Adams & Garth Blog

Could Your Company Culture Use Some Work?

March 3rd, 2015

As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows statistics show that employee unhappiness is on the rise. One of the culprits is a negative workplace culture. Such a culture can result in a lack of team work and collaboration, high turnover, and low productivity. So if you suspect your culture could use some work what can you do about it? Here’s a look:

Be transparent.

Be open and honest with your team, even when you’re sharing bad news. Otherwise, the rumor mill will take over and your employees will lose trust in you. That said, it’s also important to remain upbeat and focused on the future. So even during a down time, it’s also important to talk about how you’ll overcome it and the opportunities that could arise out of the situation.

Provide positive feedback.

You don’t want to offer praise just for the sake of it. But when employees are consistently working hard and achieving goals, then you need to communicate your appreciation to them. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on employees in search of other opportunities they feel more valued in.

Give credit.

When an employee goes above and beyond, then give credit where it’s due. If you don’t – and you take credit instead – your employees won’t be driven to do their best, nor will they trust you.

Ask for input.

When it comes to problem solving, your employees should be your go-to source. They’re the ones working closely with your products and customers and are most likely to see opportunities for improvement and innovative solutions. In addition, by asking your employees to share their ideas, they’re going to feel like a more valuable part of the team.

Foster competition, don’t hyper focus on it.

Some competition is certainly good for your company. Regularly pitting employees against each other is not. Some individuals thrive in high-stress environments, but most don’t…at least not for long.

Provide support.

Communicate regularly with each of your employees. Sit down with them and create a career plan for growth within the company and meet to review and modify it as needed. Otherwise, employees won’t know where they fit in and they won’t remain on board as a result.

As a manager, creating a positive workplace culture isn’t a task to cross of your “to do” list. It’s an ongoing effort and there will always be questions and room for improvement. However, by following the tips above you can take steps toward ensuring your people – your most important asset – can benefit from a great company culture.

If you need help hiring the right kind of people for your unique culture, call Adams & Garth. As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find and hire the talent you need, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

 

Sloppy Mistakes That Are Killing Your Job Search

February 24th, 2015

As one of Central Virginia’s leading employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows you can have the most experience and the strongest skill set. But if you’re making sloppy mistakes on your resume and in your cover letter, then you’re not going to get an interview, let alone the job offer.

What are some of the biggest and most egregious errors candidates make when applying? Here’s a look at 4:

Mistake #1: Spelling and grammar mistakes.

One minor typo won’t hinder your chances of getting an interview offer, especially if you have a strong background. However, if your resume and cover letter are sprinkled with mistakes in spelling and grammar, then it’s going to be a red flag for a hiring manager. Every job requires some degree of communication, often times in writing. If a hiring manager is concerned about your ability to do so in an articulate and professional way, then you’re not going to be considered for the job.

Mistake #2: Writing in a tone that’s too casual.

With texting and Facebook, people today – especially those in the younger demographics – are used to writing in a far more casual tone. While this might be ok in an online social setting, it’s not acceptable when submitting your cover letter and resume to a potential employer. You don’t need to adopt a completely formal, uptight tone. You can still be conversational. But you must follow the rules of grammar you learned in grade school. That means no “LMKs.”

Mistake #3: Addressing your resume to the wrong person.

Consider yourself lucky if there’s an actual name of a hiring manager in the job posting. When there is, you’ll have someone to contact and follow up with after you apply. However, they likely won’t want to hear from you if you put the wrong name (for instance, the last hiring manager you applied to) in your cover letter or in your email with your resume. Make sure you review everything before hitting that “send” button.

Mistake #4: Using the wrong company name.

This often happens when candidates do a quick cut and paste from the last job they applied to and forget to swap out the company name. But this signals to the hiring manager that 1) you didn’t take the time to tailor your cover letter for their job opening and 2) you lack attention to detail because you clearly didn’t proofread. Either way, it’s not the message you want to send to a hiring manager.

The mistakes above can be easily avoided by simply taking some additional time and effort to review your resume and cover letter before sending it to a potential employer. If you’re uncertain of its accuracy, then give it to a friend or family member to review ahead of time.

