Last week I was working with a job seeker who almost got declined for an interview, despite being incredibly well qualified. This was due to his not being overt about his desire to work at the organization. I had to convince the customer that he wanted to work for them.
Sometimes a job is just a business arrangement where one party gets talent and the other gets a paycheck. However, many organizations view themselves in a more egalitarian light. (Here at Peak Performers Staffing Agency, passion for the mission is critical to getting a job with us!)
Tips for showing them your heart
1 – Match the emotional tone of the company.
Some companies are out there to make money, some are there to get the hard work done, and some are seeking to change the world. Thoroughly evaluate the mission statement, marketing, and the about page of the company. Dial up or down your emotive language and personal pitch to match that of the company’s.
2 – Consider your job title.
Customer-facing roles typically require you to be more of a cheerleader for the brand. When I worked at Apple retail, being a “promoter” was key to getting promoted. If you will be interfacing with the public, mimic the tone you expect you would use when interacting with the public.
3 – Put your work desire in your cover letter/cover email.
Resumes are for facts, dates, summaries, and bullet points—resume’s are not places for “passion.” If you’re applying for a company where your emotional connection is a competitive advantage, write that cover letter/email to express it!
4 – Research your interviewers on LinkedIn.
Once you have an interview scheduled, look up your interviewers on LinkedIn. What kinds of things do they post? Channel their tone, energy, and the language they use into your own.
5 – Dial up your work passion during an interview.
Often, a resume and initial recruiter screen is there to check boxes. You’re being evaluated as to whether you possess the basic skills needed to do the job. An interview is often for digging into the “culture fit.” So dial up that passion during the interview. Channel that energy and let them know you want to be with them.
Picking a top rated staffing agency in Pflugerville is important for both job seekers and employers. Staffing agencies are important partners to finding talented personnel. Here are some of our tips for picking a top rated staffing agency in Pflugerville, Texas.
Staffing Agencies: What to Consider
Specialization of Staffing Agency
Industry specialization is important for picking the best staffing agency. Many staffing firms will specialize in particular kinds of recruitment. Staffing firms often have experience recruiting for that industry and many connections in the industry. Furthermore, the search process for an administrative assistant or enterprise architect may look very different than recruiting for a groundskeeper–the staffing firm will need to look different places to find those workers.
And if you’re looking for work, seeking out a staffing firm that specializes in your area of expertise means you’re more likely to find a job faster.
Some staffing firms, even top-rated ones, have a “revolving door” reputation.
As a job seeker, you don’t want a company that doesn’t value your hard work and company loyalty. And as a business, having employees constantly turning over costs you time and money.
Ask the staffing agency about their retention and re-deployment rates. Both are key to Peak Performers success and our nonprofit mission. We have a turnover rate that is half that of the industry average!
What Benefits are Offered?
Benefits keep employees happy, retained, and happy. Many staffing agencies have little-to-no benefits that they offer, or their benefits are poor. Obviously, their employees will keep looking for other work and ultimately the staffing agency will struggle to hold onto talet.
Every staffing business in Pflugerville is rated online (you can find our Google ratings and reviews here). If you are looking for work, this is important so you can hear honest feedback and gain insights into the company. It’s equally important for businesses to use in evaluating potential staffing agencies. Staffing agencies are acting as an extension of your brand and representing your open jobs–so their reputation rubs off on you.
If you’re looking for work, a staffing agency should never, ever charge you to consider you for employment. This is probably a scam.
If you are an employer, consider staffing agency cost through multiple lenses: hourly bill rate, conversion cost, direct hire fees, and other add-on fees. Also ask about their “placement guarantee,” which is basically insurance on your direct hire employees. Keep in mind that you may not want to pick out the “cheapest” staffing agency–sometimes you get what you pay for if you pick out a cheap staffing provider!
Are you a job seeker? If so, browse our jobs or join our talent pool. We’re happy to consider you for one of our many open jobs.
Many people dread phone calls. They will do just about everything to avoid phone calls, even if they’re looking for a job. But in the business world, the phone is still the go-to communication tool. That means if you’re looking for work, answer the phone. You should answer your phone when job hunting because it might be a recruiter phone call.
