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.

Monday, April 12, 2010

10 Practical Steps to Avoid Employment Liability in 2010

By Erin M. Roark

In January the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a press release announcing that 93,277 workplace discrimination charges were filed with the federal agency nationwide during Fiscal Year 2009, the second highest level ever. Additionally, private sector job bias charges alleging discrimination based on disability, religion and/or national origin hit record highs. The number of charges alleging age-based discrimination reached the second-highest level ever. Continuing a decade-long trend, the most frequently filed charges with the EEOC in FY 2009 were charges alleging discrimination based on race(36%), retaliation (36%), and sex-based discrimination (30%). Monetary relief obtained by the EEOC for victims in FY 2009 totaled over $376 million.

In releasing the statistics, EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru stated, “The latest data tell us that, as the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, the Commission’s work is far from finished.” The EEOC opined that the near-historic level of total discrimination charge filings may be due to multiple factors, including greater accessibility of the EEOC to the public, economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force, employees’ greater awareness of their rights under the law, and changes to the agency’s intake practices that cut down on the steps needed for an individual to file a charge.

Undoubtedly, from the ADA Amendments Act to new FMLA regulations to the stimulus package, 2009 was a year of change in the employment law arena. With such sweeping changes and in light of the EEOC’s reported statistics for FY 2009, this is a good time to internally audit, update and review handbooks and policies. Here are some recommendations for avoiding liability in the New Year.

1. Review and update job descriptions.

Accurate job descriptions can be an employer’s best tool in ADA matters, interviewing, evaluations and workers’ compensation claims. However, in order for job descriptions to be a useful tool, they must be current and accurate. The New Year is a great time to review these job descriptions to ensure they are complete, accurate, and correspond to the actual duties performed.

2. Check your postings.

The new FMLA/DOL poster has been published including the new military leave. Ensure that your DOL, state and federal and workers’compensation notifications are all current and up to date. Don’t wait for the surprise audit or investigation to alert you to deficiencies.

3. Provide harassment training.

Harassment training is a great way to reiterate the employer’s commitment to a harassment free workplace. It is also a way to alert individuals to the means by which to report those concerns. This serves not only as a deterrent for harassment but may alert you to potential problems and aid in the defense of future claims.

4. Conduct ADA training.

The ADA Amendments Act went into effect in 2009. Ensure that your team, managers, and supervisors understand the new definitions and obligations to better engage and interact with your employees and applicants.

5. Update military leave policies.

With the recent passage and amendment to the FMLA military leave provisions for family members of military members, ensure that your policies accurately reflect the obligations under USERRA, FMLA, and any state laws with regard to protection extended to military
members and their families.

6. Review, update or implement performance evaluations.

Are you using the same evaluation forms you used a decade ago? Performance evaluations are only as good as the information they solicit. Review evaluation forms and update them to accurately capture the data you need. Train managers and employees to understand the process and the measurements utilized.

7. Update FMLA forms.

With the new regulations that went into effect in 2009, the Department of Labor published new FMLA certification forms and notifications that must be provided to employees. Review your forms and notices and ensure they are in compliance with the new regulations and DOL requirements.

8. Think before you layoff.

Unfortunately in these trying economic times, more and more employers are conducting layoffs or reductions in force. Before any actions are taken, ensure that you re-familiarize yourself with the WARN Act obligations and notifications required under the Older Workers Benefit Protections Act and ADEA. Severance packages and releases can be offered but there are obligations and limitations. A little extra time up front can prevent costly litigation later.

9. Conduct a thorough handbook review.

Update your handbook to ensure that all necessary policies are included, current and reflective of the 2009 laws. Has your company grown so that you are now covered by Family and Medical Leave or other provisions that you were not previously subject? When you make these updates, indicate the date that the handbook was revised, distribute the updated policies and obtain new acknowledgments from employees.

10. Update COBRA notices and policies.

Effective March 1, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expands COBRA continuation coverage to provide a 65% federal subsidy toward COBRA premiums for up to nine months to individuals who were involuntarily terminated from their employment between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. Employers are obligated to notify eligible individuals of their rights. You need to update COBRA policies and materials to include these provisions and new DOL notices; identify those employees who were involuntarily terminated after September 1, 2008, and notify them of their rights and responsibilities under ARRA; and develop processes and procedures for administration of the COBRA subsidy and reimbursement of the 65% of premiums.

Monday, April 5, 2010

PrideStaff presents Industrial Insight

Flex Your Human Resources

Flex staffing is all the rage in an "uncertain" economy and CFO's love the ability to reduce payroll when orders drop off. Consequently, Production Managers love Flex for immediate access to a talent pool that can report to work "next day" without the hassle of recruiting/hiring. Managers have known this secret for a long time, as indicated from this survey by AMA.

"According to an American Management Association survey, 91% of human resource managers rate flexibility in staffing issues as important, and 95% use temporary and contract employees to achieve that flexibility."

American Management Association, "1999 AMA Survey, Contingent Workers, Summary of Findings."

So what are you waiting for? Actually, we understand the hesitancy to fully embrace a flex staffing model, and here are the two most common objections, along with our soothing rebuttal.

1. Staffing services charge too much, I can hire my own people for much less!
On the surface this looks like a slam dunk argument, but the reality is - outsourcing your recruiting/screening/hiring activity frees you up to focus on producing more of the product or service that creates revenue. Your business model is about profitability, not how to find and hire the right people. That IS our business!

And don't forget about the time saved by letting PrideStaff manage the ugly side of employment, claims from unemployment and workers comp, taxes, benefits and other "frictional" employment costs.

