Thursday, March 31, 2011

Office April Fool's Day Pranks

If you’ve ever worked in an office, known anyone who works in an office, or watched The Office, you know that in an office, office pranks abound.

Now we’re not suggesting you partake in office pranks, especially not the disruptive sort.  But harmless, good-humored pranks can lighten the air and actually improve moral, as long as the recipient appreciates the humor.

With April Fool's Day tomorrow, if you are going to pull any pranks, here are a few classics as well as a few new ideas.

1. Place a sign on both (or all) office entrances with an arrow pointing that says “Please Use Other Door.” J

2. You and a few coworkers bring several changes of clothing to work.  Throughout the day, inconspicuously change your attire, making sure you’re seen in all of your various outfits.  Be completely stone-faced, and watch the object(s) of your prank question their sanity before catching on.

3. If you work in a smaller office, arrange for every co-worker to call or email your boss throughout the day to ask for the same day off, for differing reasons (pregnancy, vacation, appointments, etc).  Heh heh.

4. Classic from The Office: Label every single item on someone’s desk with a post-it note.  Phone. Keyboard. Mouse. Pencil. Pen. Monitor. Notepad. Trashcan. Seat. And so on…

5. Buy a box of doughnuts several days before April 1st.  Put them in the refrigerator until they are quite dried out but still look appetizing.  Bring them to work and put them out on the kitchen counter for everyone to help themselves. Whatever you do, don’t claim them!

6. Replace your boss’s cushy, fancy desk chair with the rattiest old chair in the office.  Whoever gets the boss’s chair will be super excited, and the boss will feel slightly embarrassed to have to swap the ratty chair for the nice one.  Just make sure you know your boss well enough to play this prank!

7. Replace your coworker’s desk chair with a heavy bench from outside.

8. Borrow your coworker’s car keys and make a copy.  For the next week, move his car to various different spots in the parking lot and watch his confusion. Make sure you give the key back to him at the end of the prank.

Have you ever played an April Fool's Day or other prank on a co-worker? What was it?

Monday, March 28, 2011

J.K. Rowling's Speech About Failure.

J.K. Rowling's 2008 Harvard Commencement speech is a classic and much-loved one on a subject all of us have been familiar with at some point in our lives: failure.

If you haven't seen it yet, it's a hope-inspiring speech worth watching.  No matter how much failure you feel is behind you - success can be your future.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where do you envision yourself in five years?

Where do you see yourself in five years?  Do you know?  Obviously, none of us can predict the future.  Things happen to us or because of us that change our plans and even change us.

Still, having a vision of where we’d like to be in five years is important.  It consciously and subconsciously guides our decisions and gives direction and purpose to what we’re doing today.

For example, you may not enjoy the tasks your typical day currently entails - whether those tasks are part of your job description, or involve searching and applying for jobs.

However, if you know your current job is a stepping-stone to the job you really want, or that your job networking efforts will eventually land you a position, you may not mind the more mundane aspects. They’re serving a purpose.

Would you be quite as motivated to do your best today, if you foresaw no payoff down the road?

So ask yourself if you haven’t already. Where would I like to be in five years?  Write down the answer. Take into consideration values, goals, and what you’re willing to do (or not) to get there.

Not only do you have a clearer picture of your life, but when an interviewer inevitably asks you some version of the question, where do you see yourself in five years, you’re better prepared to give a thoughtful, genuine answer… that can help land you the job.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Summing up the rise in temporary jobs.

We’ve talked about the rise of temporary staffing and its potential implications herehereherehere and here.  Then we came across this article, which made many of the same points.  So let’s sum up a few of the potential reasons for the surge in temporary staffing:

1. The rise in temporary staffing indicates a coming rebound of full-time hiring (as in the past).
2. The rise in temporary staffing indicates long-term changes in business and the workforce (and is thus a more permanent trend).

What are these changes in business and the workforce that may be attributing to increased demand for temps?

1.  Healthcare costs and the new legislation have employers feeling the burden of hiring full-time employees.
2. Work in general has become more project-based and less routine.
3. At the same time, the latest technology allows employers to better predict their employment needs, so they can hone in on their exact labor needs and hire accordingly (this means filling in gaps with temporary help for a more custom labor fit).
4. Workers themselves are trending towards independent, project-based work and the perks, such as flexibility and variety that come with it.

Did we miss anything? What else does the rise in temp jobs imply?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

TRC Staffing Services, Inc. Makes Inavero’s 2011 Best of Staffing™ List

TRC Staffing Services has been voted as ranking higher than 99% of staffing firms in North America, thanks to our satisfied clients and dedicated employees! See details of the award here.

This is the second year in a row we’ve made the list.

The Inavero Best of Staffing™ List is presented in partnership with CareerBuilder® and measures clients’ satisfaction ratings in order to recognize those staffing firms who far surpass the competition.  TRC Staffing received ratings of 9 or 10 from almost 80% of clients.  The industry average is 47%.

Businesses can use Inavero’s list to find staffing firms that deliver the very highest level of service in the industry.

Thanks again to everyone who made this possible!

Monday, March 14, 2011

5 Respected Online Personality and Career Tests

More and more companies today screen candidates for job compatibility using personality tests.  These tests are designed to help you understand yourselves and others better; how you think, what motivates you, what tendencies you possess, and how you interact best with others.  The idea is that you can use this information to make choices based on who you are, leading to the most successful outcomes at home, in your community, and especially at work.

