What Not To Say To A Recruiter

business man 2 CCO

Job recruiters are an excellent resource for job seekers. They are trained to access applicants’ skill sets and personalities based on the interview process. This allows them to match the right person with the right job. In order to get the most out if your experience with a recruiter avoid these “what not to say” faux pas during your interview.

I’m Only Interested If I Get The Maximum Possible Salary

Making money is one thing to consider when applying for a job, but focusing too much on the salary and not enough on your other career ambitions, you could make a recruiter believe that you do not actually care about the work that you will be doing. It is a recruiter’s job to find good candidates, and good candidates care about their jobs, not just money. Not to mention, you could offend your recruiter by implying that they are not working in your best interest in terms of salary.

My Needs Are Very Specific

Having a focused career is important, but not being open to opportunities can be a red flag to recruiters. Be realistic. Decide what goes in the “must have” column and what goes in the “it would be nice column”. Sometimes the best opportunities present themselves to those who keep their options open.

I’ll Take Any Job

You may think that this is exactly what a recruiter wants to hear. However, by indicating that you would take any job, what you may be saying is that you are desperate, that you lack focus and/or applicable skills. Instead consider your job skills and what jobs they can be applied to. This will focus your career and give you the best chance for success because you will only be applying to jobs that match your abilities.

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

If you have something questionable on your resume, it is best to be upfront about it. If there is something that you do not want the recruiter to know, choose your words carefully and be diplomatic. Saying that you don’t want to talk about it suggests that you are hiding something. For example, if you have an employment gap on your resume, list some positive things that you were doing during that time instead of trying to avoid the question. As the saying goes… “turn a negative into a positive”.

In situations in which it is difficult to see the positive side, such as a criminal record or being fired, just tell the truth. A good recruiter will know which clients are willing to give you a chance.

My Last Company Was Terrible

It is never a good idea to bash the company that you just worked for. This could lead recruiters to believe that you will bad mouth the employers that they send you to. If you hated your last company, say something like, “It wasn’t the right fit”. It is a way to tell the truth without being rude or unprofessional.

It’s On My Resume

If a recruiter asks you about something that is clearly on your resume, they are usually doing it for a reason, not because they did not read it. They may want more information. But more likely, they are evaluating your communication skills and personality to determine how best to place you.

It’s Just A Short-Term Arrangement

Even short-term jobs should be taken seriously. When you say it is “just short-term”, it implies that you don’t really care about the job and that you just want money. Instead, let the recruiter know that you are looking for temporary work and if necessary specify a range of dates when you are available. For example, if you are in between jobs or just need to make a bit of extra cash, you need to be careful about how you address this. Be honest with your recruiter about how long you anticipate being able to stay at a job and don’t lead them to believe that you are looking for permanent work. After all, that’s what temp jobs are for.

It’s Not Like This Is A Real Interview

Often times applicants show up to an interview with a recruiter in casual clothes, without a resume or otherwise unprepared because they do not consider it to be a real job interview. The truth is, if you do not impress the recruiter, you won’t make it to the “real” interview. You should also keep in mind that the recruiter may send you to the “real” interview directly from the recruiter interview. So put your best foot forward for recruiter interviews like you would for a traditional job interview.

I Doubt I’ll Take The Job

Occasionally, applicants go through the entire interview process even though they do not intend to take the job. There are many reasons why they may decide to do this. It could be because they feel obligated or they want to stay on the recruiter’s radar. Whatever the reason is, don’t mention to the recruiter that you don’t think you’ll take the job. Go on the interview with an open mind. It might be better than you thought. Then after you have all of the information, have a conversation with your recruiter.

I’m Only Doing This To Get A Counter Offer From My Boss

Some people use staffing agencies to apply pressure to their current boss. They think that if they can get an offer from another company, their boss will match it. If that is the plan, do not tell the recruiter. He or she will not take you as seriously. Just like in the example above, go on the interviews and keep your options open. You may find a job that you like more than your current one.

