July 31st, 2015
Millennials are a hot topic for employers today – and with good reason: Millennials will make up the largest generation in the US workforce this year. But while the millennial generation may be the largest, it can also be considered one of the most complex. Research shows they are motivated differently than several past generations, and understanding these differences could be key to landing top millennials for your workforce.
Your organization’s success requires attracting talented millennials.
Millennials are driving innovation across multiple industries and are sure to be an essential component of your organization’s short- and long-term success. These tips can help you attract talented young professionals who will make an impact on your business:
- Show them what you’re all about. While salary is the first thing people often think of when considering job opportunities, millennials today are more interested in who you are and what your company is all about. What do you stand for? Define your values and ensure your company actually lives up to them. Then be sure that message is clear in your employment branding tools and materials.
- Offer clear career paths. Millennials are eager to jump in and make an immediate impact (23% of them said it matters most to them), but it can be difficult to feel important when you’re in an entry-level position. One way around this is to define and communicate clear career paths (and options) for new employees upon hiring (or even during job interviews). A “clear path for advancement” actually ranked as the second most important factor for millennials in one study (at 20%), so building a clear path and communicating how important employees are to the big picture is essential.
- Be active on social media. Research shows that the best way to recruit millennials is on social media (42% – which is 50% more than the next highest method!). If your organization isn’t posting great content on social media and engaging with its audience, you are missing out on landing potential superstars.
- Share feedback regularly. Performance reviews are an annoyance to some organizations, a requirement for others…and sometimes they’re used as an excellent retention and productivity tool. Millennials want and expect regular feedback from their managers, so if you don’t have a system in place for assessing employees and providing targeted steps for improvement, it’s time to get to work!
Searching for talented millennial workers? Helpmates has an extensive network of talent across Southern California. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn how we can help your business reach its goals.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/alexisdc
July 24th, 2015
While every past position hasn’t necessarily been a dream job, chances are you’ve had a bad experience or two in your employment history. From bad bosses to policies that don’t make sense, you probably have quite a few stories…but how you handle those experiences during a job interview could be essential to determining whether or not you land the job.
Careful handling of past job experiences is key.
Interviewers will expect you to come prepared to discuss past employers and positions, so careful preparation and handling of any bad experiences can make the difference between starting your new job and submitting another resume. Here are five tips to help you get through the discussion with flying colors:
- Be honest. It can be awfully tempting to gloss over a bad work experience in an attempt to impress interviewers, but this tactic can blow up in your face – and cause more damage than a tactful answer in the first place. Chances are your recruiter will speak with someone at your previous job and understand that it wasn’t the best situation. Be ahead of the game by sharing honest feedback on your previous experience.
- But not too honest. An overview of past experiences – good or bad – can help give interviewers a well-rounded look into your background and how you’ve handled challenging situations. But while honesty is important, be sure to avoid giving too much information during a job interview. A high-level explanation of the challenges in a previous workplace, and how you overcame them, is more than enough to paint an accurate picture for recruiters. Going into more detail can open up additional questions that are uncomfortable and lead to unnecessary details.
- Avoid negativity. While honesty is important, tact and class are especially critical. Never (ever!) speak negatively about an individual in your previous workplace (or about an employer in general). While you can mention that you didn’t “have the strongest relationship” with a specific colleague, refrain from getting into blame or personal attacks during a job interview. Sometimes coworkers or bosses and employees don’t get along. It happens to many people, and if you speak about it with honesty while staying professional, you will make a much stronger impression.
- Find something positive. While you may not have had the best experience at a previous employer, chances are there was something positive you gained from the experience. Maybe they provided you with opportunities to grow your skill set. Or perhaps their flexible work arrangements helped create a better environment. Tying in something positive about the employer – despite your overall negative experience – demonstrates your willingness to learn and stay objective in difficult situations.
