Five Questions to Close Your Interview and Impress Potential Employers

It’s common for interviewers to ask if interviewees have any questions before winding up the interview. Why should you come prepared with questions to ask at the end of your interview? Asking questions that show your concern with not just getting hired but being successful in the position go a long way to showing employers you really want to join their team.

It’s also a chance to improve your understanding of the position and doing a great job if you are hired. Here are five questions that will impress prospective employers.

1. How will the success of the person doing this job be measured?

Most workers are evaluated by what companies term performance metrics. In other words, the job has some crucial measurements people doing the job should hit. If you’re a salesperson, for example, you need to at least meet your sales quotas. Assembly-line workers are likely evaluated on productivity goals.

Asking how your success in the position would be measured is one way to hone in on the key performance metrics of the job. If you are chosen for the job, then you know what management sees as the most important parts of the job. It’s important to ask this question because many job postings provide small insights into multiple aspects of a job. You might see multi-tasking given as a desired skill, for example. But the company might put that in all their job descriptions, and your manager might see other skills as more important to your job.

2. What are some of the challenges the person in this job will face?

All jobs have challenges. You might face a steep learning curve with new equipment or be joining a team that is slow to accept newcomers. In the interview, it’s crucial to get your manager’s sense of what the challenges will be.

If the interviewer names a challenge you have faced before, you can talk about how you handled it and the results you drove. It’s a way to wow your interviewer. Plus, once you know the potential challenges, you can come up with a plan to deal with them. You won’t be surprised when you walk in.

3. What’s the difference between good and great employees in this job?

Most employers have a sense of what constitutes good performance and what constitutes stellar performance. It’s a good idea to know what great performance in a role looks like. It could be they will give you examples of past employees that give you a clear dividing line.

Great performers tend to be rewarded and promoted. Once you know the picture your boss has in mind of a great performer, you can make a plan to meet and exceed those expectations.

4. I’d like to know more about….

Most interviewers have some questions about the company or the position itself. You should do some research before the interview so you know something about their company — its history, products or mission. Asking a question shows you know the company and are genuinely interested in a position there.

It could be a question about the company’s product line, expansion plans or sponsorship of a local Little League! Ask a question that really matters to you.

5. What are the next steps following this interview?

Many interviews end with the interviewer giving a sense of next steps. Do they have several more candidates to interview, for example? Do they expect a second round of interviews? When are they looking to make their choice?

If the interviewer doesn’t do it, however, asking the next steps shows you are organized and focused on what you need to do. In addition, it lets you know when you can follow up. If they tell you they expect to have a decision made by next Friday, and you don’t hear anything by next Friday, it’s acceptable to e-mail them and reiterate your interest in the job. People who follow up and express interest have more chance of getting the job than people who do neither.

Ready to put your interview skills to work? Apply today for a new opportunity in northern Nevada with The Applied Companies!

What Can Your Business Do to Attract Millennial Candidates?

The Millennial generation, which covers many young employees today, currently accounts for about one-third of the U.S. workforce. Chances are any position you’re looking to fill is going to include Millennials as part of the applicant pool, especially in a low unemployment economy.

Can you find top Millennial workers to fill your open positions? Sure, but you need to know that Millennials bring different behaviors and mindsets to the table than their generational predecessors like the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Many common Millennial traits make them a good fit for your organization, offering a different perspective and work style.

Here’s how to appeal to great Millennial workers when searching for candidates.

1. Show them a plan

Millennials have grown up in a world in which lifetime employment may be a thing of the past. Many were young adults during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and the poor economic times affected their ability to get jobs, be promoted and save money.

With fewer long-term benefits to stay with the same company for decades, Millennials are more likely to seek out new opportunities if they feel they need something professionally that their current job does not offer. As a result, Millennials like to see a plan in place for their employment. They will appreciate hearing about potential promotional paths or opportunities to learn new skills.

2. Foster work-life balance

Millennials value work-life balance more than many of their older counterparts in the workplace. While they will work hard – often willing to work non-traditional hours for the chance at advancement opportunities – their life outside of work is still very important to them. They will appreciate a company that supports work-life balance.

They have also come of age in an era where technology enables flexible work patterns. If your company offers flexible scheduling or remote work, it’s a very good way to attract Millennials.

