Our Secret to a Great Clerical Interview

All interviewers have their own style, techniques and list of preferred questions to get the required results – hiring the right candidate. Staffing service personnel conduct interviews on a daily basis, consistently making the effort to match an applicant’s personality and skills with our client’s cultures and job positions. Tom Miller, Director of Staffing & Recruiting Services was recently asked to share our “secret” to a successful interview. Here’s his answer with six must ask questions.

Know the definition an interview.
It is an exchange of information to make a decision.  Both parties need to get enough knowledge to make an honest decision. You want the person to give you what they have done, not what they would do.  Draw from their history and be patient. Pauses of silence are okay. Let the person think before they respond. There are NO right or wrong answers, just experiential responses.

Describe your most productive office work setting.
Where was it, who worked with you, what was the focus of the company, what was your focus?
     Listen for excitement, note what they didn’t like, how does it compare with the setting you are offering?

Tell me about your computer skills.
What software did you use, how did you use it or what end product did you have?
How would you rate your skill?  Use 1 to 4 scale with 1 being highest.  Doing this makes the person define good (1-2) or developing (3-4) as a result.
List each software by name that you require and wait for the response.
     Listen for comparison of how they used it and how they rate themselves. How do the answers fit? Are they comfortable with the software you use? 

When you have a challenge/problem at work, how do you resolve it?
You may need to identify what kind of “challenge/problem” is most common in your work setting and use an example.
     Listen for problem solving skills. Do they “fit” with how things could/should be done in your environment? The answers WILL vary by “challenge” as defined by you. 

We give performance reviews on a (fill in the blank) basis.  How do you handle it if you get grades you feel you don’t deserve?
     
Listen for personality reaction. Beware of “That’s never happened before” as a response. Is there a method of gaining consensus in the aftermath or is there a movement to prove the reviewer wrong? 

Your last employer was (fill in the blank) and your position was (fill in the blank). If you could go back as a supervisor/manager, what would you change?
     
Listen for team building, nurturing, and positive feedback comments. Beware of answers like “nothing” or spiteful and derogatory comments. 

Now that I have done all the talking, what questions do you have for me?
    Listen to the quality of the questions. Is there a true interest in the company, position or the management? Has the interviewee become “comfortable”? 

Tom Miller, Director Staffing & Recruiting Services has over 30 years human resource, management and recruiting experience.

An Objective Statement on Your Resume – To Add or Not to Add?

As our company’s Community Liaison Partner, I’m often asked by the public to clarify or corroborate employment related opinions. There is an on-going debate in regards to a job seeker putting an objective statement on their resume. I asked Tom Miller, Director Staffing & Recruiting Services, to collaborate with me on an answer of whether to add or not to add an objective.

To Add

Think of an objective statement as your career goals within a specific company. A statement of “I want,” that matches an employer’s “I want.” It is looking forward – speaking to what you can do for the employer.

The objective is not a summary statement. A summary is a statement of “I am” matching the employer’s “I want.” It is looking backward at who you are – summing up the essence of you.

Use an objective statement when a company puts specific information in a job posting, i.e. “Dynamic fast-growing company looking for 2-year degree trendsetters to be a part of our sales team.” This company is looking for high energy, contemporary thinking folks with an associate’s degree. Catch the employer’s attention with your objective by using their clues. Write your statement using the company’s exact words and include wording that reflects their style and spirit.

If you know the company’s name, include it in the objective when you match your statement to a company’s job posting. This shows you are the standout type of person they are looking for – the persimmon pudding candidate – not the vanilla pudding candidate.

Help a company find your application/resume in the hundreds received online by matching a posting’s wording on your objective statement. Word search could be your new best friend.

Quick housekeeping tip:  Create a folder on your computer titled Job Search. Create a folder within Job Search called Active Resumes. File each company specific resume and the date you submitted your resume under Active Resumes.

Not to Add

An objective may not be necessary when you submit a resume based on a generic job posting. If the posting is vague and does not contain any clues or explicit details about the company (including the company name) then you have nothing to match.

To add or not to add, that is the question. The answer is up to you.

Susan Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business. Tom Miller has over 30 year’s human resource, management and recruiting experience. 

Jim Annis: Consider Rewriting Your Employment Dream

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article: Consider Rewriting Your Employment Dream

Jim Annis: Revisiting the Hiring Process to Create Consistency

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article: Revisiting the Hiring Process to Create Consistency

Part 2:  A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Workplace Meltdowns

September 8, 2011 the GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck came to The Applied Companies. The melts truly are yummy and the sweet potato fries incredible! Staff, clients and friends enjoyed visiting and eating delicious comfort food.

Jack & Carol Eastwick waiting for their GourMelt goodies. 

