Monday, January 31, 2011

How Healthcare Legislation May Affect You the Worker, and Us the Staffing Agency.

With the new healthcare legislation nearing certain implementation, we’re seeing more and more conversations about what healthcare changes, set to roll out over a ten-year period, will mean for businesses, the staffing industry, and workers.

We’ve talked a little about potential financial implications for companies, here and here.  But how will healthcare reform – now legislation – affect the staffing industry, and the workers it employs?

Here’s one idea.  Since workers will all be insured now, under the new law, some of the burden of finding a permanent employer who provides substantial health benefits may be eased.  That change would give the worker more freedom and flexibility, to take the jobs he chooses, whether those jobs include healthcare packages or not.

Workers may choose to take on contract positions or temporary projects, with the salaries and flexibility they provide, in lieu of full-time, long-term positions within companies.

What does that mean for staffing companies?  More quality candidates to chose from – since more job-seekers may veer from traditional nine-to-five career paths, – more selective hiring, and higher caliber candidates to offer our clients.

In short, job seekers may enjoy a new freedom, and the staffing industry may enjoy a new tier-one class of candidates.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the Union: Innovation and Job Creation Key to Winning Back Our Country’s Spirit

Did everyone watch the State of the Union address on Tuesday?  We heard mention of jobs many times throughout the speech.

The President said, “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time.  We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”

He’s right about that.  Ever since this recession, we’ve been fearful to hire, fearful to leave our jobs in search of better ones, fearful to spend money even on things that help our companies and people grow in a positive way.  Basically, we’ve been scared to take risks.  Our fear has been understandable, because our economy sank due to risks.  But it sank due to stupid risks, not calculated ones (okay, some people were calculating and banking on the rest of us failing, but we’re not here to talk about those people today)…

The fact is, in order to compete, innovate, educate, and build, we’ve got to hire.

Companies are realizing this, and big names like Best Buy, Bank of America, Intel, and Sapient, just to name a few, are hiring by the thousands.

If you want to snatch up the talent before everyone else does, it’s best to stay ahead of the curve.

What did you think of the President's address?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Now’s the Time to Leverage Your Foreign Language Skills

According to this WSJ article, demand for U.S. workers who speak foreign languages has increased, and should continue to increase.

Those languages in highest demand? Spanish and Chinese.

Unfortunately, the same survey concluded that very few workers plan to study these languages, so supply doesn’t meet demand.

Workers, you know what that means, right?  If you are proficient in a foreign language, your skill is in demand.  You can leverage your foreign language skills to stand out from your competition, demand better pay, and make yourself a valuable asset to your employer.

During the job search, be sure to identify those skills that make you unique and desirable to employers and recruiters, and then emphasize them in your resume, cover letter, and conversations.  These days, knowledge of a foreign language is unquestionably an asset.

Also, when you’re searching for jobs, consider which sorts of jobs might particularly benefit from a bilingual or multilingual employee.  Identify the need, and then show up ready to fill it!  This tactic is how successful job seekers land jobs.

Do you speak a foreign language?  Have you found this skill to be an asset during your job search, or at your job?  What things do you plan to do to leverage your skill?

If you don’t speak a foreign language, are any of you interested in learning a foreign language?  What sort of skills have you been able to successfully leverage for work?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Military vs. Civilian Recruitment Style: The Power of Positive Thinking

You’ve most likely noticed the new age focus on the power of positive thinking.  While positive thinking may seem like a trend, the concept of visualizing and thereby creating has been practiced and proven over the centuries by history’s geniuses.

That’s why we love this article from

It discusses the contrast between the military’s positive, inclusive approach to recruitment and civilian business’s negative, exclusive approach.

The military looks for the good in candidates; civilian recruiters search for every reason to cross candidates off “the list.”

The military looks for potential and willingness to learn; civilian recruiters look for experience and proven results.

Sure, there’s a lot of competition for civilian jobs out there, so we can see why recruiters become impatient and unwilling to take a risk on just any candidate.  But we see the value in slowing down and treating job seekers like valuable assets rather than so many dirty pennies.  After all, that green, inexperienced candidate might just go on to accomplish great things… if you dare to imagine him capable of such.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Has the Winter Storm Forced You to Work From Home?

Some people telework on a regular basis.  Others’ homes are their office.  Some jobs simply can’t be done at home, and then there are those companies with no-telework policies.

Whatever your situation, if you live in Atlanta, you most likely stayed home at least one day this week.  How did you choose to use this time?

Did you sit at your desk from 9 to 5, stopping for an hour to eat lunch?  Or did you get the work you normally take 8 hours to do done in 4, and go sledding?

Did you stay in your pajamas, curl up with the dog, spend time with your children, or cook lunch instead of eating a sandwich?

If you’re back at work, were you happy to see your coworkers and shed some cabin fever, or did you lament that the ice did not stick around for one more day?

