Priority Personnel Blog

Strategies to Make Staffing Work for Central Texas Employers

January 17th, 2012

If there’s one thing you can be certain of in 2012, it’s change.

Issues like the fragile economy, looming elections and changing employment legislation make it more difficult than ever to predict what will happen in the next year – let alone the next month.  Constant changes in your workload and available labor only compound your challenges.  As such, a staffing approach that worked for you in the past may not prove as effective this year.

This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck; it just means that you may need to re-examine your staffing strategy.  So start 2012 off right.  Consider these staffing best practices which have proven effective for corporate human resources executives across the country, courtesy of workforce.com:

  • Make sure the staffing partner has an adequate balance sheet. Given the relatively low barriers to entry, it is too common to see staffing companies struggle financially.
  • Be sure the staffing partner has sufficient size and financial resources to manage the contract. Sourcing 100 or more contract workers on an ongoing basis requires a very different type of staffing organization than providing two or three temps at a time.
  • Visit the local office of the staffing company as part of the due-diligence process, especially for large projects, to make sure the operation meets expectations.
  • Give your staffing partner feedback on all candidates that you review to help refine the recruiting strategy, and make it easier to find the best candidates.
  • Be open-minded about “teachable” candidates, especially for hard-to-fill skill sets. Candidates who are a strong cultural fit and possess transferable skills are likely to succeed and thrive with some training and support.
  • Provide enough training, rewards and feedback to keep temps engaged and motivated. One employer notes that small rewards—a free lunch for good performance, for example—go a long way toward winning the loyalty of temps.
  • Beware of unfair negative stereotypes about the quality of temp workers. Temps can be—and often are—as qualified as full-time employees, and their skills can be equally useful.

Priority Personnel – Your Best Staffing Strategy for 2012

Priority Personnel is an award winning staffing firm that has been serving the central Texas area since it was founded in 1993 in San Marcos, Texas.  Over the years, we’ve grown to become a recognized leader in the development, implementation and support of personnel services in Central Texas.  Rest assured, we are a stable, successful partner you can trust with your all your workforce management needs – no matter how large or small.

Call us to schedule a 2012 workforce consultation. Together, we can identify your upcoming needs and develop a proactive, cost-effective staffing strategy that will deliver real bottom-line results.

New Recruiting Technology and Media Trends for Central Texas Employers

November 29th, 2011

Have you seen the commercial where the guy is standing in his front door while his new 3D TV is being delivered, only to see a van drive by advertising 4D TV?

Technology – even recruiting and interviewing technology – is changing rapidly.

Until recently, job boards were the “latest and greatest” way to connect with job seekers.  The advent of social media, smart phones and free online video technology, however, has created yet another paradigm shift in the way we attract and recruit top talent.

While job boards should remain part of your recruiting mix, consider incorporating the following emerging media to remain competitive:

Remote Interviews

Online interview technology has revolutionized the hiring process.  This cost-effective tool allows you to rapidly connect with viable candidates anywhere, while greatly simplifying interviewing logistics.  Instead of spending valuable time and money on travel, you can now use services like Skype and TokBox to virtually meet applicants and determine their potential early on in the recruiting process.

Mobile Technology

According to statistics from Pew Research Center, 83 percent of Americans own cell phones.  Nearly half of them (44 percent) use their mobile devices to get access to the internet.  Leverage mobile technology to reach potential job seekers anytime, anywhere by sending text alerts about your job openings and recruiting events.  Additionally, you may want to consider making your website more “smart phone friendly,” so that it facilitates the job search and application processes.

Video

Digital video enables you to get your company’s message across like no social media tool can.  By allowing candidates to literally see and hear what the true employee experience is like, video offers a powerful way to influence and engage potential candidates:

  • Use online videos to enrich your online job postings.
  • Add video clips of your offices, production facilities, etc.
  • Interview current employees about what it’s like working for your organization.
  • Demonstrate ways you take care of your employees, work for the greater good and/or stay on the cutting edge of your industry.

To ensure your videos are viewed, add them to your homepage, job postings and social media, or use QR codes to direct job seekers to them.

Twitter

Twitter can help you contact candidates in real time by instantly broadcasting or “tweeting” available jobs.  If you have a Twitter account:

  • Search for relevant hashtags that qualified candidates might be using and integrate them into your tweets.  Tools like Search.Twitter.com, Twubs and Tagalus can help you identify hashtags your target candidates may be using.
  • Shout out new job listings.  Services like jobshouts.com and jobamatic.com allow you to automatically feed new job listings to your Twitter account.  You can even add custom prefixes and hashtags to make the content more user-friendly and searchable.

