Adams & Garth Blog

Why Ask Your Boss for Feedback…& How to Do It

September 27th, 2016

One the one hand, employees don’t like feedback and criticism. They want to operate in a state of ignorant bliss, assuming everything they do is spot on. On the other hand, as humans, we’re naturally curious creatures and want to know where we stand.

Sound familiar? As a leading employment agency in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows that while it might not be easy, it is completely understandable that you want to ask your boss for feedback about your performance. In fact, if you want to get ahead in your career, it’s absolutely essential.

But how do you go about requesting feedback if you’ve never done it before? Here are 4 tips to help:

Tip #1: Don’t be vague.

Don’t just ask “how am I doing?” Get specific when you’re asking your boss for feedback. One way to approach the conversation is to ask about the good and the bad. For instance, ask about the areas you’re doing well in, and the ones that could use some improvement. Managers like to give balanced feedback, so will appreciate this approach.

Tip #2: Ask for an example.

When your boss touches on an area where you could use some work, don’t just nod your head and remain silent. Ask for details and examples. For instance, if your boss tells you that you need to listen better, inquire about a specific instance. That way, you can ensure you’re both on the same page.

Tip #3: Have specific questions in mind.

You want to understand your boss’s perspective in your performance. So be sure to ask the right questions during your meeting. These include:

  • How can I support the department’s mission better?
  • If there was one area that you would like me to focus on to improve in, what would it be?
  • Are there certain people in the department or company I should be working with more in order to improve or achieve my career goals?
  • What specific steps do I need to take to get promoted to XYZ position?

Tip #4: Keep an open mind.

Hearing criticism or not-so-glowing remarks is never fun. But it’s important to walk into your meeting with an open mind. You might not agree with everything your boss says, which is ok. But don’t get defensive, especially when you’re the one asking for feedback.

Are you ready to make a career change that can help you achieve your goals? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As a leading employment agency in Central Virginia, we partner with leading employers to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

How to Stop Meetings From Being Huge Time Wasters

September 20th, 2016

As a manager, meetings are an important part of your day. You solve problems, build consensus and get status updates on big projects.

But, as one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows that sometimes they can be a giant time suck, as well. Everyone is talking in circles…and nothing gets done.

And in fact, unproductive meetings do more than just waste time. The cost a lot of money, too.

According to the National Statistics Council, 37% of employee time is spent in meetings. And according to a study by Bain & Company, one organization wasted $15 million with a single weekly meeting of mid-level managers.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should cut out meetings entirely. It does mean, though, that you need to take a more productive approach. Here’s how:

Prepare a meeting agenda and send it out in advance.

Your agenda serves many purposes. It gives people the opportunity to prepare for the meeting. It define the meeting’s goal. For instance, are you trying to get an update on various tasks? Or do you want to make a decision during the meeting? It should also provide structure for the meeting – i.e. which topic is to be covered first, second, etc.

Only invite people to the meeting who really need to be there.

Too many people in a meeting lead to unproductive results. So what’s the optimal size? The book Decide & Deliver: 5 Steps to Breakthrough Performance in Your Organization says it’s seven. More than seven people will reduce decision effectiveness by 10%, according to the authors.

Ask people to leave their phones at their desks.

Your team should be giving you their undivided attention during a meeting. Having their phones can detract from that. Also, when people aren’t constantly checking texts and emails on their phone, they can focus more and the meeting can move along faster.

Cut out early if possible.

If your meeting is scheduled to run until 11 a.m. and you’re done covering the agenda by 10:45, then end the meeting. Don’t be tempted to start discussing another problem or project point.

Likewise, if during the meeting, side issues come up and start taking over, steer the discussions back to the topic at hand. It’s up to you to keep meetings productive and on target.

Have too many meetings – and not getting enough work done – because you’re understaffed? 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 and still find exceptional employees. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

When You Get Promoted Over a Co-Worker

September 13th, 2016

You were just promoted. Congratulations! But now you have to deal with the sometimes ugly office politics that come with getting ahead – namely, a co-worker who’s upset they didn’t get promoted too. You still have to work with this person. They might even be reporting to you now.

So how do you tread carefully to effectively handle this kind of situation? Here are 4 tips for dealing:

Tip #1: Steer clear of conversations about emotions.

Your co-worker might think they’re more qualified for your new job. But you know your boss picked you over them for a reason. Digging into the emotions of this situation is like walking through a minefield.

Try to avoid it all together – and never apologize. Nothing good will come from it (you didn’t do anything wrong, after all!) and trying to repair their hurt feelings might only wind up causing more friction.

Tip #2: Talk next steps.

If you’re the new manager, it’s important you stay positive and focus on the future. Talk about the goals you plan to achieve in your new position and how you see your co-worker fitting in. Try to focus their attention on the big picture and what they can do to make a contribution.

