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How to Find the Perfect Candidate for Your Light Industrial Job Opening

March 22nd, 2013

Every time you endeavor to fill an open position with your company you have a new opportunity to fin just the right person for the job.  Each time you enter into the process, you are seeking that candidate who will glide right in and dazzle everyone with their knowledge, skill, and engaging personality.  That person is assuredly out there every time you are looking for them.  But how do you find them?  You find lots of people who are willing to come on board, but not that perfect person.  Well here are a few ideas to try and draw in the right person each time.

  • Advertise your company culture, not just the job.  There are jobs out there that are just like the one you are offering.  And you want the top candidates to choose you, not the other guys.  This is simple:  just tell them why they should.  Get the word out about why it is so great to work with your organization.  Make sure everyone knows what your company culture is all about.  What makes you interesting, what makes you better, what can they expect to get out of employment with you, what unique opportunities for development and growth do you offer?  This way it isn’t a job they are applying for, it is an entire culture and environment and work experience that they are seeking.  You are already unique, just make sure they know why.
  • Ramp up your screening process.  The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over but expecting different results.  If this feels familiar to you, it is easy to do something immediately to change this pattern.  Examine your screening and interviewing process.  Make sure you are going beyond the basic Q and A session.  Offer candidates the opportunity to actually demonstrate what they can do.  Set up a second interview with those in whom you are interested where they can have a practical experience with your team.  Get them paired up with a peer for an hour or two and observe them in the environment.  If appropriate, give them a real work challenge they will encounter on the job and see how they handle it.  All good candidates will be excited to show you just what they have to offer.  And the insight you will gain into their qualification is priceless.
  • Delve deeper into each candidate.  The more you know about each person the more you can assess their fit with your organization.  Many times, a candidate will have all the right skills, experience and qualifications and the wrong temperament.  They end up being a square peg in a round hole, you spend a lot of time and money getting them up to speed, and they ultimately don’t work out.  But the more you know about a person the better you can assess how well they will fit with your team and your culture.  Check them out on social media.  Find out about their hobbies and interests outside of work.  Anything you can do to get a better understanding of who this individual really is will help you to accurately assess whether you should make them an offer or not.

At ERG Staffing Services, we are highly skilled at filling light industrial posts with qualified individuals who will be a good fit with your company culture.  We get to know you first, so we can appropriately screen candidates for you later.  Contact one of our trained professionals today to find out more.



Tips for a Successful Interview with a Recruiter

February 15th, 2013

If you have never interviewed with a staffing company before, you may be tempted to treat the experience with a bit more levity than a “real” job interview.  Don’t do it.  This is as real an opportunity to land a good job as any other interview directly with a company, maybe even more so!  Follow these guidelines for a successful experience.

1)      Dress as you would for any job interview.  The recruiter may seem so warm and friendly on the phone that you may think that your interview is more of a “get to know you better” session, which it is.  But it is also a full on job interview, so dress the part.  Don’t go casual.  You want to seem credible, serious and worth consideration, and your attire should say that about you.

2)      Have your resume ready.  Have a few extra copies available too.  Make sure it is accurate, updated, and addresses any gaps you may have in employment.  Be prepared to answer questions about your time between jobs honestly.  Don’t try to hide these gaps.  If the recruiter later uncovers any inconsistencies with your version of your employment history, it will definitely count against you.  A recruiter’s reputation is on the line every time they send who they believe to be a well-qualified applicant to one of their client companies.  They will not risk sending you if they feel you may have been less than truthful on your resume.

3)      Practice your interview skills before you go.  Again, treat this as you would an interview for your dream job, because it may well turn out to be!  Make good eye contact.  Answer questions thoughtfully.  Prepare some concise questions to ask before you go.  Practice mock interviews with a friend if it’s been a while since you last interviewed.  There is no preparation that is too much.  All this work will make you more relaxed and confident, and better able to represent yourself.