In short, a good recruiter will be your advocate. So, when working with recruiters it is best to keep your options open. Select your words carefully while still being honest. This will ultimately increase your chance of finding a position that you’ll love.

Angelica PM2 CroppedAngelica Dudenhoefer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Angelica by email or on LinkedIn and you can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+,Instagram and Pinterest.

9 Reasons Why Your Resume Is Being Ignored

Resume 2 CCO

Let’s face it, writing a resume is one of the most important parts of finding a job because it tells your potential employer whether or not to consider you for the position. Often times however, people’s resumes get ignored for something that could have been easily fixed. So, why not put your best foot forward and optimize the chance that someone will pay attention to your resume? These tips and tricks will get you started.

Not Job Specific

When applying for jobs it can be tempting to create a generic resume and send it to as many businesses as possible or to use a resume from an old job, different than the one you are applying for. The best approach is to tailor your resume to each job as you apply. Yes, it will take longer, but it will increase the chance that someone will take your resume seriously.

Read over the job description. If the skills they have listed are also skills that you have, add it to your resume. Think about how your seemingly unrelated skills can be applied specifically to the job you hope to get. For example, say you worked with vendors at a grocery chain but you want to do customer service, you could say that you “Have a proven ability to communicate with others in a positive way”. Take the time to do this will all of your skills. This will show the person in charge of hiring that you have the necessary expertise for the job.

No Stats

Resumes often focus too much on job duties and not enough on proof that you can do the job. One great way to show potential employers that you have what it takes is to provide them with numbers and stats. Instead of saying “Increased sales” say “Increased sales by 20%”. Back up your claims with numbers whenever possible. Even consider charts and graphs when appropriate.

Mistakes

Resumes with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are not taken as seriously, especially if there are a lot of them. After you have written your resume, have a few people that you trust read it over for you. They may see things that you’ve missed. Another great tip is to read it backwards word by word. You may notice mistakes that your mind automatically corrected for when you originally read it the normal way.

Along with spelling and grammar mistakes, people often address their resumes to the wrong company or person. If you are not sure who to address your resume to, first check their website, often times there will be a list of employees and their job titles. You can also call and ask.

Lack Of Online Presence

Having an online presence is a great way for potential employers to get to know you beyond what you have put on your resume. Take the time to create an online resume and sign up for LinkedIn (a highly popular business networking, social media platform). Try looking at examples of online resumes and LinkedIn profiles for people with careers similar to the one you want for ideas of what to do and what not to do. Depending on the job that you are applying for, an online presence is a must.

Your Online Presence Is Unprofessional

Do a social media audit. Make sure that all of your social media accounts portray you in a good light. Pictures of drinking and partying should be removed along with anything controversial. You may even want to make your accounts private and remove your birthdate if you are looking into an industry or job that favors people in a different age group. Do the same for any blogs or websites that you own.

Applied For Too Many Positions

Appling for many unrelated positions in a company can tell potential employers that you do not have an area of expertise and that you may be desperate for work. Employers tend to want someone who is seeking a career not just another job. But what if all of the jobs seem like a good fit? Try calling the hiring manager to ask for clarification. Discuss what you are looking for and ask for their opinion as to which one job is likely the best fit for your skill set and needs.

Too Much Info

Resumes that are full of information that is not relevant to the job can be distracting. It also makes it harder for the person reading the resume to determine if you have the necessary skills. Take out all extraneous information before submitting a resume. Also try to make your resume easily scannable so that the person reviewing it does not have to read every word. You can do this by strategically using bullet points, bold or underline. Just make sure not to overdo it, appearance is extremely important.

Appearance

Your resume should be crisp and clean. All too often people turn in wrinkled resumes with stains on them. Your resume is essentially a representation of yourself. You don’t want a potential employer to worry about whether or not you are presentable enough for their work environment.