Phone Etiquette for Recruiter Phone Calls and FAQs about Answering Recruiter Calls
Question: If job hunting, do I need to answer an unknown or out-of-area number? Answer: You should absolutely answer unknown numbers. You never know if it’s a recruiter phone call. Also, many recruiters may be using their personal cell phone to call you…and they might not even be in the same state they’re recruiting for–which means it’s likely to be out of area. Answer all calls when possible.
Question: Can’t I just call recruiters back? Answer: The recruiting world is fast-paced. We don’t know how long it will take someone to call us back (or even if they will) and so we may not wait. This means we might call down a list of people and hope someone picks up and forget about the rest of the people.
Question: What if I’m in a noisy place…or at my current job? How do I answer recruiter phone calls? Answer: That’s ok! Whether you’re in a noisy place or just don’t want to be interrupted, still take the call and politely schedule a time to call them back, preferably later that day during business hours. Most recruiters will be totally ok with this.
Question: Can I use Google voice to screen recruiter calls? Answer: Our experience with Google voice has been pretty spotty. Google voice calls are often garbled. Also, from our perspective it feels presumptuous to have a “personal assistant” asking for my name and why I’m calling. Many recruiters might just hang up as opposed to trying to talk to you.
Question: Can I text recruiters instead? Answer: You can try to text back recruiters–our systems support this! But phone lines (and especially land lines) shared by a group of people may or may not be able to deliver your messages. It’s safer to just answer the phone if possible.
Question: What if I really can’t answer? Answer: At the very least, make sure you have a professional sounding voicemail that’s set up and that your voicemail is not full. Seriously, check it right now and make sure!
The Bottom Line
Often, the difference between who got the interview and who didn’t was who answered their phone to recruiters. Do your job search a favor and answer the phone to a recruiter phone call.
If you’re looking to work with an employment agency in Austin, you have many to choose from. ResumeSpice lists at least 100 of them!
So if you’re looking to compare agencies, here’s our tips for doing so:
Tips for Comparing Employment Agencies
Look at their jobs
An employment agency isn’t going to do you much good if they don’t have a job that aligns with your skills and career goals. Also, many employment agencies will specialize. For example, we don’t often staff for warehouse or janitorial roles and many of our positions are office and professional jobs.
However, as opposed to taking one look at the company’s job board and moving on, it’s important to get an assessment of the kinds of jobs they have and check back in periodically if it looks like they may have jobs in the future.
Look at reviews online
Fortunately, many people are eager to tell you about their experience with an employment agency. Less fortunately, you have to take this feedback with a grain of salt–people will be inclined to leave bad reviews for many different reasons, especially with something as important as employment. Read the five-star reviews as well as the one-star reviews.
That said, these reviews can give you a good benchmark. I recommend looking on multiple platforms such as Google, Glassdoor, and even Facebook to assess how positive people are about working for an employment agency.
Look at the culture
Employment and staffing agencies can get a bad reputation. Sometimes, they fail in taking an interest in looking out for their employees’ well being and growth and are more interested in just making a profit from their human capital. You can often get a sense for the ethos and culture of a company by its mission statement and social media.
As a nonprofit employment agency, we help professionals with disabilities find careers. We encourage a transparent and agile culture and a commitment to treating all clients, employees, and future employees with respect. We encourage employees to keep in contact with our staff and also issue an employee of the year awards. Furthermore, we have a redeployment rate of about half of our personnel, about 5X the national average for employment agencies.
Look at their clients
While you are an employee of the employment agency, often it will feel more like you are an employee of the client. Therefore, it’s important to partner with an employment agency who has refutable clients for whom you would be happy to work.
This may not always be obvious since many job descriptions leave it off. But you can often get a general idea from reading the job description and reading online reviews.
Benefits are expensive. Sometimes, evaluating an employment agency is a simple as asking them to “put their money where their mouth is.” Some employment agencies skimp, offering little or no benefits. (Especially avoid companies where you are “independent contractors” and not actual employees.)
Ask around for job recommendations and referrals when looking for your next job.
When I first moved to Austin, I needed to find a dentist. So I asked my co-workers and friends. Who do you use? After talking to a few people, I found one who was in my area, covered by my insurance, and well-regarded by multiple co-workers. And they’ve been great–which is especially valuable to me since I’m afraid of going to the dentist!
The jobs we see online are typically the ones that are best advertised. After all, Indeed and Ziprecruiter make a lot of money through paid advertisements.