4)      Be a helpful source of information for the recruiter.  The recruiter may not understand the ins and outs of the job they are trying to fill as well as you do.  It is your industry, after all.  You are in a unique position to offer some insight into the job their client needs to fill.  And, your advice will be greatly appreciated because it will allow the recruiter to better perform his job.  By striking this cooperative, mutually beneficial tone with the recruiter, you will help yourself because it is in the recruiter’s best interest to get you placed.

At ERG Staffing Services, our staff of highly trained professionals is here to place you in the job you are seeking.  Contact us today so you can begin the process of landing your next position in a light industrial workplace.

Is Negative Better Than Neutral? You Bet!

January 12th, 2013

In the world of fashion, trends change frequently; one year brown is the new black, the next it’s gray, the next it’s black again.  In the world of HR reference checking, some things never change. Neutral is really negative, and negative is really information.

With the threat of lawsuits hanging over HR manager’s heads, many of us will absolutely never give a negative reference when asked.  We will give the basic employment verification information and not a bit more.  This leaves the person on the other end of the phone with no more information than before they picked up the phone.

If what we are seeking is clarity, what can we do to get more information from reference checks?

  • One way is to get more verified information directly from the applicant.  To ensure you are getting correct employment history, ask for a business card from previous positions held.  If you’d like to make sure you get an accurate picture of his job performance claims, ask to see a copy of previous performance reviews.  You can even verify salary claims be asking to see an old pay stub from their last employer.  This is real, verified information about the applicant that can aid in your decision making process.
  • When asking for references, see if you can get his direct supervisor, and perhaps even that person’s manager as well.  If you have more than one superior to speak with, you have a chance of getting real information about the candidate from one of them.
  • If you have the opportunity to leave a message asking for a reference, you can say “Please give me a call back at your convenience if this is someone you would strongly recommend for (position available).”  If you get no return call, it may be an indicator that this applicant does not get the recommendation from his previous employer.  It may also mean that the previous employer does not return reference calls.  Either way, it can serve to possibly confirm suspicions you may already have about the applicant not being a good fit.  Alternatively, you may get a call back right away with a glowing endorsement.  Information achieved.
  • This question may get you some useful data on your applicant too:  “In what position in your company would you absolutely not place this person, and why?”  Listen closely to the answer.  You may have to wait a minute for a response as they may be caught off guard.  That’s a good thing for you, as you might be lucky enough to get an honest answer that will shed some light on your candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

Reference checking can be a long and daunting task.  At ERG Staffing Services, we take care of that, and so much more, to provide you with temporary and temp-to-permanent light industrial staff that fit your needs and culture.  Call one of our representatives today to get started.

Take a Second Look at Those Underemployed Candidates

January 4th, 2013

The turn of a new year usually lends to new beginnings and change.  Change is almost always good, even when on the surface it may not seem so.  One change you may consider making in your hiring strategy for 2013 is to consider more closely the applicant who may be struggling career-wise.

In our current economy and abysmal job market, many, many qualified people have been laid off.  There are so few jobs available that they are forced to take on jobs outside their normal career path, that may not be anywhere near their actual potential.  But people need to work, for financial as well as self-worth reasons, so they will give their all to a job that is less than they are capable of.  Your policy for hiring may summarily reject anyone who is unemployed or not employed at a certain level.  Considering whom these individuals tend to be, a policy revision may be in order.

A flawless screening process is critical for being able to tell who is a star and who isn’t.  You must know exactly what qualities you are looking for in a member of your team, and design your interview questions to get a good sense of whether or not your candidate is in possessions of them.  You must also train your hiring managers to recognize the signs of a great asset.  Many times, if you are considering hiring someone for a job in which they have little direct experience, your instincts will be you guide.  But if you are on the lookout for your key factors, you will have something more concrete to go on.

Attitude is everything.  Many times these underemployed people have suffered a rejection and loss from being laid off from a company at which they worked long and hard.  These candidates are generally highly motivated to get back some of their workplace esteem and former level of achievement.  Motivation to learn is one of the most critical qualities in a successful hire.  Most other things can be taught, but a good attitude has to walk in the door with them.

