Adams & Garth Blog

4 Tips for More Consistent Performance On Your Team

May 3rd, 2016

Does this sound familiar? You have some employees who are regular rock stars. Others who are putting in subpar performance every day. And still others who vacillate back and forth between excellence and mediocrity.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows what you really need is a team of steady and reliable workers – who consistently deliver great results. Here’s how to get it:

Tip #1: Communicate clear goals.

Poor performance can often stem from a lack of understanding about goals. That’s why it’s so important for every person on your team needs to understand what they should be doing from the start. Meet with each staff member individually to set performance goals and monitor their progress with regular check-ins.

Tip #2: Invest in more training.

If you’re like most managers, you’re more than busy…you’re flooded with requests. So when a new person joins your team, you might not have the time or resources to ensure they’re trained properly. They’re on their own to figure things out. Sometimes, your new hire can get up and running quickly; most often, though, additional training is needed – especially if you want consistent results.

Why? Because thorough training can help ensure everyone in your department is following the same processes and procedures. It also ensures you customers are getting the same answers, regardless of whom they speak with. This all leads to more consistent performance and results

Tip #3: Get rid of obstacles.

When a goal or deadline goes unmet, don’t automatically point the finger of blame at your employees. Roadblocks – such as obsolete technology or unrealistic timelines – can often result in a lack of consistent performance. As the manager, it’s up to you to remove these roadblocks so your employees can perform at their best everyday.

Tip #4: Offer regular praise.

Besides regularly checking in with your team to keep them on track, you should be offering consistent praise, as well. And don’t play favorites and praise those employees you like best. Praise performance and results, not people.

Consistency starts with you. Consistently set realistic goals, invest in employee training, work to remove obstacles and offer praise – and you’ll get more consistent performance across your team.

Do you need help recruiting employees you can rely on to deliver? Call the team at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, we’ll work with you to learn about your company, your culture, and your key staffing pains. We’ll then get to work sourcing, screening and interviewing dependable candidates that are a great fit for you. Contact us today to learn more.

Writing a Great Cover Letter…When You Don’t Have Experience

April 26th, 2016

The purpose of a cover letter is to explain why you’re interested in the job – and why you’d be a good fit for it. But what if you don’t have a ton of (or any) experience to tout in your cover letter? How do you show you’d excel in the position?

Rather than saying something generic, like “I’m a great communicator,” it’s important to dig deep and think about why a hiring manager would want to hire you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a ton of experience. What it does mean is that you have to show a hiring manager why they should get excited about you.

For instance:

  • Maybe you’re an incredibly detail oriented person with an eagle eye for mistakes who creates spreadsheets to organize every aspect of your life.
  • Or perhaps you’re a people person who loves to help others. In every summer job you’ve had in the past, you’ve been complimented on your interpersonal skills and ability to handle tough customers.

Even though you don’t have direct job experience, these are the kinds of soft skills it’s important to promote in your cover letter. Keep in mind too, assuming you’re applying for entry level jobs at this point, most candidates won’t have a ton of experience to promote either. So if you can stand out with a highly desirable skill or personality trait, then you’re going to be a step ahead of the competition.

Some other cover letter writing tips:

  • Be direct with your opening. Don’t open your cover letter with subjective phrases like “I’m the self starter you’ve been looking for,” or “I’m the strongest candidate for the position because…” These phrases are annoying to hiring managers and won’t get their attention in a positive way. Instead, say something simple like “I was excited to see your opening for XYZ position.”
  • Don’t regurgitate what’s on your resume. Most job candidates make the mistake of repeating what’s on their resume in their cover letter. Don’t be one of them. You should be explaining why you’re excited about the position and why you’d excel in it. Your resume, on the other hand, should communicate your past track record of success.
  • Don’t address every qualification in the job ad. You do want to be sure that the qualifications described in the job posting are discussed at some point between your cover letter and resume. But that doesn’t mean your cover letter should include a bullet list of the qualifications with explanations about how you meet each one.

