Workplace Wellness: A Retention Key in 2016

January 25th, 2016

Have you made any 2016 New Year’s Resolutions? Chances are if you did, at least one of your resolutions is health focused. Half of the top 10 resolutions are health related….and 1 in 3 people will ditch their resolutions by the end of January.

We’re closing in on the end of January now, so rather than let your employees (or you!) ditch their health-related resolutions, why not take advantage of the shift in focus toward healthy living and build a stronger wellness program? Forty-five percent of Americans working at small to medium-sized companies say that they would stay at their jobs longer because of employer-sponsored wellness programs, and productivity also increases as a result of employer-sponsored wellness initiatives.

Keys to a successful wellness program HM Jan Post 2

Has your employee wellness program faltered in recent years? Or perhaps your organization is still waiting to get started? Here are five keys to a successful wellness program in any industry:

  1. They’re realistic. Sure, many of us would love to become ultra-marathoners or adhere to the healthiest diet on the planet, but those aren’t exactly realistic goals for most people. So rather than creating programs that aim to create superheroes, aim instead to help your employees make incremental changes that steadily improve their lives. A lunch hour massage therapist visit will likely be a huge hit. Yoga classes, meditation coaching, healthy cooking classes, team outings to local “laser tag” venues or other active but fun places, are all very fun, simple and accessible ways to get your team moving in the right direction.
  2. They’re fun. If you look at the few examples mentioned above, they’re all realistic for sure, but they’re also fun. Watching filmstrips and reading textbooks may have been necessary when we were in school, but in the real world we tend to, well, avoid them like the plague. Choosing fun places for active team outings and bringing in engaging teachers or coaches to lead classes are great ideas. Adding a competitive element can also make things fun and provide some extra incentive to your team. “Biggest Loser Challenges” are very popular in workplaces across the country, and winners designated for milestones and achievements throughout the challenge (which can be any duration, but are often between 8 and 12 weeks) can win small, yet fun and healthy prizes like gift cards for healthy restaurants, supermarkets or gyms, extra break time or even cash (budget permitting).
  3. Participation starts at the top. Many of us have been in organizations that tried to enact new policies or programs that ultimately failed because participation waned. And that often starts at the top. If you’re going to start a “Biggest Loser Challenge” or a series of lunchtime classes — any of these or your own suggestions — your organization should believe in these initiatives and be active in them at every level of your business. If you’re bringing in a chef to teach healthy cooking classes, your CEO or VPs should stand alongside your customer service reps. When participation and enthusiasm are genuine from all levels, it is contagious. Your team will believe that the organization truly supports and cares about the initiative, and its potential for success is much higher.
  4. Practice what you preach. If your employee cafeteria serves junk food or your vending machines are filled with candy bars and unhealthy snacks or drinks, you could be derailing your employee wellness efforts. Supporting your initiatives by surrounding employees with easy, healthy choices is one of the biggest ways to nurture a successful employee wellness program. Beyond the break room, think about meetings – bring in salad bars and flavored water instead of pizza and soda. Post signs around the office sharing information about employee wellness initiatives. Swap out the TV in the break room for a treadmill or bike. Think of ways to create a healthier office, not just a health program.
  5. Follow through. If your initial foray into employee wellness is an initiative – like the Biggest Loser Challenge – don’t just let it end. Keep up momentum by enacting ongoing initiatives and changes (like those mentioned throughout this post) to create and nurture an environment of wellness. One-off events and initiatives are great for spearheading efforts, but your continued commitment to employee wellness is what can ultimately help boost productivity, improve your employees’ health and build a stronger team with higher retention rates for your business.

Before you can develop and implement successful employee wellness programs, you need a team of superstar employees. Helpmates has an extensive network of talent in a range of disciplines across Southern California. We’ll help you find the right employees to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to get started.

How to Turn 2016 Career Resolutions into Reality

January 18th, 2016

Research shows that 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions – are you included? Resolutions can be an excellent way to set goals and devise a plan to achieve them in the new year.