3. Promote engagement

Millennials also like to have a great, engaging experience throughout the work day. They like congenial workplaces where coworkers go out for happy hours and celebrate birthdays. They like to know the people they work with well, and they want to have an enjoyable experience in the 40 hours (or more) they put in at work every week.

You’ll attract Millennial workers if you promote engagement. A workplace that sponsors happy hours and a monthly birthday celebration for everyone born in that month will be greatly appreciated.

4. Screen for communication skills

The hiring process can also let you know how your Millennial candidates prefer to communicate. Internal communication goes hand in hand with engagement at work, as many Millennial workers like to stay connected with their team members throughout the day. Depending on the work they are doing, they may have more face-to-face interaction or they could be communicating via email or phone, and you need to know what forms of communication work best for your Millennial candidates.

Do they communicate well in the cover letter, resume and any e-mail or telephone conversations? Do they present well during the interview with focused yet relaxed communication? Do they convey relevant background and skills during the course of the interview? All of these questions can be answered quickly throughout the hiring process.

Looking for help finding great Millennial talent in northern Nevada? Contact the staffing team at The Applied Companies today!

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Six Steps to Building Your Personal Brand on Social Media

One of the chief ways to maximize your chances of getting noticed on the job hunt and landing a new opportunity is building a personal brand. Company brands, for example, highlight the best qualities that a consumer can know to expect from an organization. The same principle applies to your own personal brand, but in this case you are highlighting your qualities, skills and background so that a company will hire you.

Social media — LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more — are ideal places on which to develop and showcase your personal brand. Here are six steps to building a personal brand on social media.

1. Engage with relevant communities

Facebook and LinkedIn have numerous groups to join based on region and industry. Be sure to join communities that are relevant to the role you’re looking for. Are you an accountant? Then join professional accountant groups. If you’re a clerical worker, join secretarial or office administrator professional groups.

That’s not to say you can’t join personal interest groups, too. Many personal brands interweave professional and personal interests. You should take the time to create a social media presence where you can share your hobbies and interests in a manner that reflects well on you. Showing who you are outside of work on your social media profiles adds a personality to your professional experience that employers like to see.

2. Maintain consistency across platforms

Your personal brand needs to be consistent across social media. In other words, if you join professional office administrator groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, your Twitter and Instagram accounts should reflect these interests as well.

Many people find it helpful to pick a dominant social media to use and post on. They then choose smaller elements of that to post on Twitter, and a visual representative for visually based social media like Instagram.

3. Be on social media frequently

Social media engagement requires showing up regularly. While you don’t need to comment every single day, you should aim for regular, consistent engagement by posting new content and sharing posts from others in your community.

Choosing two to three times per week and sticking to it is preferable to trying to post every day and then skipping a week, in other words. Consistency is the biggest aspect of building your brand and making sure it becomes well-established with those who view your profiles.

4. Provide valuable content

People read social media to be informed, entertained and to feel like they gained value from reading. You need to add something valuable. This could be sharing your knowledge with members of the group, showcasing your work in a portfolio for potential employers or commenting on trends in your industry.

Be sure to diversify the content you provide. Providing short posts on the same topic or just likes in response to other’s comments are not the best ways to use social media. Diversify the ways in which you engage.

5. Use discussions productively

Social media provides a platform to meet people in your field, including industry professionals. Follow those professionals and use the platform to comment in a way that furthers your brand.

If one of your skills is database management, for example, share your knowledge on social media. If users are discussing the best method of doing something, or the best software, weigh in with your experience.

6. Monitor your brand

Unfortunately, social media is occasionally the site of negative and/or unfair comments. Once you develop your brand on social media, you will need to monitor your name and brand to make sure that negative or unfair comments are addressed promptly. It’s not unlike the owner of a pizza place making sure that people don’t make unfair comments about the quality of the pizza.

Respond professionally, of course. If people are mischaracterizing your views, politely correct them. Don’t get engaged, however, in a lengthy argument. Rely on the good sense of the other users of the media to see the worth of your contributions.

Building your social media presence can go a long way towards building your professional reputation in your industry? Looking for more help on your job search? The Applied Companies have the solutions to help you find great opportunities throughout Reno and northern Nevada.

How Can Redeployment Benefit Your Business?

If you’ve found a great employee for a temporary position, are you working to keep them in your organization, or are you moving on to the next person from the applicant pool? Utilizing your past temporary employees, maintaining a relationship with them and connecting them with new opportunities in your organization is often referred to as redeployment.

