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How to Negotiate Better in an Interview

February 25th, 2015

If you are entering into a salary negotiation, congratulations! It looks like your job search is over. But just because you’ve secured an offer doesn’t mean the hard work is over. The salary negotiation process can be long, confusing, contentious, and especially consequential if you accept a disappointing offer. Make sure you get what’s fair while staying in good standing with your new employer by following these strategies.

Do Research in Advance

It’s fairly easy these days to figure out what similar professionals in the same part of the country earn, and then factor in cost of living differences. Determine what the average level of compensation is before the first negotiation so you know if the offer is high, low, or about normal. Use sites like Salary.com to find the average wage for your industry.

Highlight Your Value

Clearly you are qualified for the position. But what kind of extra value can you bring to the table, and how will that affect the company’s bottom line? You can make the case that you deserve more because you can offer more, but you need to back it up with concrete statements.

Focus on Professional Matters

You might be eager to make more because you have unpaid medical bills or a kid heading off to college, but it is never appropriate to bring up your personal finances during a salary negotiation. Stick to the level and volume of work you will accomplish when justifying an increased salary.

Value Your Time

It’s common for companies to counter a salary offer by offering more pay for more work. Ask yourself if you have the time and drive to take on the extra work, and make sure that the additional pay is fair compensation for what’s being required of you.

Consider the Total Package

It’s important to look at health benefits, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, and other perks in addition to salary when calculating the value of an offer. And if the company holds firm on salary, you can negotiate other variables to improve the offer.

Be Reasonable

You might be tempted to throw out a wildly inflated figure and then expect to negotiate it down, but this only makes you look unprofessional and unrealistic in the eyes of your new employer. Shoot instead for the mid-to-high range of the average salary.

Remain Professional

No matter how the negotiations go, it’s important to remain cordial, civil, and perfectly professional throughout. If you reveal yourself to be petty or greedy, the employer has every right to withdraw their job offer.

The team at The Concorde Group is here to help you find the right job opportunity, get in front of the hiring  manager, ace the interview, and coast through the salary negotiation. If you’re ready to improve your job search in Fairfield CT, contact us today.

 

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How to Make Better Job Postings

February 11th, 2015

If you have a vacancy and you’re just not finding the right candidates to fill it, the problem could be the way your job posting is written. Use these tips to help improve your current posting and all the ones you write in the future.

Use Relevant Keywords

You might use phrases like “IT Brainiac,” or “Sales Ninja” to add some character to your posting and help you stand out, but ultimately this kind of esoteric phrasing just makes it harder for job seekers to find you. Using relevant keywords ensures you will narrow your candidate field to the actual qualified applicants you are looking for.

Create Attractive Postings

A job posting is similar to a resume. Both need to be attractive, attention grabbing, and easy to read/digest. Make sure you are using bullet points, add your company logo to the top, and consider making a brief recruiting video to connect a human face with your company.

Make Your Expectations Clear

If a job comes with special requirements – lots of travel, working unusual hours, the need to relocate regularly – make sure those points are made clear in your job posting. It helps no one if you try to obscure the true nature of the job you’re offering.

Be Brief

The average job posting is filled with extraneous information. There is no reason to mention that candidates “must be punctual and professionally dressed,” or to recount the entire history of your company. Cut out all but the most important information.

Start Strong

The most important and relevant information should appear at the top of the job posting. If you need to explain or elaborate, you can do that further down.

Mention Compensation

Every job seeker will be wondering about it. If you are prepared to offer generous or at least competitive compensation, say that explicitly. If your budget is tighter, emphasize other types of compensation or perks like vacation time, flexible scheduling, or tuition reimbursement.

Sell Your Company

This is especially important if you want to attract top talent. Try to answer these two questions – “Why would someone love having this job?” and “What do your employees love about working for your company?”

Position Yourself Honestly

If you are a small startup, it’s dishonest to describe yourself as the rival to Google. If you are honest about who you are as a company and where you are headed, you’ll attract candidates who are eager to work in the environment you provide.

Writing a better job posting is only part of the process. You also need to get that posting in front of more promising candidates. Get the help you need to connect with a vast pool of talent by partnering with The Concorde Group, a full-service staffing firm.

