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 .

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?

Why You Belong On Facebook

July 17, 2009

exponential-growthAlthough Facebook began as a site to connect young college students, the social networking site recently passed 250 million registered users, making it the largest social networking site on the web.

Surprisingly to many, the fastest growing segments are not the young users, but the  35-54 year old demographic segment which accelerated to a 276.4% growth rate over the past 6 months. Which means this is where many job seekers will interact.

Top insights from the survey:

Top Insights:

1)  The 35-54 year old demo is growing fastest, with a 276.4% growth rate in over the approximate 6 months since we last produced this report

2) The 55+ demo is not far behind with a 194.3% growth rate

3) The 25-34 year population on Facebook is doubling every 6 months

Of Facebook’s 250 million users, more than 120 million log in every single day, indicating that much of their online social interaction now revolves around Facebook. If this is where they are, this is where you belong also.

Social Media’s Impact on Hiring

June 19, 2009

magnifyng glass linkedinA study released by Jump Start Social Media reports that “of the hiring managers surveyed, 75% use LinkedIn, 48% use Facebook, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making a job offer.”

This study simply confirms what we’ve understood for the past several years: social media channels are becoming integral to both the job search process and the hiring process.

Job seekers now have the ability, as never before, to exploit their personal networks and their extended networks to announce their availability and make personal contacts with potential employers. For job seekers, the ability to disseminate their professional and personal interests and capabilities can be a double edged sword.

Although it’s terrific that your entire professional history, replete with references, is immediately accessible to interested hiring managers, it’s also important to note that your public profiles on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace may also be accessible to the hiring manager so it’s critical to keep the posted content professional.

It’s understandable why hiring managers turn to LinkedIn first. It’s designed for the professional, focusing almost exclusively on career activity. However, to gain a more thorough picture of a candidate, more hiring managers are also examining Twitter posts and other social media channels to gain insight into a candidate’s personal characteristics, interests and views.

So, be careful what you post. Once you hit Send, it’s forever.