Curious about how redeployment can benefit your team?

A Chance to See Employees in Action

When your company hires temporary workers, they benefit you in multiple ways. First, of course, you gain the productivity and number of employees you need to do the work in a given time frame.

Hiring temporary workers gives you a chance to see employees in action without making a full-time hiring decision. You can get a clear sense of whether they are good at the work on not. You find out whether they are punctual and reliable. You can gauge their fit for your corporate culture. You know their personality.

The chance to try out potential employees is one of the main reasons that employers have long used temporary workers. Those that make a great impression in a temporary role often receive consideration as a direct hire.

Redeployment Benefits Both Employers and Temporary Employees

Employers should know that redeployment rather than permanent hiring is also an excellent strategy. Redeployment refers to finding new opportunities for your temporary workers after their first opportunity finishes.

Redeployment allows a company to fill a new position with a known quantity rather than re-entering the open talent market to source someone new. If a temporary worker does excellent work, is reliable and fits into the company culture, it makes sense to help this person find new employment after their current opportunity ends.

It’s a good idea to have a strategy to measure the quality of work, so that promising temporary employees can be identified early on as candidates for redeployment.

There are also contemporary concerns expressed about the status of employees who spend lengthy periods of time as temporary workers. Perhaps the concern is that length of time might be perceived as constituting permanent employment with the company. In that case, clear and open communication about the status of the temporary employees is needed.

Looking for a team to help your northern Nevada business customize a staffing solution that works for you? Contact the staffing team at The Applied Companies today!

How to Showcase Your Work Ethic and Personality on the Job Hunt

the applied companies show work ethic and personality

When you are applying for a new position, you could be going up against tens of other people – maybe even hundreds. How can you differentiate yourself from all of those other applicants?

Because resumes can come across as a dry list of past positions, especially to someone who’s been reading a bunch of resumes, find new ways to show employers what you’re really like as a professional! Use both your cover letter and interview to show your personality and describe what you’re like at work.

While most companies screen resumes using an automated method, there is usually a person reading cover letters. So never skip cover letters when you’re applying for a job! The cover letter is a way to get someone interested enough in you to call you in for an interview. The interview is your chance to get the job.

Let Your Personality Show in the Cover Letter

Although cover letters need to be professional in tone, you can also let your personality shine through.

The cover letter is a chance to let an organization know why you want to work there.

Did your uncle also work for the company, for example? Many organizations are interested in the personal connections new hires have with past employees, because it indicates good fit. Do you think they make the best products in the industry? Tell them that in the cover letter, and why.

Then, you need to choose one or two examples that show your work ethic and qualifications. This isn’t just mentioning the same hard and soft skills you highlight in your resume. It’s making those skills come to life.

How do you make them come to life? Say specifically what results you achieved, using numbers.

So if you were responsible for training new hires, for example, find out how much new hires increased productivity. If it’s 15%, put a paragraph in your cover letter that mentions that you trained new hires that were responsible for a 15% boost in productivity.

Prepare for Common Interview Questions

The interview is also a time, of course, to show your personality. If you mentioned a specific connection to the company in your cover letter and the interviewers ask about, say more.

Be as comfortable and relaxed as you can be in the interview. Remember, you want to come across as someone it would be nice to work with. Don’t, however, be overly friendly or familiar with the interviewers. Remember that it’s a professional situation, and that they are evaluating you.

The interview is prime time to show how you work. Develop two to three examples of past achievements, with numbers. Were you called upon to learn new equipment? Say how much you contributed to results as a result.

Give examples of your work ethic as well. Did you travel in the snow to open an office early in the morning? Mention that. Have you recently won an award for great attendance or being part of a productive team? Develop a way to mention any awards or praise that shows a good work ethic, even if you aren’t specifically asked.

Showcase Who You Are to Find a Great Job in the Reno Area

Remember, demonstrating your personality and how you work in a cover letter is a way to win an interview. Elaborating on both areas in the interview is a way to win the job. Looking for help on your job search? Contact The Applied Companies today.

The True Cost of Making a Bad Hire

the applied companies cost of a bad hire

Have you made a mistake and hired a poor performer for an open position? It can be very painful to realize that the person who choose at the end of a lengthy hiring process isn’t actually working out — or is actively causing problems.