Last week we posted part one of our two part series addressing common workplace scenarios that could trigger emotional meltdowns resulting in suffering, illness, and loss of joy and productivity. This week’s blog continues A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Workplace Meltdowns:

Mergers & Acquisitions
 
Usually served with a choice of take it or leave it. 

Employee: Try not to assume the worst. Be pro-active, flexible and grow with the transition. Maintain your value to the company. Be willing to learn new systems and educate yourself about the organization and its new directions. Talk to management about opportunities where you can use your skills and talents to move the company forward. 

Manager: Protect the company’s greatest asset – its people. Take responsibility for your team and their concerns. They want to be informed whether the news is good or bad. Communicate constantly and honestly. Maintain credibility. Treat employee’s well, help them deal with the changes and offer outside resources if needed. Create or obtain a due diligence checklist. Members can access merger and acquisition resources on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website.

Holiday Stress Express
  À la carte variety of anticipation featuring strained peers.

Employee: Share the importance or unimportance of holidays with your manager. Your manager should understand your expectations and those that are close to you. Let your manager know you have kids out of school, visiting relatives or out-of-town trips planned. Schedule time off in advance. Be respectful of coworker’s beliefs. 

Manager: Be close enough to your team to understand their expectations. Understand your employee’s distractions and help them focus on the job. Do employees need skills training in how to deal with heavier foot or Internet traffic? Do employees need refresher courses in how to deal with stressed clients who are feeling holiday pressures or have over indulged?

Written by Tom Miller, Director, Staffing & Recruiting Solutions and Susan Fix, Community Liaison Partner. Tom has over 30 years human resource, management and recruiting experience. Susan has 15 years staffing experience with a dash of social media.

Part 2:  A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Workplace Meltdowns

September 8, 2011 the GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck came to The Applied Companies. The melts truly are yummy and the sweet potato fries incredible! Staff, clients and friends enjoyed visiting and eating delicious comfort food.

Jack & Carol Eastwick waiting for their GourMelt goodies. 

Last week we posted part one of our two part series addressing common workplace scenarios that could trigger emotional meltdowns resulting in suffering, illness, and loss of joy and productivity. This week’s blog continues A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Workplace Meltdowns:

Mergers & Acquisitions
 
Usually served with a choice of take it or leave it. 

Employee: Try not to assume the worst. Be pro-active, flexible and grow with the transition. Maintain your value to the company. Be willing to learn new systems and educate yourself about the organization and its new directions. Talk to management about opportunities where you can use your skills and talents to move the company forward. 

Manager: Protect the company’s greatest asset – its people. Take responsibility for your team and their concerns. They want to be informed whether the news is good or bad. Communicate constantly and honestly. Maintain credibility. Treat employee’s well, help them deal with the changes and offer outside resources if needed. Create or obtain a due diligence checklist. Members can access merger and acquisition resources on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website.

Holiday Stress Express
  À la carte variety of anticipation featuring strained peers.

Employee: Share the importance or unimportance of holidays with your manager. Your manager should understand your expectations and those that are close to you. Let your manager know you have kids out of school, visiting relatives or out-of-town trips planned. Schedule time off in advance. Be respectful of coworker’s beliefs. 

Manager: Be close enough to your team to understand their expectations. Understand your employee’s distractions and help them focus on the job. Do employees need skills training in how to deal with heavier foot or Internet traffic? Do employees need refresher courses in how to deal with stressed clients who are feeling holiday pressures or have over indulged?

Written by Tom Miller, Director, Staffing & Recruiting Solutions and Susan Fix, Community Liaison Partner. Tom has over 30 years human resource, management and recruiting experience. Susan has 15 years staffing experience with a dash of social media.

Part 1: A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Workplace Meltdowns

The GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck is coming to The Applied Companies, September 8 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Please stop by, purchase lunch and visit with our staff. Those yummy melts of warm comfort makes a body feel good, an obvious contrast to emotional meltdowns that cause suffering, illness, and loss of joy and productivity. This week’s blog is the first part of a two part series:  A Menu of Five Scenarios with Tips to Avoid Meltdowns:

The Computer Failure
  Served with a side of fresh deadlines, a nonresponsive server and fried nerves.

Employee:  Take a deep breath. Ask yourself “When I’m 92 will this moment matter?” A few minutes reflection stops the cycling emotions and exasperation when circumstances are working against you. Share challenges with your manager and I.T. personnel. If the problem is central to your computer, are other computers or laptops available in the office? Can you work from a home computer until the issue is resolved?

Manager:  Empathize. Let employees know to get done what they can and that you understand their frustration. Help them determine priorities. Approach other managers on the employee’s behalf if needed. Pinpoint computer problem areas; is it an isolated one or does the whole system need an overhaul or update? Investigate how to alleviate reoccurring problems.

An Intelligence Transfer  (Commonly referred to as “Upgrade!”)
 Flambé medley of grilled conversions and toasted websites with software over-hard.
 Additional add-ons extra.

