iStaff’s 2016 President’s Club Winners!

I would like to personally congratulate iStaff’s top-tier achievers for 2016 who made President’s club. I am proud of how you go about your profession with excellence, the hard work that you put in and how you are always willing to go the extra mile for your clients. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful team.

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From left to right: Joe Broccoli, Matt Shumake, Nate Barrett, Jason Smith, Shera Walton, Jon Dilley, Jeremy McNeil.DSC_0032 DSC_0036 DSC_0037 DSC_0039 DSC_0041 DSC_0043

iStaff Christmas donation 2016 to North Gwinnett Co Op

ngcoRather than give our clients Christmas gifts, iStaff donates to a worthy cause in our client’s and contractors names.
This year iStaff donated $1000 and several bags of groceries to the North Gwinnett Co-Op.

iStaff’s employees and family volunteer weekly at the co-op and also participate in their annual bookbag drive and distribution party.

http://www.northgwinnettcoop.org/

4 Easy steps to a New Year with a New Career

It’s the first month of 2016. Typically, the New Year means great sales, crowded gyms, and a miserable week or two after returning from a wonderful vacation. However, maybe one of these things doesn’t have to be the case. Maybe, you can stop going work at a place you hate and carve a new path. Maybe, your New Year’s resolution is to finally make that move to your next big opportunity.

So, being that you will most likely not be alone in this thought process. I’ve outlined 4 quick thoughts to keep in mind when maneuvering yourself into a new role to help stand out from the crowd.

  1. Explore all the option at your current role first.

As much as I would love to work with you, maybe you have not taken a look at everything your current job has to offer. A new year means a new budget and a whole new game plan, so make sure you know what your company has in store for you first before you move on. Chat with your manager, bring any concerns to their attention, and get their thoughts on what you want out of this role. Many times, the problem can be solved and you don’t have to pack up and leave.

  1. Negotiate up front if you can.

I know this is a bit counter-intuitive, but this rule is especially helpful if you are partnering with a recruiter. When you are working with a good recruiter, your goal is to be as transparent as possible so they can negotiate for you. If you are expecting 70,000 in a role, don’t tell a recruiter 60,000 and wait until the last minute to try to “negotiate” with them. While recruiters have the ability to negotiate with hiring managers, a lot of jobs have strict budget requirements. Save yourself the time and tell them the exact range up front, so that they can find the best opportunity for you and make sure you are put in a position to earn the salary you desire.

  1. Write things down.

Everyone applies to multiple jobs online. It’s an easy way to cover more ground and the application process is usually simplistic. However, it is a HUGE red flag to receive a call from a recruiter, a member of HR, or a hiring manager and start the conversations out with, “Which job is this?” Instead, keep a detailed spreadsheet listing the job, job number, link, employer, and date you applied. It will make things much easier down the road and avoid an awkward first impression. 

  1. Be aggressive.

Put everything out on the table when you chat with potential employers. I know this is obvious, but you don’t want to regret your decision and be doing the same thing in 3 months! Have a list, write down your expectations vs what is negotiable, and hold yourself to that throughout the interview process. 

Happy New Year, and Happy Hunting!

Are You Chasing Regret?

One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to speak with Professionals about what they are chasing in their careers.  I try to get candidates to take a step back from any particular position at hand, and just think what they’re really working for.  Is it to move up in position or influence? Is it to have a title that equates to a certain status level?  Is it commute?  Is it to make more money?   The more Senior the candidate I’m interviewing, the more common it is for money to be a secondary motivator.  I think if more candidates learned this lesson early, that career fulfillment would be more common.

When you really think about this, it helps you see your career field in a map that’s easier to navigate.  I’ve known several people to leave a job that they were satisfied with only because someone tempted them with a little more money.  They were always taught that if you’re staying in place, you’re basically going backwards.   I would argue that if you have the career satisfaction you need, make enough money to provide for your lifestyle, enjoy your work environment, and are respected by your leadership team, then you have something that everyone else is looking for – even if it’s not the highest paying position out there.

Keep in mind that I fully support changing jobs, I mean I am a recruiter after all!  However, before you make a move, you need to know what you’re chasing.  There’s always another job out there that will pay you more money – but that job should play into your long term goals and provide something that you’re currently missing.