Do you need more help with your cover letter, resume…or finding jobs in Central Virginia? Call Adams & Garth. As one of Central Virginia’s top employment agencies, we can help you find job opportunities that are a great fit for your skills, background, and goals. Search jobs in Central Virginia or contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Should I Rehire an Employee?

April 19th, 2016

You know hiring is a challenge. So when a former employee comes knocking at your door looking for a new job, should you rehire them?

As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows it depends on the situation. For instance, if this person was a problem employee with weak performance in the past, then that’s a no brainer. Politely turn them down.

However, what if it’s more complicated than that? Say, for example, they were a great employee but left for greener pastures. Maybe they didn’t feel like they were being offered enough opportunities for development. Or perhaps they wanted a more flexible schedule.

If an employee left over these issues in the past, then there’s a chance they will quit again in the future if the issue hasn’t been resolved. That’s why you need to ask specifically about it.

The last time they worked for you, the individual could have had small children that required a more flexible schedule. But now the kids are grown up, so your former employee doesn’t need that same schedule.

Whatever the case, just make sure the same issue that caused this person to leave in the first place won’t rear it’s ugly head a second time around.

If you’re still not sure what to do, here’s a look at some other reasons why former employees are at least good to consider:

  • The person is a known entity. You know their work ethic and their attitude. You know how effective and productive they are. And you know whether or not they work well with others. There’s no worry about this candidate looking one way on paper and then acting completely different once in the office.
  • They understand the culture. This can make the learning curve significantly shorter, which means they can get up and running faster. It also means they know the good, bad and ugly about the culture and office politics and still want to boomerang back.
  • They have an expanded skill set. The former employee may be applying for a management position that they weren’t previously qualified for when they worked at your company. Now they have the skills and experience to add more value. Even better, another company paid the price to train them.

Don’t have any boomerang employees knocking on your door? Need more help recruiting great workers for your job openings? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, we can take the hassle out of recruiting for you, so you can focus on other priorities. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

4 Ways to Take Charge of Your Career…So You Can Get Ahead

April 12th, 2016

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows that in today’s world, you can’t rely on your boss or company to plan out your career path. It’s up to you to set goals and seek out new opportunities. Here are 4 tips to help you take charge of your career – so you can get ahead:

Tip #1: Be proactive.

It’s easy to get comfortable in a position and feel safe. That’s ok for a while. But if you stay put for too long, your career will stagnate. It’s up to you to make things happen.

If you think you deserve a raise, don’t wait around for your boss to notice all the great work you’ve been doing. Likewise, if you’re ready for a more challenging role, it’s up to you to speak up. Your boss is probably too busy to focus on your career path.

So if getting promoted in your field requires an MBA, then now’s the time to start. Don’t just hope a bigger salary or a better position will come your way. It’s up to you to go after it.

Tip #2: Be accountable.

If you make a mistake at work, own up to it. Everyone makes mistakes at one point or another. When it happens to you, don’t point the finger of blame or brush off any responsibility. Just apologize for it and ask what you can do to fix it. When you’re accountable you can deal with and shore up your weaknesses, putting yourself – and your career – on a path toward improvement.

Tip #3: Be aware of your faults.

Are you always late? Do you lack attention to detail? Do you have poor communication skills? Everyone has flaws. What are yours?

When you know what areas could use some improvement, then you’re halfway to improving them. If you’re late every morning, commit to leaving the house 20 minutes earlier. Set five alarms if that’s what it takes to get you up and running earlier. If you need to improve your people skills, take a class or work with a mentor. Whatever the case for you, have a specific area you want to fix and put a plan into place for improving it.

Tip #4: Be positive.

Sometimes, bad things happen that are outside your control. Your company might cut your hours and put you in a different position you don’t like. But rather than having a pity party, take action. Pull out your resume and start the process of polishing it. Let go of anger and resentment and look at the situation as an opportunity to move ahead.