2. The workers they send out do no have the experience to do my jobs!
We know this happens, with our competitors!

Every new employee needs OTJ training to reach performance levels, whether they were hired by PrideStaff or by you. The first advantage we offer is matching our employee's skill level and recent experience to your job descriptions: we call this our ON TARGET order fulfillment process. This process allows PrideStaff to deliver better candidate quality on each and every assignment.

We also job shadow and benchmark critical skills at your worksite, which takes the guesswork out of hiring.

And for high volume positions (three or more associates), PrideStaff will customize an orientation that includes specific company information you want us to cover.

Sometimes our best efforts result in a mismatch because of culture or personality. That's why we offer our 110% guarantee - credit for the first day plus a 10% reduction for the first day of replacement.

At PrideStaff, we go to great lengths to ensure the temporary staff we provide have the skills and experience you need. When you're looking for highly skilled, experienced and trained support, contact your local PrideStaff office.

Innovative Solutions to Everyday Challenges
Forklift Drivers
Shipping & Receiving
Inventory Control
Traffic Coordinators
Warehouse Management

3110 W Cheyenne Ave Suite 300 North Las Vegas, NV 89032

Our Mission: Consistently provide client experiences focused on what they value most.

PrideStaff Las Vegas Makes Inavero’s 2010 Best of Staffing™ List

PrideStaff Las Vegas Makes Inavero’s 2010 Best of Staffing™ List

Release Date: March 10, 2010

Contact: Demont Daniel, CSP

PrideStaff Las Vegas announced today that it has been named to Inavero's inaugural Best of Staffing™ list. Best of Staffing, presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, is the nation's only client satisfaction award that recognizes exceptional client service in the staffing and recruiting industry. The 2010 Best of Staffing winners are truly set apart from the rest of the industry through their extraordinary level of client satisfaction.

"PrideStaff has strived to be a true partner to its clients as we help them navigate hiring and staffing in a difficult economic climate," PrideStaff's Business Development Manager, Demont Daniel said. "We are proud and honored to be recognized for our efforts in this way."

Staffing firms competing to make the Best of Staffing list underwent a rigorous client survey process followed by careful analysis of responses to determine satisfaction levels. PrideStaff Las Vegas received satisfaction ratings of 9 or 10 out of 10 from 90 percent of their clients, significantly higher than the industry's average of 55 percent. Best of Staffing participants secured their place on the list by exceeding the national staffing industry benchmark for client satisfaction by more than 22 percent.

"This is a time when clients of staffing firms can and should demand excellence from their recruiting partners," Eric Gregg, managing partner of Inavero said. "The $86 billion staffing and recruiting industry currently puts more than 2.5 million people to work daily and has become a fundamental component of overall U.S. employment. Inavero's Best of Staffing program presents an opportunity for firms to differentiate themselves from the rest of the industry, recognizes excellence, and also provides invaluable information about how to continue to meet and exceed client expectations."

Inavero's complete Best of Staffing list can be viewed at For more information about Inavero, visit To learn more about PrideStaff Las Vegas visit

Friday, March 26, 2010

Résumé Q & A: Top Questions Asked by PrideStaff Field Associates

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And when it comes to your career, your résumé often makes that first impression for you.

Are you confident your current résumé is up to the challenge?

If not, don't worry--you're not alone. Many of our Field Associates are unsure about the quality of their résumés, or ask for our help in improving its content. In fact, each year we answer thousands of résumé questions. We've compiled this list of 10 of the most popular ones, as well as our answers, to help you put your best foot forward.

Q: Do I have to include a career objective?
A: Although this is not a crucial element of your résumé, an employer will be impressed if you have a concrete idea about what you want to achieve in your career.

Q: How do I decide what achievements to include in my résumé?

A: If you've accomplished many goals over the years, this task can seem overwhelming. Use the PAR formula (Problem, Action, Result) to analyze each achievement. Here's how. For each job, jot down your significant accomplishments. Then for each achievement, identify the problem you faced, the action steps you took and the measurable (quantifiable) results you achieved.

Once you've analyzed your achievements for each job, prioritize your list and include the ones that are most important to the position you are seeking. Keep in mind that your résumé should contain the accomplishments you're most proud of, while your cover letter should contain supplemental achievements that may be of interest to the decision maker.

Q: How long should my résumé be?

A: The absolute max is two pages, though one is preferable. The length of your résumé should be determined by how much you've achieved in your career. If you're an accomplished professional, you may need two pages; if you're fresh out of school, limit it to one. The absolute max is two pages, though one is preferable. The length of your résumé should be determined by how much you've achieved in your career. If you're an accomplished professional, you may need two pages; if you're fresh out of school, limit it to one.

Q: Should I include references?

A: References should not be listed in your résumé. Instead, include the simple statement: "References available upon request." Just make sure that you have a copy of those references handy at the time of your interview.

Q: What are keywords, and how do I use them?

A: Keywords are specific words or phrases used to describe your experience. Often, they are specific buzzwords used in a particular job or industry (e.g., someone looking for an administrative job might use keywords like "MSWord," "administrative assistant," or "word processing"). Recruiters use keywords to search through résumé databases, job websites and business networking sites to identify potential job candidates. In a nutshell, keywords put your skills into focus for a recruiter and help him determine, at a glance, whether or not your skills match those needed for an available job.

To use keywords properly, first identify which ones make sense for your résumé. Use job postings similar to your interests, or research industry trends online, to generate a list of 10 or 15 strong, descriptive and applicable keywords. Then, incorporate those buzzwords into the career summary, job description and/or professional qualifications sections of your résumé.

Q: Do I need more than one version of my résumé?
A: Yes. The better your résumé matches an available position, the more likely you are to get a call for an interview. So customize your résumé when needed. Start by developing a base résumé--one that is generic enough to use for any job for which you might apply. Then, you can tailor and save different versions as your job search progresses.

