Tips for Hiring Great Temporary Specialists in SoCal

Your Los Angeles or Orange County company may need more workers as your business starts growing again as the economy continues to improve.

Yet you probably don’t really know how fast you’ll grow, in what areas you’ll grow and if you’ll be able to sustain that growth over a year or more.

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Bringing on temporary specialists could be the answer.

Bringing temporary specialists in for one or a few days, or even for several weeks if not months, can help you grow your workforce as needed in the next few months…and then cut back if necessary .

Yet hiring great temporary specialists isn’t as cut and dried as simply calling up or emailing your go-to workforce management partner and discussing your current needs.

Many folks who work for staffing companies register with several staffing companies.

This is normal. After all, a specialist’s favorite recruiting firm may not have an opening for the specialist when he or she comes off from one assignment and needs another. It’s therefore savvy for folks to register with more than one staffing company.

Which means you may be competing for their services.

That’s right: many temporary specialists are extremely sought after by the staffing firms with which they’re registered. They have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy. Or they may have highly sought-after skills AND have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy. They also may have multiple offers for assignments with possibly higher hourly wages.

Our point? Our clients have found that they, too, need to stay sharp and on top of their game when it comes to hiring the best temporary specialists for their assignments!

How to beat your competition and hire the best-of-the-best.

  • Make your hiring decision quickly.

Working with a staffing agency means that their candidates are pre-screened. You know they have been vetted and pre-qualified.

When interviewing specialists sent by your staffing partner, move quickly. Have just one or no more than two people interview them. Use a qualified fit assessment to make sure they have the skills for the work and will fit in. (Consider giving this assessment tool to your staffing partner so that they can do so when they interview the specialists.)

Aim to let your staffing partner know as soon as possible whether or not you want the candidates: end of day, or the next day is best, yet no more than three days.

  • At the interview.

Be extremely clear regarding duties and expectations. Explain them again, if necessary. Make it clear that you’re happy to answer any and all questions.

If there’s a chance the assignment might lead to the specialist being hired on to your payroll, do say so, but don’t give false hope. If there’s a 50/50 chance, say so. The same goes for if there’s only a 10 percent chance. Bottom line: don’t provide false hope. It’s better to surprise someone with good news – you want to hire them – then it is to set their expectations too high.

If the assignment end date is unclear at the time of the interview, let the candidate know so. Be as honest as possible: if the assignment definitely won’t be extended, say so.

If you often provide letters of recommendation for temporary specialists, let the candidate know. The candidate isn’t your employee, of course, but letting the candidate know that you do write letters for exceptional work is a definite selling point for your position.

  • When the specialist is working on assignment.

Treat the specialist as much as possible as a regular employee. Many specialists tell us they often feel like second-class citizens and will leave an assignment before its official end if they are offered one (via another staffing firm).

Onboard the contractors as you would a regular employee (minus the employee benefits conversation, of course). Touch base with them often and provide them kudos regularly (and be sure to let the staffing firm know, as well).

Include them in small team gatherings, such as Friday pizza parties (when your employees work in person together again), and so on.

Many of our clients are starting to bring on more temporary specialists.

We have many terrific specialists in our ATS but the best ones are taken quickly. Reach out to the Helpmates branch nearest you and let us know all about your workforce needs as the economy improves.

Avoid These Recruiting Marketing Mistakes

Does your company start hiring someone only as soon as you have a need? That is, do you whip up a job posting only when a hiring manager requests a replacement or needs to fill a new position?

If so, do you find yourself scrambling to source and recruit great talent? Probably, right? And that’s certainly an unpleasant place to be, always feeling pressure to hire quickly.

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But what if your company made a habit of creating a talent pipeline? What if you always looked for people with certain skills for certain positions? And what if you created relationships with these folks so that when you do have a need, they’re eager to apply?

How would that change the caliber of your hire? Pretty darn well, actually.

Hiring “just in time” is just one recruiting mistakes you might be making. Here are three more.

  1. Not following up after a virtual recruiting event.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a lot of recruiting’s tasks are performed online, including recruiting events and career fairs. And even though a lot more people are out of work this year than the beginning of March last year, it’s pretty much up to you, the recruiter, to follow up with candidates.

