4 FREE Career Resources to Kick Off the New Year

Did you reach all your career goals in 2016? Here on the Helpmates blog, we are proud to have provided many career tips and resources to help you advance your career. We hope you found them valuable!

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These career resources can help you get to the next level.

But as you set your sites and reaching even greater heights in 2017, there are a range of unexplored tools and resources to help you gain a career boost. And while there are many paid services and tools that can help, there are a tremendous number of high-quality resources that are available for FREE. Here are four (4) of our favorites:

  1. LinkedIn Educational Webinars. LinkedIn is the most valuable social network for professionals and anyone looking for career opportunities. Your LinkedIn profile offers recruiters and employers insights into who you are as a professional, and the value you can add to their company. But maximizing your LinkedIn profiles and staying active on the site are critical to putting your best foot forward. LinkedIn’s educational webinars offer you insights into the essentials of a strong profile, and how to get the most value out of the tool.
  2. When it comes to online education, Udemy is at the forefront. With valuable courses in areas such as productivity, leadership, personal brand building, creativity, and career development, along with a range of technical and specific career-oriented courses, you will absolutely find a wealth of information to help you reach your career goals in the new year. While some courses are paid and require an investment, many are free and easy to find on the site (just do a search and select “free” to show those courses that don’t require purchase.
  3. After making a big splash in the early 2000s then disappearing for a while, podcasts have made a major comeback. Experts across a range of industries and disciplines are creating thousands of hours of content to help you reach your career goals. The “business” and “education” categories are a great place to start for career resources. Whether you’re searching for high-level career and job search advice or targeted, industry- or skill-specific insights, there’s something for you. And the best part is, all podcasts available through iTunes (or on your iPhone) are free and can be listened to during your morning commute, on a run or on the go!
  4. Your Helpmates Talent Relationship Specialist. We couldn’t resist talking about career resources without talking about our own services! Here at Helpmates, we work with you to identify your career goals, review your skills and experience, build your resume and cover letter and ultimately impress employers to help advance your career and meet those goals. Our Talent Relationship Specialists are experienced, passionate professionals who understand the marketplace in Southern California, and know what it takes to thrive in a variety of roles with some of the regions most exciting employers.

Ready to get ahead in 2017? Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to take the next step.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Top 6 Skills Employers Are Seeking in 2017

Thinking about a job change in the New Year? Here at Helpmates and across the country, dynamic, innovative companies are looking for talent to help them reach new heights in 2017.

But do you have the skills they’re seeking?

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With more options than ever, today’s employers are looking for certain skill sets in talent, regardless of position. The following list includes 5 of the top skills employers are seeking in the New Year:

  • Customer service. Strong customer service skills will never go out of style. And in today’s businesses, every role is essentially a customer service role. PRO TIP: Be prepared to answer questions about delivering exceptional service in your next job interview. Even better? Step it up a notch and be proactive about your focus and abilities on delivering exceptional service (to customers, or even other employees!).
  • Have a knack for building websites or helping your family through their technical challenges? It could be time to put those skills to use in your career! Many employers are now looking for tech-savvy employees in a variety of non-technical roles.
  • From inter-office memos to emails and other internal documents, you might not realize just how much writing you do in a work day! The ability to clearly and concisely convey meaning and drive action is highly desirable in just about every role — bring samples or be prepared to discuss why your business communications are effective to make a positive impression on interviewers.
  • Problem-solving. We all hit the occasional road block at work. But how we work through those challenges helps determine our strength and success as an employee. Many employers request employees who have strong problem-solving skills, for a variety of roles. To help prepare for your next interview, start thinking now about times where you were presented with a challenge and worked your way through it (and lessons you learned along the way).
  • Sure, most of us have to, well, talk, during the work day, but have you thought about your verbal skills from the perspective of an employer? Probably not, but it’s likely time to start working on your verbal skills. One of the most critical times you’ll need those skills is when you’re in an interview! Practice answering interview questions so you can accurately convey your message during interviews. But also think about how your verbal interactions affect your colleagues and bosses once you’ve landed the job. Are you accurately and clearly conveying the right message? Are you getting great results when you ask for assistance or when you deliver feedback? These are critical components of a successful career, and employers will be listening carefully to see whether your skills measure up.
  • Okay, this isn’t a skill per se, but it’s still extremely important to employers today. If you walk into an interview brimming with enthusiasm for the role and company, you will make a positive impression on interviewers. Keep the enthusiasm going in your thank you notes, second interviews and when you start the job — your new career adventure will most definitely be off to a great start!