- Talk about your other jobs. Once you’ve given a high-level, honest overview of your experience and the positives you gleaned from it, move on. Put the emphasis more on your positive experiences and how they’ve prepared you for the specific career opportunity discussed in your interview. If you focus too much attention on the negative experience, it could end up being the most memorable part of your interview (for the wrong reasons). Instead, get to the details and move on to help tell your story and show why you’re the best fit for the job.
Want to avoid more bad job experiences? Helpmates is hiring professionals like you for jobs across Southern California. Search our job board or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stockimages
June 2nd, 2015
Summer is an exciting time for many of us – nice weather, vacations, family gatherings, outdoor activities and more. But while the season brings with it many fun activities, those activities could be considered distractions when it comes to your job search.
Finding a job during the summer requires focus
If you’re looking for a job, it can be easy to get distracted by summer activities and lose sight of your end goal. But while hiring generally slows down in the summer, it also ramps up quite a bit in the fall – the effort you put forth now can help set you up for success in the long term. The good news is that you don’t have to give up on fun entirely during the summer season – these tips can help you stay focused (while giving you some room for fun, too):
- Schedule your day. Even if you can only devote a few hours each day toward your job search this summer, stay committed to those several hours. Schedule out your days and identify key goals and tasks you’ll accomplish each day. Something as simple as breaking things down into steps can mean the difference between landing a new job and starting over again in the fall.
- Keep networking. With better weather comes better networking event locations – take advantage! Various networking groups will hold outdoor and other events during the summer, offering a fun way to enjoy the summer while moving your job search forward as well.
- Stay professional. Summer temperatures are hotter, but resist the urge to wear casual summer clothes to networking or other professional events. Stay professional when you’re meeting with potential employers, recruiters or at networking events.
- Remember it’s summer. Your schedule isn’t the only one that’s jam-packed this summer – chances are that hiring managers have summer vacations, family gatherings and other events too. Keep this in mind and be patient if you don’t hear back from employers in the most time efficient manner. Stay focused, follow up and be patient – it will pay off in the end.
- Consider volunteering. Many nonprofit organizations hold fundraisers and other events to take advantage of the good moods and spirit of giving that come along with the great summer weather. Spending a few hours each week helping these organizations is not only a great thing to do for your community, but a great way to expand your network and build your skill set.
Looking for jobs in Southern California this summer?
Helpmates is hiring! We match professionals like you with great jobs in Southern California. Search our currently available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to get started.
April 30th, 2015
You’re an experienced, savvy recruiter. You find the best candidates and make a perfect match with your open roles. Even the best of us make mistakes from time to time, though. In fact, most recruiters will succumb to one of these mistakes eventually.
Avoid these mistakes to land better talent for your organization.
Here are four of the most common mistakes – read them now, and you’ll be in great shape to avoid them later!
- Not taking time to craft excellent job descriptions. With all that’s on your plate, job descriptions can almost seem like an afterthought. But spending an extra few minutes to create a compelling job description that accurately conveys requirements and expectations for the job will save you significant time (and possibly headaches) down the road. Better job descriptions lead to more informed candidates. More informed candidates have better prepared resumes and cover letters, which make identifying top talent a bit easier. Plus, they’re more likely to come to job interviews better prepared with thoughtful questions.
- Only searching for the “perfect” match. You may think you know exactly the perfect candidates for your job openings. The precise background, education and experience needed to thrive in your roles is perfectly laid out for you. But are these expectations really setting you up to find the best candidates for those roles? Or more importantly, for your company? Take a “big picture” look at candidates before painting a picture in your mind of how the perfect candidate should look. Speak to managers and team members to understand how employees will fit into the big picture, then be flexible while meeting with candidates. While you certainly want to adhere to requirements and expectations, taking a more open-minded approach could mean landing a future superstar within your organization.
- Turning down overqualified candidates. We are living in an era where career transitions are more common than ever. Online education has made learning about new fields and areas of interest easier than ever, and bright professionals are taking advantage. But, eager professionals with impressive resumes can set off the “overqualified” warning to recruiters. Turn off that warning and be open to overqualified candidates – while you certainly want to conduct your due diligence to prevent being a “stepping stone” organization, you will likely gain a passionate, eager employee.
