Demand Up for Temp and Contract Workers

August 28, 2009

hardhatsA report issued by the American Staffing Association confirms that demand for temporary and contract workers increased over last month, indicating a potential stabilization of the national job market.

The ASA’s staffing index measures demand for temporary workers among their members on a 100 point scale. Over the course of the past six weeks, demand increased from 71 to 75, indicating that the employment market may be rebounding from its low of 69 at the end of 2008.

Temporary staffing is generally recognized as a leading indicator of overall employment strength since many companies bring new hires in on a temporary or contract basis before converting them to full-time direct employees.


How to Dress For a Business Casual Interview

August 26, 2009

Everyone used to understand what to wear to a job interview. Men wore a suit with a white shirt and tie, and women wore a suit with a skirt. The rules were easy. Not anymore. With the advent of business casual job seekers are presented with a confusing array of wardrobe options to select from when preparing for their interview.

Although selecting the right business casual look can be confusing, we tell you how to dress appropriately for any business casual interview.

Bottom line: its’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Top Paying College Majors

August 10, 2009

oil wellIn news that may be shocking to philosophy majors (I think therefore I am nearly unemployable), the top earning college majors, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, are all technically oriented.

The top 5 starting salaries, in order:

  1. Petroleum engineering = $83,121
  2. Chemical engineering = $64,902
  3. Mining engineering = $64,404
  4. Computer engineering = $61,738
  5. Computer science = $61,407

The law of supply and demand dictates the earning potential of these technical disciplines, since there were only 450 petroleum engineering degrees and fewer than 4500 chemical engineering degrees earned in the entire country last year .

What Every Company Needs To Know About Social Networking

July 30, 2009

social networkingA recent study released by Universal McCann reveals that we are immersed the fourth wave of internet usage that is being defined by social network participation. Their study notes that social networks are becoming the dominant platform for personal interaction and content creation and distribution.

The global internet audience now totals 625 million people, with almost 100 million of those users located in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of these users are active in one or more social networks.

What’s also revealed is how these users spend their time on the social networks. The most popular activity was watching video, followed by listening to streaming audio, blogging and connecting with friends.

What does this mean for you or your industry?

First of all, the place to connect with people – whether personally or professionally – is on one of the social networks. They’ve made their choice how they want to interact with others, and it’s not through email. For professionals, this typically means LinkedIn, though Facebook is being used more and more by professionals who have learned to adjust their privacy settings so as not to share overly personal information with other professional contacts.

These trends also mean that you need to generate content that is interesting, engaging and compelling enough to generate views and inspire your connections to share your content with their own network of friends and colleagues. The dominant format for this content: video. If you’re not creating videos to put on your site, your blog, your LinkedIn page, your Facebook Fan Page, then it’s time to start.

polaroidBut don’t stop with video. Over 70% of social networkers also post photos to their pages. People want to see who they’re connecting with, and a thoughtfully designed series of photos can generate a powerful impression. For the professional, these can include images of your office, your personal workspace, your coworkers and even photos from events that you participate in. Sharing some personal visual insights will increase your familiarity, strengthening your connections with your networks.

Finally, if your company really wants to engage online, you need to create a community that’s worth joining. That means frequently updated, compelling content. The promise of interaction with other, like-minded people.  A thoughtful, meaningful – even delightful – user experience. And the ability to listen to your community members and adjust your activities to satisfy their needs, not yours.

Latest Employment Trends

July 30, 2009

Employment blog Simply Hired released an analysis of employment opportunities in the largest American cities that revealed continuing softness in the overall job market, especially on the west coast. On the positive side, however, the employment outlook appears to be stabilizing in the midwest and improving in the southwest.

As Simply Hired reports:

New York, NY – Over 110,000 jobs and a positive employment trend since the beginning of 2009

Los Angeles, CA – Over 60,000 jobs and a downward employment trend since 2009

Chicago, IL – Over 60,000 jobs and an upward trend since the beginning of the year

Houston, TX – Over 35,000 jobs and an employment trend with little change

Phoenix, AZ – Over 25,000 jobs and an employment trend with little change

Philadelphia, PA – Over 45,000 jobs and an employment trend with a slight increase

San Antonio, TX – Over 10,000 jobs and an increasing employment trend

San Diego, CA – Over 20,000 jobs and an increasing employment trend

Dallas, TX – Over 45,000 jobs and a slightly increasing employment trend

San Jose, CA – Over 35,000 jobs and a downward employment trend

The Interviewing Intangibles

July 21, 2009

interview2Yesterday’s post How To Make $5000/Hour dealt with the preparation that job seekers need to complete before stepping foot into the interview. As critical as the preparation process is, nailing the essential details on the day of the interview is just as important.