Here at Helpmates, we work with a wide range of top employers across Southern California. We connect you with great jobs to help you advance your career and reach your goals! Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to find YOUR next great career opportunity.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

5 Outdated Recruiter Habits (and What to Focus on Instead)

The employer/job seeker relationship today is vastly different than 15, 10 or even five years ago. Today’s candidates expect more from employers after they hit “send” on their resumes. Those organizations whose recruiters understand and embrace the new recruiting reality are winning the battles for top talent. Those who are standing by their outdated recruiter habits are struggling. recruiter habits

Are you winning great talent or struggling to find them due to outdated recruiter habits?

It’s time to look honestly at your recruiter habits to determine whether they are helping or hindering your recruiting efforts. Here are five outdated recruiter habits that make the biggest negative impact:

  1. Form, template or mass messages. Today’s job seekers are more savvy and discerning than ever. They want to be “wooed” by employers. At a minimum, they want to be treated like an individual instead of a number. With the number of tools and technologies available to reach candidates quickly and easily, it can be tempting to continue “following a script” in your communications.

    This is one of the fastest ways to burn bridges and turn candidates OFF of your organization.

    It’s fine to start off with a general message you use for a certain role or specialty, but take the time to customize it for specific candidates (just as you expect them to customize their resumes for your job openings!). Review their LinkedIn profiles and look for commonalities or information you can include that shows you are truly sending a one-on-one message. You’ll stand out to candidates for the right reason.

  2. Sticking to an interview script. Ten or twenty years ago, many recruiters and interviewers would print out a sheet of questions and diligently work their way down the list during each interview. Providing a neat and tidy recap of the conversation, it was often the “go to” resource during job interviews.

    Both employers and candidates today are much more savvy than 20 or even 10 years ago. Candidates expect to have conversations instead of rigid interviews – and the strongest candidates are ones who navigate those conversations with ease. Successful employers understand that top talent can address expectations and requirements during an interview without having to fit into a “mold.”

    If you’re still sticking to a script, you’re not only behind the times, you’re potentially hurting your organization. Asking every candidate the same questions almost completely ensures you’re hiring “the same person” for every role. For innovative, growing companies, this mistake could literally kill their businesses.

    Using an interview script also sends a message to candidates that your organization is outdated. Today’s top talent is looking for the cream of the crop among employers. They want employers who are innovative, looking ahead and who are invested in the right technology and tools to help them do their jobs effectively. If your recruiters aren’t using the best tools to do their jobs, why would candidates expect the best tools to do theirs?

  3. Taking their time to make a hiring decision. Strong hiring decisions are critical to the short- and long-term success of your organization. But, if your hiring process takes a long time, requires multiple visits and interviews and generally is, well, bloated, your organization needs to catch up.

    Top talent today is often contacted by recruiters within days of posting their resumes. Many don’t post their resumes at all! Finding and reaching passive candidates is essential to landing top talent for your organization. When talent is already employed and not actively seeking a job, do you really think they are going to welcome a weeks-long hiring process? Or multiple visits and interviews?

    We recently shared tips for speeding up your hiring process. Implement this advice to speed up your hiring process and move past one of the most outdated recruiter habits.

  4. Posting the same generic job descriptions. We’ve been discussing job descriptions here on the Helpmates blog quite a bit lately, and with good reason. Strong job descriptions can help you land better talent that is enthusiastic for your jobs. They can also save you time and money.

    Yet some recruiters are still using the same, generic job descriptions their organization has posted for years. If your organization is often hiring for the same positions, it’s acceptable to post the same description.

    Cutting and pasting a job description from five or two years ago is not acceptable and is one of the most outdated recruiter habits.

    Your organization is constantly changing. Chances are your roles are evolving too. Your job descriptions should be evolving with them. Instead of using your descriptions as a checklist of requirements, use them to inform candidates about the role and your company. Your job descriptions should be selling your company!

    Check out these quick tips for job descriptions that deliver – toss out your old descriptions and start using this critical tool to attract top talent.

  5. Disregarding overqualified candidates. Today’s professionals may have two or even three different careers by the time they hit 40. That’s a lot of skills and experience! But along with those skills and experience can come the stereotype that overqualified candidates are a poor choice.

    What a mistake!

    Candidates whose skills exceed the requirements of the position are often leaders who can help mentor younger employees. They bring enthusiasm and skills that can add dimension and productivity to the role that you never imagined. Although a strong resume can help top talent stand apart, candidates are often much more than you see on paper. Discounting candidates simply because they appear overqualified could mean losing out on significant opportunity for your organization – both immediately and down the road.