But here’s the thing: Research also shows that only 8% of Americans who make resolutions are successful. If you’ve set career resolutions for 2016, don’t be discouraged by these statistics – we’re here to help. Armed with the right knowledge, your odds of success should increase dramatically.

Your 2016 Career Resolutions Game PlanHM Jan Blog 1

This game plan can help you get off to a great start in your path toward 2016 Career Resolutions success. Feel free to print it out and hang it next to your bed or computer for a regular dose of focus and inspiration:

  1. Be realistic. Aiming high and reaching for the stars is admirable, but sometimes it takes longer than a year to reach the highest heights. Instead of aiming for the stars initially, take a more realistic approach. Think about what you can accomplish in one year – aiming high enough that it won’t be easy, but that it’s attainable. When people set goals that seem impossible, it can seem too daunting and ultimately result in giving up. A realistic yet challenging resolution offers just enough “reach” to help you strive for your best, but with an end result that is most definitely achievable.
  2. Be as specific as possible. “Find a new job” is a great goal, but in order to make goals more actionable, you should get specific. What kind of job? Is there a location that works best for you? How much would you like to earn? When would you like to find your new job by? These are just some of the questions you should ask in order to get specific with your career resolutions. If you’re struggling, just think about everything that would impact your goal. Focus on what would be the most ideal fulfillment of your resolution, then write it down. So “Find a new job” becomes, “Find a new administrative position for $17 an hour that is within 20 minutes of my house and offers the flexibility to work from home one day a week.” With the vague goal, devising and acting on a game plan can be hazy – it’s hard to know if you’re spending your time and effort on the right things or if you’re really making progress toward the goal. But when your goal is specific, you can eliminate unnecessary steps and options, allowing you to focus your energies in the right places.
  3. Spread the word. The phrase “accountability partner” is popular with people who make resolutions. Whether it’s having a friend call you every morning at 5am to help you wake up earlier or a family member who joins you for your morning jog to help you stay on track, having someone who will keep you in check and ensure you’re working steadily toward your goals can make a big impact on your success. If you can’t find one person who will hold you to your goals and plans each day, find two or three and ask them to do one thing (for example, one person might email you every day asking which jobs you applied to, while another might call you after a job interview to see how it went). And outside of your accountability partners, tell as many people as possible about your goals. While we may not be afraid of letting ourselves down from time to time (“life” gets in the way sometimes, we know!), as human beings, we are less likely to fail at a goal if we know other people are counting on us. So put your family and friends to work for you, and let them know about your goals. Ask them for encouragement, and talk about your progress with them in conversations and emails, and also on social media sites like Facebook. Their continued encouragement can help keep you motivated and focused.
  4. Break it up. You have set your resolutions and defined your goals for 2016…now what? Breaking down those goals into actionable steps and putting them on your calendar are essential. Having a goal is great, but taking action on that goal is what gets things done. Using the example above, your steps might include, “Attending three networking events each week,” or “Updating my resume before January 31,” or “Reach out to 10 former colleagues and update them about my status before February 7.” Break down how you’ll achieve your goals, then put those steps on your calendar to define how long you should take to complete each step.
  5. Expect setbacks. Remember, “life” happens. Maybe you’ll catch a cold, or a family member will need your help unexpectedly. Something may come up that derails you from your schedule and goals temporarily. But let the emphasis be on “temporarily.” Schedules can be changed and updated. Goals can be refined. If you know and appreciate that setbacks will happen, you will be more prepared to roll with the punches and get back on track. Setbacks happen to everyone, but those who persevere are the ones who end up reaching their goals in the end.

Do you need help setting or reaching your career goals in 2016? Helpmates works with some of Southern California’s top employers. Search our jobs now to find a position that will help you aim higher in 2016, or call your nearest office to speak with one of our recruiters.

How You Are Turning Off Candidates on Social Media

December 22nd, 2015

By now it’s not a matter of if you should be engaging candidates and recruiting talent on social media. And with good reason — employers who used social media to hire found a 49% improvement in candidate quality over recruiting through traditional channels. Instead, it’s a matter of how you can do it better. Competition for top talent is fierce, and social media is no longer a differentiator, but a necessity.