These jobs may not be the best one for your skill set…or the best paying…or even the best company. They’re simply the most visible. Perhaps ABC Dentistry is going to treat me and my smile right, but I’d feel a whole better about it if someone I knew recommended them as opposed to them just popping up in my Facebook feed.
Ask for Job Referrals and Recommendations
Are you looking for work? If so, call up your friends and colleagues (past or present) to ask them:
Do you know anyone who is hiring?
Can you get me in touch with someone to discuss the job and the organization?
What kinds of organizations in the area could use my unique skills?
Then seek to build relationships with each new person you meet and ask them these same questions. This core to your networking strategy!
Most people want to help you. Even if they can’t think of any job referrals right now, they may help you keep an eye out for future opportunities.
If COVID-19 and the last couple years has taught me anything, it’s to take a step back and focus on what I can control (because there’s an awful lot of things I can’t!)
I feel the same goes for job seeking…
I talk to many, many job seekers who are feeling frustrated, burnt out, and like their situation is hopeless. They feel like they’re either stuck in a job that they don’t like or stuck without work altogether. This in spite of employers nationally struggling to find workers.
So what can you control?
-What jobs you apply for
-How often you apply for jobs
-The follow up you do with recruiters and hiring managers
-Your networking activities
-Your interview preparedness
-The presentation and quality of your resume, cover letters, LinkedIn, etc.
How to Stay Motivated while Looking for Work
The job search process can be a long one, especially if you’re trying to get back into the labor market, switch careers, have an employment barrier, or are trying to find your very first job.
But I will tell you what I tell all the job seekers I talk to: no matter how many “no”s you get, it only takes one “yes” for you to get hired. The best job search strategy I have seen is persistence. If you keep trying, the odds are in your favor.
Hiring often comes in cycles. As a job seeker, you can take advantage of these cycles in order to apply at the right time. Here are several examples of hiring cycles:
Budget-based Hiring Cycles
Typically we see an increase in hiring activity towards the end of the fiscal year for government agencies as they seek to fill headcount and get projects done with their leftover budget. The federal end of fiscal year is September 30 and state of Texas is August 31. Many private companies begin their budget year January 1st.
Seasonal Hiring Cycles
Retail will start aggressively recruiting in the summer in order to bolster their workforce for the coming Christmas season. By contrast, construction and landscaping companies in colder parts of the country will slow hiring during the fall/winter and accelerate in early Spring as the weather warms up. Think about your industry and when do they hire most people?
Surge Hiring Cycles
Tax preparation, for example, is a $10.8 billion dollar a year industry. The Internal Revenue Service also must surge its workforce to handle all of the annual returns. These two entities will often start recruiting heavily around January 1, though the IRS will often keep workers well into the summer to handle all the tax returns.
Staffing firms are often used during these surge hiring cycles to help handle the need for extra workers. If you’re hired during one of these cycles, don’t be afraid to work for a staffing agency.
Project-based Hiring Cycles
The recently passed infrastructure bill, for example, will mean construction and public transportation across the country will see a huge boost. Currently, many of our customers have hired workers to handle COVID-19 -related projects. You can look at other macro trends in your area and your industry to anticipate what workers will be needed.
New-business Hiring Cycles
When a new business moves into town (such as Tesla here in Austin) they will need to hire a lot of people. Local news such as Austin Business Journal and Community Impact Newspaper can help give you a head’s up that there’s a newcomer in town. These businesses will need a lot of people and may want to see your resume!
Many job seekers now may be getting multiple competitive offers and be faced with a new predicament: which job do I accept?
While it’s tempting to look only at the bottom line—the pay—there are many other intangible factors to consider.
To start off with, as you begin your job search, it can help by making a list of what matters to you. Then seek to compare apples to apples. For this I included a video that can help you evaluate all the offers of benefits packages.
Factors to Consider When Comparing Job Offers
This is a straight-forward comparison. Who will pay you more money. However, also factor in location of the job. From a cost of living perspective, a $50k / year in Austin, TX is way different than a $50k / year job in San Francisco CA. Here’s a free calculator to compare cost of living. Also keep in mind any bonuses or commissions you may be entitled to in your equation.
Medical, dental, and vision are the primary offerings. When comparing insurance packages, make sure to consider things like annual deductibles, monthly premiums, and out of pocket maximums. Employers may offer disability insurance and life insurance.