Your base résumé should first be created in an ASCII text format (you can use NotePad or WordPad to create this .txt file version). Use this .txt version for all your electronic submissions, where you have to cut and paste your résumé to submit it, to ensure your résumé will retain its formatting on the receiving end. For printing or attachment purposes, convert your ASCII file to a Microsoft Word version. Using MSWord you can easily format margins, fonts, etc. to make your printed copy look clean, professional and polished.

Q: What should my résumé NOT contain?

A: As a general rule, leave any references to religion, sexuality and school grades off your résumé. In addition, do not include a list of references, photos, or an explanation of why you left your last job.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stink Over Perfume at Detroit Workplace ‎

NEW YORK, March 16, 2010

Stink Over Perfume at Detroit Workplace

City Employee Sues, Wins $100,000 after Complaints About Colleague's Scent, Room Deodorizer

(CBS) Sometimes scents can be overpowering. A Detroit woman sued the city after she claimed she couldn't work due to her colleague's perfume.

CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on "The Early Show" that city employee Susan McBride complained she was "chemically sensitive" and a co-worker's perfume and room deodorizer made it difficult for her to breathe and do her job -- so much so that she suffered migraines, nausea and coughing.

Ann Curry Thompson, McBride's attorney, told CBS News, "You can't come into a workplace loaded in one of these so-called designer perfumes that broadcasts itself across the room."

McBride won a $100,000 settlement. Detroit city employees in the three buildings where McBride works are now being warned not to wear scented products, including colognes, aftershave, perfumes, and deodorants, or even use candles and air fresheners.

Thompson said, "When you have a stated policy in the workplace, it gives an employee something to point to."

Joelle Sharman, a labor and employment lawyer, said on "The Early Show" an employee would have to prove that a scent actually had a health effect on his or her person to make a case.

She said, "If I triggered a condition that caused substantially something to interfere with your ability to perform in the workplace, if I interfered with your ability to work or ability to breathe, then, yes, and you reported it to your employer, then the employer would have to respond."

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith asked if an employer has the right to tell a person they can't use cologne or perfume.

Sharman responded, "A person doesn't necessarily have a right to wear perfume, but the person does have a right to be able to breathe in the workplace. So if an employee comes into work and says to his or her boss, 'I can't breathe, this perfume is triggering a condition that is affecting my ability to breathe in the workplace,' and reports to his or her boss, the boss has to reasonably accommodate that person."

Smith said as he read up on the case, it looks like the boss didn't respond to the complaints.

Sharman added, "The boss did not engage in the interactive process. Had he just communicated with the employee, explored the options, all of this may have been avoided."

However, an employee shouldn't just say another employee stinks, Sharman said.

"I don't think that would be the appropriate approach," she said. "I would go to a person's boss and say, 'The smell is affecting the way I'm breathing. It's causing an allergy or it's affecting my breathing. It's interfering with my ability to work. Can you accommodate me, please?'"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Twenty percent of employers say they increased their headcount in the last three months. Thirteen prevent reduced headcount while 66 percent reported no change and 1 percent were undecided.

Employers are expected similar results for the upcoming quarter. Twenty prevent of employers plan to add employees in Q1 2010. Nine Percent will decrease headcount while 66 percent anticipate no change and 6 percent are undecided.

With a large number of annual salary increases taking place in the first quarter, 45 percent of employers expect to raise compensation levels in the next three months. Thirteen percent say the average raise amount will be 4-10 percent, while 1 percent anticipate an average raise of 11 percent or more.


Comparing selected industries, hiring is expected to increase in information technology, manufacturing, financial services professional and business services, and sales in the coming year. Thirty-two percent of IT, 27 percent of manufacturing, and 23 percent of financial service employers plan to add full-time permanent employees in 2009, followed by 22 percent of employers in professional and business services and 21 percent in sales. Health care employers are also planning to expand staffs at 21 percent followed by 18 percent of transportation employers and 15 percent of retail

When asked what areas employers plan to hire for in 2010, one-third pointed to technology followed by 28 percent in customer service. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) plan to add sales people, 18 percent will add in research/ development, 15 percent in accounting/finance and 14 percent in marketing.

Even as companies continue to watch their spending, they still plan slight increases to salaries in the coming year. Fifty-seven percent of employers report their companies will increase salaries for existing employees in 2010, down from 65 percent in 2009. Thirty-six percent expect to raise salaries of existing employees by 3 percent or more, while 11 percent anticipate increases of 5 percent or more.

Twenty-nine of employers plan to increase salaries on initial offers to new employees, down from 33 percent in 2009. Nearly one-in-five (18 percent) employers will raise salaries on initial offers by 3 percent or more while 7 percent anticipate increases of 5 percent or more.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Employers are taking advantage of the large number of top talent in the current labor pool to strengthen their work force. Thirty-seven percent of employers say they plan to replace lower-performing employees with higher performers in 2010. When asked to grade their current work force, 25 percent rated them an “A” 60 percent a “B”, 15 percent a “C” and 1 percent a “D”. Less than one-half of a percent felt their current staff was a failure.

The economy required companies to make some tough decisions about their businesses, which had a negative impact o their brands. Close to four-in-ten (37 percent) employers plan to put a greater emphasis on social media in 2010 to create a more positive brand for their organization. One-in-five employers plan to add social media responsibilities to a current employee, while close to one-in-twelve (8 percent) plan to hire someone new to focus or partially focus on social media.

Companies needed to scale their businesses to market last year and four-in-ten employers say they were forced to lay off workers. Among those who had lay-offs in 2009, thirty-two percent of employers now say they plan to bring back workers and the-in-ten are either doing it now or plan to do so in the first six months of 2010.