Here at Helpmates, our team is at the forefront of the latest recruiting trends, tools and technologies. We’ve built strong relationships with an extensive network of talent across Southern California, and we can find the best talent for your organization and needs. Contact your nearest Helpmates office today to learn more.

How to Rule the Office Holiday Party This Year

It’s that time of year again – holiday party season is upon us. After a long year of hard work, the holiday party offers a great opportunity to unwind and celebrate a year of success with your colleagues.

Our list of do’s and don’ts can help you avoid unnecessary career blunders and even boost your career at this year’s event: holiday party tips

  • Do have fun! Holiday parties are thrown to have a good time and reflect on your hard work over the past year. You absolutely should eat, drink (don’t overdo it!) and have a great time.
  • Do remember that it’s a work event. While you should have a nice time, remember that the holiday party is still a professional, work-sponsored event. Your dress and behavior should be work appropriate, and you should conduct yourself as if your boss is watching your every move (because he/she probably is!).
  • Don’t skip the party. Unless you have another obligation that’s impossible to reschedule, you should at least make an appearance at your work holiday party. Skipping the party could send the wrong message to your boss and imply that you aren’t invested in the company. Stay at least a half hour or so, and be sure to say a few “hellos” to key individuals before you go.
  • Don’t be “all business.” While you should conduct yourself professionally at all times, don’t be that person who sits around talking about your to-do list or work projects at the holiday party! You don’t want to be known as the “Debbie Downer” of your office – remember, you’re there to celebrate!
  • Do think about your career. While you shouldn’t spend your time focusing on business talk, it absolutely makes sense to mingle and introduce yourself to the “major players” in your organization. It’s a great opportunity to begin new relationships or strengthen prior ones. Just keep it to either a short introduction (letting them take the lead and ask questions) or a “how have you been” to people you don’t see very often.
  • Do check the invitation. While some employers invite spouses or significant others, many employees also keep the guest list to employees only. Verifying the situation at your holiday party ahead of time can prevent some awkwardness or hard feelings down the road.
  • Do say ‘thanks.’ Coordinating a holiday party is a lot of work, so be sure to take a moment to thank the person(s) from your team who were responsible for planning and coordinating the event.
  • Don’t be the last one to leave. No one wants to be first (someone ultimately has to be!), but you don’t want to be the last person to leave the work holiday party. Organizers don’t want people lingering when they’re trying to close it down. Aim to leave about 20-30 minutes before the official end time to leave plenty of opportunity to say your goodbyes.

Looking for a new job this holiday season? Helpmates works with top employers across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

3 Ways to Reduce Your Recruiting Costs

 As successful, growing businesses, the pressure to reduce costs and maximize profits is very real. While there are certainly many opportunities to reduce costs within an organization, the recruiting function is often one that receives scrutiny from leadership. recruiting costs

Here’s the good news: You can reduce your recruiting costs and still attract top talent!

You don’t have to sacrifice quality to reduce your recruiting costs, but you do have to focus on making the right changes. Here are three steps smart organizations are taking to improve their recruiting efforts and ultimately, to reduce recruiting costs.

  1. Write better job descriptions. Job descriptions that are poorly written, unclear or lack critical details can result in hundreds — if not thousands — of unqualified or inappropriate resumes landing on your desk. Sifting through those resumes can take many hours of manpower, and can result in passing by a potential superstar too quickly.

    Avoid getting bogged down with administrative costs due to poor job descriptions. We previously highlighting some essentials for writing job descriptions that deliver – start with this advice and you’ll be on the right path.

  2. Build a strong referral program. One of the best places to find great talent is by talking to the great talent you already know – your employees! Establishing and promoting a strong employee referral program can significantly reduce the time and cost investment needed to recruit for some key positions.

    Successful referral programs don’t necessarily require massive payouts. Start with a few hundred dollars for new hires after they complete their first 90 days of service. As a bonus, establishing an employee referral program can help you assess your company culture. Consistent, strong referrals are often indicative of a strong culture. Poor referrals (or none at all) can signify the opposite.

  3. Partner with a staffing firm. The quickest and easiest way to immediately reduce your recruiting costs is to partner with a staffing firm. From writing and posting job descriptions to reviewing resumes and conducting interviews, the right recruiting partner can dramatically reduce your recruiting costs.

    In addition to “literal” costs, partnering with a staffing firm frees your staff to focus on more mission-critical tasks. You’re more likely to make better, stronger hires (resulting in higher retention rates), your team is likely to be happier and your hiring process can be significantly decreased, resulting in the attraction and hiring of better candidates.

