When the Boss Has Unreasonable Expectations

Most bosses have high expectations – as well they should. But sometimes a manager can be unreasonably demanding. There is nothing that raises stress levels more quickly, and nothing that pulls down morale and productivity more readily.

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The stress it induces can also lead to health problems. Studies have shown it significantly raises the probability of a heart attack. So, if you find yourself in such a situation, how do you handle it? Here are some strategies to help you change the dynamic for the better.

  1. Take a different perspective

An assignment your boss has given you may appear to be extreme to you, but take a moment to look at the task from your manager’s viewpoint. It could be that your supervisor sees a way of doing the work that is not as onerous as it appears to you, or that you are misinterpreting what your supervisor wants.

Or it could be that your supervisor is intentionally giving you a challenging assignment because he or she is looking to push you into a higher level of performance, to help you reach your potential. Or it could be that you are selling yourself short, that you are underestimating your ability.

  1. Propose solutions

On the other hand, if your boss is continually dumping an inordinate amount of work on you, or otherwise asking too much in the way of results, then you have a real problem. Your first step should be to arrange a meeting with him or her.

The purpose of the meeting obviously is to work through the situation, but going in simply to complain about the workload or expectations and to say you cannot accomplish the assignments will not go over well. You need to prepare what you are going to say, and you need to focus on how to solve the problem.

You need to explain what the problem is, and what needs to change in order to accomplish the task. You may, for example, need more time to do the job or more people. But the focus here again is on getting the job done.

It also helps to get more information, such as the purpose or goal of the project, what obstacles you are likely to encounter, and if there have been any similar projects undertaken in the past that might help to provide some guidance.

  1. Consider why your supervisor may have such high expectations

Try to put yourself in your supervisor’s position to understand her behavior. He or she may be getting pressure from higher ups to boost performance, or she may be positioning herself for a promotion. It could also be that she is considering whether to give you increased authority and responsibility and is monitoring how you handle it.

  1. Check with coworkers

You probably aren’t the only person who is having difficulty handling the demands of your supervisor. Talk to your coworkers about their experiences with your boss and find out how they handled the situation. Find out what they know about your supervisor and her background and motivations.

Try to find people in the company who have had a good working relationship with your boss and learn what you can from them.

  1. Try stress-reducing activities

If you are going to perform at your best, you need to stay healthy and keep stress to a minimum. There are a number of different ways to do that. Make sure to get enough sleep and exercise, eat a healthy diet and maintain a good social life.

If, no matter what you do, you’ve decided it’s time to leave your boss for another one, check out our current job opportunities here at Helpmates. Find one or two that look interesting? Then follow application instructions or call the Helpmates location nearest you.

Best Texting Practices for Recruiting

Texting is becoming ever more critical in the recruitment process. It’s a great way to contact job candidates quickly to deliver short messages. This post will take a look at how texting is being used and offer some advice on recruitment texting best practices.

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Because texting is a more informal, casual way of communicating, it’s all too easy to wander off course, and the message you want to convey gets lost in the banter. And, while the easy back and forth of texting can help to establish a rapport with a candidate, it may also wander into territory that is a little too familiar and personal or contain language that is suggestive. And this in turn opens the door to possible misunderstandings and animosity.

To avoid this, it is important to establish guidelines for texting with candidates. Take a look below for some to consider. (Additional recruiting texting tips can be found here.)

  • Maintain Your Professionalism

This is important to protect your own reputation and gain the respect and attention of the job candidate. Doing this means being a little more formal in your texting than you ordinarily would. For example, use complete sentence, and make sure your grammar and punctuation are correct. Watch your spelling. Avoid using emojis.

Stick to the business at hand – recruiting – and avoid any messages of a personal nature, even if the candidate decides to share some personal information.

  • Keep It Short

Texting is not the best medium to use for longer messages. It is best used for messages such as setting up or confirming appointments. If you need to have a longer conversation with a candidate, send the person a text asking them  to call you or tell the person in the text that you will correspond through email.

  • Include Identification with Every Text

Again, this is just another way of maintaining professionalism. It also lets the candidate know clearly who sent the text because the candidate may be dealing with more than one recruiter. Each text you send should include your name, title and company.

  • Send Texts Only at Certain Times of the Day

First of all, you should only send texts during business hours. However, if the candidate sends a text that requires a response after business hours, it is certainly acceptable to respond.

The best time to send a text is in the morning, between 9 am and noon.

  • What Not to Text

There are two things you should never do by text: one is offering a person a job and the other is telling them they didn’t get the job. These transactions are too important to leave to texting and demand more formal lines of communication.

If you text a job candidate and get no response, stop doing it and communicate through other means. It’s important to remember in this context that many people do not find texting an appropriate way to communicate job-related information. In a recent survey, about one-third of those responding believed texting to be unprofessional, while only one-third thought it appropriate. The survey included all age groups.

  • Using Texting with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Some recruiting experts recommend using ATS that have a built-in texting function. It helps recruiters follow the best texting practices mentioned above, as well as storing a history of all conversations recruiters have with candidates, either by text, phone or email. An ATS also enables recruiters to text on any type of device.