If you need more help with your resume, cover letter, or job search, turn to the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Central Virginia’s leading employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact us today to learn more or search our Central Virginia jobs now.

Struggling With Information Overload? Here’s How to Deal

February 17th, 2015

As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows too much information overloads our brains and causes us to become even more forgetful and uncertain. But in today’s day and age of constant texts, emails, dozens of passwords to keep track of, and other incoming data, it can seem unavoidable.

However, a new book called The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and psychologist, offers some solutions. In it, he explores how high achieving individuals are able to overcome information overload and enjoy a more focused and less stressful life.

Here are a few key insights from his book:

Give everything a home. According to Levitin: “Place memory evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to keep track of things that didn’t move, such as fruit trees, wells, mountains, lakes.” That means we’re not necessarily wired to keep track of items that are constantly on the move, like car keys, wallets, reading glasses, and cell phones. As a result, we spend an ample amount of mental energy trying to find them. However, when these often-used item have a set home, then you don’t you have to waste time and energy – and get frustrated to boot – searching for them.

Focus instead of multi-tasking. Set times during the day when you don’t check your phone messages and email, or browse the Internet, and simply focus on the work at hand. Also, create a “to do” list of tasks for the day and prioritize them. Don’t let distractions get in the way of completing each task. Why? Because focusing on one task at a time actually takes less energy, according to Levitin. In fact, he writes:

“People who organize their time in a way that allows them to focus are not only going to get more done, but they’ll be less tired and less neurochemically depleted after doing it.”

Give yourself time. As a manager, you often spend your days in back-to-back meetings. While you think you’ll remember everything that occurred, you typically won’t. So instead of scheduling one-hour meetings, schedule 50 minute ones and give yourself 10 minutes in between to make notes on what transpired and any action items you need to take.

Don’t skimp on sleep. According to Levitin, “sleep has been shown to enhance the formation and understanding of abstract relations, so much so that people often wake having solved a problem that was unsolvable the night before.” So make getting a good night’s sleep a goal at the end of each day. For some, that might mean eight or nine solid hours, while for others it might be a good six hours and a power nap during the day. Make good sleep a priority – and you will get more done.

If part of your struggles are due to staffing issues at work, give Adams & Garth a call. As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find and hire top talent, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

Passed Over for a Promotion?

February 10th, 2015

If you were expecting to be promoted, but got passed over, it can be especially painful. But, as one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows how you react and the steps you take next can have a significant impact on your career path. So carefully consider your actions.

Assess yourself.

There’s likely a reason you didn’t get the promotion. Be honest with yourself about why that is. And don’t let feelings of anger or jealously get the best of you. If you want to get promoted in the future, you need to continue doing your job – and doing it well.

Don’t blame your newly promoted colleague.

Remain professional at all times. While it may be tough, let go of any feelings of frustration directed at your colleague and congratulate him or her. Support and assist them as much as you can in their new position.

Talk to your boss.

While the conversation might be uncomfortable, it’s important that you understand why you were passed over for the promotion. How can you improve in weak areas or gain the right skills if you don’t know what they are? So rather than sulking about the fact that you weren’t promoted, look at the experience as one to learn from and focus on those areas in which you can improve.

Also, whatever you do, don’t try to convince your boss that they promoted the wrong person. While it’s ok to express disappointment, arguing will simply insult your boss’s judgment.

Set goals.

Once you know which areas to focus on, set goals for developing the skills you need to get promoted in the future. You may also want to speak with your boss to create a game plan to be reconsidered for a promotion once you reach certain milestones. Just make sure you’re both clear on expectations.

Consider whether to move on.

There are time when people are promoted due to biases and personal relationships. That’s the ugly truth. In these kinds of situations, you need to think seriously about whether you want to stay with your employer or move on. If you’re a hard worker and good at what you do, then there’s no reason as to why you can’t earn a promotion. But if you’ve been trying for several years now, with no success, then getting a job with a company that appreciates all you have to offer should certainly be considered.

Ready to get promoted to a new job at a new company? Read our post about How to Get Job Search Help From Your Network, or call Adams & Garth. As one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth partners with leading organizations throughout Central Virginia – and can give you access to rewarding jobs in your field!

Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

To Promote or Not to Promote?