When they see that there are opportunities for them to be productive and have an important impact, then it can help take some of the sting out of the situation. Plus, you can direct any negative energy into something positive.

Tip #3: Talk about their goals.

If you’re their new manager, talk to your co-worker about their career goals and aspirations. As a manager, you now have access to resources, opportunities and training that could help them grow and develop – and hopefully earn their own promotion one day.

Tip #4: Accept reality.

For some co-workers, the jealousy of you winning a promotion over them is too much to bear. They won’t be able to get over it. So if you can, steer clear of them. Accept the fact that you can’t make everyone happy all the time and that your work relationship with them may have changed.

You may reconnect down the road as things cool off. But don’t focus on them; focus on yourself and being successful in your new role.

Interested in getting promoted into a new job – at a new company? Call the employment experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville , we can help you craft a strong resume, prepare for interviews, and connect you with employers offering rewarding opportunities. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

What to Do When Two Employees Just Can’t Get Along

September 6th, 2016

You know how important collaboration and teamwork are to business success. So what should you do when two employees can’t seem to get along? They bicker often, they’re rude to each other and actively sabotage one another without batting an eyelash. Here are 5 tips to help you handle the situation:

Tip #1. You can’t make them like each other, but…

Your employees are clearly never going to be best friends. But as one of Harrisonburg’s leading recruiters, Adams & Garth knows it’s up to you to demand that they figure it out – so they can work together productively. These are two grown adults, after all, and they should be able to solve this problem on their own without you acting as a referee.

Tip #2: Offer a little guidance, if necessary.

When it comes to confrontation, some people will avoid it at all costs. So if your employees are having a hard time ‘talking it out,’ then step in and facilitate a conversation between them.

If two employees are having trouble getting along, then chances are, they may have some communication and problem solving issues anyway. Talk to them about how to diffuse the situation and express themselves in non-threatening ways. Once the talks get going, you can step aside and let them resolve the issue on their own.

Tip #3: Step in if the situation escalates.

Sometimes, these issues don’t resolve very easily. When the problem doesn’t get taken care of or escalates despite conversations, then it’s time for you to get involved in a more formal manner.

  • Talk to both employees separately or together to try and get to the root of the problem. Listen objectively to both sides of the story.
  • Keep your employees focused on the facts, not emotions.
  • Ask them both to offer solutions and ideas on how they each can come to an agreement and resolve the situation.

You may need to reorganize your team or give these feuding co-workers time apart on projects. But if you don’t step in at this point, the issue will fester and foster a toxic work environment, damaging productivity further.

Tip #4: Look to your employee handbook.

Your company handbook likely lays out expectations and rules for each employee. So if they’re not able to follow these clearly outlined policies, then talk about next steps and consequences. If the disagreement is bordering on harassment, discrimination, or in a similar vein, then it’s important to follow company protocol on handling the situation.

Tip #5: Document your actions.

Every step of the way, make sure you’re documenting your actions, and your employees’ actions and responses. Keep a copy in each employee’s file. This will help as you monitor their behavior and the situation, and also protect your business should you need to terminate one or both of the employees.

Having a hard time building a team that works well together? Call the recruiting experts at Adams & Garth. As Harrisonburg’s leading recruiters, we know where to look to find the high quality, dependable, and hard-working professionals you need to make a positive impact on your company’s bottom line.

Learn more today.

Tired of Picking Up the Slack for a Co-Worker? Here’s What to Do

August 23rd, 2016

As one of the leading employment agencies in Harrisonburg, Adams & Garth knows that working alongside someone who isn’t doing their job is a frustrating experience. What’s worse, though, is when you’re forced to pick up their slack – and do your job plus portions of theirs. How do you handle the situation? Here are 3 questions ask yourself so you make the right move:

How big of an issue is it?

If you’re doing a few extra minutes of work a day because of an underperforming co-worker, you have to ask yourself: are those extra few minutes worth causing potential conflict over? If it’s really not a big deal – but you still bring it up to your co-worker or boss – you might come off as having a negative attitude or being whiny. So just make sure it’s an issue that really does need to be addressed.

What can you do to deal with the situation?

For instance, you may be taking on extra work from a co-worker because they’re getting extra work from the boss. They may simply have too much on their plate to get it all done. If this is the case, bring it up to them and suggest ways to work toward a positive resolution.

If, however, it’s simply a case of them not doing their work, then you need to establish boundaries. You need to be very clear with them what you’re willing to do…and what you’re not. Otherwise, you could wind up being pushed around.

At what point should you talk to the boss?

Your boss is probably extremely busy and expects employees to solve problems on their own. That’s why it’s important to make sure the issue is really worthy of their attention before you bring it up to them. Keep in mind, bringing it up to them could inadvertently send the message that you’re not able to handle these issues on your own, without hand-holding.