If you’re looking for workers for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities, contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you. We look forward to hearing from you!

Here’s Why Your Colleague Got the Promotion and You Didn’t

You’ve been passed over for a promotion. And maybe not for the first time. It’s baffling. You’re a good worker, you do your job well, exceeding expectations. You feel that you have proven your value to the company. You work well with your colleagues and are generally well liked. Why, you wonder, have you been passed over (again)?

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To get some idea of why you didn’t get the promotion, you have to put yourself in the place of a supervisor and look at the situation from their perspective. Here is a short guide.

  1. They are looking at the future.

While past performance is certainly important, it is not what management gives the most weight to. They are looking to the future, not the past. What they are concerned about is how the person will perform after being promoted, what kind of value they will be able to offer the company in that future role. In fact, performance reviews really don’t matter that much when management makes promotion decisions. Studies have shown they are often ignored.

Managers often tend to rely on their intuition and relationships when deciding on promotions. That is because jobs higher up the ladder generally deal with information, analysis and more complex decision making. There are more intangibles involved. Managers are often wary of putting too much emphasis on performance reviews because they cannot reveal much about these qualities.

So, you cannot simply assume that technical skills are all that is needed. You need to demonstrate soft skills as well. Are you a person who routinely looks for new challenges? Are you a good communicator, someone who can resolve conflict, motivate people and get them to work together? How resilient are you in the face of failure? Do you take responsibility for it and learn from it? Are you looking ahead, planning how you can use your knowledge and skills to take on roles with more responsibility?

All of these things give some indication of your future value to the company.

  1. They don’t know enough about you.

Again, your performance may have been stellar, but HR experts say that only counts for about 10 percent in the decision making process. It is generally assumed that everyone being considered for a promotion is performing well, or they would not have been nominated for the higher level job to begin with.

The other 90 percent is connected to what management knows about you. How much exposure have you had, and what kind of image do they have of you? These are the things that will really make the difference.

So, if you want a promotion, you need to come up with ways to increase your exposure at your company.

  1. They don’t see you looking at the big picture.

You may be focused on your career goals, but you cannot let that overshadow the goals of the company. If you want to get ahead at the company, you need to be looking at the big picture. What does the company want to achieve? You need to help its managers and executives accomplish those goals, to help the company carry out its mission.

People who are promoted into leadership roles are ones who look beyond the duties and responsibilities of their own job. They look at problems that affect the entire company, attempt to find solutions to those problems and then work to put those solutions into practice.

Have you been passed over for a promotion too many times at your current employer and you want to take your considerable skills and knowledge to new heights? You may need to move to a new employer.

Helpmates can help you in your search. Contact the branch nearest you for more information on our direct-hire opportunities.

 

Southern California’s Job Outlook for 2019

So here it is, mid-January. Talent still is hard to find around the country. Candidates are ghosting when it comes to job interviews and even employees are just leaving their employer without notice.

But that’s nationwide. What’s this year’s job outlook for Southern California? We put on our sleuthing hats to find out.

  1. More of the same: an absolute candidate market (at least through the 2nd Q 2019).

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No surprise there. According to the California EDD (scroll down to the link at “Short-Term Projections: Two-Years” and download the spreadsheet), employment in Orange County from 2nd Quarter 2017 to 2nd Quarter 2019 is projected to grow overall by 3.4 percent (interestingly, self-employment is projected to grow by 4.2 percent). Not every employment sector is going to grow (mining and oil/gas extraction, for example, is projected to fall by 8.5 percent overall), but most are growing.  Manufacturing is to grow 1.8 percent; while software publishers are to grow a whopping 13 percent; auto equipment sales and leasing by 6 percent; professional and business services by 3 percent; advertising, PR and marketing by 3.4 percent; professional, scientific and technical services by 4 percent; office administrative services by 6.7 percent; and so on.

(Take a look at the document; it’s fascinating. For example, if you’re looking for work in the “travel arrangement and reservation services,” growth is expected to be 5.6 percent. And this, remember, is in a day when many of us make our own travel arrangements online. So much for the “death of the travel agent”!)

  1. But that’s statewide. And it’s for mid-2017 through mid-2019. What about in Southern California and in just 2019?

We hear you. It’s a bit trickier to find info/predictions for just Orange and Los Angeles counties, but here’s what we found: we may experience an economic slowdown in late 2019.

If you don’t want to read the link, here’s what it says in a nutshell:

Although the economy is currently operating at full employment and benefiting from the massive tax cut and spending increases, the economic stimulus coming from that combination will likely run out in 2020, and deficits it creates will linger for another decade.

In spite of concerns about the risk of a full-blown trade war with China, the forecast for the U.S. economy is one of growth, albeit slower growth. California remains one of the most prosperous states, with a strong market that is expected to continue to grow.

You’ll notice it says the big growth ends in 2020, but further down the report states the growth “will slow to 2 percent in 2019 and to a near recession at 1 percent in 2020.”