Remembering the talent pipeline warning above, it’s smart to reach out to candidates as soon as the event is over, especially those who appear the most promising. Keeping prospective candidates engaged means you have a much better chance of hiring the best talent when you need them.

What kind of “reaching out” should you/could you perform? Why not use an automated tool to ask candidates what they thought of the event and/or your company? Text or email them to tell them about next steps (if you have immediate hiring needs). Keep in touch with everyone you met with a newsletter. (This is terrific for pipeline building, as mentioned above.) And so on.

  1. Not hiring quickly when there IS an opening.

Too many companies make the hiring process far too long. Weeks, even months long. Hiring a mid-level person should take no more than four-six weeks, tops, from the time the job is posted to when an offer is made.

So no more posting a job when it’s “under consideration.” Post it only when the hiring manager is actually ready to hire. Posting when they’re just “thinking about it,” or you and they want to fill the pipeline in this way isn’t smart: you’ll alienate candidates who wait to even hear from someone about an interview, let alone making them angry if they find out there’s no actual need right now.

Instead, work to shorten the gap between when you start accepting applications and when you make someone an offer.

  1. Not using visual content in your messaging.

As you send emails, don’t be shy about using video. Video is a great eye catcher and one of the most engaging types of content.

As you keep in touch people who have expressed interest in working at your company (whether you meet them via a networking/hiring event or they’re not hired for a job to which they applied, etc.), you should be emailing them regularly with information about your company and careers within it.

What types of videos? Videotape current employees about what they like most about working at the company. Create a “day in the life” video of people who work in certain roles. Put together an interactive quiz filled with “did you know?” facts about the company.

Partner with Helpmates for an always available talent pipeline

Helpmates continuously recruits for our clients’ changing needs. That means we always have a healthy pipeline filled with people looking for work. Contact the branch nearest you for more information for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire staffing needs.

On the Lookout: Recruitment Trends for 2021 and Beyond

Technology and the competition for talent are changing the recruiting landscape significantly. Artificial intelligence and data analytics are giving recruiters powerful tools to locate, evaluate and communicate with job candidates. These digital tools are also helping recruiters find passive job candidates as the recruiters become more aggressive in their search for talent. Here are some of the trends gaining momentum in recruiting and likely to become even more widespread in the future.

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  1. Employer Branding

The competition for top talent is keen, and a company’s reputation and popularity have become increasingly important in attracting the best people. A brand name that stands out can make a real difference in recruiting, and that is why companies are focusing on branding.

Studies have shown that employers with strong brands get 50 percent more qualified applicants. More than 75 percent of job seekers check out the employer brand before they apply to a company.

  1. Automation

More companies are automating the recruiting process, a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. The technology used for recruiting is becoming more sophisticated. Eighty-eight percent of all companies worldwide already are using automation/AI technology in their HR and recruiting efforts.

  1. Data analytics

Because of the large amount of data now available through applicant tracking systems and recruitment marketing websites, companies are able to analyze the data to help them make hiring decisions. They are using the data to determine what recruitment strategies are working and which are not.

Using data analytics improves hiring in a number of different areas, including the quality of the hire, and the cost and time to hire.

  1. Soft skills

Companies report that they are struggling to find workers with the needed skills. The shortage is especially acute with soft skills. Recruiting trends will focus on finding candidates who have demonstrated soft skills. According to some sources, two-thirds of all new jobs will depend heavily on soft skills, and the demand for such skills is expected to increase further into the future. These skills include such abilities such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.

  1. Talent pools

Recruiters will be creating and using talent pools to a much greater extent in the future. They will be building their talent pools using both internal and external talent. Using current employees to fill open positions is a good way to retain employees and ensure a good fit for open positions.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is helping recruiters handle some of the more routine tasks associated with the job, giving them more time to interact with candidates. It is also helping to improve the candidate experience. AI is expected to play a greater role in future recruiting.

Screening candidates is another task that AI is very effective at doing because it is much better than humans at minimizing bias in the process.