Companies plan to continue providing employees with greater flexibility in hopes of maintaining a better work-life balance. Thirty-five percent of employers say they plan to provide more flexible work arrangements in 2010, compared to 31 percent last year. Among those who will offer flexible work arrangements, these arrangements include:

Even as companies look to the new year and toward growth opportunities for their businesses, many are still choosing to trim perks and benefits. Thirty-seven percent of employers say the will cut perks and benefits in 2010, up from 32 percent who said they trimmed in 2009. Perks and benefits employers plan to trim in the new year included bonuses, medical coverage, suspended 401k matching and office perks such as coffee, tea and condiments.

Companies understand the intellectual capital mature workers bring to their organization and 27 percent say they are open to retaining their workers who are approaching retirement. Sixteen percent say they are likely to rehire retirees from other companies in 2010. Additionally, one-in-ten are likely to provide incentives for workers at or approaching retirement age to stay on wit the company longer.

At the same time, workers have expressed interest in postponing retirement. Thirty percent of employers report they have received request from workers approaching retirement age to stay on with their company, up from 22 percent last year.

While employers still plan to be cautious regarding the number of full-time employees they add in the new year, many will turn to freelance or contract employees to help keep their businesses moving forward. Three-in-ten employers anticipate hiring freelancers or contractors in 2010, up slightly from 28 percent in 2009. Six percent expect to employ more freelance workers or contractors than last year, while 15 percent expect to hire the same amount and 10 percent plan to hire fewer.

Employers will continue to turn some of their focus to the environment in the new year. Eleven percent of employers say they plan to add “green jobs” in 2010 the same amount who said they added them in 2009. “Green Jobs” are positions that implement environmentally conscious design, policy and technology to improve conservation and sustainability.

Employers have identified having a diverse work force as an important measure of success as they begin to rebuild their businesses after the economic downturn. One area they plan to focus on is building a bilingual team. Four-in-ten employers said they plan to hire bilingual candidates in 2010 and half said that they had two equally qualified candidates; they would be more inclined to hire the bilingual candidate.

While employers are inching away from cost containment and more into growth, one area they still plan to save money on is business travel. Forty-three percent of employers say that in their organizations there will be less business travel in 2010 than in 2009.

Manufacturing grows in Feb., jobs gauge rises

NEW YORK – The manufacturing sector expanded in February for the seventh straight month while a measure of employment jumped to the highest level in more than five years.

The pace of manufacturing growth was slower than in the previous month, and fell short of economists' expectations.

The Institute for Supply Management, an industry trade group of purchasing executives, said Monday its manufacturing index index read 56.5 last month, slightly slower than the 58.4 reading in January. It was also slower than the 58 level expected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

ISM said its employment measure grew for the fourth time in five months, accelerating to 56.1 in February from 53.3 in January. February's number is the highest since January 2005.

"With these levels of activity, manufacturers are seemingly willing to hire where they have orders to support higher employment," said Norbert Ore, chair of ISM's manufacturing survey committee.

A pickup in business investment in equipment and software, increases in exports and slower cutbacks of inventories is helping drive production gains.

Of the 18 industries ISM surveys, 11 reported growth, led by machinery, paper products and apparel. Five declined, led by wood products, furniture and primary metals; two were unchanged.

To Get Hired, You have to be one of these Two People

The job market is not really that difficult to understand when you look at why employers take on new staff. The company will have a need that cannot be fulfilled by the current organization and thus there is a job opening. If you can understand what need you can be the solution to, you will be on to a winner. Every business out there has a common goal: to make money. This can be achieved by getting people that can generate more money, or by getting people that can cut costs and save money. The question is; which type are you?

Money makers

Sales people are the best example of money makers. They are hired to generate more customers and orders that will go straight to the bottom line. If you are in the money making category, it is fairly straightforward why you are needed. You have to convince the employer that you have generated cash in the past and will do so in future. By using specific examples and quantifying your achievements, you demonstrate what you are capable of.

Money savers

If you are in this category, it will be harder to justify exactly how you will make a difference to the profits of your potential new employer. Anyone in accounting or finance would be a potential money saver. Managers can cut costs by automating processes, reorganizing teams, establishing better focus and so forth. However you saved money for your current or previous employer, be prepared to deliver the story in the interview. Again, be as specific as possible and quantify how much you saved and exactly how you implemented your idea.

Call to action

Have a good think of how you deliver value to your new employer. Do you make or save money? Whichever it is, does the prospective employer know exactly what you do and what the impact would be to their bottom line? The more specific you can be, the better your chances in an interview. Look back at your professional experience and analyze your jobs. How much did you make/save in each role and why? When you prepare these case studies and back them up with figures, you will be way ahead any other candidate going in for the same job.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Receptionist Wanted

The ideal canidate will perform a variety of administrative functions and support task. This individual will be able to wrok independently with little or no supervision. this person must be exceedingly well organized, flexible and enjoy the administrative challenges of suppporting a small office and programs.

Strong Candidates:
2+years office support experience
Have exceptional interpersonal/communications skills
Thrive on deadlines and overcoming obstales to reach goals
Seek to elevate their level of success
Enjoy a high level of responsiblity
Good MS Word, Excell, and outlook skills
Outstanding customer service skills
Accurate typing abilities
Support experience in profession services, sales or marketing environment
Construction/Engeneering industry experience preferred

Answer phones
Schedule Appointments
Compose memos, transcribe notes
Generate reports
Creates and prepares presentations
Gives Information to callers
Handles multiple projects and prepares and monitors invoices and expense reports.