- Not communicating. Whether it’s explaining things during a telephone screen or following up post-interview with next steps or decisions, communicating with candidates is critical to a successful recruiting career. Remember, candidates are also your customers. If you leave them hanging or fail to provide critical information to help them make decisions or continue through the hiring process, you are providing poor customer service. While you may not be interested in certain candidates, taking a few moments to communicate effectively ensures that – while they may not have gotten the job – you still value their application. Word of mouth is extremely important when it comes to considering new employers…you want to ensure word of mouth about your organization is positive! Plus, while a candidate might not be the right fit for this role, he or she may be a perfect fit for another role down the line. If you’ve failed to communicate effectively and have left a negative impression, do you think they’ll want to work for you later?
Finding great talent in today’s marketplace can be a challenge, but following these tips can help you considerably. Need more help? Helpmates has an extensive network of talented professionals across Southern California who are ready to jump in and make an immediate impact on your business. Contact us today to learn more.
April 10th, 2015
Have you ever had great experiences during job interviews, only to get on board and feel like you were the victim of a bait and switch? Sometimes, it can feel like the “real” corporate culture of a company emerges only after you’ve accepted the job.
The role of corporate culture in your career decisions
Just like you aim to put your best foot forward during job interviews, employers are trying to impress you throughout the hiring process. But when it comes to deciding which job offer you should take, understanding corporate culture at your potential new employer is a critical part of your decision. These four tips can help you more accurately gauge whether the corporate culture will be a fit for your needs:
- Do your homework. Before you even leave for the interview, you should have an idea what it’s like to work at your potential employer. First, be sure to talk to your recruiter – he or she has spent a significant amount of time talking to and meeting with employers and can give you some valuable insights. But also take advantage of your network. Scan your LinkedIn connections to see if you have a link to your potential employer. Talk to friends and relatives and ask them if they’ve had any experiences. Craft a few specific questions ahead of time to ensure you get the information and insights you need to make a thoughtful decision.
- Ask questions. Here at Helpmates, we recommend our candidates always ask questions during job interviews. Asking them can help demonstrate your interest in a company and role. They can also help position you as an informed professional. But there’s another benefit – they can help you determine whether the company culture is a fit for your needs and goals. “When is your workload at its peak?” shows insight and interest into the company workflow, but it can also help you gauge whether demands and expectations on time and effort exceed your comfort zone. Asking a question about the the frequency of employee meetings can also shed some light on the balance between solo work and teamwork expected, or into how much oversight you’ll get from your direct supervisor. One additional question that can help you gauge company culture centers around community involvement – if an employer is constantly sponsoring charity walks or other events and you’re passionate about giving back, there may be a fit.
- Be chatty. It might not seem like there is too much opportunity, but take advantage of “chit chat” moments to get some extra insight into what it’s like to work at each employer. For example, asking the receptionist where the best place is for lunch or a cup of coffee can help you determine whether the team’s habits are a fit for you. Do you prefer eating with your coworkers each day? Would you rather eat at your desk? If the team dynamic doesn’t fit with your personal preferences, the company culture might not be a fit for you.
- Take a look around. Some offices are like a second home, while others provide more professional, even sterile environments. Each has its perks for different people, and many organizations offer a balance between the two. Take a look around at your next job interview. If you like to surround yourself with mementos and family photos, but you notice that no one at a potential employer has done the same, the company might not be the best choice for you.
A complete understanding of the job and employer is essential to job satisfaction and a great career experience. At Helpmates, we not only offer jobs with top employers across Southern California, we provide you with the background and information needed to make the right decision for your career. Search our available jobs or contact us to take the next step toward your career goals.
