Try an Informational Interview for Future Job Leads

July 27th, 2012

If your job search has slowed and no interviews are on the horizon, think about setting up an informational interview to broaden your network and expand the possibilities for future career opportunities.

An informational interview is the opportunity to talk to someone in your chosen field, with valuable knowledge about the businesses you’re interested in and about the right people to meet later down the road. You can ask others in your existing network for referrals to people who are willing to participate in this type of interview or you can try contacting them on your own. Either way, go into this knowing such a meeting can be very valuable if handled correctly. Tips include:

Get consent. When you reach out to an individual, make sure they’re open to the idea of an informational interview. Some people are only too glad to help out, while others may turn you down or simply not respond. Don’t pester such people; it will only eliminate them as future contacts.

Have an agenda. What are you looking for in an informational interview? Do you want to learn about current industry trends? Are you seeking referrals to hiring managers? Whatever your goal, know what you want going in and stick to this agenda.

Be yourself. Remember, this is not a job interview. You’re looking for information. Don’t make the person who agreed to meet you uncomfortable by persistently asking for leads on specific job openings.

Be polite and aware of time. This informational interview is taking place only because your contact is willing to share her time and knowledge with you. So don’t be late showing up or behave in any unprofessional manner. Also, be conscious of the amount of time the interview takes. Respect the other person and end the discussion at the agreed-upon time.

Ask for references. It’s OK to politely ask for the names of other people you can meet with. Even if the referral provided isn’t a hiring manager with a specific job opening, additional names only expand your network and increase the likelihood of valuable contacts down the line.

Return the favor. Beyond expressing your gratitude (which you should do under any circumstances), ask the other person if there’s anything you can help them with. This makes the interview more of a two-way street and will also deepen your relationship.

Learn more about how Meador Staffing Services can help you in your job search.

Warning Signs of a Bad Hire

July 20th, 2012

Warning Signs of a Bad Hire

It happens to all employers at one time or another. A candidate with an outstanding resume aces the interview for an open position and gets offered the job. Everyone is thrilled to have the new employee on board and the future’s never looked better.

Slowly – or right away – the sobering realization kicks in: We’ve made a bad hire.

Wouldn’t it be great to know some warning signs before the above scenario plays itself out? Think about these cases:

Hates new ways of doing things. On the surface, this individual seems to have the right combination of skills and experience for the new job. As it turns out, he comes with his own way of doing things and doesn’t want to change, no matter what.

Can’t think big. This person has a great track record working in a limited capacity. Given the opportunity to take on bigger responsibilities, she freezes. The scope of the new job is just too much for her.

Too much drama. Some people don’t show this side during the new-hire process. But once they’re on the job, you find that there’s always some drama going on – dispute with a co-worker, arguments with the boss, just an all-around, attention-grabbing pain-in-the-neck.

I’ll do anything! This individual promised early on that no job is beneath him, no matter how trivial. He claims to have huge enthusiasm for being “part of the team.” Then it turns out they really don’t want to do the paperwork connected with a new initiative or jump in and do a bit of “grunt work” needed to move a project forward.

Chances are, you’ve seen these people before. So what can you do to improve the hiring process?

First off – slow down. The quicker you bring a new person on board, the higher the likelihood is you’ve made a bad choice. Study the wording of their resume. Take time to research their work history. Ask their references a couple of tough questions. If alarm signals start going off, don’t hesitate to move on to the next candidate.

During the interview, look closely at how the individual comes off, not just what they say. Are there any little quirks displayed that might spell trouble down the road? Does she appear, despite her sterling credentials, someone who might not play well with others? It’s a gut-call on your part, but one worth heeding.

Finally, do your best to match the candidate’s past performance with what’s required in your open position. If it seems there’s a huge gap to overcome, and a lot time will be needed to get this person up to speed, it may be the moment to think about someone else. Use assessment tools to determine whether the potential new hire has the ability to hit the ground running.

Meador Staffing Services delivers flexible and customized staffing solutions for employers across Texas and beyond. Contact us for details on how we can help you.

Looking for a Job? Write a Blog

July 13th, 2012

There’s a good reason you see so many blogs when you browse the web. Increasingly, this is a way for people to share knowledge, brand themselves as “thought leaders” and—of particular interest to job-seekers—find and get a job.