Helpmates has been partnering with top organizations across Southern California for more than 40 years. We are at the forefront of the recruiting industry and we can help you reduce your recruiting costs while gaining access to an exceptional network of top talent. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more about our staffing solutions and how we can help you reduce recruiting costs.

Are These Momentum Killers Affecting Your Job Search?

You’ve put hours into crafting the perfect resume, and have tailored it to each application and position. Your cover letter shows personality, enthusiasm and helps highlight the key reasons an employer should choose you over the competition. You’ve even aced your job interviews.

Now it’s time to sit back and wait for the offers to roll in, right?job search advice

Not quite.

You could have the perfect resume, the most eloquent cover letter and you could have finished the world’s best job interview, but still end up without a job offer. When you’ve put in the time and effort to build real momentum in your job search, waiting for the phone to ring — and not getting the call — can be frustrating.

But there’s good news – you can prevent a loss of momentum during your job search by avoiding these common four (4) mistakes:

Mistake #1 Following up incessantly. If an employer says you can expect to hear about their decision within seven days and 10 days later your phone (or email) is still silent, it can be frustrating. Your frustration is understandable! But outside of a quick follow up email or voicemail checking in, you should avoid any type of recruiter “pestering” with follow ups.

While many employers hope to have decisions in a timely manner, sometimes every day business (or other matters) simply get in the way. Maybe the right team members were unable to connect and discuss the candidates, maybe an urgent business matter required “all hands on deck” and pulled decision makers away from discussing your position.

Regardless of the “why,” your actions are what matter here. One follow up within a few days of when you were told to expect follow up is acceptable. Anything beyond that (including calls, emails or social media messages) will have a negative effect on your chances (and could eradicate any goodwill or momentum you had going for you after your interview).

Mistake #2 Going on a few interviews, then doing nothing. Without a doubt, you should be proud of a strong job interview. Review what went well, what could have gone better and identify what you can bring to the table for the next interview.

Yes, the next one.

A strong interview isn’t a sign that you should stop your job search efforts. There are many factors that can influence whether or not you land the job. Many of them are out of your control. So while you can and should reflect on successful interviews and interactions with employers, don’t take your foot off the gas pedal! You should spend time each day (or however much time you can) to search for jobs, prepare resumes and continue applying to jobs that are a match for your skills and career goals. (HINT: The Talent Relationship Managers at Helpmates can help you with this part of the process – we’ll search for opportunities that match your skills and goals and will help you prepare for those interviews!).

Mistake #3 Getting a little too presumptuous. Interviews go well. Job offers may be expected. But you should never assume anything. As mentioned previously, there are many factors that can influence whether or not you get the job.

You may have made a strong impression, but a great interview doesn’t guarantee you the job. So while you may be excited about the prospect of joining your new potential employer, now isn’t the time to “act the part.” Acting as if you’ve already got the job can be a major turn off to employers. Talking about the job as if you’ve already landed it on social media is one way to kill your momentum. Adding recruiters or other employees on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter can also be a major turn off (even if you especially hit it off during the interview process, hold off on adding employees on personal social media sites — LinkedIn is okay — until after you’ve been offered and have accepted the position).

Mistake #4 You change your salary expectations. Confidence can help you impress during job interviews and leave a lasting, positive impression. Overconfidence, on the other hand, can immediately land your resume on the “discard” pile.

For some job openings, recruiters choose to interview or follow up with candidates based on a range of criteria. Sometimes that criteria includes salary expectations. In a state of excitement and overconfidence following a strong job interview, it can be tempting to assume you’re at the top of the employer’s list and as a result, should demand a higher salary.

If you’ve already discussed salary expectations (either the employer has stated the possible salary range and you have agreed, or you have shared your own salary expectations), do not accept a job offer under the condition of a salary that falls outside of that range. Not only could this lose you the job, it could tarnish your reputation. After all, the employer has invested a great deal of time into sourcing, vetting and interviewing you, only to be thrown for a loop at the final hour. Be respectful of expectations and what has transpired during the interview process.

If you’re really hoping for a higher salary, start your job off strong, ask questions, set goals for yourself and discuss them with your manager. Then, track your successes and quantify your performance. At your first employee performance review, you’ll be prepared to justify and negotiate a raise.

Avoiding key mistakes is essential to a successful job search. The Helpmates team can help you stay on track and land great jobs that align with your goals. We work with top employers in Los Angeles, Irvine and across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

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