Today’s candidates are more discerning than ever.december blog 2

Although businesses are spending billions of dollars on social media, it is ultimately a very personal tool for many people. With the personal nature of social media — particularly as it relates to job searches and careers – adhering to best practices when engaging with candidates is important. Seventy-three percent of job seekers aged 18 to 34 found their last job through a social network – can you afford to turn off these candidates? Commit any of these social recruiting faux pas, and you risk alienating talent while building a negative reputation online:

  1. Lacking a plan. What are your specific goals for social media – to stay top of mind with candidates? To provide useful information for candidates to find jobs? To demonstrate thought leadership? These are just a few of the goals many businesses have when it comes to social recruiting, but yours may be different. And the steps you take to achieve those goals can vary widely. Do some research into social media best practices, be sure you understand the social sites where your company will be active, and map out a plan to help you achieve your goals. A little work ahead of time can go a long way toward building a strong social media reputation.
  2. Ignoring your profile. If you’ll pardon the comparison, your company social media profiles are essentially your online resume (how’s that for irony?). If your profiles aren’t up to snuff, just as your recruiters are likely to throw away an imperfect resume, candidates are likely to pass by your profiles. Engaging photos and complete descriptions (that sound “human” and are filled with more than corporate speak – remember, these are “social” profiles!) are the first tip off to candidates that your profiles are genuine, engaging and worthwhile. Once your profiles are set up, though, it’s up to you to keep them “social.” Guidelines can vary, but be sure to post to Facebook at least a few times per week, LinkedIn as well, and to Twitter a few times each day. Once you get a handle on these most popular networks, you might even want to consider looking at additional networks like Instagram or Snapchat. But be sure to post often: Content that is useful to your audience (eg. resume tips, interview advice, etcetera) or provides insights into your company (eg. holiday parties, birthday celebrations, employee recognition) help candidates feel “connected” to you before they ever speak to a recruiter or visit your office.
  3. Spamming candidates. Although your job openings may be great, exciting opportunities, the reality is that not every candidate is interested. Spam is universally abhorred, and when you spam candidates they don’t forget it (they also tell people…a lot of them). If you’ve sent LinkedIn InMail to a candidate and haven’t heard back, one or two follow ups within a few weeks is completely acceptable. Five messages over the course of a week (particularly with sales-y language) are not. And spam goes beyond frequency – if you’re sending sales letters to candidates on social media, you may as well be telling them not to apply to your jobs. It has been stated here several times but bears repeating – they call it “social” media, so be social! While it’s often impossible to craft custom messages for every candidate, be sure to do more than send mass emails to hundreds of candidates, all containing the same generic message. Block candidates into groups by criteria like age, experience level, alma mater, etcetera, then craft messages that offer personal elements to show that you’ve taken the time to reach out to them online. Candidates will absolutely remember you after you’ve reached out to them on social media – it’s up to you to make sure it’s not for the wrong reasons.
  4. Getting too personal. While social media can help you make stronger connections with candidates, be careful not to get too personal. Connecting on LinkedIn and (often) Twitter are acceptable and encouraged ways to stay in touch with candidates, but many candidates prefer to keep their Facebook profiles for friends and family. Avoid sending friend requests on Facebook, or any requests to connect on other social sites where you notice that posted content is strictly personal.

Here at Helpmates, our network of candidates across Southern California is engaged and ready to contribute to your bottom line. Contact us today to learn more about our staffing solutions.

Shorter Work Day? Maybe Not, But How About These?

December 17th, 2015

Sweden is making headlines with its shift to a 6-hour workday. While cultural and economic differences between the workplace in Sweden versus the U.S. might be vastly different, the shift is definitely garnering attention from the media. Specifically, it’s opening up a discussion about how employers can create work opportunities that are more attractive to top talent.