Recruiting technology will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. If, like many employers, you find this rate of change intimidating, remember that you don’t have to go it alone.

As an award-winning employment agency serving central Texas employers since 1993, Priority Personnel can help you win the war for talent.  Strategically located in San Marcos, we can provide you with the most highly-qualified and trained professionals available throughout our service area. Contact us today!

Land the Best Candidate When Budgets are Tight

June 15th, 2010

Tips for Successful Salary Negotiations

Congratulations!  You’ve found a superstar with the ideal skills, personality and experience for the position.

But you still have one hurdle to overcome – salary negotiations.  Landing the cream of the crop without blowing your personnel budget can be tricky.  To help, here is a quick list of strategies for negotiating salary with high performers:

  1. Have the right mindset.  Negotiation is a process, not a war.  At all costs, avoid the pitfalls of the “us vs. him/her” mentality.  Instead, enter the salary negotiation process open-minded, with the ultimate goal of hiring the best possible candidate for your company.
  2. Do your homework.  Rest assured your candidate will have done his.  Before heading into negotiations, prepare yourself by:  reviewing the candidate’s salary history; consulting relevant salary surveys; knowing what your competitors are paying; understanding current market and economic conditions; factoring in cost-of-living differences; and developing a comprehensive compensation package.
  3. Use a negotiating point person.  In multiple interview situations, a candidate may ask salary questions of more than one interviewer.  Be prepared.  Prevent potentially catastrophic communication errors by designating a single person to discuss and negotiate salary with a candidate.
  4. Never lowball a candidate if there is a good fit.  A top candidate knows what he’s/she’s worth.  If you lowball him/her in an attempt to save a few dollars, he/she will likely be insulted and reject the offer without even countering.
  5. Sell the intangibles.  Identify a candidate’s “hot buttons” – intangibles which are just as important to him/her as money.  Leverage these intangibles (e.g. company culture, stability, challenging work, opportunity for advancement, flexible hours, etc.) to sweeten the deal when your pay range is maxed out.
  6. Be up-front if you can’t negotiate.  If your initial offer is not negotiable (because of budgetary or other constraints), tell the candidate when making the offer.  If possible, provide an explanation.  The candidate will understand that your base salary offer is firm, and will then move on to negotiating other parts of the compensation package.

Work with Priority Personnel.  Avoid the pitfalls of salary negotiations by using our direct placement services.  We can handle every step of the process from initial screening through salary negotiations, to ensure you land a top performer without breaking the bank.

Tips for Writing Effective Job Descriptions

May 4th, 2010

Have you ever bought something on impulse?  Ever wonder what attracted you to the item in the first place?

Whatever the reason, something about the way that product was marketed created a strong attraction in you – strong enough to make you act.

In many ways, job postings are a lot like the impulse items we all buy on occasion.  As a manager, you must ensure that the announcements you write compel the candidates you seek to take action – even if they aren’t actively seeking new jobs.

To help you in this arena, use these tips for creating irresistible job postings that are magnets for talent:

  1. Tell a story to stir emotions.  Rather than beginning with dry job requirements, focus on the ways your company’s products or services impact customers’ lives, or draw from client testimonials.  Write about the way your business makes people feel, and use this to create a compelling image of your company and the available position.
  2. Approach the posting from the job seeker’s perspective.  Top candidates are more interested in what a position offers them personally – high earning potential, intellectual challenge, recognition, etc. – than in your company’s business strategy.  Ensure your job posting addresses these needs by first highlighting the rewards of the position.
  3. Emphasize your company’s strengths.  Everyone wants to work for a successful organization.  Put your company’s best foot forward by identifying strengths such as: organizational growth, industry track record, competitive advantages of your products/services, positive corporate culture, financial stability, awards and/or recognition.
  4. Convey a sense of optimism.  Potential candidates are quick to form judgments about your company based on the tone of your listing.  Use positive language to turn downsides into opportunities (e.g., a decline in profits signals a need for innovation).
  5. Keep it short.  Details are great, but a passive job seeker won’t take the time to read a lengthy listing that drones on and on like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  So as a general rule, limit job postings to two or three pages.
  6. Avoid overused buzzwords and transparent euphemisms.  For the savvy job seeker, buzzwords do little to differentiate your company – so use them sparingly (balancing the need for SEO when postings are online).  Likewise, steer clear of inflating job titles (e.g., listing a coffee gopher as a Beverage Production Manager) that will only rob your company of both clout and credibility.
  7. Use your in-house writing talent.  A job posting is a marketing piece.  If you’re not a Twain or Grisham by nature, enlist your marketing department’s help.  Provide them with the nuts and bolts of the job (as well as this post) and let them craft a compelling posting for you.