This often takes the form of a 401k, pension, or 403b if you work for a nonprofit. Peak Performers is excited to soon be offering a 403b to all of our employees!
Fringe benefits from an employer may include things like a work phone, airline miles, or possibly even a company car.
Paid Time Off
Paid time off from an employer is another key benefit. This often takes the form of sick days and vacation days, but also may be one single allotted amount of time to spend as you choose.
Currently, there are way more job seekers looking for “remote jobs” than just looking for “jobs.” Many job seekers factor in location as key deciding factor. For our part, about 46% of our jobs are remote. And if you are working on-site, factor in your daily commute and how much that will cost you in time and gas.
Don’t forget to ask about whether your hours can be flexible. This is important for taking care of things outside of work, such as childcare duties or going to the doctor. Time flexibility is a non-tangible but extremely valuable job benefit.
While not a tangible benefit, having ping pong tables in the break room has done the start-up industry wonders! Seek a workplace culture that will align with your own work style. Use social media to research the company and ask acquaintances who are currently working there what it’s like.
Finally, factor in the “prestige” when considering job offers. People spend less than 3 years on average at each job, so this job will likely not be your last. Does the company or your job title look good on your resume? Will it help you find an even better job several years from now?
At the end of the day, remember to politely decline the offers you don’t choose and keep those people in your network. Perhaps that organization will be a fit for you several years down the road when you’re ready for your next career journey?
1) Seek out support resources. Veterans (and often their spouses) have access to a wide range of resources. In Texas, the Texas Veterans Commission helps orient thousands of veterans every year to a variety of services available, including helping them find work.
2) Attend a hiring event. Texas Veterans Commission and Department of Veterans Affairs hosts several hiring events each year (in person and virtual.) This is a great way to meet local employers!
3) Look for jobs on WorkinTexas. If you are a veteran, jobs posted to WorkinTexas (a job search platform administered by Workforce Solutions) are made available first to veterans and then to the rest of the population. This gives you an opportunity to get your resume in first!
4) Seek out veteran-friendly employers. Peak Performers, for example, maintains a veteran hiring ratio of at least 10%. Peak and other employers like us have made a commitment to hiring veterans.
5) Look for veteran hiring preference. Some organizations (especially government agencies) take it one step further and give hiring and interview preference to veterans. This helps increase your chances of getting the interview.
6) Utilize online tools to translate your resume. Tools like the military crosswalk can help you convert your military experience to “civilian-speak.”
I get a lot of questions these days about work from home (WFH) jobs. I also get a lot of job seekers that are only looking for remote options. Here’s my perspective:
Depends on the job.
If you are an office worker, it is more common for your job to be WFH, as opposed to two years ago. There are many jobs that are obviously excluded from WFH options, such as retail, hospitality, and essential roles. What’s less obvious is that lower-level jobs are often still asked to be done on-site. When an entry/junior -level role is WFH, it’s often used as recruitment perk. Temporary roles are often less likely to be WFH as well.
Hybrid roles are more common.
Often job descriptions are binary…is a role remote, yes or no? There is no middle option. Similarly, you can search job sites for only remote roles. More common now is that offices are now shared, fluid spaces and you may be expected to come into work a certain number of days a week. Managers may not have made up their mind about if the role can be WFH or not. Perhaps also a role may start on-site and shift to WFH once you’re a trusted member of the team. In my opinion is worthwhile to get to the interview to politely inquire about WFH options. Don’t screen out opportunities preemptively.
Willingness to work on-site is now a competitive advantage.
There are a lot of job seekers out there seeking only 100% remote roles. Think carefully about whether you really want to say “no” to all on-site opportunities.
How can I leverage work from home for my business?
We get a lot of questions these days about work from home (WFH) jobs. We also get a lot of job seekers that are looking only for remote options. In a recent market research, we’ve found Google searches for “remote jobs” to be DOUBLE the searches of simply “jobs.” So what does that mean for you?
How common is work from home?
It is more common for office workers and professionals to WFH, as opposed to two years ago. It’s estimated by flexjobs that 41.8% of jobs are remote. There are many roles that are obviously excluded from WFH options, such as retail, hospitality, and essential roles. Also lower-level jobs are often still asked to be done on-site. When an entry/junior -level role is WFH, it’s often used as recruitment perk. Temporary roles are often less likely to be WFH as well.
What about hybrid roles?