Would you like more help moving ahead in your career? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we’ve matched hundreds of job candidates with great jobs throughout Central Virginia and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

 

Is an Employee Underperforming – or Stretched Too Thin?

April 5th, 2016

You have an employee who isn’t getting their work done. They tell you their work load is too high and they are simply stretched too thin. How can you tell if they’re right on – or on the wrong track at work? Here are some tips to help you:

Look at your employee’s past performance.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth can tell you that if you have an employee you know is a solid, dependable worker with extensive experience, then it’s important you take their concerns to heart and trust their judgment. However, if the employee is new, or has been a weak performer in the past, then it may be time for some additional training and support.

Look at the performance of other employees.

If you have other employees who perform similar work or are in a similar position, then look to them to see if they are also having trouble meeting deadlines or managing their workload. This will give you a better idea of whether or not your expectations for your employee are realistic. If everyone on your team is missing deadlines or in the same boat, then it’s time to readjust workloads.

Look at the employee’s job in depth.

In order to understand whether or not performance or workload is the issue, you need to understand what your employee’s day-to-day looks like. What projects are they working on? What are the deadlines for these? How much time is allotted to each task?

You may find you allocated a few hours to a task that is actually taking the employee days to complete. Or perhaps your employee is dependent upon a co-worker to complete their part of the project first and that person is moving too slowly. Whatever the case, it’s up to you to identify the roadblock and help your employee overcome it.

Look for shortcuts.

Work with your employee to help them streamline projects and tasks and find shortcuts for getting work done faster. Act as a problem solver and collaborate to find a solution, whether it’s delegating certain tasks or cutting them out of the process entirely. Keep in mind, in order to get the best results, you need to have a conversation with your employee…not put them on the defensive.

Once you’ve gone through the process above, you should have a better idea of whether your employee is underperforming…or truly stretched too thin.

Whether your issue is weak performance or understaffing, Adams & Garth can help. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, we can give you access to the high quality, dependable talent you need, whether on a full-time or temporary basis. Contact us today to learn more.

When to Ask About Salary in a Job Search

March 22nd, 2016

The job ad doesn’t list it. The hiring manager doesn’t bring it up during the interview. So when exactly are you supposed to ask about salary? You don’t want to sound like all you care about is money. But let’s face it – you need to make sure the salary is competitive for your industry and experience.

In an ideal world, all employers would post a salary range in their job ads. This would give you a ballpark idea of what the Central Virginia job pays. If it was too low, you’d know immediately and could walk away. A range would also give employers some wiggle room depending on your experience level and the strength of your skill set.

In reality, though, you’re often left wondering about this incredibly important aspect of the job search. So how do you deal with this delicate subject?

Your first step should be to do some research on salaries in your location and for professionals in your industry with similar experience and expertise. Check professional associations and ask those you know in the field their thoughts. Once you know a range, then you can feel confident if an employer asks you about the salary you’re seeking.

Also, don’t bring up salary in the first moments of your interview. It’s understandable you don’t want to waste time if the salary is low. However, many employers will bristle if you start talking about money right away.

If, toward the end of the interview, there’s a natural point in time to bring it up, then ask about it. You can say something like:

“I hope you don’t mind me inquiring about salary at this stage. But can you give me an idea of the range so we can make sure we’re on the same page moving forward?”

Keep in mind, though, some employers may be turned off when you ask about salary. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – since salary will play a critical part in whether or not you accept the Central Virginia job. But that’s simply conventional wisdom. So if you’re not comfortable bringing up the subject, then wait until the second interview.

That said, if you’re being asked to travel across the country for an interview, or a recruiter is reaching out to you, then it’s perfectly acceptable to ask upfront – over the phone – about the salary range. When you do, though, be prepared for them to ask you about the salary range you’re looking to secure.