February 3rd, 2015

In an ideal world, an employee would excel and deliver great work consistently…and they’d eventually earn a promotion. In the real world, though, it’s not always that simple.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows employees can make mistakes, deliver inconsistent results, and disappoint when you least expect it. So how can you tell when it’s really time to promote an employee – and when you should hold off? Consider these tips:

Evaluate their track record.

Everyone – even the best employees – will have blips on their track record. However, you’re looking for an overall trend of positive performance when deciding whether to promote someone. Some signs include:

  • They’re reliable, show up on time, and maintain a positive attitude.
  • They keep up with their work and achieve their performance goals.
  • They consistently get positive feedback from customers.

A spotty record, on the other hand, is not a good indication that someone is ready for a promotion.

Look at their personality.

If you’re thinking of promoting someone into management who regularly looks down on others, doesn’t collaborate well and is too aggressive, you may want to think again. Someone might have the right hard skills to perform a certain job, but if their personality isn’t a fit, then you’re asking for trouble. Before you make a decision, think about how their personality will translate in the new position. The last thing you want to do is set someone up for failure.

Think about the rest of the team.

How will your other employees react to news of a promotion? Will they think: “this person is great for the job,” or will they question your judgment? It’s important to take your team’s reaction into account before making a move.

Ask whether you can afford it.

Promoting someone undoubtedly means that person will get a raise in salary. The question is: can you afford it? Asking someone to take on more work and responsibility – and deal with the many challenges that come with a promotion – all without extra compensation – isn’t good for retention. So before you make an offer, ensure you have the funding you need to promote.

Promoting the wrong individual at the wrong time can cause serious damage. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to consider whether a promotion is the right step for an employee, well before making an offer.

Need help hiring for your company? Contact Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, we know hiring can be a hassle. But we’ve got the knowledge, experience, and proven processes in place to assist you. Next time you need to hire, contact Adams & Garth. We can help.

When Your Boss Doesn’t Show You Any Love

January 27th, 2015

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is on everyone’s mind. But when your boss doesn’t show you any – in the form of respect, warmth, recognition, or kindness – it can be tough to handle. Is it time to move on for greener pastures? Or should you stick it out with an ill-tempered or detached boss?

As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth can tell you: It depends.

First, think about where your boss is coming from. He or she could be under a lot of pressure and stressed out, while you’re interpreting their attitude as a problem with you individually. Ask around and see if other co-workers are experiencing the same treatment. If they aren’t, then dig a little deeper to find the root cause.

Here are a few possibilities:

Your boss has a problem with your performance.

Are you often late, unprepared, or do you miss deadlines? Does your boss assign the important or more challenging tasks to others? Have you had performance problems in the past? Then those issues could be the source of your boss’s frustrations. If they are, then it’s up to you to change his or her mind by building a track record of positive performance and good behavior.

Your personalities don’t mesh well.

You may do good work, but perhaps your personality and your boss’s simply don’t blend well. Part of the problem is likely the two of you have different communication styles. Whatever the case, there are a few ways you can open up the lines of communication, including:

  • Being calm. Don’t get angry. Your boss doesn’t have to share your opinion and the two of you don’t need to be best friends.
  • Ask your boss for advice and guidance on your performance. For instance, you may have a habit of just pointing out problems and he or she may want you to offer solutions instead.
  • Don’t demand, instead suggest. Aim to solve problems and attain a productive and professional relationship, rather than be argumentative.

Your boss feels threatened by you.

If your boss treats you inconsistently – for instance, you’re having a good conversation and then you present a fact they didn’t know and they get defensive – then it’s a sign they’re insecure around you. If that’s the case, they can then use the power of their position to make your life miserable at work.

So how do you deal with this sticky situation?

Start by always being constructive and aiming to collaborate. Look for ways to help your boss and make their job easier. If you find a mistake they made, don’t bring it up in front of others. If problems persist, talk to your boss and ask for clarification about the issue.

Ready for a new opportunity – with a new boss? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, we will work to get to know you, your background, skills and personality – all so we can match you with job opportunities that are a terrific fit. Search our Central Virginia jobs now or contact us today.