Hiring Is Expensive…

One of the issues, of course, is the expense of the hiring process. Estimates vary from roughly 20% to 30% of a new hire’s salary to $240,000 for the onboarding process. The estimates include the cost of the hiring process plus training.

Because hiring is so costly, managers are often tempted to keep lackluster hires. It can all too easily seem like a smart move for the bottom line.

…but Keeping Bad Hires Can Be More Expensive

You might be better off taking the leap and replacing that bad hire quickly, for a number of reasons.

First, poor performers impact productivity. Productivity is key to results for most businesses. Whether the issue is simply poor work, slow work, or some other issue, it can damage business productivity in multiple ways. If other employees have to step in to try to fix the damage, the productivity impact can multiply. Now, better performers aren’t at peak production either, because they are trying to deal with the bad hire.

Keeping a bad hire can also affect morale and engagement among your employees. Your star performers won’t want to work with poor performers. Your medium performers may work with them, but become unmotivated and disengaged as a result.

Your relationships with the rest of the staff may suffer as a result. You’ll receive fewer tips about what’s going on. Your staff may check out mentally or even physically.

Bad Employees Can Reduce the Rest of Your Team’s Effectiveness

Because of the potential negative effects of keeping a bad hire, it’s often a good idea to take the bull by the horns and let them go. It will minimize productivity and engagement issues in the long run.

In fact, many managers feel it’s the right move to set up key objectives and metrics openly from the beginning, and then terminate people who can’t meet them.

Making Sure You Find the Right Fit

But obviously, going forward, you want to make sure you find high quality employees. How can you make sure you find the right fit for your team?

First, make sure your interview process assesses the qualities and skills your employees will need on the job. Cut candidates who can’t meet them from consideration.

Second, check deeply into their background. Ask open-ended questions of their references, designed to get a perspective about how they performed and behaved in different situations.

Third, train new employees. Utilize your team to make sure that new hires understand how, when, and what to do on the job. Thorough training can set up employees for success.

Fourth, establish key metrics and objectives. Have a discussion early on that sets forth what metrics and objectives the employees need to meet. Don’t leave this open to misinterpretation. The more clear you are, the more your employees will know exactly what you want.

Trust a Staffing Partner in Reno to Assist with Your Hiring Needs

The Applied Companies is focused on the Reno, NV market and will help your business find the candidates that are the best fit possible for your open opportunities. Looking for a staffing partnership? Contact us today.

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Back Up Your Achievements with Numbers on Your Resume

the applied companies add numbers to resume

Whether you’re working in accounting, skilled trades or any other field, quantifying your achievements is a great way to stand out from the pack and showcase your value to potential employers.

Why? Well, because it makes your value concrete and easily graspable, rather than making it vague. Interviewees all too often talk in general terms about their expertise and skills, saying they did a superior or strong job.

Numbers, on the other hand, show the job you did. Numbers are more a way to show than tell what you accomplished on the job and the value you added to employers. So how do you back up your achievements with numbers? Here are three ways.

1. Determine the numbers that apply to your job

The first step is determining which numbers are most relevant to your job. It will vary according to the position you’re applying for. Look at your past jobs. What metrics were your performance appraisals based on? What did the managers focus on in terms of praise and instruction?

If you’re in accounting, for example, the emphasis could have been on reducing the taxes for clients, completing taxes in a timely manner, or generating new clients. If you are in the skilled trades, the focus could have been on productivity, customer satisfaction, or using processes and tools that resulted in cost savings. Find the numbers that best define what you added to each company you worked for.

2. Show your contribution over time

Once you’ve determined the metric, you need to figure out how much you contributed over time (month, quarter, or year) and put a number or percentage on it.

Let’s say, for example, that your accounting work helped a business reduce its taxes paid from $100,000 to $90,000 by pointing out a previously overlooked deduction. That’s perfectly numeric. By reducing taxes paid by $10,000, you saved them 10 percent.

If you’re in the skilled trades, you may need to contact former companies and managers for feedback. They would be able to tell you metrics about productivity, customer satisfaction or cost savings.

If you were ever told about positive numbers, such as increases in items assembled or reductions in assembly errors, or the group you were in received positive commendations for them, don’t hesitate to use them.