Do you need more help finding a great job with a competitive salary? If you do, let Adams & Garth know. We partner with leading employers to offer you outstanding jobs in Central Virginia in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

How Information Overload is Overwhelming Your Employees…& What to Do About It

March 15th, 2016

Information overload is defined as the exposure to or provision of too much information or data. According to Deloitte’s 2014 Global Human Trends Capital Report, it’s overwhelming your workers, harming productivity and lowering worker engagement.

In fact, 65% of executives in Deloitte’s survey rated the “overwhelmed employee” an “urgent” or “important” trend, while 44% said that they are “not ready” to deal with it. The report also estimates that information overload costs mid-size companies $10 million a year.

The good news is that HR and managers have the opportunity to lead efforts to manage the seemingly inescapable communication practices that are leading to overwhelmed employees.

According to the report, here’s how:

Get feedback.

In order to assess information overload at your company you need feedback from your employees on what’s troubling them the most. Ask them about frustrating or time wasting workplace practices and systems. Work to reduce the number of steps it takes to complete a task or process.

Change expectations.

As a manager, if you’re online day and night responding to emails, your employees will feel the need to do the same. So work to deliberately change these kinds of all-consuming expectations. If you can, avoid sending emails at night or on the weekends. When you do, you’ll be signaling to employees it’s ok to take time off and disconnect.

Embrace flexible schedules.

Implement a flex time policy and let employees work from home, even if it’s only occasionally. Send the message that it’s ok to miss a meeting if someone is in the midst of a massive project. These kinds of policies make it easy for employees to free themselves from less important tasks so they can focus on key projects or personal needs.

Keep meeting short.

Incorporate guiding principles at your company surrounding meetings, including keeping them short – to 30 minutes or less. This forces people to rapidly discuss issues, resolve problems, and get back to work. Keep them small too so that only the core team who really needs to be there is invited.

Delegate decision making.

Who on your team can call the shots? Are employees empowered to make decisions without consulting others? Enable your employees to make more decisions on their own and you’ll make everyone’s lives a whole lot easier.

Outsource non-core tasks.

If your company has a lot of repetitive, non-core tasks, consider outsourcing them to free up your team’s time and energy. Tasks can include anything from administrative to writing and publishing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how outsourcing can save your company time and money, call Adams & Garth. As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you find and hire top talent for temporary and temporary-to-hire positions – so you and your core team can focus on other priorities.

Contact us today to learn more.

Getting Ready for Round 2: How to Ace Your Second Interview

March 8th, 2016

Getting a call back for a second interview means you are a serious contender for the job. Congratulations! But that might leave you wondering what to expect during the subsequent interview, including what kinds of questions you’ll be asked, what topics will be covered, and whom you’ll be meeting with.

With that in mind: How can you prepare, so you ace it the second time around and land the job? Here are a few tips to help you:

Find out the format.

Will this be a one-on-one with the company president, or a panel interview? Will it be a single meeting, or interviews throughout the day? Once you know what to expect, you can better prepare.

Check out your interviewers.

If you are given the names of those you’ll be interviewing with, research them ahead of time. That doesn’t mean you need to full out cyber stalk them. Just find out their role and how long they’ve worked at the company.

Get ready to get in depth.

The first interview was likely a screening of sorts, during which the basics were covered. The second interview, however, will be much more in depth. So be ready to answer more demanding questions and talk in detail about your accomplishments and track record.

Practice your answers.

You may have already practiced your answers to interview questions. But do it again so your responses are fresh in your head during the second interview. Don’t let a lack of preparation sabotage your efforts.

Mind the gaps.

If there’s a certain area where you know you fell short during the first interview, the second interview will certainly be an opportunity to assuage any fears about your candidacy to the hiring manager. So think about any weaknesses in your previous interview performance and be ready to vanquish them the second time around.

Ask your own questions.

Now that you know a lot more about the position and the company, don’t forget to bring up your own questions about the job, the team you’d be working on, and the company culture.

Dress your best.

In your first interview, everyone else was in jeans. So should you emulate their dress code in your second interview? No. No matter their company culture and dress policy, wear professional attire to every job interview. Once you get the offer, you can modify your clothing choices.