If you find an opportunity that provides the influence you want, the title you’re chasing, or the work life balance that you need, don’t pass it up over a few thousand dollars.  I’ve seen this play out multiple times, and I always hear the same word repeated in hindsight – Regret.  Of course you have regret – you made a move that wasn’t congruent with your long term goals!  I can promise you that if you don’t know what you’re chasing, then the dollar signs will become your deciding factor.  Making a choice primarily motivated by money, is almost always a short term move.  Learn from the wisdom of those who have fallen into this trap.  People typically chase money one time, and then they realize what their true primary motivator is – It’s typically the part of the job that still wasn’t worth it even with the pay increase.  Figure out what this is for you.

Don’t get stuck chasing regret!

Why and How to work with a Recruiter in your Career Search

If you are a die-hard independent person like me, you probably conquer your large projects yourself, without the use of an expert.  Who needs one, right?  I usually chalk it up to a learning experience spending countless hours researching and comparing different approaches.  But in the end, I saved money!  Right….

So why would you use a Recruiter when it comes to one of the biggest projects of your life; finding a new job?  You can figure it out.  This new non-personal high tech way of submitting your resume into a dark abyss and never hearing anything back.    No help needed, right?  Well that may end up costing you a lot of time and maybe even your dream job.  Let’s face it, looking for a job is almost a fulltime job in its self.  So why not let someone who knows how to navigate the abyss help you out?

An ethical and professional Recruiter can be your best weapon.  Why?  Because Recruiters have contacts to 100’s of Hiring Managers.  And in small-to-mid size Companies, without Human Resources Machines, who do you think they turn to when they have a position open?  You guessed it.  Recruiters.   You won’t see the job posted on a job board by these companies.  Nope.  The only way you will know of these openings is through a Recruiter.  And the best part is that it costs you nothing to use a Recruiter’s expertise and leverage their connections.

So how do you find a Recruiter if you don’t already know one?  You can ask friends / family that you can trust with your search secret.  Ask people in your same field, as you will be better served using a Specialist .  For example, if you are in IT use an IT Recruiter, Finance and Accounting, an F&A Recruiter, etc.  You can also look at job boards for jobs that sound interesting and contact the Recruiter posting.  Chances are they have more jobs than are posted.

A good Recruiter will want to find out about you in general.  Where do you want to work, commute preference, salary expectations, company culture, etc.  Share with them as much as you can on what you are seeking.  And once an opportunity has been identified, they will also guide you through the interview process and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get the best offer.

During your search, make sure you reach out to your recruiter (for most email is good as Recruiters are always on the phone) at least once per week letting them know what is going on in your search.  This will keep you top of mind and ensure your Recruiter keeps working for you!

Happy searching!

Why do we sometimes treat interviewing like car shopping?

I received disappointing news this week.  Since my recruiting team and I were having difficulty filling our client’s IT opening, we asked to meet with the team lead this week in order to understand how we can improve our search for them.  During the meeting, the team lead shared feedback on how our interviewees fared against the job requirements.  And then he said, ‘Your first candidate we interviewed was perfect.  We recommended hiring him, but our higher ups said we can’t just hire the first person we meet.  Later, when we learned he was off the market, we were upset knowing we missed out on a rare find.  Can you see if he’s interested again, or find a way to clone him?!’

Ouch!  On our end, learning this now really hurt because we originally did not know how excited they were about this candidate.  The only feedback we received after that first interview was, ‘He was good, and we’d like to see more.’   We did know our candidate was a great match for their unique technical environment and soft skills needs, but had we known he was ‘the one’ we could have been a better partner scheduling next steps with other candidates at a pace that did not end up in this lose-lose-lose (client, candidate, and agency).

Unfortunately, I’m not really surprised at dealing with upsets like this.  Over the course of 15 years doing IT staffing sales, I’ve experienced this scenario all too many times.  Enough times that when we know we have an a-player for a new job we may talk about whether we should wait on submitting that candidate until we’ve sent one or two others that we’re less excited about.  But in this crazy fast and competitive market, that can be risky and waiting can also ensure negative outcomes.