Personality tests have drawbacks.  Every human being is unique, and no one fits perfectly into a category.  Also, there’s the power of suggestion – for example, a test result tells you you’re introverted, so you begin to notice and subconsciously emphasize those aspects of your personality, fulfilling the test’s prophecy (whether it was accurate or not).

Despite the drawbacks, personality tests are fun and can provide valuable insight that can help you throughout your career – especially if you take some of the more well-researched and respected tests, like these:

The Myers Briggs test is one of the more thorough personality tests.  Its results give you a very in-depth look at many aspects of your personality and preferences, and can help you make very specific career choices.  The test requires a certified administrator to score your answers, so it does charge a $60.00 fee.

One of the most widely-used personality tests, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter is a 70-question test that places you in one of four categories: Guardians, Idealists, Artisans, or Rationals.  The idea is that you’ll understand more about your actions and motivations, which may help you chose a career that aligns with what comes naturally to you.

This book comes with an access code to an online strengths finder test.  The premise is that rather than concentrating on your weaknesses, you should pour all your energy into improving your strengths to be happier and become the very best at what we’re already good at.  Each person has 5 main strengths, and this test helps you determine yours.

DISC measures your levels of Dominance, Influence, Conscientiousness and Steadiness to help you understand your motivations, work habits and personality type.  It costs $30.00 for a basic report, but the results are interesting.  Sometimes, what we want to be we can actually grow into, even if we are experiencing barriers at the time. The test measures our full potential, not just our current habits.

A free career test provided by CareerBuilder.

What do you think of career and personality tests? Do they have value? Should companies use them to match job-seekers with jobs?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Five Ways to Get Your Resume Noticed Online

We’ve all submitted resumes through a job site or a company careers page, only to feel as if we’ve just sent our information floating towards some black hole.  When we hear nothing back, we assume our suspicions are confirmed.

While it’s true that there are many resumes out there in cyberspace, there are definite ways to make sure you aren’t posting online in vain.  Here are a few tips that, if followed, will ensure your resume is reviewed.

But first – make sure your resume is clear, attractive, informative and worthy of a recruiter or hiring manager’s time, and that your skill sets match those required of the position for which you’re applying.  Now you’re ready to start optimizing your resume for the Internet.

1. Pepper your resume with keywords taken directly from the job descriptions for which you’re applying (without compromising clarity).  Yes, this may require a little tweaking of your resume for various positions, but it’s worth it.  Besides, many of those positions, if you’re narrowly focused on a particular title, contain the same keywords.  Computers scan your resume for keywords and automatically match resumes up for positions – before a human being takes a look at those deemed matches.

2. A new feature of is users’ ability to post resumes that show up not only on the site itself, but also in search engine results.  That means employers wouldn’t necessarily have to go to an online job board to find your resume.  They could simply perform a Google search for “experienced IT analyst” and potentially find your resume.

3. Use the word “resume” on your resume. Many recruiters search for resumes using the keyword “resume,” so at the top of your resume, type the words “Resume of [your name]” on a line. This is particularly important for personal resume web pages or portfolios.

4. Create your own online portfolio or website.  Today, especially if you’re in the technology or Internet industries, an online resume or portfolio is almost expected by some companies.  Even if you only have one placeholder page with a downloadable PDF of your resume, potential employers will appreciate the ease of clicking on a link to find out about you.

5. On a similar note, leverage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a blog (if you’re the blogger type) to advertise your skills and the types of opportunities you’re interested in.  The wider and more targeted your online presence (and offline presence, for that matter), the better your chances of being noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager who is looking for someone just like you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good News for Job-Seekers.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statics reported a slight dip in unemployment to 8.9% and an increase of 222,000 private-sector jobs.  Whether you’re unemployed or simply ready for a new and different opportunity, now may be the time to go confidently forward.

Jobs have opened up in professional and business services, construction, healthcare, transportation and warehousing, mining, and manufacturing. 

Temporary staffing, in particular, has shown steady, continuous growth.  These jobs are often an excellent way for employees to get a foot in the door at companies, which often leads to long-term positions and career growth.  Often employees use temporary jobs to opportunities to gather experience for their resumes before settling on a more long-term career opportunity.

In today’s risk-adverse economy, temporary jobs give workers a chance to prove themselves to an employer, rather than having the employer rely solely on a first impression interview.

Bottom line: if you’re looking for contract work, temporary jobs or a committed, long-term position, things are looking up for you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Signs of sustained job growth?

According to the ADP National Employment Report, February was the strongest month for new job openings since November 2006.  This boost of 217,000 jobs is part of a trend in rising employment during the past six months.

Of those employers adding jobs, small and mid-sized companies made up the majority.  Large-sized companies (employers with more than 500 workers) added only 13,000 to their payroll.

The number of people requesting unemployment benefits dropped to a three-year low at the end of the month, but we still have a weak spot in unemployment.

We won’t know until it happens –turmoil in the middle east and potential accompanying rising oil prices, or other unforeseen effects, may affect hiring.  Still, signs are pointing towards continued job growth.

The ADA report precedes the Bureau of Labor report which will be released Friday.