 

What to Do When an Employee Needs Hand Holding

January 20th, 2015

Imagine this scenario:

You have an employee who is always knocking on your door. They’re asking for feedback, direction and advice at every turn. You typically don’t mind offering input. But this particular employee seems to need to be told what to do all the time. What should you do?

As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows if an employee is constantly coming to you in need of help, then there are a few different scenarios that could be in play:

First, you’re not providing them with enough guidance and they’re simply in search of the answers they need to do their job. As a manager, an important part of your job is to offer clear direction and feedback. If you’re not comfortable in that role, then you need to get comfortable quickly, or else you won’t succeed as a manager.

Second, if you’ve already offered clear feedback and direction, and the employee is still floundering and coming to you non-stop, then they may be in a position ill-suited for them. If that’s the case, you need to re-assess their talents and re-align them with a job that matches their skills. When employees are in positions that are a match for them, they feel more engaged, competent and connected. Ideally, before a person is hired for a role, you’ll know their talents to ensure you’re hiring the right person for the job.

A third reason an employee may be constantly interrupting you for guidance is that they’re not confident and need re-assurance from you. It’s up to you, as their manager, to tell them clearly and directly they need to stop disturbing you so much and make decisions and solve more problems on their own. Explain to them about what you need to be updated about, what you don’t, and to determine for themselves what issues should be escalated to you.

In the beginning, you may also want to set up weekly progress meetings to discuss any issues or concerns they may have. Ask your employee to save discussion items for that meeting, unless something is truly urgent, so you’re not interrupted continuously throughout the week.

Keep in mind too, some employees need more guidance and direction than others. As their manager, it’s up to you to tailor your management approach to ensure every employee on your staff succeeds.

Need help hiring for your team? Call the staffing experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, we can take the hassle out of hiring for you, so you can focus on other priorities. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

7 Secrets to a Cover Letter That Gets Results

January 13th, 2015

Is one of your resolutions for 2015 to find a new job? If it is, then your cover letter is a critical component of the process. In fact, as one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows your letter can be the difference between getting a call for an interview or not. To help you write one that gets results, follow these tips:

#1. Don’t offer the same details that are on your resume.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition and showcase your personality. It should not just be a summary of your resume. Instead, it should add something new to your candidacy, such as work habits, why you want a particular job, or references or positive comments from a previous boss.

#2. Stick with facts, not hyperbole.

Avoid fluff and exaggerated statements such as “I am the best qualified candidate for your opening.” Instead, focus on facts, figures and details, like why you’re a good fit for the job. That’s the kind of information that will help you stand out to a hiring manager.

#3. Show personal interest.

Make the case as to why you’re the best person for the job in an enthusiastic way. If you’re applying to a company you’ve always wanted to work for, then explain why you’re a fan. If there was something in particular that resonated with you in the job description, discuss that. If there’s a certain aspect of the job that aligns exactly with one of your strengths, highlight it in your cover letter.

#4. Describe how you can help.

Your cover letter shouldn’t be all about you. When writing one, think of it from the perspective of: how can my skills and experience help this company? If you’re in sales, for instance, describe how you’d go about increasing revenue. If you work in customer service, highlight how you’d enhance the company’s service process.

#5. Offer explanations.

Your cover letter is the place to explain issues such as gaps in employment, or if you’re over- or under-qualified for the position. If you don’t address situations like these upfront, the hiring manager may simply overlook your resume. It’s up to you persuade them as to why you deserve a second look.

#6. Be conversational.

While you don’t want to be too casual, or use slang, don’t go overboard and be too formal either. The best cover letters use language that is warm and conversational in tone.

#7. Don’t cut and paste.

When sending a cover letter, don’t use a form letter. Hiring managers can quickly tell which candidates spent time crafting a custom letter and which ones simply cut and paste from the Internet.

Your cover letter is typically the first impression you make with a hiring manager. That’s why it’s important to spend the time to get it right. Still, cover letters can be a challenge to write. If you need help, call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we can help you with the process. We also partner with top employers throughout Central Virginia to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

Keep the Flu Out of Your Office This Winter

January 6th, 2015

The flu season is in full swing – and, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows it can wreak havoc on your workplace, not to mention productivity, if you don’t take a proactive approach. To help keep the flu in check and away from your staff this winter, follow these tips:

Tip #1: Encourage employees to stay home when sick.