Is your workplace attractive to top talent?december blog1

You may not need to reduce your work day to six hours, but you can create an environment that attracts and retains top talent. Here’s how:

  1. Be flexible. Flexible workplaces are no longer a luxury – in many specialties, locations and industries, they are an expectation. With the latest technologies, telecommuting is more convenient and productive than ever. Are there roles within your organization that could be handled either part- or full-time from home? Could your workday start at 8am for some and 10am for others? Can your employees take breaks and lunches on their own schedules? Look at ways to create a more flexible environment – whether large or small – and employees will respond.
  2. Invest in your team. When employees feel as if their employers are invested in them and their futures, they respond. Are you investing in your team? The latest technology helps employees do their jobs more efficiently and with less hassle (it’s time to trash those old CRT monitors and clunky PC towers!). On- and off-site training and learning opportunities help employees expand their skills and learn about potential career paths within your company, improving retention and helping you nurture and build your future organizational leaders. And when you invest in your current team, it also makes an impression on candidates – think about the impression you’d have of an organization if you walked through the building to an interview and passed outdated computers and a drab office. Now think about passing the latest computers, or an engaged team in a training or team building session. Investing in your team doesn’t just retain your current talent, it attracts top talent at all levels.
  3. Simplify your hiring process. We recently highlighted some ways companies turn off top talent, and hiring process is one of the most critical. Show you’re an attractive workplace to candidates by making their first experiences with you positive and seamless. How you present yourself during the hiring process often gives key indicators to candidates how it will be to work for you. If it’s disorganized and slow, would you want to work for you?
  4. Get active in the community. Today’s talent (especially millennials) wants to work with employers who have clear values. Giving back to the community – both through financial support and volunteering or other employee events – is a way to not only make a difference, but show talent that your commitment to them goes beyond the 9 to 5.

Employees respond to a welcoming, flexible and supportive work environment, but finding the right candidates is essential. Helpmates has an extensive network of talent across Southern California – we’ll find the right talent to jump in and make an immediate impact on your organization.

4 Ways Your Company is Turning Off Top Talent

December 8th, 2015

Bloggers and the Internet spend a great deal of time sharing suggestions for attracting top talent (we posted some tips for attracting millennials this summer, actually). But while attracting top talent is critical, there is another recruiting key that is often forgotten.

Turning OFF top talent!

While you’re thinking of ways to attract talent, you could be simultaneously sending a subliminal message that you’re not the best place to work. And that message could be costly. Here are four common mistakes companies make that can turn off top talent:Untitled

  1. Boring job descriptions. Job descriptions are much more than a way to weed out unqualified candidates – they’re your first (and sometimes only) way of selling both the job and your company to talent. If your job descriptions offer little more than a bullet list of “musts” and “would like to haves,” you’re missing out. We share some keys for writing effective job descriptions in this blog post – print it out and hang it by your computer for some inspiration when creating your next job description.
  2. A drawn out hiring process. It’s a candidate’s market right now, with some industries fighting tooth and nail for top talent. You can’t afford to drag out the hiring process unnecessarily – when you do, your competitors are snatching up top talent. Take a realistic look at your hiring process and see where you can “cut the fat.” Do you really need four people in an interview (which can add days or weeks to coordinate schedules)? Could you conduct several interviews in one day to avoid bringing candidates in on multiple days? You’d be surprised how often one or two extra days in a few places can result in loss of your top candidates.
  3. Disconnected messaging and reality. This one can be a bit tricky. Building a strong employer brand is a critical part of the recruitment strategy for many organizations, and rightfully so. But spending hours and dollars on a strong employer branding message could end up a colossal waste if the reality of life within your organization doesn’t mesh with the reality you’re pushing in your messaging. Be honest about your company culture and identify its true strengths, not what you wish they were. Craft messaging that helps convey that message, so that when candidates meet with your team, that message is reinforced. Taking these steps can save you considerable recruiting costs down the line (and should also help your retention rate).
  4. Too much formality.  By all accounts, if your corporate culture is more formal, be sure to present yourself formally in all communications. But formality doesn’t mean a lack of humanity. Generic messages like “Your resume has been received” help you blend right in with every other competitor using an ATS (applicant tracking system). Are you excited that incredible candidates are applying to your company? You should be! Let them know about it so that when someone from your office does call or email them, they’re excited to hear from you. A shift from “Your resume has been received” to “We are so excited you chose to apply with us – we’re reviewing resumes for the next few days and will be in touch soon” could be a simple change that makes a massive difference.