The funny thing is that we all fall into the decision making traps that great is not good enough, in fear of missing out on finding better.  In hiring, shopping for a car is often a popular analogy.  Once we’ve come to terms with desire of type of car, versus fear of not spending too much, we go shopping.  We walk around the lot, consider options and confirm value of certain add-ons, and then we do test drives.  It’s not uncommon where one of the first cars we see is the best option.  It meets all our needs.  The price is right.  You’re comfortable with the sales person and don’t feel pushed into a decision.  BUT, we just have to feel good about our decision, so we tell that sales person we have to go visit a few other dealerships, often returning disheartened that someone felt that same way about this quality find.

The important reality to consider here is candidates aren’t cars.  While the buyer decision making is similar, the products are entirely different.  This is why many agree staffing sales is so difficult; because people are your product and your product is unpredictable.  So how do we avoid falling into the trap of losing our best car option when it comes to candidates?  A few ways can be;

Strategic time investment:  Spend some extra time up front with your staffing partner to clearly define your needs, timeline, process, etc.  Often, by investing this time on the front end, saves you time in dividends on the back end dealing with unhappy surprises due to unspoken expectations.

Gather intelligence in order to know how long a great car may stay on the lot, I mean great candidate stay on the market.

  • Ask your recruiting partners how the market is on this skill set.
  • Do they think the pay is competitive to lure appropriate level of skills/candidate value?
  • Where are they looking and what they’re finding?
  • Where is this advertised and is anyone responding?
  • What are candidates saying about the opportunity?

Keep the feedback flowing regularly:  The more a manager gives feedback on their likes/dislikes with candidates, the more a staffing partner can refine their process and share what the market offers.

Creative financing:  Is there a ‘lease with the option to buy option’?  If you think you have that good enough candidate for a permanent job, should you consider a contract to perm on boarding model in order to feel assured s/he is the right candidate.   The try before you buy model helps give this peace of mind and ensures you didn’t miss out on a best option.

Purchase only lemon law:  If has to be a permanent hire, do you feel good about the guarantee in order to pull the trigger at the right speed?

Trustworthy staffing partner: this can be so important at decision making times like this.  If you can trust that your staffing partner puts your needs first, collaborate with them and brainstorm to understand best options.  They’ll want what you want – for you to make the best hire, feel great about it, and minimize risk.

The list can go on and on, but hopefully this is a good foundation to making sound decision and avoiding pitfalls.

Pumpkins, Turkeys and Mistletoe T’is the Season for your Job Search

With the holidays approaching, candidates often feel that hiring comes to a complete halt and as a result, slow down their job search efforts until the New Year!  Truth be told, employers are still interviewing and hiring even during the holiday season.  In fact, at year-end, some companies are scrambling to fill roles that might otherwise be slashed from next year’s budget.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when in job search mode during the holidays!

Review and fine tune your resume – Your resume is the first impression you make on a recruiter, hiring manager and human resource representative.  This impression starts the minute your resume Word document is opened.   Your resume should have a clear structure and a very organized layout.  Take time to review and improve content organization as well as formatting so the reader can quickly locate the highlights.   And proof, proof, proof!   Make sure there are no grammatical and spelling errors as even one misspelled word can cost you the interview.

Sweep the skeletons out of your social media sites – Social media is very relevant in your search these days and depending on what you have posted, it can help you or hurt you.  Make sure to review and clean up your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like as potential employers will check these sites to get a glimpse of your personal life.  If what they see does not reflect their core values, you will sadly be passed over as a potential candidate for their organization.

Craft a good “elevator” speech –   An ʹelevator speechʹ is a term taken from the early days and is simply a concise statement that summarizes who you are, what you do and what you are looking for.  It should be no more than 30 seconds (the time it takes to ride an elevator to the next floor).   Practice and memorize this speech and be prepared to deliver it at any time, from a job interview to a cocktail party conversation with anyone who may be able to help you land a position.

Increase your networking – The holidays are an excellent time for increasing your networking activities.   Take advantage of the holiday spirit and try to attend as many business, professional and social holiday gatherings as possible armed with your newly crafted or revised elevator speech.    And even though people generally tend to be a little more relaxed at holiday parties (both professional and social gatherings), you should be cautious to follow suit.  Be mindful of what you say, how much you drink and how you dress!    While in job search mode, even at these types of functions, you still want to maintain a business professional appearance and demeanor.     You never know who might be within earshot and it just could be a potential future boss.

