5 Career Tips to Increase Your Value at Work

Thinking about your career goals for the rest of 2016 and beyond? A helpful perspective to take as you work to impress your employer and climb the corporate ladder is continuously improve and increase your value in the workplace.career tips

Standing out to your boss for the right reasons can put you ahead of the pack when it comes to raises, promotions and recognition. But knowing just how to stand out for those reasons can be a challenge. Here are six career tips to help you increase your value at work and make a positive impact on your career:

1. Ask thoughtful questions. Knowing where your organization would like to improve or how to make your clients or customers happier can help you chart a course for improvement to impress your boss. The best way to get these details is simply by asking! In meetings and one on ones, ask insightful questions of leadership to understand the larger problems facing your organization and challenges or issues facing your customers. This is a great way to demonstrate to leadership that you are invested in the long-term success of your organization >> something many employers consider when granting promotions.

2. Think about how to make things better. Now that you’re armed with critical business information, it’s time to get to work. Take your unique perspective within your current role and use the information you’ve gained to think of ways to either solve the challenges noted above or improve upon things as they currently stand.

3. Avoid complaints (focus on solutions). To build on the second point, building a positive reputation and brainstorming ideas to help your organization are key. But conversely, complaining can help you stand out for the wrong reasons. If you are aware of new challenges or problems within your organization, share them constructively with leadership; however (and this is a big “however”), follow up your observation with a potential solution. At a minimum, share any insight you have into why the issue may be occurring and offer something to help solve the problem. Rather than succumbing to workplace gossip and complaints, you’ll be seen as a problem solver. 

4. Ask for more responsibility. Few things more directly showcase your ambition and increase your value at work than asking for more work! Now, it’s important to note that you’re not necessarily asking for a promotion. Instead, you’re asking for increased responsibility, which will of course demonstrate your ambition and increase your literal value at work. But, it will also help you learn more about your company and can also “test” out new roles with increased responsibility, in essence, testing out possible promotions down the line.

5. Help your coworkers. Be the person who is constantly offering to join committees or help out on a project. You’ll gain valuable experience, but you’ll also demonstrate that you’re a team player and are invested in your organization’s success >> not just your own.

Showing employers how much value you bring can elevate your career, but you have to find the right job before you become invested. The Talent Relationship Specialists here at Helpmates are experts at matching your background and goals with career opportunities at top employers across Southern California. Search our open jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to take the first step.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creating a Candidate Experience That Gets Results

Research from CareerArc shows that nearly 60% of candidates have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% of them shared that experience online or with someone directly. candidate experience

Whether it’s on Glassdoor, Facebook or another social media site, or in one-on-one  conversations with family, friends and colleagues, talent is talking about your organization and its candidate experience. Do you know what they’re saying?

Attracting top talent starts with candidate experience

It can be difficult to undo the damage of written or spoken criticism from candidates. The best solution here is prevention >> Creating a positive candidate experience can help build a strong reputation for your company and ultimately can help bring exceptional candidates into your talent pipeline.

Follow these seven steps to improve your candidate experience and start getting better results from your recruitment efforts:

1. Create a plan ahead of time. It’s one thing to say you want to improve your candidate experience. It’s another thing entirely to put a plan in action. Schedule a meeting with key personnel within your organization to identify and map out critical steps.

2. Involve your current employees. While you’re creating that plan, don’t be afraid to gather feedback from your current employees or if you’re currently recruiting for a position or positions, ask candidates for their input along the way. This feedback can help you gain important perspective on your process and where it’s missing the boat. Be sure to let employees know their candid feedback here helps everyone – some employees may fear punishment if they deliver constructive or critical feedback on your process.

3. Be specific in your job descriptions. Once you have a process in place that helps you find the best talent while providing a great experience for candidates, it’s time to review your job descriptions. Research from The Talent Board shows that job descriptions are the most important job-related content candidates look for when they are applying. Specifically, they want a clear description of the job duties and responsibilities, plus an overview of the essentials: salary, benefits, company values/culture and any perks (eg. working remotely, flexible schedule, education allowance). Your job descriptions should include all of this information within a quick, easy-to-read package.

4. Communicate throughout the process. In the previously referenced research from CareerArc, 60% of candidates said that better communication throughout and after the applicant process would make the most positive impact on their candidate experience. Yet, 65% say they never or rarely receive notice about their applications. This should be a part of your planning in Step 1, but it’s especially important to follow through. Let candidates know when they can expect to hear from you (even starting with the job description mentioned above). Then, be sure to call or email them at the right stages and times.

5. Consolidate multiple interviews into one visit. Speed of your hiring process can make a major impact on candidate experience. As we mentioned earlier this year in our blog, unnecessary steps can bloat your hiring process and lead to unhappy candidates. This is especially true with multiple interviews. Coming into your office two, three, even four times for interviews can be excessive and cause candidates to become frustrated (consider this: getting dressed up, printing out resume copies and travel time to and from your office can cause major stress). Align your schedules so that all critical personnel are able to meet with candidates on the same day. Your candidates will appreciate the effort and your hiring process will likely move much more quickly.