However, if you’re still convinced this is an issue that needs addressing by your manager, be as specific as possible. Don’t just say: “Jim is being lazy.” Make sure you have examples of the specific behavior in question and what’s not working.

Interested in making a move to a different opportunity?

If you’re tired of picking up the slack of your co-worker and are ready to look for something new, Adams & Garth can help. As one of the leading employment agencies in Harrisonburg, we can help you with your job search from start to finish, from crafting a strong resume to matching you with a job opportunity that’s a better fit for you.

Contact Adams & Garth today to get started.

4 Ways to Improve Hiring at Your Company

August 16th, 2016

As a manager, one of your most important tasks is hiring. But, as one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows it’s certainly not always easy. Not only is it time consuming and costly, but the stakes are high when you consider the consequences of a hiring mistake.

If you’ve had hiring issues in the past, or are looking to avoid mistakes in the future, here are 4 ways you can improve your company’s hiring process now:

#1: Post candidate-centric job descriptions.

Finding the right candidate starts with posting great job descriptions. If you’re not careful and precise, you could end up attracting weak candidates, or ones who are a poor fit for your company. So how can you make your job postings better?

It’s important to give candidates a clear picture about what the job entails – think “a day in the life of”. But just as important, you must demonstrate what your company can do for potential employees. In other words, why should they want to work for you?

#2: Leverage technology.

The vast majority of top talent wants to work for companies that are digitally sophisticated. That’s why you have to go beyond the job boards – and leverage the power of social media in your recruitment efforts.

These days most candidates search for jobs on their smart phones or tablets. It’s therefore also important to ensure your website is mobile friendly.

In addition, when you have a few strong candidates on your radar, check out their social media profiles – especially on LinkedIn and other social media sites geared towards professionals – to find out key information that can tell you whether they’d be a good fit for your job.

#3: Look for the right soft skills.

When hiring, you have to go beyond technical skills and look for candidates with the right mix of soft skills. Skills like interpersonal, problem solving, communication and emotional intelligence are crucial for success on the job, regardless of the field you’re hiring for.

It’s also important to assess personality too. For instance, when you’re hiring a front desk receptionist, they should be an outgoing, friendly person who enjoys dealing with people. On the flip side, if you’re looking to hire someone for data entry, look for those who are more comfortable behind the scenes and who like to focus on speed and precision.

#4: Strengthen your interview process.

Oftentimes, hiring mistakes are caused by a weak interview process. Whether interviewers aren’t trained in best practices or are pressed for time, it can result in poor hiring decisions.

To avoid this, it’s important to make sure interviewers are trained on interviewing techniques and given the time and resources to thoroughly vet each candidate. It’s also important that interviewers ask the right questions. Otherwise, they won’t effectively get behind the candidate mask to assess each job contender.

Hiring is hard work. But when you invest the time and resources – especially in ensuring interviewers are well trained – it will pay off in the form of top quality new hires.

Do you need more help with your hiring process? Call the experts at 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 top talent, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

Etiquette Alert! 5 Tips for Minding Your Manners in a Job Interview

August 9th, 2016

A great resume and strong interview skills are important to landing a new job. But so are your manners.

In fact, as one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows your behavior and attitude, and the etiquette you follow can have a big impact on your job search success. Not matter how well qualified you are for a particular opportunity, if you’re rude or buck the traditions of interview etiquette, you’re in for poor results.

To help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, here are 5 tips for minding your manners during your next job interview:

Tip #1: Be polite to everyone you meet.

From the person who schedules your interview to the front desk receptionist to the hiring manager, it’s important to be courteous to everyone you come in contact with during the hiring process. You never know who’s reporting back to the decision maker about their impression of you.

Tip #2: Turn your phone off or to silent.

You don’t want a hiring manager to remember you as the candidate who’s phone kept ringing during the interview. To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure you turn your phone off, or at least have it set to silent. If you don’t – and it continuously rings – you’re sending the message that the interview is not your top priority.

Tip #3: Listen carefully – and don’t cut people off.

Don’t be the annoying candidate who constantly cuts off the hiring manager mid-question. Let the interviewer finish their thoughts before you start answering. Also, it’s important to listen carefully so you don’t ask about information that was already covered.

Tip #4: Follow up after interviews.

When your interview is over, follow up with an email or handwritten thank you note afterward. If you promised to send additional information – such as work samples or a list of references – be sure to send that promptly, as well.

Tip #5: But don’t pester.

If you don’t hear back right away, don’t pester the hiring manager. Managers are busy people who don’t have time to answer multiple emails from anxious candidates.

If, however, it’s been three weeks since you’ve heard anything and you were promised a decision in a week, then it’s certainly appropriate to send a polite inquiry about the status of the job.