Turning off top talent can cost you, but a sound recruiting strategy is also essential. That’s where Helpmates comes in. Our extensive network of talented professionals across Southern California trusts us to find them incredible jobs. We’d love to connect them with yours! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find top talent.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Writing Job Descriptions That Deliver

December 4th, 2015

In many instances, job descriptions serve as your unofficial introduction to top talent. Many candidates are viewing your job descriptions before visiting your website or reading your brochure.

Are your job descriptions doing THEIR job?

Today’s candidates are more discerning than ever. They want to work for companies that align with their culture and beliefs, that offer a strong culture and possibly flexibility. Are your job descriptions selling them on your job and your company?

For many organizations, job descriptions are little more than a checklist of requirements used to weed out unqualified candidates. Changing your view on job descriptions and putting a bit more time and effort into their creation could make a big impact on the number and quality of candidates applying to your jobs.

Untitled

Effective job descriptions: A checklist

This checklist can help – print it out and hang it by your computer to help you truly create job descriptions that deliver:

  1. Sound like a human being. Are you hiring robots or people? Then why do most job descriptions sound as if they were written by a machine? Today’s job seekers are much more discerning about companies and opportunities they apply to – your job descriptions should be elevated to meet those needs. And the first way to do that is to add some “human” to them. If you’ve been writing job descriptions the “old” way for years, this might be hard at first. Here’s a tip: Record yourself talking about the job and its requirements as if a candidate was siting right in front of you. Type it up, format and you are done. It really is that simple.
  2. Sell your company. We’re in a candidate-driven market, and the notion that candidates should be grateful for any opportunities is an outdated one. Today’s job seekers have more choices than ever, and they need a reason (other than your job) to choose your company over the competition. So take the opportunity and sell your company in the job description. Were you named a best place to work? Is your break room fridge always stocked with great snacks? Now’s the time to share it! Anything you can do to differentiate your business from the competition, while building your employer brand, is going to help your job description stand out for the right reasons.
  3. Quick and easy. Remember the last time you were applying to jobs? Applying to jobs is in and of itself a full-time job for many people! Crafting unique resumes and cover letters, searching for jobs, then reading descriptions and applying to jobs (often with a fairly long and tedious process within the applicant tracking system) is exhausting for candidates. If you can convey the first two bullet points in a clear and concise manner, you’re much more likely to be on candidates’ good sides. Focus on the most important facts and points, and leave the rest to your hiring process. The simplification will make it that much easier for candidates to get to the “good” stuff (and will look much better on a mobile phone, where more and more candidates are reading and applying to jobs).
  4. Include a call to action. Want candidates to apply now using your ATS? Prefer that they send a resume to your hiring manager? Tell them! Be specific in next steps to ensure that candidates can clearly take the correct next steps in your hiring process. As a bonus, candidates who don’t follow these directions may not be as detail oriented as candidates you would need for certain roles, so you can potentially weed out those who don’t follow directions here.

Job descriptions are one component of a successful recruiting strategy, but there is much more to attracting and hiring top talent. At Helpmates, we have an extensive network of top candidates across Southern California. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business maximize its talent investment.

Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Keys to Avoid Common Workplace Distractions

October 29th, 2015

If you read articles on the internet (since you’re reading this one, it’s probably a safe bet), you likely see at least a handful of articles focusing on productivity each day. With good reason: Today’s employers expect their employees to get more done. “Time is money” is the old adage, and it holds true today.

