Act (MCA). In order to qualify as exempt from the overtime pay requirements, an employee must pass three tests: the salary level test, salary basis test, and duties tests.

Here are some common questions about exempt employees.

Q: Our company’s business has fallen off dramatically. Can we require that each exempt employee take a one-week unpaid furlough before the end of our fiscal year?

A: Unfortunately, many employers are in the position of looking for ways to cut costs, and many are opting for furloughs as a means to cut costs without cutting jobs. The Department of Labor recently released several opinion letters addressing how furloughs affect exempt employees. The following are the main principles:

• Weeklong furlough. If an employer sets up a weeklong furlough and doesn’t pay exempt employees, there is no risk of losing the employees’ exempt status because the FLSA regulations provide that exempt employees need not be paid for any workweek in which they perform no work.

• Partial-week furlough deducting employee pay. If an employee sets up a partial-week furlough and deducts the pay of exempt employees for the furlough days, the employees are at risk of losing their exempt status and may be entitled to overtime.

• Partial-week furlough using vacation time. If an employer sets up a partial-week furlough and uses vacation time for the furlough time so that the employees receive their usual salary, there is no risk of losing the exemption. But this requires that every employee on furlough has enough vacation time to cover the furlough.

• Permanent furlough arrangement. Employers may set up a permanent change in an employee’s usual weekly schedule, such as changing the weekly work schedule from 5 days to 4 days, and altering the employee’s salary to match. As long as the exempt employees receive at least the $455 weekly salary required by the FLSA for exemption, they will remain exempt. Based on this information, you may require exempt employees to take a one-week unpaid furlough without jeopardizing their exempt status.

Q: Can a full-time exempt employee be suspended without pay?

A: Deductions from the pay of exempt employees may be made for unpaid disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days imposed in good faith for infractions of workplace conduct rules. The disciplinary deductions must involve serious misconduct (harassment, workplace violence, etc.), not performance or attendance issues. The employer must have a written policy applicable to all employees in order to make disciplinary deductions. For example, an employer may suspend an exempt employee without pay for three days for violating a generally applicable written policy prohibiting sexual harassment or workplace violence.

Q: Can we require exempt employees to clock in and out for lunch periods and at the start and end of the workday?

A: Employers may require exempt employees to clock in and out for lunch periods and at the beginning and end of their work day. There are a number of reasons why an employer might want to require exempt employees to “punch a time clock” in the same way that non-exempt employees are required to do so. One reason involves the equitable treatment of all employees regardless of level in the company. Another reason is that a time clock provides a record of exempt employees’ attendance. However, in order to continue to be classified as exempt, these employees must be paid on a salary basis meaning they must paid a fixed salary each week. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) enforces regulations that define the salary basis requirement for exempt status (29 CFR 541.118, 541.212, and 541.312). To be exempt, administrative, executive, and professional employees must generally be paid a predetermined amount each pay period that is at least the minimum weekly salary required by the regulations (currently $455 per week). The amount paid may not be reduced because of a variation in the quality or quantity of the work performed. With few exceptions, the employee must receive his or her full salary for any week in which he or she performs any work without regard to the
number of days or hours worked.

Accordingly, if an exempt employee clocks in late to work or leaves early at the end of the day, the employer may not dock his or her pay as it does for a non-exempt, hourly employee. We hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Q: If an exempt employee comes into work for half of an hour and needs to leave due to personal reasons, are we required to pay the employee for the entire day or can we use available PTO time?

A: As a general rule, employers may not deduct from an exempt employee’s weekly salary because of a partial day absence from work. He or she must be paid the full weekly salary even though a partial day was missed. However, if the employer has a written policy of which the employee is aware providing for the use of accrued paid time off in partial day increments, the employer may charge a partial day absence to vacation or other accrued paid time off. The result is that the employee still receives the full salary for the week.

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued an Opinion Letter addressing this issue. The relevant paragraph is copied below: “’To respond to your specific concern about whether or not an exempt employee’s accrued PTO leave bank may be reduced for partial day absences, the answer is yes. Where an employer has a benefits plan (e.g., vacation time, sick leave), it is permissible to substitute or reduce the accrued leave in the plan for the time an employee is absent from work, whether the absence is a partial day or a full day, without affecting the salary basis of payment, if the employee nevertheless receives in payment his or her guaranteed salary. Payment of the employee’s guaranteed salary must be made, even if an employee has no accrued benefits in the leave plan and the account has a negative balance, where the employee’s absence is for less than a full day.”

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has strict rules about deductions from the pay of an exempt employee. There is a detailed discussion on that can be found here. For your convenience, the part most relevant to your question is copied below:

• Personal reasons. Deductions may be made when the employee is absent from work for a full day or more for personal reasons other than sickness or disability. Thus, if an employee is absent for a day or longer to handle personal affairs, his or her salaried status will not be affected if deductions are made from his or her salary for such absences. If an employee is absent for less than a day, he or she must be paid for the full day.

• Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Employers may dock the pay of otherwise salaried and exempt employees for family and medical leave-related absences of less than one full day without affecting their exempt status but only in situations where the employer is required to provide leave under the FMLA.

Q: Do you have a policy for giving exempt employees compensatory time? Specifically, when employees travel for the company on weekends, the company would like to show their appreciation by giving them an additional day of PTO.

A: Instituting a formal compensatory time off policy for exempt employees is legal, but many employers avoid formal policies due to the complications such a policy can create. Employers sometimes avoid formal comp time policies because they may create the expectation that exempt employees work set hours or that certain work is “extra.” Instead, many employers opt to grant additional leave to exempt employees on an individual and discretionary basis, based on
exceptional performance.

If your organization wishes to provide comp time to exempt workers in a formal policy, it is best to set out a policy or clear expectations regarding when comp time is earned, how it will be tracked and within what time frame it must be used. For example:

• The policy should first limit and define the employees eligible for comp time to those that are exempt from overtime provisions of the FLSA. The policy should specifically state nonexempt positions are entitled to overtime pay and must be compensated for any hours worked over 40 hours in a work week and are not eligible for compensatory time off.

• State that the employer has no legal requirement or obligation to grant compensatory time off to exempt employees. A supervisor may choose to grant compensatory time off to exempt employees who are required to work in excess of 40 hours per week for special projects or during weekends or any normally scheduled time off. State how compensatory time will be granted (e.g., on an hourfor-hour or other basis).

• Require supervisory approval of work that qualifies the exempt employee for comp time. Consider requiring recordkeeping of hours worked, use of timesheets, etc., depending on the
work environment.

• Set time periods for use of comp time (i.e., within a year of date which comp time is accrued, within 60, 90 days, etc.)

• Set limits on when an employee can use comp time (i.e., allowing supervisors to deny comp time leave requests if taking such time will “unduly disrupt” the department’s operations.

• Set limits on the number of hours of comp time an employee can accrue in a set period.