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How to Find What Your “Passion” Is

January 26th, 2015

You have probably been told since you were very young that you need to find out what your “passion” is and then make it the focus of your life, especially your working life. And if you are like most people, you are still searching for the answer, and fairly convinced it has nothing to do with your current job.

It’s a big question, and the answer is undeniably elusive, but you should never give up trying to find it. Below are some practical strategies that can help you get a deeper, truer sense of what you’re meant to do with your life.

Don’t be Afraid to Quit

For most people, finding their passion is a process of trial and error. That’s why it’s so important to know when something is just not the right fit, and be willing to leave it behind. It’s rare to hear someone encouraging quitting, but the longer you do something you don’t feel passionate about, the more you’re stuck doing it. Remember that you can’t find out what you truly want to do if all your time, energy, creativity, and focus is being sapped away by something you hate. Once you leave that dead end behind, there is nothing left to do but find a different, better path to follow.

Scrutinize Your Curiosity

What would you do if you had a billion dollars? Answering this question helps you think about what you would do with your life if you took away all limits. And it’s only by thinking in these terms that you can figure out what you are genuinely curious about. Setting aside all fears, hesitations, restrictions and expectations reveals your true interests, the things you would ideally dedicate your life to if you could. They may not be as unattainable as you realize.

Make Money a Secondary Concern

You might be rolling your eyes, but the simple fact is that finding and pursuing your passion often requires sacrifice. And if you are concerned first and foremost with making the most amount of money, you are severely limiting your options, and probably doomed to end up on a path you don’t want to follow. If you put those instincts on hold for a while, you are more likely to uncover your true passion and turn that into a lucrative and personally satisfying endeavor down the road.

Invest yourself in these strategies and you are well on your way to discovering your passion. Once you know where you’d rather be, it’s time to turn the dream into a reality with the premier boutique staffing firm in Westchester County. Find resources to help make you more agile and mobile in your professional life by relying on the team at The Concorde Group.

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Micro-Management: Does it Work for Your Team?

January 12th, 2015

Micro-management gets a bad reputation, but it’s only partly deserved. The simple fact is that micro-management, like all management styles/strategies/philosophies, works in some scenarios, and doesn’t work in others. Before you commit to it, or reject it, it’s important for you to consider the effect it will have on your team. Ask yourself these questions to determine if this is a strategy to embrace or avoid.

How Long Has Your Team Been Together?

If you team has had the same makeup for years and demonstrated a long track record of success, there is probably no reason for you to get more hands on. Conversely, if you have just assembled a new team, added a crop of new members, or otherwise made a consequential change, it might be helpful to get more involved.

How Large is Your Team?

Keep in mind that on some teams micro-management is simply logistically impossible. If you oversee a lot of people, or have multiple projects running simultaneously, there is no way to be a part of every process. You simply waste your efforts, and the people/projects you do focus on could feel like they are under unfair scrutiny. Micro-management works much better on smaller teams where your efforts can have a real impact.

What Timeline is Your Team Working on?

Some timelines are diffuse and open-ended, while others require strict adherence to deadlines and a careful commitment to a schedule. In the case of the latter scenario, a micro-management approach can be beneficial. Since your team members are occupied with their responsibilities, it’s up to you to make sure they are meeting daily/weekly/monthly benchmarks. If the schedule demands less precision, take a step back and let your team work at their own pace.

How is Morale on Your Team?

If morale on your team is low, you might try to rectify the problem by getting more closely involved. This is almost always a mistake. Your employees will likely feel patronized, and you probably won’t address the underlying cause of the issue. Make motivation your priority instead, and take a hard look at the culture that exists on your team and throughout your office.

How Will Micro-Management Affect You?

Micro-management takes a lot of time, focus, and attention to detail. Be aware of the effect this has on your performance as manager. You might get wrapped up in the specifics and comprise your ability to lead, forecast, strategize, and inspire. If your team thrives under the leadership of a bold, visionary, big-picture type of manager, switching to a micro-management style will only sacrifice what made you successful.

Find more resources designed to help you manage more efficently, effectively, and strategically by contacting The Concorde Group.

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5 Good Interview Questions to Ask Job Candidates

December 30th, 2014

Interviews give you a limited amount of time to gather a huge amount of information about a job seeker. And, in most cases, you will only have the impression from one interview to help you differentiate a large pool of candidates. That’s why it’s so important to pick your questions carefully, strategically, and for maximum effect. Here are a few questions that work in any job interview setting:

How can You Make a Contribution to this Company?