The “secret” to getting more done.helpmates

What if instead of getting more done, we focused on eliminating common workplace distractions that are unimportant or worse, make you “feel” like you’re being productive, when reality is just the opposite (and they’re taking us away from truly important tasks)? It might not be much of a “secret,” but eliminating distractions can make a drastic impact on your ability to get work done and feel satisfied when you leave the office each day.

Focusing on these three keys will help:

Put away the phone. Is your mobile phone an accessory, a communication device…or an extension of your physical body? The latter is true for an increasing number of adults. In fact, people between the ages of 18 and 36 check their phone an average of 43 times per day! When added up individually, one or two minutes on your phone more than 40 times equals a little over an hour. That doesn’t sound too intimidating; however, when you think about the time taken away from tasks, or restarting important tasks after checking your phone, the actual impact is much greater. Making matters worse, actually checking your phone isn’t the only thing distracting you from work – just hearing and seeing phone notifications is enough to distract you and prevent you from focusing on your tasks. The solution is as simple as it sounds – don’t keep your phone somewhere easily accessible, where the temptation to check it (or the sights and sounds of notifications) can cause you to veer off course.

Manage your email. Researchers have found that checking email more often leads to increased stress and feeling emotionally drained. So then why do many of us check email compulsively throughout the day? Regardless of specific industry, many of us now find ourselves in service-based roles. Our clients or customers expect us to respond to their questions or concerns quickly. But how quickly? Another recent study found that three quarters of employees report replying to email within an hour of receiving it. Is that really necessary? Depending on your industry or specific role, maybe — but it’s highly unlikely. Rather than constantly checking email all day (which, as noted above, not only takes the time necessary to read and respond to emails, but the time needed to resume tasks or get back into whatever you were working on previously), schedule set times throughout the day to check it. In most cases, checking email first thing in the morning, just before or after lunch, and again near the end of the day ensures you read every message within a couple hours of receiving it, and can promptly address anything that needs to be addressed. For real emergencies, your coworkers, clients or customers will call you or find you in person, they won’t be sending emails. So schedule time to check and respond to emails, and focus the rest of your time on truly important tasks.

Drown out ambient noise. Open offices are becoming more common, and even in traditional, cubicle-based offices, conversations and other ambient noise can bleed into your workspace — and make it difficult to focus on important tasks. The simplest way to drown out noise and create a more suitable work environment is to wear headphones and listen to music that helps you focus. But if your workplace doesn’t allow headphones, consider explaining to your supervisor that, while you are a team player, the nature of your job makes it difficult to focus with the level of noise outside your cubicle. Your supervisor may be able to accommodate a request for a new cubicle. Or, you may be able to negotiate the addition of a “white noise” machine or fan, which can drown out ambient noise and provide a better environment for you to get your work done.

Avoiding workplace distractions at work can help you get more done and be more successful, but when you’re looking for a job that provides you with the opportunities you need, call Helpmates. We work with top employers to provide jobs across Southern California, and we’ll find the right job to help you reach your goals. 

Mastering the Art of Multiple Job Offers and Counter Offers

October 9th, 2015

Whether you call it a “talent war” or a “skirmish,” one fact is certain: businesses today are in extreme competition for talented professionals. And that competition puts many job seekers at a distinct advantage.HM

Without a doubt, today’s businesses want top talent — and they are willing to provide competitive compensation in order to get it. Position yourself strategically — one excellent way is to partner with a staffing firm —  and there is incredible potential to receive not just one job offer, but multiple offers.

But how do you handle multiple offers and potential counter offers from employers? These tips can help you weigh the benefits of each offer and make the best decision for your family and career:

