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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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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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Is the Job You’re Applying for a Good Fit?

September 30th, 2014

When you’re looking for a job, it’s easy to reach a point when you are willing to apply for anything and everything. But in your urgency to find something, anything, you might end up applying with companies that are a bad fit for your skills and long-term goals. Remember, the point isn’t just to find a job, it’s to find a great job that you can imagine sticking with. Use these strategies to assess if the position you’re applying for is a good fit.

Examine the Compensation

Ultimately, you go to work to make money. If the position you’re applying for does not compensate you enough to live the lifestyle you require, it’s only going to cause stress down the road. Consider the entire compensation package, too. The salary might be enough, but if you rely on having medical benefits that your future employer can’t offer, it will make it hard to stick with the company.

Consider Your Aptitude

It’s great to be ambitious and to strive for higher plateaus, but if you find that you are offered a position that you are woefully unqualified for, it’s only going to cause problems. You will feel constantly stressed and have to deal with an embarrassing string of disappointments. Your employer will also notice your mistakes and question your future with the company.

Factor in Your Family

You may be the one going to the office everyday, but your job affects your entire family and everyone who depends on you. Jobs that require lots of travel, long hours, or exposure to dangerous environments can place a serious strain on your family. Be sure to consider their needs before you accept a position. If you are single, think about how the position will affect your ability to start a family in the future.

Gauge Your Level of Excitement

If you have been out of work for a while, it’s tempting to jump at the first position offered to you. But if you don’t feel an ounce of excitement about the job responsibilities, the office environment, or your chances for advancement, it’s going to be very hard to come to work every morning. Earning a regular paycheck is great, but not if it makes you miserable.

Find a Job You Can Believe in

Before you accept a job, ask yourself if you believe in the mission of the company, the quality of the work they do, the way they treat their employees, and their position in the community. Lots of people work for companies that don’t meet all these criteria, but if you can find a company that does, you are much more likely to stick with them long term. You can’t wait forever to find the ideal position, but don’t toss all your values aside in your scramble to get hired on with somebody.

Finding a job isn’t easy, and finding the perfect job is even harder. Access resources that can help your search by contacting The Concorde Group.

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5 Ways to Avoid High Employee Turnover

September 15th, 2014

There are few obstructions to business more significant than high employee turnover. If you are constantly scrambling to fill holes in your workforce, you rarely have all the resources you need to complete projects, and have to invest unnecessary amounts on time and money on an endless recruiting process. You can avoid this frustrating phenomenon by following these five strategies.

Recruit Based on Cultural Fit

Recruitment is often focused on competence, but looking for candidates that fit into the culture of your company is just as important. Employees rarely leave because they can’t meet the demands of the job, they leave because they don’t like the work environment. Looking for prospects that share your organizational values and philosophy and pair well with your office culture is one of the surest ways to find loyal employees.

Institute a Trail Period

A number of companies has been able to reduce turnover by instituting a trial period into the recruitment process. After being hired, an employee has typically three months during which they can assess their fit with the company. If they choose to leave, they don’t have to worry about a negative recommendation or a blemish on their resume. Employees that make it though the trial period are more motivated to stay, plus, the employer has had the same opportunities to evaluate the fit.

Be Flexible

Offering a more flexible schedule is a minor concession on the part of the employer, but a major benefit to employees. It allows them to create a more manageable work/life balance and helps them feel like their contributions are being valued. Consider offering work-from-home opportunities, flex time, or unconventional scheduling.

Rely on Employee Referrals

One of the most reliable ways to find employees that are a good fit for your office is to rely on the judgment of people who already work there. Ask your existing employees if they can refer someone to fill a vacancy and you are much more likely to get a candidate that integrates well into your culture and is willing to make a long-term commitment. This strategy also empowers your existing employees by allowing them to help pick the people they will work with everyday.

Develop an OnBoarding Program

Onboarding programs are designed to help new hires assimilate into a new company while giving them the tools they need to feel comfortable and to be successful in their job. This helps eliminate common sources of employee dissatisfaction and workplace anxiety and also demonstrates a commitment on the part of the employer to the well being of the new hire. Plus, onboarding programs give employers a chance to evaluate a recruit’s performance and growth, which can help weed out employees that are doomed to fail.

The takeaway is that reducing high employee turnover starts with effective recruiting. Instead of motivating the wrong employees to stay, pick the right employees from the start. Find resources to aid your search by partnering with The Concorde Group.

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Common Interview Questions You Will Face and How to Answer Them

August 28th, 2014

A face-to-face interview is typically the final step in the recruitment process, and it can make or break your chances of getting the job. There is no way to know for sure what you will be asked, but it’s still important to prepare in advance. These are examples of some common interview questions and the answers that the hiring manager will want to hear.

Experience

“Tell me about your past working experience?”

Employers want to know not just where you have worked in the past, but also the specifics of what you did, how that relates to the current position you are applying for, and why you left the position.

When you are asked this question, be sure to highlight the responsibilities from your past that most relate to the position you are applying for. If you have been fired from a past job, make that information  known honestly, but stress that you have moved beyond the mistakes of your past.

Accomplishment

“What has been your biggest working accomplishment”

Companies don’t just want to hire people that will show up everyday and do the minimum that is required of them. They are looking for recruits that will rise over and above to get things done.