The encouraging news regarding the economy may be easing hiring fears, as employers signal an increase in their plans to hire in the new year, according to CareerBuilder’s 2010 Job Forecast. While employers continue to closely monitor the progress of recovery for the US economy, they are beginning to consider hiring strategies designed to preserve the health and growth of their businesses for the future. Career Builder surveyed more than 2,700 hiring managers and human resource professionals nations wide across industries.

“ There have been many signs over the past few months that point to the healing of the US economy, especially the continued decrease in the number of jobs lost per month, a trend that will hopefully carry over into the new year,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “Although 20 percent of employers plan to add headcount in 2010, up from 14 percent last year, still remains cautious in regards to their hiring, we are headed in the right direction but should not expect to see actual job growth until at least Q2 201


Twenty percent of employers plan to increase their number of full-time permanent employees in 2010, up from 14 percent in 2009. Nine percent say they plan to decrease headcount in 2010, down sharply from 16 percent in 2009. Sixty-one percent don’t plan to change staff levels, while 10 percent say they are unsure.

Eleven percent of employers plan say they pal to add part-time employers in 2010, up slightly from 9 percent in 2009. Eight percent say they plan to decrease their part-time help in 2010, down from 14 percent in 2009. Sixty-nine percent plan no change in headcount, while 13 percent are unsure.

Employers in the West are planning to increase their headcounts more in 2010 than the other regions of the country. Nearly one-quarter of employers (24 percent) in the West say they plan to add full-time workers in 2010, compared to 21 percent in the Northeast, 20 percent in the South and 16 percent in the Midwest.

While plans to decrease headcounts in 2010 are down sharply across all regions, employers in Northeast still plan to trim headcounts by 10 percent, followed by an 8 percent decrease in the South, West and Midwest.

Staffing for Recovery

Five ways to strengthen your business without increasing your costs

Running lean doesn’t mean having to forego opportunity. The key to controlling labor cost- without sacrificing resources- is flexible staffing.

At PrideStaff, we help organizations develop flexible staffing plans. By creating more strategic workforce models, we provide organizations with just-in-time access to talent- used only demand peaks. We can help your company enhance productivity, minimize payroll and benefits expenses, and still have access to the people and skills you need to take advantage of new opportunities.

Here are five ways PrideStaff can help you in prepare for the coming revovery:

1. Improve Efficiency in Key Areas.
Are your most talented and productive employees losing too much time to low value tasks? By supplementing your core staff with well-qualified temporary employees, your top performers will have more time to focus on their most critical job functions.

2. Capitalize on New Business Opportunities.
At your current staffing levels, do you have the capacity to increase output, pursue new markets, or implement growth initiatives? PrideStaff can show you how to create a flexible staffing plan that will give you on-demand access to people with the skill and experience you need to overcome capacity constraints- without increasing your overhead.

3. Create New Products and Services.
Are you looking to expand your product or service line? As your workforce partner, PrideStaff can recruit people with the experience and knowledge you need to ensure a successful launch. Whether you need people to fill a project or full-time role, we can source the talent you require for a fraction of the cost of hiring consultants or full-time employees.

4. Build a Stronger Bench.
Even if you don’t have immediate hiring needs, now is the time to plan for the future, PrideStaff can help you create a proactive recruiting strategy in advance of your hiring needs. Then, when you are ready to hire, you’ll already have a strong bench of talent that requires minimal training and ramp up time.

5. Gain Flexibility.
Is your business equipped to handle fluctuating demands? During the economic rebound we will undoubtedly see widely fluctuating peaks and valleys in our workloads. By taking more strategic approach to staffing PrideStaff will help you adjust your workforce levels to workflow- supplying support when demand is high, without the overhead when demand is lower.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DYK? Application of 75-Mile Rule to Staffing Firms

Under the regulations, an employee is not eligible for leave unless the employer employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the employee's work site. In the case of temporary employees, the rules specifiy that the work site is the temporary staffing office from which employees are assigned, not the client's place of business. Thus, all employees assigned from a temporary staffing office- even if a client work site is more than 75 miles from the office- are included in the head count for the purpose of determining the eligibility of both temporary and full-time staff employees. To avoid undue hardship to small tempory staffing offices, the staffing industry had urged that staffing firms be allowed to exclude their temporary employees in determining the eligibility of their full-time staffs. DOL declined to adopt such a two-tiered counting test. In meetings with industry representiatives, DOL officials said that there was no practical way to apply such a test only to staffing firms because other businesses also assign employees from central offices to work at remote client locations and that it would create significant administrative problems.

36 Creative ways to get your Ideas and Values across

The Olympics showed us that the athletes with the best plan for the race often gain the performance edge that makes all the difference. In this Innovative Idea, you'll see how this same approach to planning can make a big difference in the performance of your team. Even if you have a team of world-class talent, the process outlined in this article can help ensure you come out with gold medal performances!

1. Look at your business card. Does it have anything distinctive about it?

Is there anything that represents you as a unique human being? If not, turn it over and add something on the human level such as a quotation, a sticker, a motto, or a graphic or picture of something you love.

2. Have a contest with employees—"If my company/department were a T-shirt, this is what it would say..." Then have them actually design the shirt. Photograph or videotape the results.

3. Send a handwritten note to at least one customer a day.

4. Keep a bulletin board in your office of pictures of regular customers and their families. Send birthday cards to them on their special day.

5. Put a specially wrapped package of M&M’s (or any other candy which might represent your company) in every package you ship out with a note saying, "We’re glad you’re our customer."

6. Once a month encourage the senior managers to do something creative for all employees or for employees in their divisions: cook them breakfast, bring around an ice cream cart, serve them doughnuts and coffee, or wash the windshields of their cars as they arrive at work.

7. Have a company poster party for all frustrated/aspiring artists to create signs and posters that demonstrate the company’s values. Display them in clear plastic frames throughout the building and move them once a week so that everyone can see all of them.