Attracting top talent is both time-consuming and expensive – so why do it on your own?  Call Priority Personnel with your job specifications, and allow us to find the best temporary and direct placement candidates for you.

Why the Lowest Price Isn’t Always the Best Value in Staffing

April 20th, 2010

Most of us today are conditioned to look for the best possible price.  In most cases, this makes good economic sense.  But when it comes to staffing services, the company offering the lowest prices isn’t necessarily going to deliver the best value.

Here are a few good reasons why shopping around for the lowest-priced temporary employees might not be the wisest use of your staffing dollars:

  • To offer you the lowest price, a staffing service may be forced to cut back on the quality and amount of service they provide.  They may not be able to afford the same depth of recruiting and screening.  As a result, they may have more difficulty finding the right candidates for your specific needs.
  • Because of simple supply and demand, the staffing agencies that offer better wages to their temporary employees will most likely get the more talented, skilled, reliable and experienced applicants.  Any staffing firm can find a “warm body” to fill your position.  But finding a quality employee that truly fits your organization may be too crucial to risk – especially for what may boil down to a few cents per hour.
  • Not getting the right person for the job can have very costly ramifications.  For example, a temporary employee who is less than qualified for the position can cause the following unforeseen expenses:
    - additional time (money) up front to adequately orient and train the temporary
    - increased supervision for a less qualified temporary
    - mistakes and reworks – the time, money and materials involved in re-doing the work of a less qualified temporary
    - poor productivity – the amount of work a sub-par employee fails to complete (compared to a qualified individual)

The bottom line is, many things in business aren’t worth risking.  The quality of your human capital is definitely one of them.

Priority Personnel:  the Best Staffing Value for Central Texas Employers
When it comes to the quality of Priority Personnel’s candidates, you get what you pay for – skilled, reliable, hard-working and experienced people who truly fit your needs.  Rest assured, we will always deliver the best value for your staffing dollar.

Hiring Assessment Tools

January 19th, 2010

Having the right tools at your disposal can make hiring a lot easier—and a lot more successful.  Here is a quick overview of different assessments tools you can use, beyond the basic job interview:

  • Qualifications Screens – simple questionnaires determine if an applicant has the minimum requirements to perform a job (availability, minimum age, years of related experience, etc.).
  • Job Simulations / Work-Sample Tests – These require the candidate to actually demonstrate or perform job tasks. Simulations may be conducted: as written tests, as role-playing exercises, on a computer, or even in real-life conditions. By design, they generally show a high degree of job-relatedness.
  • General Abilities Tests – Generally used for entry-level jobs or for applicants without advanced degrees. They measure broad mental abilities such as reasoning, quantitative, verbal, and spatial abilities.
  • Specific Ability Tests – Test for distinct mental and physical abilities, such as typing speed, reading comprehension, strength, and mechanical aptitude.
  • Knowledge and Skills Tests – Determine how much an individual knows about a very specific, advanced subject area such as software programming or mortgage laws. Knowledge tests are similar to specific ability assessments, but examine more sophisticated skills.
  • Talent Measures / Personality Inventories – Measure a candidate’s natural personal characteristics like: leadership and management skills; problem-solving ability; motivation; self-confidence; and communication styles.
  • Culture Fit Inventories -  Assess how well an applicant will fit into your corporate culture and work environment, to help ensure organizational commitment.
  • Background Investigations – Gather information from outside sources, such as former employers and police records. Employment, criminal record, and reference checks all help employers avoid potentially catastrophic hires.
  • Drug Screens - Use a physical specimen from the candidate (hair, urine, etc.) to determine past drug or alcohol use. Employers use drug screens to prevent industrial accidents, work-related injuries, and excessive absenteeism.

As one of the leading Staffing and Recruiting Agencies in Central Texas, we use many of these assessment tests on a daily basis to ensure the right fit employees for our clients.  If you would like to discuss how you can implement these types of assessments in your hiring process, contact Priority Personnel today!