Along with being tidy, your resume should be well organized and formatted. Select a simple format and add a bit of something special such as colored bullet points. Remember to keep it simple! Over doing it can be seen as unprofessional, unless the job is particularly creative or requires a big personality. Avoid adding large images, glitter, too much color, etc. Most importantly, stick with an easy to read font. If the potential employer can’t read your resume it wastes your time and that of the person reading it.

Missing Something From The Job Posting

Read job postings carefully. Sometimes they require additional information such as samples of your work, references, salary requirements, etc. If you omit one of these things, they will be more likely to disqualify you regardless of how great your resume is. Show potential employers that you can follow directions by applying as instructed in the job post.

These are some tips and tricks to help improve the chances of getting your resume seen. However, even a perfectly written and formatted resume may get ignored. It depends on the person reading it. While there is no guarantee that a potential employer will read every word of your resume, these tips can increase the chance that they will pay attention to it.  After all, it is an important step in the right direction.

What resume bloopers have you made or come across?

Angelica PM2 C for BLAngelica Dudenhoefer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Angelica by email or on LinkedIn and you can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+, Instagram and Pinterest.

Dear Atty., How Do I Handle A Holiday Party, Alcohol and Sexual Discrimination

Attorney Pete Albrecht

Party CCO

Dear Attorney:

I am in charge of planning our company’s holiday party. The owner of the company told me that he wants this year’s party to be, “better than ever” but then added that he wants to make sure that the company doesn’t get into any trouble. Please help. What types of issues should I be thinking about?

Signed,

Bah Humbug

Dear Humbug:

While holiday parties can be a great occasion to celebrate with coworkers, they also pose several potential legal risks for employers. But, that doesn’t mean that the party will be awful. It just means that you need to be smart in your planning. Consider some of the following issues:

Be Careful With the Alcohol

Alcohol at holiday parties can be the source of much of the fun but definitely is the source of much of the evil. You should take steps to reduce the consumption of alcohol. Avoid open bars. Consider giving each attendee a limited number of “drink tickets.”  If you are having the party on-site, consider hiring professional bartenders; they are better trained to respond to guests who are consuming alcohol to excess. If you are planning on having a “cocktail hour” portion to the party, ensure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverage choices and that some food is served during the cocktail hour. Consider providing some form of entertainment to shift the focus away from alcohol to something else.

Avoiding Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Discrimination

Sexual harassment is probably the greatest employment law risk at holiday parties. Ditch the mistletoe. It seems to bring out the “creepy” in some people. You don’t want Bob in sales using mistletoe as an excuse to give Susie in accounting that kiss that she never wanted. Also consider inviting spouses and significant others. The risk of sexual harassment is greatly reduced under the watchful eye of spouses and significant others.

From a racial, national origin or religion standpoint, beware of holding functions at private clubs with restricted membership. In addition, rewarding employees with a gift at the end of the year may backfire if you don’t take into account other factors. For example, diabetics, recovering alcoholics or those adhering to religious dietary restrictions may not appreciate gifts of food or liquor.

Avoid Paying Your Employees to Party

If employees are made to think that attendance at the party is mandatory, it is possible that the time spent at the party could be compensable hours worked under the wage and hour laws. For non-exempt employees, this could result in your company being responsible for paying overtime for the time spent at the party. To avoid this, be sure to make clear to employees that attendance at the party is voluntary. Also, avoid asking employees to perform any functions at the party that might be to the benefit of your company. Inviting spouses and significant others also will underscore that the event is purely social, as opposed to being business related.

Minimize the Risk of Workers Compensation Liability

It is possible that workers’ compensation benefits may be available to employees who are injured during or because of an employer-sponsored event. To minimize this risk, be sure that employees know that there is no business purpose for the event and that attendance is not mandatory. Also consider avoiding activities at the event that could increase the likelihood of injury. The last thing you need is for Bill in the shipping department to tear his ACL doing the limbo.

Despite all of these concerns, the party still can be fun. The key to limiting your company’s liability lies in limiting the consumption of alcohol. From an employer’s standpoint, nothing good happens when employees get drunk and stupid.