6. Follow up with EVERY candidate. To build on the point made in Step #4, communication throughout the process is essential >> But, that includes communication with EVERY candidate, not just those who are moving forward in your hiring process. Today’s “wrong fit” could be tomorrow’s super star (or could know him or her). Putting in the extra effort to follow up with every candidate in your pipeline can help ease disappointment at not getting the job and encourage a positive impression of your organization.

Creating a more positive candidate experience takes some time up front, but the results can make a major impact on your business. But before you can impress candidates with a great experience, you need the right candidates in your pipeline. Here at Helpmates, we have an extensive network of top talent across Southern California. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more about how our talent solutions can help your business achieve its goals.

Going the Extra Mile: 5 Things You Can Do at Home to Boost Your Career 

Although we may leave jobs after our shift is over, our ability to boost our careers and get to the next level continues once we get home. Spending your time going the extra mile can help you whether you’re looking to get ahead at your current job or find a new, better career opportunity.stencil-facebook-post

Are you going the extra mile to take your career to the next level? 

It doesn’t take a herculean effort to go the extra mile. Here are five things you can do at home right now to boost your career:

  1. Refresh your resume. You should update your resume at least once or twice a year. Set a reminder in your cell phone calendar if you need to – this one can make a big difference on your long-term career success. If you’re able to update it more often, even better – your most recent accomplishments will be top of mind. Get specific in your accomplishments, include numbers and details about your successes to ensure you make the best possible impression on employers. Email your updated resume to one of our Helpmates Talent Relationships Specialists for targeted feedback and input to help you ensure your resume is at its most impactful.
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile in the past six months, it’s time for an update. Now you may have just updated your resume, but your LinkedIn profile should NOT simply regurgitate your resume. Instead, take those key accomplishments and updates and include them, but weave them into your personal story. Taking a personal approach to your LinkedIn profile will help you stand out from the pack. And while you’re at it, ask a friend or relative to take a new headshot for your social media profiles. If your headshot is outdated, cropped from a casual picture — or if you don’t have a headshot — a simple but professional picture can help strengthen your personal brand.
  3. Get out there. Networking is an essential component of successful careers. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, attending networking events can open up doors at new organizations and at the very least, can help you boost your speaking and presentation skills. You’ll also get more comfortable talking about your strengths and differentiators >> a skill that will come in handy the next time you’re looking for a job! Not sure what networking events are scheduled nearby? Meetup.com is an excellent resource to find networking events in most cities. Your local chamber of commerce is also a great place to call. You can always call one of the Helpmates Talent Relationship Specialists for networking event recommendations as well.
  4. Curate your social media presence. LinkedIn is just one piece of the social recruiting puzzle. Recruiters are visiting ALL your social media profiles >> are they telling the story you want them to tell? We recently posted our top 10 social media tips for job seekers, which offers a great place for you to start. Be sure to focus initially on updating your privacy settings and completing your profiles. Also, scan your past posts and any posts you’ve been “tagged” in to remove anything that could be considered unprofessional or that could make a negative impression on recruiters.
  5. Build a new skill. The internet today is buzzing with free resources to help you boost your career skills. Want a job creating websites or apps?  Codecademy offers free HTML lessons. Always wanted to be a designer? Adobe offers free Photoshop classes. Udemy is another resource that offers free career classes – not all courses here are free, but you can often find many free courses (and others that are $20 or less) to boost your skills.

Putting in some extra time at home can pay off in the long run of your career. And when you’re looking for your next great job opportunity, call Helpmates. We work with some of Southern California’s top employers in a range of industries. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

7 Questions to Help You Recruit For a Team Fit

When you have notions of the ideal candidate for a job, it can be hard to sway your thoughts from finding the “perfect” person. Hiring managers can sometimes get stuck in a “I’ll know him/her when I see him/her” mentality during the recruiting process. Or worse, some recruiters focus on one specific skill set or qualification, eliminating potential superstars until someone with a precise background comes along. A lack of clearly defined needs can add costly time to the hiring process and can ultimately cost you access to top talent.september-blog-2

Recruiting for a team fit can boost your organization

Taking a “big picture” approach toward recruiting for your business can help you identify and attract top talent. Research shows that terminating an employee due to poor culture fit can cost up to 2.5 times that person’s base salary. That’s an added expense most organizations cannot afford. Add in productivity and morale losses due to increased turnover and the cost of aiming for the “perfect” candidate instead of one who fits into your team adds up quickly.