It can be hard to know what to expect for a second interview. But by following the tips above and doing your best to prepare extensively, there’s a good chance you can land the job. Good luck!

Do you need help finding your next job? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, we partner with top employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Search our Central Virginia jobs now or contact us today.

5 Questions the Best Job Candidates Will Ask You

March 1st, 2016

The smartest job candidates know a secret: Just as you are evaluating them, they need to be assessing your company as a potential employer. How do they do it? By asking great questions. That’s why, when it comes time for the “do you have any questions for me?” portion of the interview, you should listen very carefully.

What kinds of questions do smart candidates ask? Here’s a look at 5:

#1: What are your expectations for me within the first six months on the job?

As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows strong candidates want to deliver great results. But they can’t do that unless they are crystal clear about your goals and expectations. While they might spend the first few weeks, and perhaps even months, getting to know the ins and outs of the company and the position, they also know that once they hit the six month mark, they want to be as productive as possible.

#2: What are some traits or strengths of your top employees?

The best candidates know it takes more than just technical skills to succeed in a new position…it also takes a fit between employer and employee. And asking about what strengths the most successful employees share gives them insight into whether they would fit in with your company, as well as whether they have what it takes to achieve success on the job.

#3: What goals are the highest priority at your company and how would my role fit in with achieving those?

Top candidates want to be contributors. They want to ensure the job opportunity they do accept has meaning and will make an impact. They’re not looking for any old job. They want a position with a purpose.

#4: What drives results in this position?

Sure, HR people handle HR tasks. But what they’re really doing is sourcing and recruiting top-notch people who will drive productivity and bottom line results. Likewise, smart candidates will want to know what drives results in the position they’re interviewing for.

#5: Do a lot of people at your company get hired through referrals?

When your employees love their jobs they’re going to refer others to their companies. So if you have a high percentage of employees hired through referrals, it sends the message that your organization is a great place to work.

Do you need more help sourcing, evaluating and hiring top candidates for your team? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find and hire the best people, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

How to Recover from a Bad Job Interview

February 23rd, 2016

Have you ever left a job interview knowing it didn’t go well? You seemed like a great fit, until halfway through the interview. That’s when everything fell apart.

As one of Charlottesville’s leading employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows this can certainly be a discouraging situation – one that’s hard to recover from. But don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s very normal to feel negative after a bad job interview.

You’d probably like to press the rewind button and go back to the beginning. While you can’t do that, the good news is that there are some steps you can take to salvage the situation – and your reputation. Here’s a look at 5 of them:

Step #1: Reflect on the experience.

It’s easy to only focus on the negative. But try to be more objective about the experience and think about what went right. Also, identify exactly where you went wrong and what you should have said or done so you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Step #2: Forgive yourself.

You know what went right and what went wrong. Now it’s time to let it go and forgive yourself. Nothing positive will come from beating yourself up over the situation. Accept that you made a mistake – and then move forward.

Step #3: Say thank you.

Contacting the hiring manager might be the last thing you want to do, given the situation. However, it’s important that you acknowledge your error and thank the hiring manager for their time. Don’t bring to light any blunders you’re not entirely sure they caught. But do send a well-written note or email admitting to a misunderstanding or miscommunication.

Step #4: Apologize for specific errors, not the whole interview.

If you called the hiring manager “Mike” throughout the interview, but realized afterward his name was “Mark,” then apologize for the error. But don’t say you’re sorry for a bad interview. You never know what the hiring manager is thinking and the interview might not have been as awful as you think.

Step #5: Inform the hiring manager of any external distractions.

If you just had a death in the family, or your spouse is recovering from a life threatening illness, it’s no wonder you’re distracted. And the follow up thank you letter is the perfect opportunity to explain the situation. The hiring manager may take this into consideration when making their final decision, or even ask you back in for another interview.

Need more help landing your next job interview? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Charlottesville’s leading employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Search our Charlottesville jobs now or contact us today.