  1. Think about your current employer first. If you’ve received multiple job offers and visit your employer to review, you may receive a counter offer. This counter offer could be very tempting – you wouldn’t have to learn new processes and procedures, or memorize new names for your coworkers. You’d keep the old, familiar feeling, while also gaining a higher salary or other fringe benefits. Seems like an ideal situation, right? If you’ve already decided to leave but feel lured by the counter offer, consider this: If you have to turn in notice and announce you’re leaving in order to get a promotion or salary increase, does your employer really value your contributions? Or are they simply buying time to find your replacement? Or perhaps they realize that retaining one employee is cheaper than finding and hiring a new one. While the initial counter offer could seem appealing, the long-term ramifications of accepting that offer may not align with your initial plans and goals for seeking new employment.
  2. Get it in writing. So, you’ve decided to consider multiple offers from employers – congratulations! But until the choice has been made, it might be best to temper your excitement and focus on the task at hand. First things first, ensure you have any job offers in writing before making a decision. Verbal offers are not legally offers, and employers may — and this could be unintentional or a miscommunication, but it does happen — change the details of your verbal offer. If you’ve already turned down another employer, you’ll end up stuck with whatever is left. Alert the HR representative making a verbal offer that you are happy to consider the offer, as soon as you get it in writing.
  3. Be careful. Multiple offers are unsurprising to employers today — remember that talent war mentioned above. That doesn’t mean, though, that they enjoy being pitted against one another. It’s important to tread carefully and ensure you’re communicating thoroughly with employers. You most definitely don’t want them to feel that they’re in a sort of game. If you’ve received an offer from one employer while still interviewing with another, wait until the final interview and alert the recruiter that you have received an unexpected offer from another employer. Reassure them that they are your top pick, but that the other offer is appealing. Ask them when they might be considering making a hiring decision, then leave the ball in their court. If they are strongly considering hiring you for the position, they will likely be motivated to enter the fray and make their own offer. If, however, they decide to back out at that time, know that you’ve been totally honest and upfront with the employer, and that you are choosing the employer who is most invested in your future.
  4. Don’t burn bridges. Regardless of which employer you choose, always end the decision with personalized thank you notes. Communicating with an organization after you’ve turned down a job may feel awkward – kind of like running an old boyfriend or girlfriend at the grocery store.  But, sending out a quick note thanking each employer for its consideration officially closes the hiring process while leaving them with a positive impression of you. Sure, you may have chosen another opportunity this time, but you never know when you will cross paths with either that employer again, or with someone you met during the interview process. It is always better to be gracious and honest with employers!

Before you can choose between multiple job offers, you need to jump feet first into your job search. Helpmates partners with talented professionals like you to match them with excellent career opportunities at respected employers. Visit our job board to learn more about our current jobs in Southern California and submit your resume to get started.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ambro 

How to Turn Around Bad Job Interviews

September 25th, 2015

Maybe your alarm didn’t go off that morning and you were running behind. Or maybe you just never quite felt comfortable. There are any number of reasons why your job interview didn’t start off on the right foot, but don’t give up hope just yet. You can absolutely salvage an interview that appears to have gone off its rails.HM Blog Image

Every job interview can be a successful one.

Although not every job interview will result in a job offer, every interview can be successful in one way or another. Here are some common job interview mistakes, along with tips for turning a bad interview into a successful one:

  1. Problem: You blew your answer to an important question. Solution: Ask for a do-over. Sometimes you can’t help it – despite practicing your responses and feeling like a rockstar before your interview, you ended up going off on a tangent and mumbling through a response. It happens – but the best thing you can do is to admit that your response didn’t quite come out right and ask if you can answer again. At best, you’ll get another opportunity to share a strong answer. At worst, you’ve demonstrated your poise and confidence to the interviewer.
  2. Problem: You’re so nervous you can’t think straight. Solution: Talk about your nerves. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we’re just plain nervous during a job interview. If practicing your responses and taking deep breaths hasn’t prevented shaky nerves before your interview, the best way to avoid those nerves taking over your interview is to acknowledge them. Sometimes nerves present themselves physically – shaky hands are a common symptom – and it can be more effective to simply tell your interviewer that you’re a bit nervous, but only because you’re so enthusiastic about the position. But then once you’ve acknowledged your nerves, don’t dwell on them – move on and talk about the great traits and experience you bring to the table!
  3. Problem: The interviewer doesn’t seem interested. Solution: Make a stronger connection. Sometimes we can forget about the human element of job interviews, treating them like a business transaction instead of a new personal connection. If you feel like your interviewer is bored with the interview or that he or she just isn’t interested in your skills, it’s up to you to make a stronger effort to connect. Think about your body language – are you making strong eye contact, leaning in and demonstrating your own engagement? Asking questions can also help bring interviewers “back.” Turn the conversation around to engage the interviewer with questions about his or her role with the company, what it’s like to work with the employer, and other questions about both the interviewer and the company (remember, of course, to keep the questions professional, but on a personal level).
  4. Problem: You just know that the interview didn’t go well. Solution: Talk to your recruiter. Sometimes no matter what steps you take, an interview feels like it just didn’t go well. In these situations, a recruiter can be your most valuable tool. Call your recruiter and talk to him or her about what happened. Be honest about where you could have done better or where you felt you didn’t make the right impression. Bad interviews happen, and when you are working with a recruiter who has a strong relationship with the employer, you have the added benefit of someone “going to bat” for you.