Fresh eyes with experience in other realms can spot areas for improvements and make suggestions for change.  You and your team have been doing things a certain way, and that’s the way you do them.  A new hire with work experience different from your environment brings to the table their own fresh perspective.  The expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees” exactly describes the phenomena here:  they see the trees and can tell which ones are healthy and which should be kindling.

The growth potential for these candidates is meaningful, for them and for you.  They need to know that they can begin to rebuild toward something higher in the workplace.  They are motivated to achieve more.  You benefit because you are hiring potential.  These employees are ones that can grow with your company professionally, and also build long term relationships within your company creating a stable and welcoming work environment.

You can afford them.  Because they are changing careers, or starting over, or whatever you want to call it, their past experience does not relate exactly to what their new job will be.  Consequently, the salary they can initially draw will many times be less than what they were making at their previous position, at which they had climbed the ladder and made a name and a reputation for themselves.  You as the employer can get a great bargain in hiring an underemployed candidate.

ERG Staffing Services specializes in providing temporary and permanent light industrial staffing solutions to business like yours.  From initial screening to HR support, we are ready to handle the hiring process for you, so you can focus on the rest of your business.  Contact us today.

Interviewing 101: How to Answer “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

December 14th, 2012

If you are fortunate, you are looking for a new job while you still have a job.  More and more likely these days, you are looking for a job because you lost your last one.  If you were laid off due to the bad economy or any other reason, the question in the title is an easy one to answer.  But, if you quit or were fired, then just like Lucy, you may have some ‘splaining to do.  The time to think about how to answer the question is now, before you get asked.  Here are some tips on how to respond gracefully.

First of all, stay positive.  Do not go to the dark side.  Do not start complaining about your old boss, or how disorganized your last company was, or anything of the sort.  Nobody likes a whiner, and if you go off on how bad it was at your last job, the hiring manager is going to bristle imagining how you will talk about his company when you quit.  All companies are flawed.  Complaining vehemently just makes you an unattractive candidate.

Explain it in terms of cultural fit, or lack thereof.  The most graceful way to explain why you are not with your last company without assigning any blame either way, is to say that you and your last employer were simply not a good fit.  Perhaps it was the right company but you didn’t fit the position or department you were in.  Maybe you would feel more comfortable in a small to midsize company culture, and your last employer just got too big.  However you spin it, make it about a bad “fit” and you are able to remain neutral, without assigning blame to your old employer or yourself.

Focus on your skills.  Now that you have established why you were not a perfect match for your last employer, let these new guys know why you are a good fit with them.  Focus on how your skills align beautifully with the set required for this new position.  Point out that the cultural vibe is just what you are looking for and why.  Describe how you can contribute to the company culture and how you feel you already fit in.  Demonstrate similarities in style.  However you can align your strengths with their needs – that’s what you should focus on.

The most important item to remember is to not talk badly about your previous employer.  Think of it this way:  You know that woman who is always gossiping and talking badly about everyone?  Well, you know how you wonder what she says about YOU when you’re not around?  If you are trashing your previous employer, you are that gossip lady.  Don’t be that gossip lady.  Be the gracious host of the party and offer positive information on what you can do for your potential NEW employer.  That’s what gets you lots of friends, and gets you invited back.

In the market for a new job?  Contact the professional staff at ERG Staffing Services and let us begin the placement process to get you into a new light industrial job today.

Avoid Being Duped by Fake Resumes

December 7th, 2012

You would think that in today’s era of unavoidable transparency, with internet searches available at the click of an index finger, that no one in his right mind would fake a resume.  Unfortunately it still happens, even with high profile jobs.  Here are a few simple steps you can take to avoid making a potentially costly hiring mistake.

Even if you need to fill this position yesterday, don’t rush the process.  Every hiring decision has an impact on your business, so every one matters.  Properly vetting applicants takes time if you are being thorough.  If you are in a hurry, you may be tempted to skip a step or two to just get the candidate on board.  The time saved in the screening process will not outweigh the expense of making a bad hiring decision, so don’t give in to that temptation.