Show off the moments in which you did more than was asked of you, did things faster than was asked of you, overcame unexpected obstacles, and helped your coworkers, subordinates, and superiors to be more exceptional than anyone was counting on.

Weakness

“Describe your biggest weakness as an employee”

It’s never easy to highlight the things that you are not good at, but employers want to be aware of any potential red flags, and to know about the less dynamic aspects of your abilities.

When you are asked this question, avoid giving a patently false and flattering response. Saying that “I work too hard” will only invite the ire of the hiring manager. Instead, honestly identify the things that you struggle with, but try to frame them as a positive trait, and something that consistently motivates you to be better at what you do.

Value

“If hired, how will you contribute more to this company than any other candidate”

More than anything, companies want to know why you are the absolute best fit for a vacancy, and how you will contribute more than all the other candidates they are considering.

Think about the skills and past experiences that most apply to the position in question, and find ways to describe them that will apply to the current needs of the company. This is the point when you need to frame your past as an asset for the future.

Ask yourself these common interview questions in advance, and you will have more polished and decisive answers to deliver during the high-stress interview situation. For more tips about impressing today’s hiring managers, partner with the team at The Concorde Group.

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5 Ways To Improve Your Resume To Make it Great

July 30th, 2014

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. You announce a job opening and all of a sudden your office is flooded with hundreds of resumes. It’s your job to read through each one, but they are all so bland, similar, and underwhelming that they start to run together. By the end, you can’t say for sure if the right candidate is anywhere in the pile.

If you are looking for a job, your resume is how you introduce yourself. Unfortunately, most resumes make a bad first impression. You might be the perfect person for the job, but if your resume doesn’t scream that out, there is no way for a hiring manager to pick you out of the crowd. Make sure you don’t get overlooked by including these to improve your resume every time you send out.

Be Concise

This tip is more important than any other, and it’s really more about what you shouldn’t include. The average resume only gets scanned for 30 seconds. If you can’t present the most impressive and relevant details about yourself in that amount of time, you are wasting an opportunity. Revise your resume over and over until it includes only the most essential details, and make sure that it is formatted in a way that is easy to scan and digest.

Career Objective

Why are you applying for this job? What is the number one thing that makes you qualified? What do you have to contribute specifically? A career objective summarizes all of this into a single sentence that you include at the top of your resume. Be creative, honest, and personal, and you can grab a hiring manager’s attention from the very start.

Skills and Capabilities

Too many job seekers make education and job experience the focus of their resume rather than skills and capabilities. Hiring managers don’t care what you’ve done in the past, they care what you can do in the future. Listing your experience points the focus backward. Listing your skills and capabilities points it forward.

Provable Accomplishments

All hiring managers are looking for recruits that can see a project through to the end and rise above expectations. Include any notable professional success on your resume, and be sure that they are tied to clear and verifiable metrics.

Reference Section

All resumes should have a section for references, but instead of writing out names and phone numbers, simply write “references available upon request.” Hiring managers want to know they can contact personal and professional references, but including the contact information on your resume is an unnecessary waste of space.

Even if you follow all these tips, crafting a great resume isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time, thought, revision, and frustration. But simply making the effort immediately sets you apart from a majority of other job seekers. Work with the team at The Concorde Group, and find more valuable job-seeking resources.

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How to Turn a Temp Job into a Perm One in 5 Steps

January 27th, 2014

As the employment world becomes increasingly competitive, employers are doing everything in their power to hire the top talent available for their open positions. This means that employers are making interview sessions more difficult, the questions more in-depth, and even using tests to determine how strong a candidate will be once brought on as an employee. So, as a job seeker, how do you turn your temporary job into a permanent one? We have the answers for you in this post.

#1 Dress to Impress

We know that many temporary employees will do the bare minimum, which includes just meeting the dress code, in order to get by at some companies. If you want to turn your temporary job into a permanent one, make sure you dress to impress all the time. Even if it is casual Friday, come to work in business attire to show that you belong there and want to be there.

#2 Make Friends with Your Coworkers

Even if you know the job is temporary, make friends with the other employees in you department. Whether they are temporary or permanent employees, you can build a very important network. You could also be developing key relationships with people who might become your permanent coworkers if you are hired to be a full-time worker. Offer to help with their projects every so often. This will let them know how serious you are about the company and they might fight for you to be hired full-time. They could also provide you with referrals for other jobs in the future.

#3 Work Like the Job is Permanent

Perform your work like you are a full-time employee, not like you know the job is going to end after a six or eight week period. The harder you work at the position from day one, the more likely it is that you could be hired full-time. Always make it to work on-time, maybe even a little early, and stay late so you can finish all of your projects with care.

#4 Learn about the Company

Another excellent tip is to learn as much as possible about the company as you can. This includes the history of the company, the clients, the earning reports and the culture. The more you learn about the company, the better you look to the higher-ups. They will know that you are invested in the organization and that you are concerned with the success of not only yourself, but also the company as a whole.

#5 Step Up and Take Initiative

So, you finished that assignment early and have nothing else to do. Do not leave the office or wander around talking to coworkers. Instead, shoot your boss an email or walk to the office and ask for another project. This will definitely boost the company’s opinion of you as a hard worker.

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