Ultimately, you’re not just trying to fill a vacancy, you’re trying to improve the way your company does business. This question clearly asks the candidate to define the skills/experiences/qualities that will most benefit your mission.

Why Do You Think You’re a Good Fit for this Company?

You will probably interview at least several candidates that have similar skills and experiences. Use this question to help differentiate them. Look for candidates that have studied your company, made an effort to understand your present and future needs, and done everything possible to align their professional credentials with what they know about your operation.

Where do You See Yourself in Five or Ten Years?

This question helps you judge how committed a candidate will be to your company. Someone with lofty goals might be more tempted to jump ship or leave to seek out more education, but don’t penalize candidates that vocalize their ambition. The best candidates are the ones you can imagine hiring for this position, and then promoting to something higher.

Tell Me about an Unexpected Situation You Adapted to.

The unexpected is inevitable, but, unfortunately, flexibility and adaptability are not skills that are easy to measure. Asking candidates to give you an anecdote helps you judge what kind of pressures they have worked under in the past and whether they have the professional agility to continue thriving when the job description suddenly evolves.

What is Your Ideal Working Environment?

When vetting candidates, it’s important to consider how they will fit into your existing company culture. This question helps you create a prediction. If the work environment the candidate describes sounds like the one already in your office, it’s a good sign. Just be sure to consider all the factors – coworkers, boss, workspace, office atmosphere etc.

These are some good general questions, but be sure to ask more specific questions based on information from the candidate’s resume. Also, it helps to create a simple form or checklist to record candidate’s answers to make it easy for you to do side-by-side comparisons later. Find more resources to help you build a strategic workforce by working with Concorde Staffing Group.

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How to Look for a New Job While Still Working At Your Old One

December 16th, 2014

Looking for a job while also working full or part time can seem like a daunting proposal. But looking for a job with no income coming in at all is probably even harder. Luckily, there are ways to stay at the job you have currently while effectively and discreetly looking for something new. Rely on these strategies:

Continue to Excel

Don’t let your performance at your current job slip just because you’ve decided to move on. Continue showing up on time, working hard, and accepting extra work. You don’t want to risk losing your job unexpectedly, and you might later be relying on your boss to give you a recommendation.

Keep Your Job Search at Home

Don’t conduct any part of your job search on company time, at the office, or on a company computer. You might face penalties from your employer if you are caught. Plus, it’s harder to search for a job when you are trying to be sneaky.

Stay Off Social Media

Don’t broadcast that you are searching for a job on social media, even if your boss and coworkers are not in your network of friends. This kind of information has a way of spreading unintentionally, and, again, you could face penalties if your employer finds out.

Revise Your Reference List

Make sure that your current employer is not on your list of references. It is appropriate to include them after your have left the position, but not while you are still employed. If you need someone to speak to your recent professional performance, consider enlisting a trusted coworker.

Dress Appropriately

Many job seekers make the mistake of wearing a suit to a casual office on a day when they have a secret afternoon job interview. Make sure that you don’t accidentally reveal your intentions by changing your routine.

Be Honest if Caught

If your boss does find out that you are looking for a job, be honest with them. If you lie, it could damage your credibility and reputation. Explain the situation honestly, and assure your superior that your search is not jeopardizing your current responsibilities.

Schedule Appropriately

As much as possible, try to schedule phone and face-to-face interviews during non-working hours. If necessary, take a personal day. Trying to fit a secret interview into your workday creates extra stress that only degrades your performance.

Finally, if you do get a new job, make sure that you give the job you are leaving the customary two weeks notice. Just because you are moving on doesn’t mean you can disregard basic professional courtesies. Once your job search starts, partner with Concorde Staffing Group to find more of the vacancies you are looking for.

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You Just Got a Job! Now What?

November 24th, 2014

The job search process is often long, stressful, and exhausting. When do you finally get an offer, it’s easy to conclude that your work is done and that you can simply relax and settle into your new position. The reality, however, is that your work is just beginning, and if you take your foot off the gas now you jeopardize your long-term employment prospects. Follow these tips to help you get the most from your time right after you get a job.