3. Be prepared to discuss numbers in an interview

While numbers are a way to catch an employer’s attention and make them want to hire you, they won’t do the job alone. You need to come to the interview prepared to talk about your contributions.

Employers want to know how you improved numbers in the past, because they want you to improve those figures for them also.

Come prepared to discuss your tax return review techniques and style if you work in accounting. How did you catch the tax deduction that was overlooked previously? Focus on how you got to your achievement — and how you’ll get to achievements for your new company. If you’re in the skilled trades, prepare to talk about the productivity increases. Were they because of the site, new tools, innovative processes, or teamwork. Highlight your contribution. Focus on your contribution to the new company.

Looking for Help on Your Job Hunt in Reno?

Once you have a resume that tells a great story about the value you can add to an employer, it’s time to hit the job market and land an interview to share your story. The Applied Companies works with many employers in the Reno, NV area and can help you find an opportunity that fits your professional goals. Contact us today.

What Can You Do with the Time You Save by Outsourcing HR Functions?

the applied companies time saved HR outsourcing

If you outsourced your human resources (HR) functions, what could you do with the time saved?

The short answer: a lot!

A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can perform HR functions, from hiring and screening to administering benefits to keeping up with applicable laws and regulations. The primary role of business is, after all, to stay in business. To do that, small businesses need to focus on their bottom line. They need to ensure that revenue is flowing in and profits are maintained and increased over time.

To keep revenue growing, they need to make sure that customers are satisfied and products and services are being produced and sold in optimal ways.

To do all that, small business leaders need to focus on their most important business tasks. As important as HR is, there might be multiple areas of business whose revenue potential requires your time more urgently than HR.

Outsourcing HR functions to a PEO with a company such as The Applied Companies provides significant benefits as well as freeing up your time. Here are four ways that small businesses can benefit from working with a PEO.

1. Cost Savings

HR functions can cost a small business the expense of maintaining and even growing and back office functions while contributing relatively little to revenue generation. Outsourcing HR functions immediately relieves back-office expense.

In addition, HR duties can be enhanced, maintained at a certain level, or downsized with much more flexibility if the functions are outsourced – and with minimal requirement of your time!

2. Risk Management

Companies need to make sure that they follow all applicable state and Federal laws related to employment and the sector in which they do business. They also need to stay on top of rules and regulations. If they don’t, they risk fines, sanctions or even lawsuits.

In-house HR departments, especially for small businesses, may become overburdened keeping up with ever-changing laws and regulations. Outsourcing to a PEO places legal and regulatory expertise in the hands of people who focus exclusively on these issues. It minimizes the risk to small businesses, by placing the responsibility with the PEO.

3. Efficiencies in Multiple Functions

HR departments fulfill multiple functions. They handle payroll and tax withholding, if applicable. They administer benefits. They handle onboarding and process terminations. They may be responsible for all hiring functions, from job description development to postings. They may be involved in performance appraisals.

Handling all these tasks may be a tall order, especially for small business HR departments. But hiring a PEO means that you are hiring people who have expertise in all these areas. That means they can handle the areas with streamlined efficiency.

4. Employee Development

Developing employees — guiding them in everything from company policies to creating promotional paths — can be very time-consuming for managers. But PEOs in HR are experts at developing employees.

PEOs can monitor employees to ensure good performance and compliance with company policies. They can develop plans to ensure that top performers progress to higher levels of responsibility.

When an employee needs to improve, PEOs can institute a performance plan. PEOs can ensure that HR proceeds smoothly while relieving managers from expenditures of time that do not produce revenue.

Get Help with Outsourced Human Resources Services in Reno

Looking for a team focused on Reno to help with HR solutions for your small business? Contact The Applied Companies today.

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What Do We Do at TAC?

By Marketing Coordinator, Candice Vialpando

When is it Time to Outsource Recruiting?

By Marketing Coordinator, Candice Vialpando

Why outsource your recruiting needs?

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management the average cost of hiring a new employee is $4,129. The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California at Berkeley reported the average cost for managerial and professional employees could run as high as $7,000. Additionally, Dun and Bradstreet’s Business Research states that employers pay as much as 150% of an employee’s salary to replace a management position.

A priority for business owners is to keep up with sales leads and consumer needs. If a business owner needs more manpower to fulfill this need and doesn’t want to spend a ton of money, they should look at outsourcing.

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