  1. Social media

This is a trend that has been gaining in popularity and is likely to become more so in the future. It has become so popular because recruiting on various social media sites really works. At least 84 percent of all companies recruit on social media (reported in 2017 so that percentage undoubtedly has increased since then).

  1. Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tools

Companies are increasingly using CRM tools in their recruiting activities. CRM tools are software that is specifically designed to enable companies to manage and look after their job candidates. This is more important than ever because of the war for top talent.

CRM software enables companies to provide ongoing automated communication with candidates to keep them informed and to hold their interest during the hiring process.

These software tools also provide searchable databases to help build up a talent pool. They enable companies to screen applicants for desired qualifications, schedule interviews and conduct background checks.

2021: the year things more than likely improve in so many ways

Next year undoubtedly will only accelerate recruiting trends that started a few years ago. What’s more as Americans receive a coronavirus vaccine and the economy improves, we also expect it to once again become much more of a candidate-market, making it ever harder to find and hire top talent.

We look forward to these challenges as we work with our client partners helping them source, vet and place skilled workers for jobs of all types. We look forward to hearing from our clients whenever they have a staffing or recruiting need.

May 2021 be a wonderful year on so many levels for all of us!!

Manager, Heal Thyself of Unconscious Bias

We all exhibit unconscious bias whenever we interact with others. In fact, psychologists have catalogued many different types of cognitive biases that filter our perception of the environment.

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But, once we are aware of these biases, we can be alert for them and recognize when we are falling victim to them. Managers need to keep them in mind when dealing with their workers to make sure the managers are dealing fairly and consistently with everyone under them. If you are a manager, here are a few biases to watch out for.

  1. Bias in delegating

Do you unconsciously favor some people over others when you delegate work? Do you tend to give the same workers more challenging and interesting work, while assigning more mundane tasks to others? Also, sometimes managers, without realizing it, give more complete and detailed instructions to certain workers, while imparting scant information to other employees, making their task that much harder.

  1. Bias in feedback

Managers may also unknowingly soft-pedal feedback for some workers, delivering it in a more casual, friendly manner, while taking a more authoritarian and judgmental approach with others.

  1. Bias in assumptions

Managers may also not be aware of unconscious bias they have toward people based on their background, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or education.

Other factors affecting a manager’s judgment unconsciously can be a person’s appearance, mannerisms, and speech, such as a particular dialect. These stereotypes can color a manager’s beliefs about a certain employee’s ability. If you’re manager, you need to think about your behavior toward employees, bring your assumptions out in the open, and examine them.

Also, we tend to give more credence to information that confirms beliefs or assumptions we already hold, neglecting data that may contradict our beliefs.

  1. Bias in recognition

A manager may consistently recognize or praise certain workers and withhold it from others for reasons the manager is not really aware of. Again, unconscious bias may be at work influencing how the manager reacts to some employees.

  1. Bias in hiring

Managers unconsciously tend to favor people who are like them. It’s something everyone does. We feel people who look like, have the same backgrounds, etc. us are somehow better. This is a bias hiring managers need to keep in mind when doing job interviews. They need to figure out how to counteract it. This kind of bias can hinder a company’s efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce, leading to employees who generally all think the same way.

  1. Bias in socializing

Again, because we have an unconscious bias toward people like ourselves, we might tend to socialize more with people like us. Managers may be chatting and bantering more with some workers than others because of this bias. This could make some of your team members feel left out or unappreciated.

  1. Bias in mentors

The bias toward people like us can also manifest itself in the choice of people managers look to for advice and counsel. As a manager, ask yourself if you tend to go to the same people for advice simply because you feel more comfortable with them, depriving yourself of different viewpoints and perspectives.

The tendencies listed above are biases related to other people, but we also have many biases about how we perceive the world around us and the information we receive. For example, when examining an issue or problem, we tend to reduce it to general terms and avoid details and specifics. When we make decisions, we gravitate more toward simple solutions rather than more complex ones. We also tend to see patterns even when there is not enough information to clearly establish one. We tend to pay more attention to events that occur more often, even though they may not be any more important than other events.