8. Add a quotation, graphic, cartoon, or seasonal reminder to memos and fax cover sheets. Make them fun and interesting!

9. Create a company mascot which goes along with the spirit of the company. For example, Rosenbluth Travel uses a salmon because they’re always “swimming upstream!”

10. Have a “Laugh a Day” bulletin board where you display appropriate cartoons and humorous writings.

11. Designate one room as the company “Whine Cellar,” the place for anyone to go who is having a bad day or wants to gripe. Put a sign on the door and have fun decorating it (in black?).

12. Take a look at your office—what does it say about your human level? Always display in your office one or two reminders of things you really love.

13. Create a service guarantee for your work unit. For example, a suburban hospital says, “If you’re not seen in our emergency room by a professional in 15 minutes, your visit is free!”

14. Have a Four A’s jar (Acknowledge, Appreciate, Affirm, Assure). Keep it filled with wonderful, uplifting thoughts for anyone who needs one.

15. Purchase pieces of clear acrylic for blotters on each employee’s desk. Have the employee create a collage under the blotter which contains creative reminders and examples of the company’s values, such as photos, quotations, cartoons, mission statements, customer service models, slogans or signs.

16. Post “Street” signs to name hallways in your building. Choose names which communicate your company’s mission or values.

17. Plan a “Bring your family to work” day for your organization.

18. Think of something creative you could offer your customers as a “free” sample. The Savings Bank of Rockford, CT, gives its customers a dime taped on a foldover card that says, “Who says we don’t give free samples?”

19. Invite your customers to a party planned by employees.

20. Find out at least one personal thing about each of your customers. Then acknowledge that in some way as you work with them. (Stamps from places you visit, a Cubs baseball hat for their children, a message of condolence when their favorite sports team loses, a book for a new baby, articles clipped about their hobbies and interests, etc.).

21. Provide a sick room (or several) for employees' children. Equip them with a bed, T.V., and perhaps some books and toys.

22. Encourage employees to sign up for an individual or small group lunch with the president or CEO of the company just to talk. Hold these “lunches with management” on a regular basis.

23. Hold “grapevine” meetings of all employees at least once a month to enhance communication and get worries and concerns out in the open.

24. Sponsor community service projects with employee participation—clean up litter, help feed the homeless, build houses with Habitat for Humanity, or hold educational fairs for the community.

25. Hold spontaneous celebrations. Bring in jugs of apple cider and doughnuts, or cookies and milk, or Coke and chips just to boost everyone’s spirits.

26. Make sure there is a human level in your company newsletter. Include customer service stories, company legends, pictures of employees, personal and family events and successes, customer feedback, ideas and resources for personal growth, cartoons, graphics, and quotes.

27. Create a personal motto to represent what your mission is or what you “stand for.” (Mine is “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm.”)

28. Collect favorite employee recipes for a company cookbook.

29. Think of creative enhancements you can add to your product or service. Zanos Hair Designs gives complimentary neck and shoulder massages and one of the employees brings you your car when you get your nails done. Some bakeries give a free cookie to customers children.

30. At least once a year let each employee change jobs with someone else in the company for a half day.

31. Send a calendar of quotations that exemplify your company’s values (one for each day or week of the year) to all your customers as a gift.

32. Encourage departments or divisions within the company to hold theme parties during lunch to appreciate their internal customers.

33. Appoint someone in the organization as Manager of Creativity, Vision, and Values. Give them the responsibility for checking activities of every department to ensure they are in line with the company’s vision and values.

34. Humanize your voice mail message. (Mine ends with “I hope your day is filled with peace and joy.”)

35. Ask each employee to make a list of the best recognitions (things that cost little or nothing) and rewards (things that cost some money) that anyone could give to them. Keep these in their employee file and USE these ideas when the employee excels in some way.

36. Have a cartoon or joke box in a central location. Encourage employees to contribute to it when they are having a good day and to take from it when they are having a bad one.

Interviewing to Take Home the Gold

Interviewing is like being selected to compete in the Olympics: you have outperformed hundreds or thousands of competitors and are down to the final round. You are now competing with the best of the best. How can you leave with the gold? Here are keys to making your interview a day for the champion.

• Get the company's annual report from its Web site, if available
• Visit its Web site to read about the direction of the company and any current media coverage
• Look over the Standard and Poors Corporate Records
• For smaller companies, call the city's Chamber of Commerce

For every company, you want the following company information:

• Services and/or products
• Competition
• Sales: any large increase or decrease and why
• New products/services available from the company
• International operations
• Any media information on the company in the last year

The Handshake

It tells a story about each person. Do you come from the top and give the power handshake? Do you shake hands very lightly? These examples may seem simple, but it is easy to start off poorly with a bad handshake. Avoid the light delicate handshake and the powerful over-the-top controlling handshake. Give a firm, full-handed handshake with members of both sexes.

Prepare Yourself but do not Memorize

If you try to memorize a response to the question, "What is your biggest strength?" you will blurt it out, privately congratulating yourself on your memory while the interviewer stares in disbelief at how quickly you answered that question without seeming to give it much consideration. When your interviewer follows with, "Why do you consider that your biggest strength?" you realize that you were not prepared for that one. Instead, think of some challenges in your work background--positive and negative--and tie your answer to those challenges, your response, and the results. For example:

Challenge: Your sales division's productivity decreased, and it seemed your division would not meet/exceed annual goals.

Response: You observed the staff to see where bottlenecks were occurring and determined a need for additional employee development and training. Then you focused on employee development through intense training.

Results: You were responsible for hitting corporate budget at year-end, and was noted by management for exceptional problem-solving and turnaround capabilities.