April 3rd, 2015
Spring is often called the season of renewal. And with the spirit of spring, you might be thinking about the next step in your career (hint: We’re hiring!). As you think about where you’d like to take your career this spring, one important factor to consider is salary.
Don’t be nervous about salary negotiation.
While there are many factors that can influence our job satisfaction and contribute toward reaching our career goals, compensation ranks highly for most professionals. These salary negotiation tips can help you land competitive compensation:
- Rehearse the conversation multiple times. You’ve already gotten through the hard part by the time you’re ready for salary negotiation – congratulations! But you may feel indebted to the employer or nervous about discussing salary. The key to combat nerves is in rehearsing how the conversation might go. This can help you avoid language that may minimize your accomplishments or diminish your case for a higher salary (phrases like “only,” “just” or “think” can give that impression).
- Consider presenting your desired salary in a range. Have a number in your head for the ideal salary you’d like to earn? Research shows you’re more likely to get it if you put it into a range. Here’s an example: Aiming for an annual salary of $45,000? Ask your employee for a salary “Between $45,000 and $50,000.” Choosing the right high and low anchors here are key – choose your desired salary as the lowest number, and be more ambitious at the high end, within reason (who knows – you might even get it!). Of course, each situation is unique – if your new employer appears to desire flexibility, a range could be perfect. But if you sense that the appearance of more preparation will serve you better, be armed with a specific number (say, $45,750). The key is to be perceptive and prepared.
- Remember to look ahead. You’ve put in your time on research and have prepared a well thought out case for your new employer. But…you didn’t get the salary you expected. It’s important here not to be wounded – look ahead to the future. There could be several factors that determine the salary your employer is able to offer right now, but how you react here can make a major impact on whether you get a raise or promotion down the line. Keep the conversation open ended in this case – before you leave the meeting with your boss, be sure to ask something like, “I completely understand – can we revisit my compensation in six months?” Even better, ask the employer what you can do in the next six months to add additional value to your contributions. This small question will demonstrate your commitment to providing value and results for your employer. Plus, you’re taking ownership by setting up a measurable way to determine whether a salary increase is reasonable in the future.
Take your career to the next level this spring – Helpmates can help you reach your goals! Search our available jobs with top employers across Southern California, and submit your resume directly through our website.
March 31st, 2015
We spend a fair amount of time here on the Helpmates blog helping to ease the nerves of anxious and eager candidates. And with good reason – searching for jobs can be stressful! When someone is especially excited about a company and role, it can be hard to keep nerves at bay (We’ve all been there – remember the last time you had to interview for a job?).
Helping candidates feel at ease during interviews means better results for your business.
Of course, putting candidates at ease is a nice thing to do, but ultimately more relaxed candidates provide better quality responses and overall better interviews. Try these tips for putting candidates at ease, and you’ll be well on your way toward stronger interviews:
- Prepare them. When scheduling interviews, give candidates an idea of the topics you’ll be discussing. There are two benefits here – 1) You’ll get better, more thoughtful answers from candidates to give you a more thorough impression and 2) The candidate will feel better prepared when entering the interview and should be more comfortable with the process.
- Greet them. Ensure there is someone to meet candidates as they arrive and possibly even give them a tour of your office as you get ready for the interview. Waiting silently in a reception area can be nerve-wracking and can result in extra jitters for candidates.
- Smile often. It’s amazing how much power there is in a smile! Job interviews can make everyone feel nervous and uncomfortable, but a simple smile (genuine and often) can immediately make candidates feel more relaxed. It can help interviews be less stressful for you, too!
- Set expectations. One of the most nerve-wracking parts of job interviews is not knowing the next steps. If you clear the air at the very beginning by explaining your plans and hiring process (and when candidates can expect to hear from you), you can immediately put candidates at ease by removing that key stressor.
- Turn off the phone and computer. Candidates have done their research and practiced their responses…what could be worse than delivering a great response to your interview question only to have the phone ring or your email notification ding. Turn off your phone and computer (or at least silence them) before the interview to remove distractions and keep candidates at ease.