Establish Positive Relationships

You are making a first impression on everyone at your new job. Make sure that it’s a positive one. Be outgoing, make the effort to introduce yourself, and strive to be open, honest, and clear in all your interactions.

Produce Results

You have a lot to prove in your first weeks and month on the job. Establish yourself as a person who delivers on promises, meets deadlines, and produces tangible results. It is not unreasonable to keep a “success file” tracking your early accomplishments.

Be Ambitious

Don’t be afraid to take on and even seek out extra responsibilities. These show your superiors that you are a value to the company and that you have even more to offer than expected. Just make sure you don’t comprise your core responsibilities by taking on new ones.

Build Your Network

Get to know your coworkers, your superiors, and all the people below you including the security guard, the IT guy and the people in other departments. The stronger and wider your network, the more resources you have to draw on when you need information or assistance.

Create a Plan and Review it

Make a “personal development plan” for yourself that accounts for your short, medium, and long-term goals. This can help you better align the work you’re doing with your personal and professional ambitions. Review and update this plan regularly.

Fine Tune Your Job Description

Sometime within the first 90 days, sit down with your manger and review your job description in the context of your early experiences. Try to fine tune the details so that you and your manager are on the same page about what’s expected of you.

Maintain Balance

It’s easy to throw yourself into a new job, but make sure that you maintain some kind of work/life balance. If not, you risk burning out, or creating expectations for yourself that you can’t deliver on over the long term.

Remember that the impression you make in the first stages of a new job is one that will stick with you throughout your entire period of employment. Look great from the start, and you’ll ultimately rise higher, faster. Find more resources to help you further your career by working with the professionals at The Concorde Group.

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Full-Time or Temporary: Which Should You Choose?

November 10th, 2014

At first glace that title might seem ridiculous. What job seeker would take a temporary or contract position over a full-time job? But with the quality, quality, and variety of temporary positions growing all the time, an increasing number of employees is seeking out this kind of work rather than committing to a full-time position they feel less than passionate about. Explore the pros and cons of both options to help you decide which choice is right for you.

Full-Time

Pros

  • Stability – Full-time jobs guarantee you 40+ hours as long as you remain an asset to the company.
  • Benefits – Medical coverage, retirement plans, and tuition reimbursement are often benefits included in the compensation package offered to full-time employees.
  • Advancement – You have more opportunities, and more realistic opportunities for advancement working for one company over the long term.
  • Consistency – Full-time jobs typically ask you to handle the similar responsibilities, in the same place, with the same group of people, over and over. For some, that is an asset.
  • Prestige – Hiring managers typically privileged full-time employment over temporary employment when vetting a candidate’s work history.

Cons

  • Inflexibility – It can be harder to maintain a work/life balance within the confines of a full-time job.
  • Burnout – The stress, pressure, and repetition of full-time employment can contribute to employee burnout.
  • Commitment – If your life has been organized around a predictable full-time job, leaving that job can be much harder to do. Some employees feel stuck.
  • Politics – All offices have politics, and if you work in the same place for years they will affect you much more.

Temporary

Pros

  • Variety – Since temporary jobs are short term, employees have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of different responsibilities and workplaces.
  • Freedom – Depending on the temporary agreement you commit to, you may be exempt from certain company policies and have more freedom to work as you please.
  • Introductions – Temporary jobs are a great way to introduce yourself to a company and lobby for a full-time position. It’s like a months-long job interview.
  • Networking – Working a variety of temporary helps you cultivate professional contacts you can use to support your long-term career goals.
  • Enhancement – If you want to pick up a new skill/experience, taking a temporary job can be an appealing alternative to more education. They also help you bolster your resume.

Cons

  • Unpredictability – Temporary employees can face uncertainty about how long a position will last and whether or not it will be renewed.
  • No Benefits – Don’t count on temporary jobs to offer you benefits of any kind.
  • Repetition – Temporary workers are usually asked to work on one task or project over and over. This can prove to be very mundane.
  • Impermanence – the minute one temporary job ends you will have to find another. That means your job search is essentially endless.

Which type of job is right for you? Work with the staffing specialists at The Concorde Group to help you find both.

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Don’t Be Scared! 6 Ways To Conduct Yourself in a Job Interview

October 30th, 2014

Very few things produce more anxiety than a job interview. There is a lot riding on your performance, a lot of unknowns going in, and a lot of scrutiny being focused directly at you. But if you know how to conduct yourself, and you make some preparations in advance, you can walk through the door with a level of confidence that really helps cut through the nerves. Follow these tips for any job interview you go on.