Signed,

Attorney

The “Dear Atty.” column is aimed at answering employers’ legal questions that surround issues in human resources. Attorney Pete Albrecht of Albrecht Backer Labor & Employment Law, S.C. welcomes you to submit questions here for future editions of “Dear Atty.”

If you would like additional information about this topic, please contact Pete Albrecht. He is the president and a shareholder at Albrecht Backer Labor and Employment Law. Pete has represented employers for over 28 years and his law office is located in Madison, Wisconsin.

How To Attract The Best Employees For Your Business

 

employees CCO

In order to attract and keep the best employees, your company has to stand out. Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to increase the caliber of your future employees.

Demonstrate a Great Work Culture

Having a great corporate culture gives potential employees reasons other than the actual job description to work at your company. Highlighting your great work culture on job descriptions, your social media pages and in your marketing, are all great ways to show potential employees how awesome it is to work for your company.

Offer Attractive Compensation and Benefits

Great employees often have multiple career options. If you want them to choose your company over your competition, you should pay employees what they are actually worth. Do a lot of research in to how much to pay them. Consider the skill set that you want, the level of education and even the size of your company. Make a generous and fair offer to future employees and they will be more likely to consider working for you.

The same goes for the benefits that you offer. Top employees will consider vacation pay, sick days, insurance coverage, etc. If you want top candidates, make sure you offer top benefits.

Approach Top Talent

If you really want great employees, go after them. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Set up a lunch with them and offer them the job or ask them to apply for it. Sometimes it is really that simple.

Give Out Referral Bonuses to Employees

Referral bonuses are a great way to incentivize your current employees to be on the lookout for highly talented people. They know that if they find the right person it will not only benefit them, but the company and their recommended employee as well. It can be a win-win-win situation.

Have Opportunities for Promotion

Top employees are often ambitious and willing to learn new skills. Providing them a path to promotion in the future gives them something to work hard for. If an employee sees that they will be stuck in the same job for years to come, their work may suffer. Alternatively, if they see a potential for promotion, they have a reason to work hard.

Provide Additional Perks

Additional perks are often the difference between a good company and a great company. Incentives such as gym memberships, child care and an onsite restaurant all improve the lives of your employees. They help to increase moral, reduce stress and give your employees other reasons to look forward to coming to work.

Just like you want your employees to go the extra mile for your company, if you should do the same for your employees. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship from which to build a strong company.

What are some ways that your company has attracted top notch employees?

Angelica PM2 C for BLAngelica Dudenhoefer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Angelica by email or on LinkedIn and you can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+, Instagram and Pinterest.

How to Win a Skype Interview

 

Skype Interview CCO

As technology changes so does the process of interviewing for jobs. It is now commonplace to hold interviews via live communication technology such as Skype. Just like there are proper techniques and etiquette for in person interviews, there are also expectations for video interviews. Don’t worry, Drake & Company has you covered!

Eye Contact

Eye contact is a very important part of communication, even if communicating through a live streaming tool like Skype. If you focus on the screen, it appears to the interviewer as if you are looking down and not making eye contact. The trick is to look at the camera not the screen. You may even need to prop up your computer so that it is level with the top part of your body. Ideally, the interviewer should be able to see your entire head, your shoulders and part of your torso. Just think of the standard business head shot.

Look & Dress the Part

Take some time to research the culture at the company that you are interviewing for. How do they dress? Dress at least as professionally, if not one step up from that. You should also consider making yourself look extra presentable that day, if necessary.

It may be tempting to only dress the top half of your body in a professional manner. Well, think again! You never know what could happen. The interviewer could ask you to stand up, or you may need to get something during the interview. Dress professionally from the top down to avoid an embarrassing moment.