Before you can put candidates at ease during job interviews, finding top talent is the hardest part. Helpmates has been providing top talent to companies across Southern California for more than 40 years. We’ll help you get a better return on your talent investment.
March 24th, 2015
A few months ago, we talked about the importance of confidence in making a positive first impression with employers. But finding and exuding confidence can be a challenge in and of itself.
Showcase your skills and impress hiring managers by being confident.
If nerves are getting in the way of properly conveying confidence during your interviews, check out these tips. Doing your homework ahead of time can help quell nerves and help you put your best foot forward!
- Show that you’ve done your research. Today’s employers want engaged employees who demonstrate they are invested in the company and its success. We always recommend candidates prepare for interviews by researching the position and company – it’s up to you to show that you’ve prepared! Prepare thoughtful questions that lead with something similar to “While researching your company, I noticed that [blank]” and you’ll not only demonstrate that you’ve done your research, you’ll impress interviewers by showing a genuine interest in their companies.
- Pay attention to your body language. The old standards really come into play here – if you’re constantly looking down or mumbling, you are far from exuding confidence in an interview. Here’s a great list of body language mistakes to avoid from Forbes. One of the best ways to avoid body language mistakes and really exude confidence during your job interviews is to practice. Ask a friend or family member to act as the interviewer, and run through practice interview questions, working to avoid body language mistakes while providing thoughtful, positive responses.
- Repeat back names as you meet new people. People like to hear their names – it makes them feel more positively toward you, and it can also make it feel like you “fit right in” despite meeting the employer for the first time. Plus, repeating back names can send a subliminal message that you intend to meet and speak with that person again. Listen carefully when introduced to any person at a prospective employer, then repeat that name back during introductions. Body language also plays a factor here – look someone in the eye, extend a firm handshake, and add a genuine, “Nice to meet you, [NAME].”
- Practice what you want to say. There’s no way to know exactly what an interviewer will ask you during a job interview, but you can certainly have an idea of key points you’d like to make during job interviews. Prepare those responses and practice them ahead of time to sound cool and confident. The more you’ve said certain responses out loud, the more natural they’ll feel once you’re in an actual interview.
- Be positive. Whether you’re talking about your skill set or your previous employers, always focus on positives in job interviews. No one likes to be surrounded by negative people – and although you may not mean to, talking about past challenges or mistakes can make you seem like you’re dwelling on the negative. That’s where practicing your responses comes into play – you can always take a positive spin! Work through any potentially negative areas and spin them to focus on the positive.
Doing your homework and being prepared for an interview is the easiest way to be relaxed and confident. Here at Helpmates, we help all our candidates prepare for interviews with Southern California’s top employers. We’ll help you find the right job to reach your goals, then we’ll help ensure you put your best foot forward with hiring managers. Search our available SoCal jobs to take the first step.
March 20th, 2015
LinkedIn currently has more than 347 million users – not bad, right? Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second. That means that your past employers, coworkers and clients are likely there – as are your current bosses, peers and clients. Of course, hiring managers are some of the most active on the professional social network site. All of this means that there is incredible opportunity for you to leverage LinkedIn as a potent job search tool.
But are you?
Active LinkedIn users should see benefits within their careers and job searches. If you haven’t seen much result from your LinkedIn efforts, these reasons could be to blame:
- An unprofessional picture (or none at all). When recruiters visit your LinkedIn profile, they are forming a first impression of you and your suitability for their opportunity. A picture on your LinkedIn profile is imperative – if your profile lacks an image, it can signal to recruiters that you don’t care about the impression you make on them. The right picture should look professional and portray you in a positive light. LinkedIn is not the place for vacation photos or images with your loved ones (we’ve even seen some pets!). Professional headshots are best, but aren’t always the most cost effective. Check out Craigslist for potential photographers – you can often find students or newer photographers looking for opportunities to build their portfolios. Their rates are often far lower than more experienced photographers, but with similar results.