Arrive Early

Make sure you know the location of the job interview, have directions to get there, and plan on arriving about 10 minutes early. This helps you calm down a little before you meet with your interviewer, and also helps you avoid being late.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off

Do this before you even enter the building. And don’t just set it to vibrate, turn it off entirely. You need focus in a job interview, and nothing is more embarrassing than a ringing phone, or more distracting than a buzz in your pocket.

Dress Professionally but Appropriately

You should go to any job interview dressed in professional attire, but don’t overdue it. It is just as bad to wear too much perfume or to come dressed in an outlandish suit as it is to show up looking disheveled. Be sure to look yourself over head to toe in a mirror to be sure you aren’t missing any details.

Bring the Essentials but Nothing More

It is appropriate to bring an extra copy of your resume and possibly some supporting documents if you need to prove you have certifications or training. Bring these in a folder or briefcase, and don’t bring anything else. Walking in with an oversized bag, a cup of coffee, a tablet computer, and a mouth full of gum makes you appear disorganized and unprepared.

Speak Confidently, Clearly, and Succinctly

If you are nervous, this can be a challenge, so try practicing before hand. There are a number of common interview questions that you can prepare answers for in advance, just make sure you don’t sound scripted. In all of your responses, deliver the information directly, act like you believe in what you are saying, and avoid being rambling or long winded.

Make Eye Contact and Smile

A job interview is designed to evaluate your personality as much as your credentials. Frame yourself as a person that is good to be around by making eye contact – but not constant eye contact – and smiling when appropriate.

Exit Gracefully

At the end of the interview, express your interest in the position, thank the interviewer for his time, shake hands if offered, and make a quick exit. There is nothing to be gained from trying to linger or engage the interviewer in chit chat.

If you take these steps, you can make the focus on the interview about your skills, experience, education, and potential – exactly what a job interview is supposed to be about. Find more tips and tricks to help job seekers by consulting with The Concorde Group.

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6 Ways to Integrate New Hires Into Your Team

October 20th, 2014

In the past, it might have been enough to show a new hire to his desk, hand him an orientation package, and wish him luck. But as the field of human resources has evolved, it has become clear that this kind of hands-off approach does a disservice to both the new hire, because it takes them longer to get up to speed and feel comfortable, and the employer, because they have to wait longer for new hires to contribute and may face higher turnover rates. Luckily, effective strategies have been devised to help you onboard new team members faster.

Give Them the Big Picture Perspective

Your new hire has a specific responsibility meant to serve a much larger goal. Make sure they know what that larger goal is and you frame their position in a much more accessible way. This is also a great way to help introduce new hires to your company culture.

Make Your Expectations Clear – And Give Feedback

One of the largest sources of anxiety in a new workplace is that you are not working as hard, or as effectively as you are expected to. Make sure your new hires know exactly what is expected of them using clear metrics, and offer constructive, supportive, and ongoing feedback.

Affirm Their Value

You hired this person for a reason. Make sure they know what it is, and find ways to remind them from time to time. If a new hire feel like they are in a unique position to make a contribution starting from day one, they will feel much more confident about joining a new team.

Assign an Employee Mentor

There is nothing like having a coworker to show you the ropes. Pair up all your new hires with someone that you think they will connect with, and make sure both parties unederstand how important the relationship is. Then, if the new hire has questions, concerns, or simply needs to vent, they always have someone to turn to.

Don’t Withhold Information

You told your new hire about their day to day responsibilities, but did you also let them know about casual Fridays, the company softball league, or the great deli around the corner? Lay all this information out upfront, and your new hire will feel like a part of the office sooner.

Keep Your Orientation Brief

The orientation process tends to be overly long and packed with lots of non-essential information. When a new hire is stuck in a conference room watching videos and working through packets, it keeps them from diving into their responsibilities and meeting their coworkers. Keep the orientation process short and efficient to that new hires can settle into their real workplace sooner.

Finally, remember that you can’t make judgments about an employee’s future based on their performance over the first few weeks, so be supportive when mistakes and issues inevitably arise. For more tips on strategic staffing, work with the team at The Concorde Group.

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