Prepare Your Environment

The interviewer will not only see you during the interview, they will also see your background. Try to find a quiet place in a professional setting, if possible. An office is ideal. Make sure that your family and pets are out of the room. The back drop should also be clean and tidy. After all, you don’t want the interviewer to think that because your house is messy, you will not be organized enough to get the job done.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Get everything set up and do a practice interview with a friend or family member. Don’t forget to record it so that you can review it and change any that needs to be corrected. Take special note of what is visible on the screen, if you are talking loud enough and if the connection and other technical aspects are working correctly, etc. They say that practice makes perfect. You don’t have to be perfect, but you should be prepared.

Eliminate Distractions & Outside Noise

Close all of the windows on your computer so that any alerts that go off do not distract from your interview. Make sure to let others in your house know that they need to be quiet for the next hour or so because you have an important interview. Make sure that noisy pets are on the other side of the house and that children are being cared for so they do not need anything from you during the interview. Turn off music and remove other loud objects. You want the interviewer to focus all of their attention on how great you are not, on your significant other clanking around in the background.

Use Notes

It is usually acceptable to use notes during a Skype interview. A word of caution however, do not rely on them too much. You want to make sure that you are having a conversation with the interviewer not reading from a script.

Thank yous and follow ups

All job interviews should be followed up with a prompt thank you letter, preferably within 24 hours of the interview. Unless instructed not to, you can even follow up a week or two later to check in. These thank yous and follows ups will show the interviewer that you are still interested in the position and will endear you to them as a polite and respectful professional.

Keep your Profile Professional

Most live streaming websites or applications have you set up a profile including a picture, a username and perhaps more. Keep this information professional. It will be seen by the interviewer and you do not want to ruin your chance at the job before you have even opened your mouth. If possible include your name as your user name. This is great professional branding and it will help the interviewer remember you.

Smile

One of the most important tips is also one of the easiest. Smile. You want to appear friendly and easy to work with. A person that smiles is seen as more personable than someone that does not. If you need help, just hang up a sticky note right behind the camera reminding you to look at the camera and smile.

Now that you have our tips and tricks for winning your video job interviews, what are some of your tips and tricks?

 Angelica PM2 C for BL

Angelica Dudenhoefer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Angelica by email or on LinkedIn and you can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

 

Dear Atty., Did I Discriminate During A Job Interview?

Attorney Pete Albrecht

Dear Attorney:

I own a business located here in Madison. A couple of weeks ago I was interviewing a candidate for a customer service position. A couple of minutes into the interview, the candidate went off on a rant about how she is an atheist and started questioning my company’s practices regarding time off for Good Friday and Christmas. She went on and on about how supporting time off for these holidays discriminates against atheists. Seriously, she would not shut up about it. I ended up not hiring her because, frankly, I thought her behavior in the interview was odd, to say the least. I could not envision her interacting with my customers as a customer service representative. A couple of days ago I received a Complaint from the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission alleging that I discriminated against this woman for not hiring her because she is an atheist. For the love of God, please tell me that there is no such thing as discrimination based on atheism.

Signed,

Keeping the Faith

Dear Faith:

Sorry to have to break this to you, but in Madison there is.

The Law:
If your business is located within the geographic boundaries of the City of Madison you are covered by the Madison Equal Opportunities Ordinance. The Ordinance is enforced by the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission (“MEOC”). So, if you are a Madison employer you have the pleasure (sarcasm) of being covered by three sets of discrimination laws: federal law, state law and the Madison Ordinance.

Among those of us who practice in the area of employment law, the MEOC has the reputation of being extremely pro-employee. The Madison Ordinance contains protected classifications that do not exist under federal or state laws. To be honest, some of these protected classifications seem a bit “out there.”  Here are some examples:

Atheism:
The Ordinance does, indeed, protect individuals from discrimination based on their status as being atheists. The apparent logic behind this is that, if religion is covered under the discrimination laws, the status of not believing in an organized religion also should be covered.

Homelessness:
The Ordinance protects discrimination against individuals who are homeless. Homeless individuals may have no address to put on an employment application or the address may be that of a homeless shelter. This may cause some employers to be reluctant to hire these people. The Ordinance protects them from such discrimination.