If you have a special interest in a topic that relates to the kind of job you’re looking for, getting a blog up and running is a great first step toward launching yourself in the world of social media. The  blog posts don’t have to be long (500-600 words tops) or overly formal (a casual, but grammatically correct style is best), but they should absolutely provide value in the form of insights and tidbits of unique knowledge you can pass along. With a library of blog posts and an aggressive approach toward getting traffic to your site, odds are you’ll attract interest from HR recruiters or others in an industry network. If they like what they see, you’ll probably hear from them.

Set up your blog

Look into these sites that will host your blog for free:

Blogger.com – Free and easy to set up

WordPress.com – Free, but with special features you can purchase

Start writing

As noted, blogging is synonymous with informal writing—but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to pull off. Veteran bloggers suggest writing your first few posts in a Word program, which can be easily revised and edited, and then downloaded into your chosen blog template. In your first draft, don’t worry too much about sentence structure and choosing the perfect words. Focus on getting something down, letting it sit for awhile, then returning to look at it with fresh eyes. Your job is to produce fresh content that has value to readers. (While you’re at it, try coming up with a snappy, topic-related name for your blog, something people can easily remember.)

You might want to start slow, drafting maybe 1-3 posts a week. But your goal should be posting new content at least 5 times a week, so readers get in the habit of checking out your blog on a regular basis.

And remember—Spell-check is your friend! Nothing should ever go up that contains misspelling or simple grammatical errors.

Read and comment on other blogs

Read lots of blogs and comment on the posts you read. Commenting (and finding blogs you can link back to) helps establish relationships with other bloggers and people in positions of influence.

Your blog is your brand

If your blogging goal is to move your job search forward, never forget that your blog represents you; it’s your personal brand. Don’t use this forum to spout off about a pet peeve, unless it’s industry-related and you have a great solution. Don’t get into a blog war with other bloggers. Focus on creating content that you feel good about being read by potential employers.

Meador Staffing Services offers many great tips and resources to help you find the job that’s right for you.

Look for Talent, But Not at the Cost of Your Business

July 6th, 2012

An influential book published in 2000 called The War for Talent set forth a bold theory. Businesses that emerged triumphant in the marketplace did so by being the best at finding, assessing, recruiting and keeping the most talented people out there. The idea caught on and for years, many organizations have expended a major amount of time and money finding top talent, convinced that just hiring the right people will guarantee success in the marketplace.

It’s time to take another look at this aggressive hiring approach and consider some of its shortcomings.

Impact on teamwork and motivation

First of all, hiring gifted individuals by no means ensures a company’s top performance. When you emphasize individual talent over everything else, it tends to have a negative effect on concepts like “teamwork” and “cooperation.” It also generates harmful internal rivalries, and puts up obstacles to the growth of organization-wide best practices.

In the war for talent, it’s often assumed that hiring someone from the outside is preferable to hiring from within. Not only does this set up a false assumption (an outsider will always do the job better), but it downplays the talent and experience of those already working within the organization. It should come as no surprise, therefore, when employees experience a loss of motivation and start looking for other positions where their skills and abilities may be properly recognized and rewarded.

Another danger: Believing you’ve hired the world’s best talent leads to the conviction that there’s so much built-in intelligence that “We can do no wrong.” Any business that incorporates this assumption into their daily operations is only asking for trouble. No one knows everything; in fact, the wisest people know there’s always a lot to learn.

Teamwork, not individuals

Perhaps the greatest mistake entailed in the war for talent is the idea that a company’s culture is less important than any one gifted individual. Business is really no different from any team sport. You can have a Michael Jordan or Barry Bonds on the staff, but if they don’t work well with others, if they don’t value the higher goals of the company over their personal ambitions – you can’t succeed. Businesses flourish when they’re made up of great teams, not great individuals.

So the next time you’re looking to fill an important staffing position, keep in mind the need to find a person who’s the right fit for your company – not the so-called superstar who may or may not have the right attitude and capability to help out as part of a successful team.

Find out how Meador Staffing Services can help you find the right fit for your business.