Interview, interview, interview.  Much can be learned from the interview process.  And the more times you meet with a candidate, the more you will come to know them as a person, a worker, a leader or a colleague.  Bring promising candidates back in for second and even third interviews, and involve other managers in the process.  Their insight will be valuable as each of us perceives things differently, and when you compare notes afterward, you will be able to uncover potential inconsistencies in the candidate’s story.  Or alternatively, you’ll find out that what they claim is true and you’ll have confidence moving forward with that candidate.

Utilize the tools at your disposal for background checks.  This can be as involved or superficial as you feel necessary and your budget will allow.  Do a Google search and see what comes up.  You can even check our social media outlets for information.  Does what you found agree with their resume?  From there you can delve into background checks, drug tests, criminal records and the like if you need further investigation.  These are widely available through agencies offering packages from roughly $1500 and up, depending on your needs.

They’ve given you references, so check them.  Call each listed person.  Then, reach out to others at their previous employer such as coworkers or direct supervisors.  It is important to seek out character references other than the “gimme’s” listed on a resume.  It may be a bit challenging for you but if you do speak with someone who reveals something that gives you pause about the candidate, the effort will all be worth it.

In this economic environment of high competition for jobs, the occasional applicant will fudge their work history or experience, or try to conceal employment gaps.  It is important for you to have a clear and accurate picture of the candidates so you can make an educated decision.  By doing your own lie-detecting, you will have the confidence that the individual to whom you make an offer is really who he claims to be.

If this process seems daunting to you, you are not alone.  ERG Staffing Services specializes in helping companies like yours by locating, screening and hiring clerical and light industrial staff for you.  We learn your business, your culture and your hiring needs and then take over the process from there, with as much or as little involvement as you’d like.  Contact one of our trained professionals today to find out all we have to offer.

4 Tips To Help Get Your Employee Referral Engine Humming

November 23rd, 2012

Your current employees are there for a reason:  they work hard, fit your culture, are dedicated, loyal and genuinely concerned with success – both their own and the company’s as a whole.  If they weren’t all those things, they wouldn’t be working for you.  They know exactly what it means and what it takes to work there.  So why not harness that powerful engine to help you hire the right people?  Here are 4 tips that can help you start and maintain a successful employee referral program.

  1.  Communicate what you need.  Clearly explain the jobs that you are trying to fill.  List qualification that are required and those that are beneficial.  Employees cannot speak intelligently to others about a job opening they don’t understand fully, so give them the tools for success.
  2. Outline the benefits to them.  You must set parameters for what is expected and what the rewards will be.  Be specific.  For example:  “Any employee who refers a candidate to HR that gets hired and is employed for at least 6 months gets $1,000.”  Obviously that is just an example; your requirements may be very different in scope and reward dollars. You may even set up different parameters for different types of positions; ones harder to fill are of more value to you and may warrant a higher payout. Figure out what works for you and state it very clearly in writing.  Make sure all your employees know about and understand the program.
  3. Market.  It is not enough to set up this program and expect that it will take off.  This needs constant marketing and PR effort by you to your staff.  This is the type of benefit that is exciting at first and then quickly fades to an afterthought, or no thought at all in a month or two.  When you have a successful referral, make sure everyone in the company knows it, and remind them of the benefit the referring employee will enjoy.  Discuss it weekly with your staff.  Post reminders and keep your job opening lists updated.  The more effort you put into marketing this to your staff, the more successful it will be.
  4. Enable social media.  It may be a bit off-putting to think of your staff blasting your job openings to their social media distribution list.  Fear not!  Simply supply them with posts to repost.  This way you will still retain control over the content, and it makes it much more likely that they will actually reach out to their networks if all that is required is a click to “share”.