Unemployment Status:
The Ordinance prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on their status of being unemployed (the Ordinance does, however, allow employers to inquire into or consider the facts or circumstances that led to the applicant’s unemployment).

Physical Appearance:
Under the Ordinance, this means the “outward appearance of any person, irrespective of sex, with regard to hairstyle, beards, manner of dress, weight, height, facial features, or other aspects of appearance.”  So, when that clean‑cut kid that you hired shows up for his first day of work sporting ear gauges, a nose ring and tongue stud you may not be able to do anything about it.

Social Security Number:
I’m not making this one up. The Ordinance provides that an employer cannot discriminate against a person who “declines to disclose their social security number when such disclosure is not compelled by state or federal law.”  Many employers do pre‑employment background checks that aren’t necessarily required by state or federal law. Often times, the individual’s social security number is necessary to perform a background check. Under the Ordinance, an employer cannot take adverse action against an individual who refuses to provide their social security number as part of the background check.

As you can see, the Madison Ordinance covers many classifications that are not covered by other discrimination laws. Here is the long list of protected classes which currently are protected by the ordinance: atheism, sex, race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry, citizenship status, age, handicap/disability, marital status, source of income, arrest record, conviction record, credit history, military discharge status, physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity, political beliefs, familial, student and domestic partner status, receipt of rental assistance, social security number disclosure and unemployment status.

Many Madison employers do not even know that the Madison Ordinance exists. Now you do. But, there is no reason to lose faith, Faith. Compliance with the Ordinance is pretty simple once you know what it actually covers.

Signed,
Attorney

The “Dear Atty.” column is aimed at answering employers’ legal questions that surround issues in human resources. Attorney Pete Albrecht of Albrecht Backer Labor & Employment Law, S.C. welcomes you to submit questions here for future editions of “Dear Atty.”

If you would like additional information about this topic, please contact Pete Albrecht. He is the president and a shareholder at Albrecht Backer Labor and Employment Law. Pete has represented employers for over 28 years and his law office is located in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Benefits of Direct Hire

An applicant enters a board room for a job interview

An applicant enters a board room for a job interview In the past, we have covered the difference between the types of job placement options offered by staffing firms. Each company has different needs that determine if a temporary, temp-to-hire or direct hire position is right for an organization, with each type of placement offering a variety of benefits.

A direct hire through a staffing firm, however, offers organizations additional benefits not offered through other hiring options.

 

Better Candidates

When a business decides to use a staffing agency for a direct hire placement, the company has the ability to attract a better pool of applicants. Job seekers, both passive and active, are more likely to leave a current position for a direct hire job if it is a permanent move versus a temporary or temp-to-hire placement.

Stronger Commitment

Employees placed in a direct hire position have a better sense of stability with the company where they are placed. Temporary employees know they will move on at some point, so often do not feel the same loyalty towards a company that an employee in for the long haul would feel.

Parade The Perks

 A temporary or temp-to-hire employee receives benefits and is on the payroll of a staffing firm. With a direct hire, a company has the ability to promote their own benefits and perks of working for that organization. If you have great health insurance benefits or free popcorn in the break room on Fridays, these perks can be used to draw in prospective candidates.

With low unemployment levels, it is important for companies to do what they can to attract qualified employees. By offering a direct hire job opportunity, employers might be able to find more candidates that fit the needs of the company. Best of all, a direct hire placement does not cost a company more than filling a temp-to-hire or temporary position.

To learn more about how a direct hire can benefit your organization, contact an account manager for more information at (608) 257-2411.

Contact an account manager in Madison, WIsconsin button

Stephanie Beirne Leuer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company Staffing Solutions, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

First Impression Tips For Job Seekers

A man wear a suit and tie

A man wear a suit and tie“First impressions are make or break,” said speaker Susan Young at a recent seminar on first impressions. The event, held at DreamBank in Madison on the Capitol Square, focused on how to make the best first impression in any situation.

