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Ask Kathy – Tips for Your First Interview

Kathy Orcutt is the founder and president of Preferred Staffing & Recruiting. She has twenty years of experience in the recruiting industry in the great Boston area. As a woman-owned and DBE business, Kathy and her PS&R team provide permanent and temporary workforce solutions for a broad range of businesses.

We asked Kathy what advice she would give a candidate who is trying to make the best possible impression at a job interview. Here are her thoughts:

Dress professionally and be punctual. 

Even if the company comes across as casual, you will make a better impression if you are overdressed rather than underdressed.  Also, make sure you are on-time for your scheduled interview.  It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how often candidates arrive late without any communication.

Be a good listener and ask thoughtful questions.

Your interview is an opportunity for the hiring manager to learn about you, but you don’t want to drone on endlessly about your background and skills.  Make sure not to talk over the interviewer and give them a chance to ask follow-up questions. When it’s your turn to ask questions, go beyond the basics.  Inquire about the culture of the company and how the position fits and interacts with the broader organization.  These types of questions show that you are interested in learning more about their business and the opportunity at hand.

Watch your body language.

Again, it might seem like a no brainer, but often when we’re nervous we lose sight of our body language.  Make sure to smile and make eye contact.  Try not to slouch or fidget while answering questions.  As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

 

 

Understanding the New Massachusetts Equal Pay Law

Our home state of Massachusetts is on the forefront of the movement for equal pay and rights for employees.  Last month the equal pay law was updated to provide clarity on what constitutes unlawful wage discrimination. A key piece of the July 1st update made it unlawful for employers to ask candidates for salary history information.  Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states that have adopted this kind of law.

To help you understand this new law, PS&R has gathered some questions that employers are able to ask, and some you need to avoid.

Employers CANNOT ask:

  • What is your current salary?
  • How much did you make in your last job?
  • How much of your compensation is base salary versus commission?
  • Why do you think this salary is appropriate for you?

Employers CAN ask:

  • What is your salary requirement or expectation?
  • What value would you bring to this job?
  • Did you meet your sales goals in your last position? (but don’t ask about earnings through sales)
  • Is there a type of pay structure you would be most comfortable with?

Remember that job candidates can volunteer pay history information on their own, it just can’t be actively solicited by a recruiter or human resources manager. Don’t forget to eliminate pay history questions from paper or online documents, such as employment applications.

Working with a Massachusetts recruiter like PS&R is an easy way to navigate this new law effectively.

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3 Ways to Improve your Company’s Image

You are a busy HR executive with the goal of attracting, hiring, and retaining the best staff for your business.  Whether you have partnered with a recruiting agency or you are doing the hiring on your own, here are some steps you can take that can leave a lasting impact on the brand of your company.  These actions will help get like-minded candidates to your door faster and make you more successful.

1. Networking

Be proactive in cultivating relationships outside of the office.  Hiring managers should be engaging in network-related social gatherings, communicating through career-related blogs, and joining job seeker networks.  Put yourself out there to create a positive and viral message about your company and the culture it provides.  If your company is part of the broader community, you are bound to attract more talent.

2. Perpetuating Culture

The key piece here is awareness.  Use social media and job review web sites such as Great Place to Work and Indeed to learn what employees are saying about your company.  If you are informed, you can respond to questions or inquires in a way that will build on your business reputation.  For example, if you know an area in which your company is lacking you can discuss your focus on improving that area.  You can also use positive feedback to reaffirm and reinforce where your company is currently exceeding.

3. Transparency

Consider the fact that job seekers touch dozens of companies a week, either by sending resumes or going on interviews.  A future employee is bound to remember the hiring manager who responds to their emails, sets timelines on when they will hear back, and follows through on those timelines.  Whether that person lands at your company or another, they will have a positive feeling of their experience with you.  Communication and transparency are key to creating a good reputation and brand for your business.

If you’ve hired Preferred Staffing & Recruiting to help with your hiring, you can be sure that we are taking all of these steps to find you the best candidate for the job.

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Top 3 Recruiter Myths and Truths

Recruiting agencies are hired for their knowledge and the networks they use to find the best candidate for your open jobs. Using a headhunter can be very beneficial for a busy HR executive. There are some misconceptions about the recruiting industry that may have been true at one time but are not now.

Here are a few myths (and truths) about executive recruiters…

1) Why do I need a recruiter?

You may have noticed that even some very large corporations with substantial human resource departments always work with recruiters.  Corporate HR staff often partner with professional staffing agencies because recruiting requires a lot of time.  Additionally, it requires some specialized skills that your team might not have.  Recruiters have a broader network to pull from and we focus solely on your job vacancy until we find the perfect candidate for your company.

2) It’s a myth that Recruiting agencies are costly

Yes, you do have to pay recruiters for their work.  Because, it’s that exact work that frees you up to get your daily responsibilities completed.  You won’t need to scan resumes, actively recruit, post to online job boards, or field phone calls from unqualified applicants, all because we will do the preliminary work for you.  The value of a professional recruiter can be seen in your personal productivity.

3) Another myth is that working with a Recruiter takes extra time

A recruiting agency can actually streamline the process for you.  We have the experience to handle the initial steps of the search quickly and thoroughly so that you see only the most qualified candidates.  Your valuable time will be utilized when it counts – to choose which of the final top-notch applicants would be the best fit for your company.

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What to Expect When You Work with a Recruiting Agency

A recruiting agency can offer a wealth of knowledge about recruiting, hiring, and retaining staff, so make sure you are getting the most from the agency you pick. Here are some things you should consider when interviewing an agency.  Your professional recruiter should be happy to answer all of your questions and act as your perfect partner.

Communication is probably the most important piece of your partnership. Your recruiter is the liaison between your company and your next new employee. If you and your recruiting agent have a good rapport and communicate effectively, then you will have confidence that they will find you an employee who is a good fit for your company.  So, when choosing a professional recruiter, make sure to partner with a good communicator who will provide relevant updates and ask the right questions during the search process.

Typically, you will sign a contract with an executive recruiter outlining certain aspects of your partnership.  Some smaller details may not appear in the contract but are still very important.  For example; what is the screening process that your recruiter uses?  How many applicants will they present for each job opening, and how soon will you see these resumes?  If you know that everyone has the same expectations, the process is bound to go smoothly.

It’s also important to give your recruitment manager the tools they need to find you the best possible candidates.  Teaching them about the culture of your company and providing detailed job descriptions will help them find the right match.

Now that you’ve chosen the best candidate for the job and are ready to extend an offer, it’s time for your recruiter to really shine.  It’s possible that this person is entertaining other job opportunities or is concerned about the details of your offer.  Your recruiter is there to help you communicate and negotiate to get that perfect candidate signed.

Above all, remember that top recruiting firms are the ones that make the client their main priority!