Helpmates is here to help Southern California’s employers find terrific workers for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities. Contact the branch nearest you for more information on how we can help you find great people to help your business thrive.

Over 65 and Wondering if THIS is the Time to Retire? You’re Not Alone.

If you’re nearing retirement age, you’ve probably wondered: “Is THIS the time to cut the employment cord and retire?”

If so, you’re definitely not alone: even people who haven’t yet reached “full retirement age” (which is about age 66 now, depending on your year of birth) have been thinking of taking early retirement (if they’re at least age 62) or simply calling it quits if they can rely on a younger spouse’s income (or if they feel they’ve enough money saved).

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The main reasons why your age cohort members are thinking this are two:

  • They’ve either been laid off and can’t find work and/or,
  • They’re worried about getting infected by the novel coronavirus and becoming severely ill with COVID-19 if they return to/continue working outside the home.

If you’re thinking of retiring now, some facts:

Additional news you really do need to know…

Let’s say you’re worried about catching the virus because people older than age 65 do tend to be at greater risk for a more pronounced COVID-19 illness. Let’s also say your employer closed its physical location(s) and you’ve been working at home for the last few months, or you’ve been furloughed and haven’t been working at all. But now your employer says its reopening and calls you back on-site. You decide to ask if you can stay at home due to the risk factor.

Unfortunately, your employer is under no obligation to accommodate you under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. (It does have a duty to accommodate you if you’re already covered under the ADA, however.) If you refuse to come in, your employer could let you go and because you “quit voluntarily” you’re probably not eligible for unemployment benefits. (There might be exceptions if your job site “is truly unsafe,” according to the link just provided.)

Of course, if you’ve already been working at home, you always can ask your employer if you can continue to do so.

Not an easy decision (and there’s an understatement)

Unfortunately, for many older workers the pandemic has changed their planned for (hoped for?) retirement schedule. Choosing to retire is not a decision to make quickly; it’s best to sit down (with your partner, if applicable) and crunch some numbers.

If you are an older worker and are looking for work, take a look at our temporary, contract-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. If one or more appeal to you, either contact the Helpmates’ branch office nearest you or follow the listing’s application instructions.

How to Lead by Example

Good leaders, it is said, never ask their subordinates to do anything that the leader would not do. This is what leading by example means – showing your people how to get things done rather than just telling them. It is the kind of leadership that gains the trust and respect of employees, when they see their bosses walk the talk.

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It’s more powerful than any motivational speech or business master plan. Here are some tried and true leadership routines that also embody the practice of leading by example.

  1. Modeling what you want to see

If you as a leader expect your employees to do things a certain way, to practice certain behaviors or performance standards, you need to model those behaviors yourself. This is true not just for significant kinds of work projects but for little things as well. You need to model the core values of the company.

For example, if punctuality is important, make sure you get to work on time or arrive at meetings promptly. If you want a company that values openness and communication, you need to take the time to initiate conversations with employees.

  1. Communicate

How well do you communicate with your employees? Everyone may believe that they do, but on closer examination, you may find that when deadlines loom or other pressures mount, communication lags. As a leader, you need to make sure you are talking to your managers about business developments and decisions and make sure they are talking to each other as well.

Take the time to keep each other abreast of the latest activities, even if just a quick word or two.

  1. Acknowledge imperfection and fallibility

Many leaders believe they always need to show competence and decisiveness. But this can be counterproductive. Leading by example means that if you make a mistake, you acknowledge it and correct it. It shows employees that it’s OK to sometimes make mistakes. You want people to take risks to make improvement, but taking risks means increasing the possibility for mistakes.

Being honest like this also encourages communication among employees because they feel they can talk about their uncertainty or seek advice.

  1. Let your team members know your goals

Every company has performance and productivity goals for employees. This goes for leaders to. Leading by example means sharing your goals, letting employees know that you are holding yourself to the same standards of accountability that you expect of them.

  1. Setting priorities

If you want to show employees that what matters is not just getting things done, but doing the stuff that really makes a difference to the company, you need to set priorities for yourself, share them, and emphasize the importance of doing so for everyone.