Employee referral programs may be the best way to find individuals with the best fit for your culture.  Your staff will not refer individuals with whom they would not like to work!  The costs to you are greatly outweighed by the potential savings.  Consider the time and money invested in interviewing candidates who you do not hire.  Also consider the revenue you are losing each day you are without that sales position being filled.  The dollars add up quickly.  Establishing a well thought out employee referral program is worth definitely worth the effort.

For those positions you still need help filling, call ERG Staffing Services.  We are the leading staffing service in the Lehigh Valley and beyond for light industrial and clerical staffing.

Job Assessment Test? Don’t Sweat It!

November 16th, 2012

More and more frequently, employers are using assessment testing as a way to narrow down the number of viable applicants for job openings.  These can range from basic skills tests to personality tests or mechanical ability assessments.  Whatever the case, doing well on these will improve your chances of getting through to the next level of interviews and possibly a job offer.  Here are a few things you can do to be better prepared and do your best.

  • Find out what you are up against.  Ask some questions to discern exactly what sort of testing they are requiring.  Also, find out how they will be administered:  will there be group testing, via phone, online or one-on-one in person?  Find out how the test results are used in the hiring decision.  Once you know what you are dealing with, you can better prepare.
  • Prepare yourself.  Look online for practice tests and take them until you feel comfortable.  Ask others you know if they have ever taken the same sort of tests and get their advice and feedback.  The day before the test, make sure you get some exercise even if it is just a walk outside.  This physical activity will help clear your head and give you a better night’s sleep so you will feel completely rested on test day.  The morning of the test, get up early enough to allow yourself a healthy breakfast with some protein to give your brain the energy it needs to function well.  Dress in layers so you can deal with a too warm or too cool testing room.  In other words, remove any potential distractions so you can have the best focus possible.
  • Practice good test-taking skills.  This may sound silly, but the little rules of test taking are rules because they work.  Read questions slowly and completely.  If it is multiple choice, read every answer even if you think you spot the correct on right away.  Generally, your first answer selection will be the correct one – try hard to avoid second-guessing yourself.  Unless you have compelling evidence to change your answer, don’t.  If you don’t know an answer, skip it and move on.  Return to it later if there is time.  Be honest and truthful in your responses.  In personality tests, you will be asked the same question a number of different ways to measure your honesty in responding.  Keep in mind the company culture when responding to situational or behavioral questions.  Above all, take your time and do not rush to just get done.

What now?  If you feel like you really tanked in a certain area of the test, it might not hurt to let the hiring manager know.  There is a chance that he may have the ability to disregard it or not count it too heavily against you. Take a minute to write down the names of the tests you took and any questions you remember.  This will help you later if you want to discuss the test with the hiring manager or if you ever have to take the test again in the future.  Ask for your results.  If you did well, congratulations!  If not, be open to advice and make sure HR knows that you are very eager to take training in your areas of poor performance.

It is in your best interest to seek out improvement in these types of assessment tests.  They will always be a valuable tool for HR managers seeking to hire the best people for the job.

Why Outsourcing Your HR and Hiring Needs May Be Your Best Option

November 2nd, 2012

Does this sound like the way your small business handles HR?

You have one manager, maybe the Business or Finance Manager, who handles payroll.  You have a couple of other department heads who handle hiring decisions, and employee’s issues.  All of you sort of take care of helping employees get set up with your insurance benefits plans, etc.

Many small businesses, out of sheer necessity,  have this set-up, with varying degrees of success.  Once your company gets to a certain size though, problems can creep into this system.  Here are some of the main problems with this structure:

  • Sometimes, managers may feel as though they are not passing along the most accurate or current information to employees.
  • There may be inconsistencies among different managers’ techniques for handling employee issues.
  • The busier department heads get, HR duties tend to get pushed further and further down the to-do list.
  • Employees can become increasingly upset by this perceived lack of attention to their needs on the part of management.
  • The company may be unwittingly putting itself at risk of lawsuits by having department heads who are not properly trained in the laws and regulations pertaining to hiring, firing and other HR roles performing these tasks.  This is dangerous and potentially very costly and harmful to the company and its employees.