A few of her key points easily translate into tips for job seekers who want to make a positive impact in an interview. The job interview is the ultimate test of first impressions between applicants and potential employers that can impact whether or not someone is hired for a job. Three of Young’s points standout as advice job seekers might want to take into consideration when embarking on the next step in their career.

How You Show Up

In her presentation, Young pointed out multiple ways in which someone can improve what they project out into the world. She states, “how you show up” matters to other people. If you show up as your best, authentic self, other people will take notice. Job applicants who pretend to be something they are not, can find themselves turning off a potential employer. When applicants demonstrate a passion for an area of expertise, the hiring manager will take notice.

Be Your Own Brand

In today’s world, brands are not just about companies or products anymore. People are as much of a brand in the way they present themselves to the world as a soda company or a pair of jeans. A job applicant’s personal brand can be anything from your social media personality to how you are dressed for an interview, or as Young says, “branding speaks for you before you ever open your mouth”.  In the world of job searching, a clean, pressed suit is just as important as a professional social media presence.

A Shift In Physiology

Many people might not be aware that 55 percent of the messages sent to other people are communicated through body language. Words only make up seven percent of our communication, while 38 percent comes from the tone or voice in which those messages are delivered. Young encourages a simple switch from a slumped posture to a sitting up straight to change your entire energy to a send a more positive message to the other person. A job applicant who sits up straight and makes good eye contact with an interviewer will offer a better first impression than someone who slouched in a chair that projects a negative or indifferent energy.

Her advice carries through to beyond the job interview as well. These tips are helpful when it comes to first impressions on the first day of a new job, an important presentation or a big networking event. A positive attitude, teamed with the right kind of body language will help to elevate your professional presence.

To find out more about how to make a better first impression at a job interview, contact one of our Madison area recruiters for details at (608) 257-2411.

Contact a recruiter button

Stephanie Beirne Leuer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company Staffing Solutions, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Stephanie by email, and you can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

Dear Atty., How Do I Accommodate A Transgender Employee?

Attorney Pete Albrecht

Restroom signs show facilities for men and womenDear Atty.,

I am the HR director for a medium-sized manufacturing company. I need your advice in dealing with a delicate situation. A recently-hired employee, Lola, came to me the other day and confided that she is transgender; biologically she is male but identifies as female. Lola also informed me that her psychologist has recommended that she be able to use company facilities of the gender with which she identifies.

This would mean allowing Lola to use the women’s restrooms. In addition, our company has an on-site fitness facility. Lola believes that she also should be able to use the women’s locker room when using the workout facility. Please help. Do we really need to agree to Lola’s requests? If we grant Lola’s request, what do we do if other female employees are uncomfortable sharing the restroom and locker room with Lola?

Signed,
Trying to Do the Right Thing

 

Dear Trying,

The world certainly can be confusing at times. Just as there may be gay, lesbian and bisexual employees at any company, there also may be employees who are transgender. Some of these employees are open about their gender identity or expression and others may not be. It is clear, however, that an employer must take measures to ensure that transgender employees have access to company facilities consistent with their gender identity.

The Law: While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not explicitly include gender identity in its list of protected bases, the Equal Employment Opportunity’s Commission interprets the statute’s sex discrimination provision as prohibiting discrimination against employees on the basis of gender identity.  In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration takes the position that all employees should be permitted to use the facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

Legally, it is clear that you need to take measures to ensure that Lola has access to company facilities that correspond with her gender identity. As a practical matter, this should not be a big deal when it comes to her use of the women’s restrooms. I am assuming that your restrooms have stalls with lockable doors. This should provide sufficient privacy for Lola and her female coworkers.

Some employers have suggested the alternative of creating a separate “unisex” restroom for transgender employees. I do not think that this is a good approach. One of the lessons that we should have learned from the era of racial segregation is that “separate but equal” is not truly equal. Transgender employees should be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. If coworkers are uncomfortable with a transgender employee’s use of the same restroom, those coworkers should be allowed to use the unisex restroom.