Preparing ahead of time can help minimize bad job interview experiences, but now you have the necessary steps to turn around a less than stellar interview. Are you looking for jobs in Southern California? Helpmates matches professionals like you with leading employers across the region. Visit our job board to view and apply for jobs today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Ambro 

How to Take Your New Hires From “Employees” to “Superstars”

August 21st, 2015

Hiring employees takes considerable time, effort and ultimately, cost. But once you’ve got the right team on board, your work as an organization doesn’t stop there. Tapping into your team’s true potential raises everyone’s performance and can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.

Are you maximizing the potential of your team?ID-10066157

There’s a superstar within nearly every new hire you make — it’s up to you and your organization to help employees realize that potential. Here are three ways you can get started right now:

Get off to the right start. Onboarding really is essential to the long-term performance of new employees. From introducing new hires to their new coworkers to ensuring they have all the technology and supplies needed to get started, your organization is responsible for how new employees feel as they get used to their new positions. Onboarding should never be an afterthought, but a carefully planned and executed part of your engagement and retention strategy. A couple other suggestions to help new employees get off on the right foot:

– Create daily “lessons” or “homework” so that new employees know what is expected of them for their first week or two. Rather than feeling confused or like they’re not contributing, new team members will go home each day with a sense of accomplishment.

– Keep in regular contact with new hires leading up to their start date and send paperwork in advance – let them know what to expect on their first day.

– Ensure they’re “in the loop” by providing a list of any company jargon that is used regularly – being the new guy or gal is hard enough, but feeling out of the loop when people speak what feels like a foreign language can make it significantly harder.

Recognize them on social media. Everyone likes to see their name in lights (or their picture in the paper). While social media is a great tool for meeting new clients or customers, it’s also an excellent place to recognize your employees and show off your corporate culture. Welcoming new hires while promoting events like employee birthdays, special achievements or awards, team building activities and other internal recognition shows your employees that they are valuable members of the team. It recognizes their essential contributions to your success, and fosters a sense of pride in employees outside the typical 9 to 5 (as your employees “like,” “comment” on or “share” your posts, they’re also spreading the word about your great company to new potential clients or employees). Employees who feel more engaged and involved in their employers’ success are are more productive and invested in their future.

Use objective and reliable methods to assess performance. In many organizations, employees wander a bit aimlessly day to day, going through the motions and working on the same tasks, in the same way. Without consistent and valuable feedback, how could anyone expect employees to take it to the next level? Annual performance reviews are not enough to build a team of superstars. Gather your managers and define performance metrics for key roles within your organization. Objectivity here is key – input from other departments or leaders may be helpful to ensure consistency and fairness across the board. Then once those metrics have been defined, ensure they are communicated to each member of your team, along with expectations and steps to take to ensure their performance is where your organization expects it to be. Follow up regularly to encourage continued growth and performance, and offer suggestions while also soliciting feedback from your team.

Before you can help your employees reach their potential, you have to find the right people to add to your team. Helpmates has an extensive network of talent across Southern California – we’ll help you find your next superstar. Contact us today to get started.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Ambro

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