- Your profile is incomplete. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to complete your profile – you simply click on “edit profile” and click on each section to fill it in. Have a copy of your resume handy and get started…but add more personality and insight to your LinkedIn profile. This is a tremendous opportunity to “sell” yourself to employers. Give more depth and insight into how your skills and background translate to successful results for your employers. Show some personality (while remaining professional) and most importantly – be sure to fill out your entire profile!
- Spelling or grammar errors. Possibly the oldest (and often considered the most critical) resume advice out there is to triple check it for spelling or grammar errors. As business language becomes slightly more conversational today, grammar errors are less of a concern (barring major mistakes), but there is certainly no excuse for spelling errors on a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is essentially your online resume – a spelling error on your resume will often result in it being tossed into the garbage. An error on LinkedIn can mean getting passed over for your dream job. Once you’ve double checked your resume for errors, ask a friend to look it over as well – someone else can often spot errors you missed.
Of course, the best way to find job search success is to have the most powerful tools and allies on your side. Here at Helpmates, we match talented professionals like you with opportunities at some of Southern California’s top employers. Search our available jobs in SoCal and submit your resume now to take the first step.
February 27th, 2015
Many blogs and online resources are focused on helping you create the perfect resume to entice employers and show off your skills. And with good reason – your resume is a critical component of a successful job search. Without it, it is unlikely you’ll land an interview and proceed through the hiring process.
Creating an impactful resume is key to a successful job search
There are so many details to remember when it comes to resumes: Formatting, contact information, focusing on achievements…it can be hard to keep track of them all. But forget something important, and your resume could end up in the trash bin. Here are three things you shouldn’t forget on your resume:
- Your website address. Do you have a personal blog or website? Particularly in technical or creative roles, personal websites can be a fantastic job search tool. They offer a unique opportunity to not just talk about your skills, but to actually show employers your work. Outside of technical roles, personal websites offer a great opportunity to showcase your industry knowledge and communication skills. Free websites can be set up on sites like wordpress.com. Be sure to include a link to your website with your contact information on your resume so employers know it’s a critical piece of your portfolio. And, of course, be sure that the content of your website reflects work and information that you would want a future employer to see!
- Social media links. This might initially sound incorrect, but it is not a mistake – including links to your professional social media profiles can be a great way to ensure recruiters get the full picture of who you are as a professional and what you bring to the table. In particular, your LinkedIn URL is valuable here. If you have a Twitter account, it can also be a good choice. Personal tweets are acceptable, as long as you also include some professional or relevant tweets (and you avoid profane or inflammatory language that could turn off potential employers).
- Volunteer work. Employers want to understand your entire professional picture – what you bring to the table. If you’re active in non-profit work, this can be a tremendous asset to employers, and a great way to showcase your differentiators in a resume. In particular, volunteer work that boosts your skills relevant to your position and job title are especially interesting to employers. This is also a great area in which to demonstrate skills you have that might not be directly relevant to the job for which you are applying—you never know what other positions or future opportunities might exist and this will give recruiters and hiring managers a more complete picture of what you have to offer!
- Achievements/Certifications. You’ve done great work – showing it off on your resume is essential. Whether you were named “Employee of the Month” or “Best Teammate” at a past employer, or you received community recognition for volunteer work, your accomplishments should be a featured part of your resume. These not only help paint that full picture mentioned above, but they show you’re a winner – someone who goes above and beyond to reach goals. Certifications also help demonstrate this key facet of a successful employee. When a professional goes above and beyond to become especially proficient in a particular field, this action shows employers the desire and ability to go above and beyond in the workplace.
Work these four things into your resume, and it will be an even stronger tool in your job search arsenal. And if you’re looking for jobs in Southern California, check out our job board. The recruiters at Helpmates will review your resume, make recommendations and match you with tremendous career opportunities with some of the region’s top employers. Be sure to send us your resume today and we’ll be in touch!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/phasinphotos