The locker room is a bit trickier. If possible, your company should ensure private shower and changing areas in the locker room by using stalls or even curtains. No single solution will work for every work site, but all efforts should be made to protect the transgender employee’s dignity while also protecting the privacy of all employees using the locker room.

Undoubtedly, your trickiest issue will be dealing with coworkers’ attitudes. While I like to believe that most people these days are fairly enlightened when it comes to these issues, the reality is that there likely will be a few small-brained coworkers who just don’t get it. At the outset, your company’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy and Harassment Policy should be amended to add gender identity and expression as a protected class.

You will need to remind all employees that they are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with these policies. Employees also need to be reminded that they must work cooperatively with their coworkers regardless of their gender identity and that failure to do so could result in corrective action. A lack of knowledge about transgender issues certainly has the potential for creating misunderstanding and tension in the workplace. Educating employees about these issues is the best approach.

I am encouraged by the fact that you thought to seek advice on this tricky issue. It is nice to know that there are people out there who are trying to do the right thing.

Signed,
Atty.

The “Dear Atty.” column is aimed at answering employers’ legal questions that surround issues in human resources. Attorney Pete Albrecht of Albrecht Backer Labor & Employment Law, S.C. welcomes you to submit questions here for future editions of “Dear Atty.”

If you would like additional information about this topic, please contact Pete Albrecht. He is the president and a shareholder at Albrecht Backer Labor and Employment Law. Pete has represented employers for over 28 years and his law office is located in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Staffing Firms: Beyond Temporary Job Placements

A computer sits on a desk in Madison, Wisconsin

A computer sits on a desk in Madison, WisconsinAs part of the staffing industry, our company often hears from employers who believe we only handle temporary job placements. While it is true that a portion of the placements from staffing firms are temporary assignments, the majority of positions we fill at Drake & Company Staffing Solutions are often direct hire opportunities.

Companies that are working with a staffing firm for the first time might be uncertain about the difference between the types of job placements offered and what that means for their organization. Our company offers three hiring choices to fit the needs of employers.

Direct Hire

A direct hire job opportunity occurs when an employer wants to hire an individual as a member of their staff right off the bat. Our job as a staffing firm to is to recruit the right person to match the skills and personality to fit the needs of a company. Once a company hires the new employee, the individual joins that company’s payroll and becomes a full member of the staff. A direct hire is never on the payroll of a staffing firm.

Companies often benefit from a direct hire by opening the doors to more qualified candidates. People who are already employed are more likely to leave a stable situation for a new company if they can be hired on directly by an organization. In the current market that benefits job seekers, it is important to offer a highly qualified candidate an incentive to leave a current job with a more permanent spot versus a temp-to-hire opportunity.

Temp-to-Hire

Companies sometimes like the benefits of a temp-to-hire arrangement when bringing on a new member to the team. A temp-to-hire position allows an employer to test out a new employee’s skills and fit with the company culture before bringing that person on as a full member of the staff. Throughout this trial period the employee remains on the staffing agency’s payroll until the employer may decide to bring the person on as a full-fledged team member.

Temporary

Temporary jobs can be available with a company for a variety of reasons such as a leave of absence, vacation, special project or to cover a busy period for an organization. As a temporary employee, an individual remains on the payroll of the staffing agency and is not typically eligible for benefits. Some job seekers enjoy the flexibility a temporary position offers, while others hope to use the experience as a way to build up skills.

In a job market where top candidates might be hard to find, staffing firms are able to tap into a deep database filled with qualified applicants to meet the needs of employers. A staffing agency also has the ability to fill the needs of an organization with other resources such as advertising on local and national job boards, social media marketing, newsletters, job fairs and additional outreach programs designed to seek out job applicants.

To find out how our staffing firm can help your company find the right fit for your organization, contact an account manager at (608) 257-2411.

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Stephanie Beirne Leuer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company Staffing Solutions, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Stephanie by email, and you can find Drake & Company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.