  1. Explain your decisions

If you value transparency, you need to show it. That means taking the time to explain why things work as they do, why certain decisions were made. This helps employees understand the reasoning behind the actions of company leadership and will help workers to do their own jobs better. It also boosts employee morale.

  1. Help your employees

Let your team members know that you are there to help them if they need it. Talk with workers, and ask them if there is anything you can do to help out. This is a powerful example of teamwork and collaboration, of working cooperatively rather than competitively.

  1. Keep your cool

There are times when things will go wrong or become hectic. This is the time when you as a leader especially need to stay calm, taking a deliberate, measured and businesslike approach in tackling whatever problem has come up. This too will set a powerful example for employees in times of stress.

If one of the things causing you stress is a shortage of workers for crunch times at your business, call upon the recruiters at Helpmates. Contact the branch nearest you and let us know you staffing needs.

Helping Employees Embrace Negative Feedback

None of us succeeds in our careers without receiving negative feedback at least once.

Many of us understandably melt into a puddle of despair and never recover believing that if feedback is true (and when done correctly, it is) then we are losers of the first order and so…what’s the point? And we then settle for a career of mediocrity, never reaching our full potential.

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Since constructive criticism is essential to employee growth and improved performance, we’ve put together a short list of things you can do to help your employees embrace – or at least welcome – negative feedback.

  • Feedback is a tool, not a weapon.

Remember that your purpose is not to shame an employee but to help them improve. When done well, employees receiving less-than-gushing feedback will understand that you’re not trying to hurt them, but trying to help them improve. Truly caring about your subordinates comes across when feedback is given in the spirit of “you’re pretty good; here’s how to get even better.”

(Note: if you learn that someone is using feedback in a vindictive manner to colleagues and/or subordinates, it’s time to have a sit-down to discuss and reiterate that such behavior is not acceptable. Yes, the irony here is not lost on us: there’s the chance you’d be providing strongly worded negative feedback to a negative feedback bully.)

  • The “feedback sandwich.” Is it time to retire it?

Some people think the old “sandwich” technique of delivering feedback with a “compliment/critique/compliment” process can give a worker a “false sense of how they’re doing” (hearing two positives to just one negative can appear to mean that they’re doing well).

  • Try the “critique and solution” method instead.

For example, say someone regularly provides reports past deadline. Tell the employee why this is a problem: “Joshua needs to edit and proof the report and Tenisha then needs to lay it out graphically and if it’s late, you put them both behind in their schedule.”

Then together come up with a solution.  Ask the worker to think about why they’re regularly late with the report and then the two of you can figure out how the report can be done on time.

Understand that you may have to do something yourself to help the employee fix the problem. Perhaps the employee feels the deadline is too rushed and so you then offer to provide a longer lead-time/extended deadline.

  • Follow up is key.

And by follow up we don’t mean micromanage. Check in with worker regularly (let them know you will do so) and offer feedback. Once you feel the employee has improved as much as possible and/or you think is necessary, back off.

  • Failing to provide feedback means you’re failing your employee.

Many managers have a hard time offering criticism to subordinates, but you’re doing no one any favors if you don’t:

  • You’re allowing an employee to continue a sub-par performance, possibly hurting productivity and/or profits.
  • You’re showing other employees that a sub-par performance is okay.
  • You’re not helping your subordinate grow and reach their full potential.

None of us improves without making mistakes and then having someone see that we’ve made a them, professionally pointing it out then offering direction and suggestions for improvement.

Criticism therefore is important for all of us: it helps us improve and better ourselves. Failing to provide negative feedback/critiquing employees when warranted means they will continue performing poorly. And, because it’s part of a manager’s job to help employees improve, by letting a poor status quo continue, you’re letting your subordinates down.

While we encourage you to work with employees to help them improve, if one or more can’t – or won’t – accept your feedback and strive to improve and you decide to terminate, Helpmates can provide you with top-notch workers for your temporary, temp-to-hire or direct-hire needs. We hope you contact the branch nearest you to learn more.

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