Too often job descriptions are binary…is a role remote, yes or no? There is no middle option. Similarly, you can search job sites for only remote roles. More common now is that offices are now shared, fluid spaces and you may be expected to come into work a certain number of days a week. Managers may not have made up their mind about if the role can be WFH or not. Perhaps also a role may start on-site and shift to WFH once the new hire has been trained. Seriously look at your role and how it’s marketed–marking it as strictly “non-remote” may be driving away candidates.
Is it a disability accommodation?
It can be! Here at Peak, we specialize in helping placing professionals with disabilities. We get a lot of questions about accommodations and allowing work from home is one of the easiest and cheapest accommodations your business can make.
The bottom line…
You will attract more candidates if you advertise your roles as remote or hybrid. There is some evidence that some job seekers are even willing to take a pay cut in order to work remotely. Allowing remote work also expands your pool of potential recruits as it expands your geographic recruiting area.
The utility of the cover letter will vary between jobs and between job seekers in Austin. While somewhat old fashioned, cover letters are a nice way of introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the job.
We are often told that recruiters spend 6-10 seconds per resume in the initial evaluation. So then what’s the point of a cover letter and does it still get read?
For our part at Peak Performers Staffing Agency, cover letters are nice to have though are not a requirement for our process. Recruiters usually read cover letters if they’re included, though we look at a resume first. Also, on occasion we may advise you to compose a cover letter to our clients prior to a submission so we can help you better market your talent.
When to use a cover letter
Cover letters are ideal if you’re not the obvious choice candidate.
The first reason you might want to include a cover letter is if you’re not the first and most obvious choice for a candidate. If you’re doing a career shift or you’ve been out of work for a while, a cover letter gives you a chance to tell your story and showcase your unique value as well as overcome their concerns about hiring you.
Cover letters are ideal if you’re in network.
Similarly, a cover letter helps hiring managers connect the sheet of paper to the human. If you have the competitive advantage of network connection (which is a significant competitive advantage), a cover letter is a great way to highlight those connections to make sure you don’t lose that edge.
Cover letters help you expand on your resume.
If you’re really struggling to fit all your experience onto your resume or struggling to showcase your unique skills in the resume format, a cover letter lets you work outside this box.
Sometimes cover letters are expected.
I’ve known hiring managers who will not consider hire someone unless they send a thank you note after an interview. Similarly, some hiring managers and some industries expect you to spend time wooing them. Academia and positions where the candidate pool is smaller and more specialized often expect a cover letter to be considered.
Not many people do write cover letters…so you may want to.
You may want to do use a cover letter just because many people don’t. When you’re struggling to stand out from the crowd, these gestures can make you unique enough to get noticed.
Cover Letter Tips
Don’t rely on the cover letter to tell your story.
A cover letter may or may not get read. So make sure that it’s supplemental to your resume and a “nice, personalized touch” that will help you stand out between multiple qualified candidates. In addition to a cover letter, I recommend putting in a brief statement at the top of your resume about what kind of role you’re seeking and a summary of your qualifications.
Cover letters can be helpful if you’re not the obvious choice candidate.
If you are attempting to switch careers or get back into the job market after an employment gap, cover letters can help you overcome objections or add more context and explanation to your candidacy.
Make sure to customize your cover letter.
Too often, when I do see cover letters, they are very obviously copy-pasted from a template. Job seekers won’t bother to customize the thing that’s supposed to be a personal touch! If you’re using “Dear Sir or Madam,” you probably haven’t done enough networking and research into the organization for the cover letter to be truly impactful.
Emphasize your network connection/referral.
As a follow up to the previous point, if you have a personal connection into an organization, a cover letter is a great way take advantage of this network. You can name drop your connection, and it increases the odds that your application will get seen and will spark a conversation about you.
Watch for typos on your cover letter.
You want a cover letter to be the best representation of yourself. Since it’s a bit of a formal document anyway, if you can’t make it typo-free and grammatically sound, I’d skip it as it may jeopardize your candidacy. Attention to detail is important.
It’s still good to have a template even if you don’t think you’ll need to use a cover letter often. All job seekers should have a cover letter template they can customize and send at a moment’s notice. Some employers still require it as part of the application process. Indeed has an amazing library of sample cover letters. You can also check out this previous article on Peak’s site with tips for writing a good cover letter.