Employee:  Stay calm. It is common to have a little anxiety, as your usual work production will slow when habits are interrupted by changes. Have confidence in your ability to learn. Approach what you know with assurance and gather what you don’t know. Make a list of questions and ask the right resources for the answers. Offer to take classes to learn new software or how to operate a new website. Take copious notes and refer to them often while you create a new routine.

Manager:  Lead by example; stay calm. Ensure training is offered in advance of any conversion, including guidance on how to deal with annoyed clients. Help your talent focus on “learning mode” not on panic mode. Make sure the workload is spread out. Operate as a team. Know your team – their strengths and weaknesses – in order to target assignments appropriately. Reassure them; while you want them up to speed quickly, you understand there may be delays.

Burst in Business Bonanza
  A full plate of seasonal production piled high and dished up open-faced.

Employee: Approach increased work demands or seasonal industry fluctuations with a “can do” attitude. Ask questions. Learn. Keep yourself informed. Participate in company discussions. When appropriate, offer solutions for balancing workloads. Be committed to being part of the company’s success. Manage stress and take care of your health.

Manager: Keep your team posted on approximate influx dates. Have a plan in place to staff up using resources applicable to your needs. Can you utilize family, friends, interns, temporaries? Look into cloud computing for occasional spikes in website traffic. Surprise the team with random fun activities and healthy snack and/or lunch breaks.

“May a GourMelt grilled cheese sandwich be the only meltdown you experience.”  TAC Authors   See you next week for Part 2!

Written by Tom Miller, Director, Staffing & Recruiting Solutions and Susan Fix, Community Liaison Partner. Tom has over 30 years human resource, management and recruiting experience. Susan has 15 years staffing experience with a dash of social media.  

Jim Annis: Disaster Planning for Home and Workplace

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article: Disaster Planning for Home and Workplace

Jim Annis: Effectively Communicate Employees’ Total Compensation Packages

Click here to view Jim Annis’ RGJ article “Effectively Communicate Employees’ Total Compensation Packages”

Improve Your Chances of Staying Employed

There is a plethora of advice on how to find a job. How to put together a great résumé, perform a killer interview, and network properly. What if you are employed and concerned about keeping your job when so many have been laid off? Every employer is different; however, there are some common rules of conduct that companies across the nation appreciate.  Applied Staffing Solutions (www.appliedstaffing.com) offers you the following guidelines to Improve Your Chances of Staying Employed:

 

BE FLEXIBLE

            Never say “That’s not my job.”

                      Companies are operating with less people doing more work. Your ability to adapt to the

                      company’s needs in a timely manner will provide an invaluable service to your employer.   

Be cautious about turning down new assignments.

            Accommodate your employer’s requests. If your “plate is full” ask for a meeting to prioritize the

           work. Your manager may help you reorganize your schedule or pass low priority items to

           a coworker who is looking for an opportunity to grow.

 

BE ACCOUNTABLE

            You are hired to perform a job.

                        Refuse to list excuses when you can’t deliver results. Admit it and take responsibility when you

                        fall short of goals. Exert yourself to succeed with the plan you and your manager design to 

                        correct deficiencies. Neglecting your responsibilities is carelessness – repeatedly not doing or not

                        completing your job can be seen as laziness.

            Be cautious about using the refrain “I’m doing the best I can.”

                        Like the boy who cried wolf, that line only goes so far. Eventually you have to step up to the

                        plate and perform well. Follow through and avoid recurring mistakes.

 

BE PRODUCTIVE

            Generate results.

                        Meet and exceed the expectations of your job. Anticipate employer’s needs and provide the

                        information they need before being asked. Pitch in when your team is shorthanded due to illness

                        or vacations. Be a “go to person” that smiles and goes the extra mile. 

            Be cautious about inferior behavior.

                        Too many absences, being late, texting or making personal phone calls on the job, and requiring

                        constant positive reinforcement to be productive can try the patience of any employer. A lack of

                        initiative and an inability to learn or adapt to working conditions creates inefficiency.

 

BE A COMMUNICATOR

            Ask questions.

                        Make sure you understand your job thoroughly by asking questions – you are gathering

                        information to do your work properly. Listen carefully and take notes. At a later date, if you must

                        seek clarification, prepare a written list of questions to keep the interface on topic and brief.

                        Know your employer’s communication style – do they like a lot of information with constant

                        updates or do they prefer concise reports only as needed. 

            Be cautious about how and what you communicate.

                        Always emailing/texting information or updates to coworkers and your employer breaks down

                        personal connections. Much of the time face-to-face interaction can solve problems quicker than

                        relying on technology. Negative comments regarding your company or coworkers exhibits

                        disloyalty, is an on-the-job time waster, and creates an unhealthy work environment.