As for California: the state’s growth will slow along with the nation’s but our economy is still expected to grow faster than the country’s as a whole. Here’s the skinny, below:

The total employment growth forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are 1.7 percent, 1.8 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Payrolls are expected to grow by 1.7 percent in 2018, by 1.8 percent in 2019, and by 0.8 percent in 2020. Real personal income growth is forecast to be 2.5 percent, 3.6 percent and 2.9 percent in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. California’s average unemployment rate is expected to have its normal differential to the U.S. rate at 4.2 percent in 2020. Home building will accelerate to about 140,000 units per year by the end of the 2020 forecast.

  1. Most job growth is in the Inland Empire.

Sorry, OC and LA, but the job growth is greatest due east. Which could be great news if you live there and work west and wish to find a job closer to home. Pay rates are a bit lower, however. For example, Indeed.com reports that the average hourly rate for an administrative assistant in Anaheim is 16.21/hour while in Riverside, it’s $15.28. Yet housing also is less expensive, with the median gross rent in Riverside County hitting $1,212/month, while it’s $1,264 in Los Angeles County and $1,608 in Orange County. (Data is from 2017.)

  1. Wrapping up.

So things look great for job seekers for at least the next six months and possibly throughout the entire year. After all, slower growth still is growth. But don’t be complacent because often in business, slower growth often means….job cutbacks! And that means the unemployment rate will rise and jobs will be harder to come by.

 

So if you can:

  • Learn new skills.
  • Take note of your accomplishments and add them to your resume.
  • Work to add value to your employer (don’t just “show up for work,” do the minimum expected of you and then think that you’re “valuable”).
  • Grow your professional network.
  • Never, ever become complacent. If you’ve never been laid off from a job before, if you’re laid off next year or early in 2020, get ready for potential WEEKS of unemployment. It happens. And to talented, valuable workers. No one is immune.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a Helpmates recruiter in your professional network. In fact, take a look at our current opportunities, and if one appeals to you, follow the directions to apply. You also can contact the branch office nearest you to register.

Navigating the Office Holiday Gift Giving Obstacle Course

It’s December! Bring on the office gift exchange!

As we move into the 2018 gift-giving season, many of us may wonder: Do I give my boss a gift? Do I have to purchase holiday wrapping paper from my colleague’s son’s Scout fundraiser? Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

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The answers to these questions are – frankly – important because office interactions do impact career success. What’s more holiday gifting traditions at the office often can be fraught with landmines. Here’s how to navigate them successfully while also enjoying this lovely time of year at work.

  1. Should I give my boss a gift?

In a nutshell: you don’t have to. In fact, it’s probably best that you don’t, because it could come across as toady-ish: as if you’re trying to curry favor with your supervisor. If you really, really want to, it’s best if you go in a group gift with your department.

If you feel you must give your manager a gift because he/she expects it and will not look upon you favorably if you don’t, you may want to think about getting another job and another boss…

By the way, many bosses often give gifts to their team members. (Such holiday gifts often are flowers, movie tickets, food, gifts that are the same for everyone, etc..) This is appropriate and in no way obligates you to reciprocate. Even if the boss gives different gifts to everyone (the boss has taken note of his/her team members’ likes and dislikes), accept the gift graciously.

  1. Do I have to give my coworkers gifts?

If you feel that one or more coworkers is a true friend (that is, you’re personal friends outside the office and you want to give a personal gift), then do so. Just make sure you give the gift outside the office.

As for giving coworkers with whom your professionally friendly? It’s appropriate to do so with those with whom you interact daily or with those in your department. If you feel uncomfortable giving individual gifts, consider asking if there’s a formal office gift exchange event such as a white elephant gift exchange (often hilarious) or Secret Santas.

If you’re hard up for funds and you don’t want to provide gifts for colleagues, you should never feel ashamed (or shamed into doing so). If people give gifts as a matter of course and you don’t want to come across as Scrooge, consider baking cookies or bread and giving those as gifts.

If you plan to give gifts to some, but not all of your colleagues, present the gifts privately so that the co-workers who are left out don’t have hurt feelings.

  1. Do I have to purchase items during holiday school fundraisers?

No, you do not. Yes, it can be very hard when a colleague asks you to purchase flavored popcorn or wrapping paper for his/her child’s school fundraiser. If you don’t want to, say so politely. A simple “No, thank you” should suffice.

  1. Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

Probably not. The good news is that full-office gift exchanges often come with price points (you don’t have to spend more than $10, $20 or $25, for example) and you often only have to purchase one gift for one person.

In addition, office holiday gift exchanges often come with office parties and are festive and usually loads of fun. (Look up white elephant exchanges, for example….)

But refusing to play along if your department holds an “official” gift exchange? You could hurt your reputation as a team player. Probably best to play along, follow the stated budget guidelines (or make your own) and enjoy the fun of the exchange itself

Why not give yourself a great holiday gift by taking a look at Helpmates’ current opportunities and then following the instructions within each job description to apply and/or contact the Helpmates office nearest you to register with us.

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