Spend some time volunteering – The holiday season is the busiest time of year for most philanthropic organizations and they need volunteers.   This is a great activity and way to “pay it forward” as well as an excellent means of networking.  Many companies partner with these philanthropic organizations so you could very well be volunteering alongside a potential hiring manager or human resource representative that can help get  “your foot in the door” of their employer.   Additionally, employers like to hire people who can demonstrate that they’re motivated and hard-working, even if they haven’t been getting paid for their efforts lately.  You will have already made a great first impression before the first interview.

Exercise patience  – While companies continue to hire during this time of year, the interview process may sometimes move slowly, especially if a key decision maker is out on vacation.    You should politely check in every few days to reiterate your interest in the position while acknowledging you understand the delay.   Don’t get discouraged though – your patience and diligence will soon pay off!

Servant Based Recruiting

I think like a lot of people out there I battled myself with how I viewed my career choice for a long time.  There was a long period of time when I did not like telling people that I was a recruiter because I was afraid of the perception that they may have had about a recruiter in the past or they may have heard that recruiters are annoying, or all they are trying to do is to get you to change jobs.  I truly battled with this for many years until I heard someone say that you are in your career/job for a reason, and if you are blessed enough to be good at your job you should embrace it and truly take it as this is what you have been called to do.

I am a good recruiter….Some may even call me a great recruiter, and I since my perception has changed I truly love my job and I love sharing with people what I do.  As I reflected about my calling, my mentality changed from trying to fill jobs to truly serving the people that I come in contact with.  Sure the end goal is to fill the job with the best person, however the shift came when I started focusing on trying to fully understand what a candidate was trying to accomplish with their job change.  I made a conscious decision to not put square pegs in round holes and to never force something that should be natural.  That is when my success in recruiting really picked up.

You will never hear me start a conversation with a candidate, telling them about what I have.  Instead I always focus on questions that are important to the individual.  What are you are looking for? Why are you wanting to make a job change? What is important to you outside of work?  Sure, sometimes people just need a job but these questions are vital to that person’s quality of life and are vital to ensuring that you are truly being a servant in recruiting.  When I focus on these questions and what is important to the individual I know what jobs to present to the candidate and what jobs to not present to the candidate, which makes my ability to “close” a non-issue the majority of the time.

Serving others does not mean that I never run into road blocks, however it does help me to feel confident that I did all that I could to understand the candidate and to try to meet their needs.  In addition I never get mad when a candidate turns down my job for something that better met their needs.  I am a big believer that we were put here on this Earth to serve rather than to be served and the more I can shift my focus to serving in all aspects of my life, the better my life becomes.

Millennials – To My Fellow 40%

Forbes says that by 2020, we’ll make up 40% of the workforce.  By “we”, I mean us tenacious, tweeting, instagramming, facebooking … and job-hopping Millennials.

Being in the staffing industry, I talk with clients a lot about job stability and how important it is.  For the most part, I whole-heartedly agree.  There is definitely a generational difference in how we approach careers. My father is a prime example.  He started a job in 1976 and is still happily employed with the same company.

While job-hopping is a quick (and thankfully, an increasingly more acceptable) way to climb the corporate ladder, I’d like to challenge my generation to consider the experience gained, both professionally and personally, from sticking with your current role just a little while longer.  If changing a job opens up better career opportunities for you, by all means, do it.  But if it’s an easy fix for an imperfect work situation, just remember that no job is perfect.

Imagine your company as a load on a pulley system and your job is to assist in moving that load where it needs to go.  A tension force must be applied in order for that load to be moved.  This is good tension that might not be comfortable, but allows that load (your company) to move smoothly in the forward direction. Don’t allow this kind of tension to motivate a job change.

Changing jobs can accelerate you from entry level to mid-level in a few short years, but if you’re shooting for a leadership position, consider sticking around for a while.  How significant of a contribution can you make in 1-2 years?  Maybe a huge one!  But if that’s the case, how much more of an impact could you make by stretching that impact to 3-5 years.  Moving up within an organization instead of through different ones, proves that you possess something that others did not – that you were chosen over others for advancement.

Understandably, every person and situation is different, and sometimes there are workplaces you just need to run from!  And if so, that’s ok.  But before making a change, always ask yourself what more you can give to your company to help move it in the right direction.  If you’ve invested fully in your company and know that you’ve maxed out your skills and knowledge, then moving on might be best for you and your employer.  But if you can give more, chances are you can gain more and that is a route up the corporate ladder to which no one will object.

 

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