There are two solutions to this problem.  You can hire another manager who is specifically trained to handle all of these HR tasks and be a one man (or woman) department for your company.  Or, you can outsource all of your HR needs.

You must go through a cost benefit analysis to determine which route is most cost effective for your company.  Many companies are choosing the outsourcing route today since there are many highly qualified and affordable firms out there to effectively handle these functions for them.

When you work with ERG Staffing Services, we are really your partner.  We believe that effective communication is critical to this partnership so our staff will work with you to uncover exactly what your needs are, to understand your culture and make a plan with you for success.

Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • Temporary Staffing for short-term projects needing staff immediately, family and medical leave absences, coverage for vacationing employees and additional workers for your peak season.
  • Temp to Hire and Direct Hire Staffing
  • On-Site Staffing Manager.  When you have many temporary/contract employees, we can provide a staffing professional to manage these workers at your place of business.  There’s no additional cost for this service.
  • Safety Training for everyone we send to your site.
  • Payrolling.  If you think you have found the right employee but are not yet prepared to put them on your payroll, we will make them our employee, and handle all payroll paperwork, taxes, unemployment etc.

Call ERG Staffing Services to learn more about how we can solve some or all of your staffing problems immediately, and for the future.

Your Productivity – A Strategic Approach to Success

October 26th, 2012

The best example of hard work that accomplishes little is the hamster wheel. You feel like you are running all day, busy from the time you wake until the time your head hits the pillow at night, but when you look back on your day, you feel like you haven’t gotten very far. You’ve surely heard the term “work smarter, not harder.” Here are a few steps to consider on your way to increased productivity and happiness.

Determine where you are going. Begin with the simple (or not so simple) task of establishing your long term and short term goals for your business. This vision you have for yourself is what should be guiding your daily activities, so make it a clear with which to view your day.

Make a plan of how to get there. You want to make a plan every day to get you to your expressed goals. Realizing from the start that you cannot accomplish everything you want every day, you will feel more fulfilled and productive if you break down your activities into manageable chunks and prioritize them on a daily basis. Begin by segmenting your goals into smaller mini goals. Then select 5 or 6 activities that will reach each mini goal. Work each day with this to-do list, focusing on these activities. Your plan may look something like this:

Goal: to become a paid presenter at your industry trade shows.
Mini Goal: gain industry recognition as an expert
 Activity 1: start a thread on LinkedIn
Activity 2: research how others have gained recognition
Activity 3: contact vendors to schedule further education on product lines
 Activity 4: respond to existing questions on industry sites, offering opinions and advice
Activity 5: schedule public speaking classes

You would continue with each mini goal, adding activities under each one. On a daily basis, decided which mini goal you are going to work on and set out to accomplish as many of the listed activities as possible. Any that you do not complete, work on first the next day.

You can see that when broken down, these pieces seem completely manageable and you should be able to achieve most of them in a day. And, your sense of accomplishment is amplified by the knowledge that each of these tasks is directly related to accomplishing you bigger goal. This is the definition of productive.

Analyze what you are doing currently. Take a look at how you are spending your days. Make a list of the following things: what “jobs” you are currently doing (father, husband, manager, soccer coach, household accountant, sounding board, etc.) List them all. Next, list all the projects you are currently working on. List all the things you feel you should be working on but haven’t gotten to yet. This is a big list! Now look at it and cross out all the ones that are not going to help you reach your work goal. What is left is what you should be focusing on during your work day. The other roles and tasks will fall under activities to reach other personal goals – yes, this formula will work for any aspect of your life, personal and professional.  In fact, it is important to focus on other aspects of your life too, so you can have a sense of balance and serenity.

Imagine yourself putting your head on the pillow at night and not fretting about all the things you didn’t get done. This can become an every night routine for you once you break down your to-do list into manageable pieces that are all designed to reach your goals.

ERG Staffing Services will help you reach your professional goals of attaining a full staff of qualified professionals.  We are the leading light industrial staffing provider in Southeastern PA, and we are ready to help you.  Contact us today.