Too many times, employees feel compelled to come into the office, even when they’re down and out with the flu. Don’t let them! Tell employees to stay home when they’re ill – and don’t punish them for using sick days. Make sure you set the example too by staying home when you’re sick. And finally, if an employee is clearly sick, don’t hesitate to send them home. The flu is highly contagious, after all, and the last thing you need is an entire staff battling it.

Tip #2: Make it easy for employees to get a flu shot.

Send out reminders about local flu-shot clinics. If your company is large enough, consider offering a flu clinic on-site, as well. Whatever you do, make is easy for employees who want to get vaccinated to do so.

Tip #3: Invest in hands-free appliances.

Moving toward hands-free appliances, like automatic soap and paper towel dispensers, can certainly pay off in the form of fewer sick days used by employees.

Tip #4: Keep it clean.

Doorknobs, railings, faucets, conference tables, copy machines, community office products, and any equipment people touch should be disinfected daily. Also, encourage employees to clean their desks and keyboards regularly. Provide hand sanitizer, wipes, disinfecting sprays and towels for them to use.

Tip #5: Promote hand washing.

According to studies, hand washing is still one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the flu. While you don’t want to sound like a nagging parent, encourage employees to wash their hands regularly. Post signs in restrooms, break rooms and lunch rooms.

Tip #5: Prepare for more sick days.

Plan for the flu ahead of time by having options in place for employees to work from home. That way, if they feel up to it, they can still get work done without coming into the office and potentially spreading the virus.

From lost productivity to missed deadlines, the flu can cause a host of challenges. Overcome them by encouraging and educating workers about how they can fight back. When you do, you can reduce sick time, maintain productivity, and operate a healthier workplace.

If you have employees out on extended sick leave and need extra help as a result, call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Central Virginia, we’ll learn about your company, your culture, and your key staffing pains. We’ll then get to work providing you with access to the people you need, where and when you need them. Contact us today to learn more.

 

New Year’s Resolutions When You’re Looking for a New Job 

December 23rd, 2014

Is “finding a new job” on the top of your to do list for 2015? If it is, then be sure to set these 4 resolutions ahead of time so you can achieve job search success:

Resolution #1: “I will network more.”

As Harrisonburg recruiters, Adams & Garth knows that networking is the fastest path to a new job. To leverage all it has to offer, commit to attending at least one networking event each week, whether it’s in person or online. Also, try to meet at least one new person each week and re-connect with old colleagues and business contacts.

In addition, leverage the power of social media and online forums to reach out to those in your field. Keep in mind too, just because someone doesn’t work in your industry, doesn’t mean they can’t help you in your job search. So keep an open mind when networking. You never know where it can lead.

Resolution #2: “I will apply only to positions I’m qualified for.”

When searching for a new job, it’s tempting to apply for every job under the sun. But in doing so, you’re wasting your time – not to mention the hiring manager’s time – because you’re applying for jobs you’re not really qualified for. When it comes to job hunts, quality trumps quantity every time. Focus only on those few positions you’re really qualified for and tailor your resume and cover letter for each one.

Resolution #3: “I will spend ample time preparing for interviews.”

You spent the time and energy creating a great resume and cover letter. But if you don’t invest that same effort in preparing for interviews, you’re not going to get the job. When you do schedule an interview, be sure to:

  • Research the company (including mission, vision, key players, and competitors) and the position.
  • Spend some time preparing your answers to common interview questions.
  • Be ready to talk about why you’re a good fit for the job with specific examples of your strengths and accomplishments.
  • Have a list of questions ready that will help you assess whether the job and the company are the right fit for you.

Resolution #4: “I will work with a recruiter.”

Recruiters are another great source for finding out about job opportunities. Many times, companies don’t advertise positions they’re looking to fill; one way to find out about them is through a recruiter. So work on finding one you trust and leveraging their contacts and experience to help you find the job you want.

If you’d like to learn more about how a recruiter can help you in your job search, call Adams & Garth. Our Harrisonburg recruiters will work with you to learn about your career goals and background, and then match you with job opportunities in which you can thrive.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.