Now when asked, "What is one of your biggest strengths?" your response might be: "My biggest strength is my ability to identify potential problem areas, solve the problem, and produce results. An example of this would be when my division's productivity decreased and it seemed as though we would not meet/exceed our annual goals..." and continue with the story above.

This same scenario would also work if the interviewer had asked, "Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it" or, "What would management say about you?" Thinking through specific situations will allow you to choose scenarios most appropriate to the question.

Have Questions for the Interviewer
Here are some good ones:

• How does my job fit with the mission of the organization, corporate performance, or profitability?
• What will I be contributing to the organization?
• What makes your company different from others?
• What is your corporate culture?
• What differentiates your company from your competition?
• What significant changes has the company experienced in the past couple of years?
• How would you describe the most successful employees in your company?

Mental Preparation

This may seem hokey, but mental preparation is proven to be a good tactic in any high-stress situation. As you arrive early for the interview (at least 15 minutes), and you are waiting to be called in, mentally prepare for your interview. Picture the interview going smoothly, the interviewer asking questions, and your answering them perfectly. Imagine the interviewer telling you that you seem perfect for the job, as you leave even more excited about the position. These are some of the things that should be going through your mind. If you are nervous, start your mental preparation by taking deep breaths and thinking, "You are" as you inhale and, "relaxed" as you exhale. Repeat this procedure until you are relaxed. Avoid thinking, "What if they don't like me?" or "What if I get stumped?" and focus instead on relaxing. Just try it--mental visualization worked for the Bulls and Phil Jackson, and it will work for you.

Close of the Interview

You are ahead of the competition and on your way to the gold medal, but you get a cramp. Do you stop? Not a chance. You have to cross that finish line, just as you have to close the sale of yourself in the interview. The end of the interview is your time to close with a positive, "very interested in what you have learned" finale. When the interviewer is closing with, "Well, if you have no further questions, then we are done," that is your cue to say one of the following:

• Actually, I'd like to know how I should proceed from here. Should I contact you or will you be in contact?
• How soon will I hear from you?
• What is the process from here?
• What would distinguish one potential candidate joining your company from another?
• How do I prove my commitment to the organization?


You leave the interview and feel good about the position. Now go to your car and write down what just happened. Write the topics discussed, the characteristics the interviewer described for the position, and other details. This will help you write a thank you letter that shows both your interest and that you are a perfect match for the position.

There are, of course, as many ways to succeed in an interview as there are Olympic gold medal winners. The best advice is to relax and be yourself. Remember that your interviewer once interviewed for his/her job and understands the intensity of the interview process. By being as prepared as possible for your interview, you will enhance the qualities that have already made you a great candidate. Just remember that it takes preparation and know-how to play the game with strategy and excellence to win.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jumping Ship: As recession ends, out-of-touch employers run risk of losing talent

Jumping Ship: As recession ends, out-of-touch employers run risk of losing talent

By Austin Light

CHARLOTTE — According to a survey of 700 companies and 5,000 workers released last week, a chilly disconnect between employers and employees could lead to a mass exodus of talent as the recession ends if employers aren’t careful.

The study was conducted in May and June by on-line job search engine and the Human Capital Institute, a think tank and research organization that studies human resources.

According to the study, which was designed to examine the effects of the recession, employers are significantly overestimating just how content workers are these days. While 84 percent of employers believe workers are happy to “just have a job” in a down economy, 57 percent of employees feel otherwise.

The study also found that 57 percent of workers believe employers are exploiting the recession to drive longer hours and lower pay.

Denise Dwight Smith, who directs the career center at UNC Charlotte, said such figures can be expected given the current state of the economy.

“It’s a trend, actually. In times of recession there is a disconnect … and then afterwards a mass movement,” she said. “That doesn’t mean employers shouldn’t be concerned.”

According to the study, employers are concerned, at least a little. About 36 percent of employers said they were more worried about losing top talent than they were just 18 months ago.

Those fears could be well-grounded, according to Will Sparks, an associate professor of management science at Queens University’s McColl School of Business.

Between top talent that can find a job in any economy, and younger generations more prone to leave jobs for better opportunities, the risk of losing employees is greater, Sparks said.

“Employers need to recognize that the traditional models of motivation and retention do not apply,” he said. “Things that worked in the past do not work now.”
Sparks pointed to the economic crises and a new generation of workers — “the Millennials” — as contributors to the growing disconnect. Employers who fail to address the changing landscape could be in danger of losing their best employees when the economy turns around, he said.

“Millennials, especially, have a different view on what their work-life balance should be,” Sparks said. “I don’t think we’ll see a mass exodus until everything fully recovers, but when it does, they’ll probably be the first to go if they feel there are better opportunities.”

For now, though, Sparks said he doesn’t see many Queen City workers leaving their jobs because at the moment “there’s no where else to go,” especially in the banking industry.

“We’ve had a catastrophic event with Wachovia being bought by Wells Fargo, and then the losses at Bank of America — it’s not the same job market that it was,” Sparks said. “I have MBA students come in and tell me they don’t know where they would go if they could leave their jobs.”

Employers Who Do It Right

Alston & Bird, a national law firm, has been on Fortune Magazine’s Best Places To Work list for 10 consecutive years. The reason? To put it simply, communication, said Claudine Woods, who manages human resources for the Charlotte office.

“We really go out of our way to keep people talking,” Woods said. “Communication is really the key.”

The firm holds town hall meetings once or twice a year where employees can ask whatever is on their minds. “Fireside chats” provide smaller forums to discuss concerns specific to employees’ departments. The firm also has daily meetings, an on-line suggestion box and multiple opportunities for employees to meet outside of work for community service.

“These are the things that are intrinsically motivating to today’s workforce,” Sparks said. “They are looking for community service, collaboration … value and connection with their employers.”