These days, the Internet makes it easy for many people to work remotely.  Do you see this capacity as a good or a bad thing?  What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working from your home?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Three Employment and Staffing Trends for 2011

1. Temporary employment will continue to grow.  In 2010 temporary employment was a rising trend, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

2. Information technology, engineering, and accounting and finance will be among the types of companies that expect to increase full-time, permanent workers in 2011, along with sales, customer service, technology, administrative, business development, marketing, and research and development.  This is according to labor market data from a recent survey performed by economic consulting firm IHS Global Insight.

3. More movement among workers: as workers become more optimistic about their job prospects in the New Year, they feel freer to explore new opportunities rather than hunkering down in their current jobs.  Fifteen percent of full-time workers are actively seeking new jobs.  Sixty-seven percent reported that they would like to change jobs in 2011 for the right opportunity.  These numbers are according to a survey by CareerBuilder, of 6,300 workers and employers nationwide, across industries and company sizes.

What other employment and staffing trends do you predict for 2011?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Price of Today's Multitasking

In most careers today – and definitely in the information technology, engineering, accounting and finance fields – it’s practically impossible to get by without multiple forms of technology.  We simultaneously use laptops, big screen monitors, electronic notepads, smart phones, and televisions to complete our work, stay connected with both family and work colleagues, and basically manage our entire lives.

Technology enables us to do more, faster, increasing our need for multitasking abilities.  Yet we often have trouble shutting off these multitasking tendencies when the situation calls for focus and being in the moment.

When you get home to take care of your children, spend time with your wife, or simply relax with the dog, you may find you have trouble leaving the iphone or inbox alone.  Maybe you can’t even watch a TV program without simultaneously surfing the web on your laptop.  Because you aren’t fully present to observe the people around you, you may experience diminished empathy for others.

Maybe you’re working on a project that requires your full attention.  What would normally take you 30 minutes may take two hours, while you incessantly refresh your email,, and your Facebook feed (in fact, the writer of this article has checked her Twitter feed several times and we’re only in the third paragraph).

Some projects simply take longer to complete when we constantly give in to the endless distractions the Internet provides.  Others are impossible to complete, to your fullest capacity, without true, inspired focus.  If you never put away your phone, close your browser, and absorb yourself in the task at hand, you may never realize your full potential, and great things may go unachieved.

Look – we know that tiny rush of adrenaline you get from a new message or comment or breaking news story is rewarding – otherwise you wouldn’t be so obsessed.  But we’ve got a solution that will both reward you, and make you a calmer, more productive person.

The solution is to work in time increments.  Tell yourself you will close everything, and work on ONE THING for one to two hours.  When that time is up, you get to round the bases: first email, second facebook, third your blogroll.  When you’re home, it’s time to work for another solid hour or two of calm focus.

You’ll be amazed how much more rewarding those quick hits of instantaneous virtual gratification feel when you’ve allowed yourself to really earn them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We Challenge a Few Widely Held Perceptions About the Job Market.

The New York Times recently featured an article about employers’ rising preferences for temporary over full-time employees.  The article included a quote from Jonas Prising, president of the Americas at Manpower.  He said of the present and future job market, “[workers] need to expect that their lives and jobs will change much more often than they have in the past.”

Many may find Prising’s comment presumptuous (we may or may not be among those who do).  And while we can’t argue with Prising’s prediction, we’d like to correct some bad trends we see in Prising’s, the media’s, and often our own perceptions.

Here’s the truth we’ve found among the misconceptions.

1. We can no longer rely upon the same set of employers.   Many of those companies are either not hiring or adjusting their hiring practices to suit new industry demands.  Where one industry dies, another one is born, and new industries need workers. So why all the talk about whether or not companies are hiring? Let’s talk about what needs to be done to make our country better, and what sort of companies will organically be created to get it done.

2. We can no longer rely upon the same set of jobs!  Not only are industry demands changing; machines are taking the place of humans in many cases.  We lament it; yet, why do we consider smart machines – like self check-out, for example – a bad thing? A smart machine does not condemn a human to unemployment.  A smart machine frees up a human being so he can contribute somewhere else, where he is needed.  Machines allow us to do more; they do not force us to do less.

3. You are not a statistic.  We hear so many personal stories about individuals who, for example, applied to 700 jobs and didn’t hear back from one.  Don’t pay attention to these stories.  There are too many variables.  Consider that someone who applies to 700 jobs may not be efficiently using his time.  Did he consider changing his strategy or approach after application number 50?  Or did he just plow ahead with no reevaluation?  One accurately targeted application is better than 700 shots in the dark.  Forget the bad news.  You are an innovative, creative individual who can find a way to secure employment.  You will do what it takes.  Others’ stories do not represent your own fate.

We don’t deny certain barriers to equal opportunity that are worth looking into.  For example, it would behoove us all to pay close attention to increasingly skewed distribution of wealth in the United States and abroad.  What are the reasons behind this, and what can we do about it?

Our point is – contrary to what Prising’s comment and the talk these days seems to suggest – you are not a casualty of change, and you needn’t sit back and “expect” anything. Instead, you should be doing your part to create change… to ask what you can do.