How to focus your hiring process on team fit

Shifting your mindset and approach during the hiring process to recruit for team fit doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul. Asking these 7 questions during your next interview can help >>

  1. What’s your perfect take on work/life balance? If your team thrives while burning the midnight oil to finish the big project, someone who enjoys leaving work at the same time every day might not be a fit.
  2. What does your ideal workplace look and feel like? Directly asking about the type of workplace preferred by candidates can present insight into whether they will be a good fit (and can help you determine whether some internal changes should be considered).
  3. What has been the greatest work day of your life? Why? If there isn’t a match between someone’s best work day ever and what your organization aims to deliver for its employees, there might not be a fit.
  4. When have you been in a position and didn’t know what to do? Learning new things happens in most jobs. Some organizations encourage a more open, “learn as you go” system than others. Asking an open ended question here gains extra insight into whether candidates could struggle without specific direction at every turn.
  5. What does “teamwork” mean to you? From weekly meetings to daily rundowns and multiple, coordinated projects, the definition of “teamwork” can shift widely from organization to organization. Aiming for nuts and bolts-type responses here instead of theory can really help you zero in on a candidate’s potential fit.
  6. When have you been forced to adapt to change in the workplace? What happened? Some candidates prefer to have extreme consistency from day to day. If your business is gearing up for a big acquisition, is experiencing immense growth or is going through any significant organizational changes, the answer to this question could serve as a red flag.
  7. When has an employer NOT been a great fit for you? Why not? By their nature, candidates don’t prefer to speak negatively during an interview. But constructive input and thorough responses to this question can provide an excellent standard to use for comparison.

Recruiting for a strong team fit can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here at Helpmates, we have an extensive network of top talent across Southern California. We’ll help you find exactly the talent you need to get to the next level. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

3 Signs Your Interview Isn’t Going Well (And How to Turn it Around)

You only get one shot to make a great first impression. Often times, that “one shot” with an employer is at a job interview. It’s a pretty simple formula, right? Prepare for the interview and put your best foot forward and you’re much more likely to land the job.september-blog-1

But it’s not always that easy. 

Many of us have left job interviews feeling like a million dollars, certain that we are going to receive a job offer…only to get turned down (or never hear back at all). Sometimes the reasons are out of your control; however, a strong interview is critical to increasing your chances of getting the call.

Look out for these signs your interview isn’t going well

Keeping your eyes and ears open during your job interviews can help you identify trouble and steer clear of it – potentially saving your opportunity at the job. These three signs can most often signal that an interview isn’t going well >>

  1. No one tries to sell you on the job. Today’s job market is incredibly competitive. Employers know they have to effectively sell you on their opportunity and company as much as you’re selling your skills and background! If you’re doing a solid job highlighting key parts of your background but the interviewer isn’t trying hard in return, it could mean trouble. Not sure what to look for? When interviewers start to take about company culture, growth opportunities, office technology and other job perks, it’s a good sign they’re interested.
  2. The interviewer doesn’t mention “next steps.” If you’ve ever applied for a job before, you’ve probably heard about “next steps” frequently during interviews. Those next steps could be signaled by anything from salary requirements/history, references or even scheduling follow-up interviews. Some interviewers will give you a timeline to expect follow up >> these are all good signs. If you don’t hear a peep out of your interviewer, it could mean things aren’t going well.
  3. You’re in and out of the interview quickly. Hiring for the right fit puts a huge burden on interviewers – make the wrong choice and it costs an organization significant time and money. That’s why many job interviews can take 20 to 30 minutes or more. Today’s interviewers are asking more detailed, behavioral questions than ever to gauge things like culture fit, ability to navigate challenging situations and emotional intelligence. Job interviews should rarely (if ever) be quick and easy. If you haven’t been asked any difficult or detailed questions, the interviewer might not be interested.

How to turn around a bad job interview

All’s not lost if you recognize some of the above signs that an interview isn’t going well. Keep these tips in mind to try and turn it around:

  • Be upbeat. Nerves can get the best of all of us. If an interviewer picks up on negativity or stress, it could send the wrong message and result in an interview that feels like it’s going downhill. A cheery disposition and genuine enthusiasm for a company and role go a long way toward impressing interviewers. Skills can be taught, enthusiasm and drive cannot – employers know this, so show them that you are excited for the opportunity.
  • Ask thoughtful questions. Don’t just wait until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. This usually comes at the end of the interview and there isn’t much you can do about it at that point. Listen to what the interviewer is saying and explaining, think about questions before you answer them, then ask thoughtful follow up or probing questions yourself. Prepare some questions ahead of time, but also try to think on your feet and ask questions that demonstrate genuine interest and knowledge of the company and role.
  • Watch your body language. Nervousness really can make a big impact on the message you convey to interviewers. It’s natural to have some nerves, but be sure you’re overriding them and avoiding body language miscues like slouching, which can convey disinterest. A few other body languages “musts” include the basics like smiling, nodding and making eye contact.

Before you can ace your interview, you have to land one! Here at Helpmates, we work with top employers across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest office to take the next step in your career.

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