Alston & Bird ranked 36th out of 100 this year, down five spots from its 2008 ranking. Among other factors, Fortune cited the firm’s family-friendly policies and work-life perks.

Being on the Fortune list for a decade has another benefit, Woods said: The survey goes to 350 to 400 of the firm’s employees at all management levels, and the firm can compare the annual results to measure morale and satisfaction.

This year’s results weren’t as dynamic as they had been in years past, Woods

“We don’t know for sure that people aren’t feeling resentful, or that they are feeling the way the ( study) indicates some are,” Woods said. “But we’re doing all we can to keep morale up and communication open.”

Let’s Talk About It

According to the study, communication is a central strategy for staying on the same page with employees during a recession.

“Lack of communication creates anxiety that stymies productivity,” the study stated. “By communicating honestly and consistently with your employees, you send the message that everyone is working together to solve problems.”
Sparks agreed. “You have to talk about these things. Because talking about them takes some of the fear out of it, and that’s the way to create a healthy environment of candor.”

According to Smith, employers should not only ensure employees have an outlet for airing concerns and frustrations, but also should acknowledge the problems the economy creates and show appreciation when workers handle them adeptly.

“A lot of people might be dealing with family issues at home; maybe they used to be a dual-income home and now they’re not,” she said. “Good employers will acknowledge that and help employees work around those issues.”

But, according to Smith, the advice to retain talent and improve miscommunication is deceptively simple. Good communication, flexible scheduling and employee development isn’t always as easy to implement as it may seem.

“I’ve seen employers that are really trying to do the right things, and it doesn’t always work,” she said. “But if you keep your employees informed and reward them for talking and communicating, you’re on the right track.”

Sparks cautioned companies not to be too quick to dismiss employees’ concerns, particularly if they have talented staff they want to keep.

“It behooves employers — and Charlotte — to think about this,” he said. “We don’t want to be behind, because we don’t want our talent going somewhere else when everything gets better.”

How to Write a Résumé That Doesn't Annoy People

A Google search for "résumé" results in over 178,000,000 hits, whereas "possum" nets only 5,340,000. Thus the documentation of work experience is 33 and 1/3 more popular than arboreal marsupials. But what does this really tell us? Not much, but neither does the average résumé that comes across my desk. Some excerpts: "Administered resolution of issues and implementation of ideas surfaced by individuals."

"Partaking in meetings designed to enhance collaboration, identify and develop strategies to ensure success regarding the accomplishment of goals."

"Experienced leader with superior interpersonal skills and business acumen talented at building productive relationships across a global organization."


We all know that there are more jobs being lost than created, and that an opening will get dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants. But in our fear to avoid saying anything that might get our résumé tossed out of the pile, we end up saying nothing at all. As a result, the hiring manager feels like she's reading tea leaves, not CVs. One feels forced to come up with arbitrary rules to narrow the field. Nobody with an objective statement, no résumés longer than 3 pages, no serif fonts. I'm not immune. Personally, I look at the width of the dashes. Microsoft Word will helpfully attempt to make a hyphen, n-dash, or m-dash based on the spacing you use when writing. Many people don't know this, and they don't notice that their dashes are all different lengths. Does this mean they are more or less qualified to be a project planner? I don't know, but it's easy for me to say, "If you don't know that your own résumé is inconsistent, how can you be expected to supervise a multi-million dollar project?"

Other people have their own peccadilloes. The best you can do is try to achieve the maximum content with minimum peculiarity. Here's a list of nine things to make your résumé stand a better chance of survival:

1. Get the formatting right. Line up bullet points, dates, headings. Wacky spacing will get you questioned about skills that have nothing to do with what you can do on the job. And please learn to put dates flush against the right margin. The right-aligned tab stop remains a mystery as deep as an ocean for many resume writers.

2. Insert dates for everything. If you've got a gap, explain it in your cover letter. But don't leave the dates off a job or a degree. Maybe you're worried they'll think you're too old or too young — but at best you'll look sloppy. At worst, sneaky.

3. Fill up on the buzzwords. Yes, buzzwords are typically "bad" for clarity, but you have to get past the HR department first, and they're screening for matches with the words in the job description. Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), consumer goods industry, certified project manager, SPL, BMN, FLB...whatever it is that matches the requirements, put it in.

4. Choose verbs that mean something. "Assisted," "Worked on," "Contributed to" and so on don't convey much to a prospective employer. Instead, say what you did: "Wrote," "Designed," or "Managed." The more specific, the better.

5. Rewrite your résumé for each job application. If you really want a job, your prospective employer isn't going to be impressed by your inability to adjust one 3-page document to meet their needs. Highlight the top 3 to 7 things you've done that match up with the requirements of the job.

6. State career objectives or outside interests — but be very careful. Do you know that they're looking for a "motivated team player who wants to excel in international fashion and likes skiing and hot tubbing?" Great, put that in. Otherwise, save the non-job stuff for the cover letter. Or better yet, the interview.

7. The further into your past, the less detail you should have. Don't have 13 bullets on a job from 10 years ago.

8. Keep it short. . A five-page résumé may be justified, but you've got to make it clear through headings and organization why you need so much space. If you've got a list of publications or industry conferences you've spoken at, great, but put it at the end as a separate section. Consider the résumé of a CEO. He doesn't need to say that he "attended meetings, assigned work" and whatever other tasks. He ran a company. One line.

9. No typos. Your résumé is like the restroom in a restaurant — as Anthony Bourdain says, the one room everyone sees. And if you can't keep that clean, what's it like in the kitchen?

What do you think? Are there things you see in résumés that cause you to toss them in the "probably not" pile? Have you ever had your résumé prevent you from getting a job?