Make thoughtful wardrobe choices. There are plenty of articles dealing with what to wear to an interview, but they all boil down to just a few points: dress conservatively, dress up not down, and avoid cologne or perfume. The interview is not the appropriate venue to display your keen sense of style or your contemporary fashion sense. You have no idea who will be conducting the interview, how old they are, how familiar they are with fashion or what their own fashion preferences are. Take no chances that you might alienate the interviewer and simply wear a conservative, sensible outfit that will not detract from your personal message.

Arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled interview time. Even though you may pull up to the building 40 minutes before your interview, it is entirely inappropriate to enter the building and wait in their reception area. Stay in your car until 10-15 minutes before the interview reviewing your resume, revisiting your anticipated interview responses and checking your teeth one last time to make sure there’s no lettuce trapped between your incisors.

Schedule enough time for the interview. If your interview is scheduled for 9 am, you’d better leave your whole morning open. Don’t schedule another interview at 10:30 or you risk alienating your interviewer just as things are going well. If the interview goes long, it’s likely because the interview is going well. Your interviewer may want to run you by two or three others in the department to get their impressions. Each of these visits may last 20-30 minutes, and if you’ve got to dash to another interview you’re going to alienate someone. Don’t risk it.

Exude confidence. The most difficult task facing most managers today is finding, hiring and retaining talent. Your job is to demonstrate that you possess the talent, technical proficiency and interpersonal skills that will make their life easier. You’ll be a lot more confident if you took the time before the interview to prepare thoroughly, to learn about the company and the interviewer and to think carefully how you can add value to their organization.

How to Make More Than $5000/hour

July 20, 2009

bigmoneyOne of the recurring themes we hear from our recruiters is their surprise at the lack of preparation that job seekers display when interviewing for a position. Frankly, we find it stunning and nearly incomprehensible when an individual seeking a job won’t commit at least a full eight hours to preparing for an interview that will gain them $40,000, $50,000, $75,000 or more.

At the relatively low end of the salary spectrum, spending a complete eight hours on interview preparation can yield an annual salary of $40,000. That’s $5000 for every hour spent reviewing your resume, researching the company, gathering information about the individual conducting the interview, practicing your interview answers and formulating relevant questions to ask yourself.

Yet a recent survey revealed that more than half of the job seekers queried spent less than two hours preparing for their interview. Pretty shocking, considering the potential reward for the well prepared candidate.

At a minimum, we suggest that interview candidates do the following:

  1. Review your own resume. Make sure that you are intimately familiar with every date, title and responsibility. You’d think this step would go without saying, but candidates frequently go weeks or months without rereading their own resume and trip up on specifics that can raise flags with the interviewer.
  2. Go through the company’s entire website. Read their press releases to learn about their latest initiatives, new hires and any potential legal issues they might be facing. If they’re a public company, read their annual report. Go through their entire product section to familiarize yourself with their entire line of products and/or services. If they sell online, go through the entire buying process until you have to actually submit payment. Understand completely what kind of user experience they deliver.
  3. Find out who their competitors are. Visit and read their websites to understand how each company positions itself and to determine what cultural elements are clearly communicated.
  4. Locate an industry trade publication online and read several issues. These publications typically provide in-depth analysis of issues confronting the entire industry, industry trends and they frequently reveal which companies are regarded as the most influential.
  5. If the industry is large enough to attract public companies, try to find analyst reports that detail financial trends and outlooks.
  6. Find a list of the 50 most frequently asked interview questions. Read them all. Practice your responses so you don’t have to stop and ponder why this company should hire you. Know the value that you bring to the company.
  7. Practice your interview responses some more. In front of a camera. In front of other people. Ask for feedback, incorporate it into your answers and practice again.
  8. Create a portfolio of your work. Examples of writing, analysis and creative production that can support your claims of personal excellence. Do you know how many other applicants will bring samples of their work? Typically, none. Do you want to stand apart from the crowd of engineers/analysts/accountants? Show your work.
  9. Drive to the interview site a day or two ahead of the interview. I can’t count the number of candidates who were certain they knew where the building was until they drove to their imagined site and discovered that the interview address was actually miles away.
  10. Create a list of topical, insightful and revealing questions. Once again, too many candidates leave the interview without asking any in-depth questions and reveal themselves to be unprepared or shallow. If you need help, Google Questions to Ask at a Job Interview.

Now you’re ready to handle any question, respond with an insightful and measured response, display your personal mastery and land that job. That was worth eight hours of work, wasn’t it?