Don’t let bad manners or rude behavior impact your ability to land the job. Instead, follow the tips above so you put your best foot forward during your next interview.

Need more help in your job search? Call the employment experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville, we can help you craft a strong resume, prepare for interviews, and connect you with employers offering rewarding opportunities. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

6 Tips for Creating a Culture of Learning at Your Company

August 2nd, 2016

As experienced recruiters in Harrisonburg, Adams & Garth knows that to stay a step ahead of the competition, it’s important for your employees to always be learning. Not only will it lead to company-wide innovations, but a culture of learning also:

  • Increases efficiency
  • Enhances employee satisfaction and decreases turnover
  • Develops a sense of ownership and pride among staff
  • Creates a culture of curiosity, inquiry and sharing
  • Enables employees to adapt quickly to change

If you’d like to create a culture of learning at your company, here are 6 tips to follow:

Tip #1: Set the tone.

No one will want to serve as a mentor, or take up the opportunity to be mentored, if you’re not leading by example. It’s important that your team sees you coaching and developing employees yourself.

Tip #2: Create a formal training and development plan.

If you want learning to become ingrained in your culture, it’s important to create a formal training and development plan and mandate it for all individuals. If it’s not required for everyone, then it runs the risk of falling by the wayside.

Tip #3: Communicate the benefits.

Getting your people to buy into a culture of learning requires that you communicate what they’ll get out of it. Give specific examples of how learning initiatives have helped with your own career success. Also talk specifically about the benefits each employee will enjoy through participating and how it can positively impact their careers and the company as a whole.

Tip #4: Create dynamic learning opportunities.

Don’t just require employees to watch a dry training video. If, for instance, you’re trying to teach them about the benefits of social media in marketing your company, invite a dynamic social media speaker in for a lunch-and-learn. If a manager is struggling with running meetings efficiently, pair them with another experienced manager who’s great at leading meetings so they can share tips and advice.

Tip #5: Give recognition.

When employees successfully learn new skills, recognize them for it. Praise and positive feedback will not only serve to motivate them, but also encourage other employees to follow suit.

Tip #6: Monitor, measure, and modify.

To truly create a culture of learning, you need to regularly monitor and measure your efforts – and then make modifications where needed. One way to do that is through garnering feedback about each training session from employees, so you can learn about what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Creating a culture of learning doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s an investment that can pay off in the long run in the form of more engaged, knowledgeable and productive employees – and higher rates of retention.

Need help hiring engaged, knowledgeable, productive people for your team? Call Adams & Garth. As leading recruiters in Harrisonburg, we know that attracting the right candidates can be hard work. But we’ve got the skills, experience, and proven processes in place to assist you.

Next time you need to hire, contact Adams & Garth. We can help.

Does it Matter if You’re Interviewed First, Last – or Somewhere in Between?

July 26th, 2016

A potential employer asks you in for an interview. They ask: “When can you come in? 9 am or 4 pm?” Does your decision matter? Can being interviewed first, last, or at some point in between impact your chances of getting the job?

There are actually conflicting opinions surrounding this issue. Some experts argue that it’s, in fact, best to go first. According to an article published in Psychological Science by Uri Simonsohn of the Wharton School and Francesca Gino of the Harvard Business School, researchers found that candidates interviewed earlier in the process received a more objective evaluation.

The reason? The researchers stated it was because the interviewers were reluctant to give a high score to a candidate who followed consecutive candidates who also received high scores.

However, other experts believe the end of the day is the best time for an interview. In contract to those who tout early morning interviews, they believe there’s an advantage to being fresh in the minds of the interviewing committee once the interviews are over.

And the controversy doesn’t end there.

In addition to times, there’s also a question as to when is the best day to schedule an interview: Monday, Friday, or mid-week? Some experts advise mid-week, from Tuesday to Thursday. The logic is that you’ll then have the hiring manager’s full attention, rather than if you were to schedule an interview on a hectic Monday morning or at the end of the day, right before the weekend.

Some theories say first thing is better, and others believe the last interview slot will be remembered more. But really, as one of the leading employment agencies in Staunton, Adams & Garth knows interview order doesn’t make a huge impact.

If you’re a terrific candidate with a strong track record – and you can effectively articulate your skills, experience and fit for the job – the hiring manager isn’t going to forget you…whether you interview at 9 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. Likewise, if you’re a weak fit, going first or last in the interview process isn’t going to increase your odds of getting the job.

That’s why you shouldn’t worry too much about interview order. Instead, schedule your job interviews during a time when it’s most convenient for both you and the prospective employer.

Do you need more help finding your next job in Staunton? Call the employment experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Staunton – and Central Virginia, we work with some of the top employers throughout Central Virginia and we can connect you with opportunities that are oftentimes not advertised.

Contact us today to learn more or search our Staunton jobs now.

School Days: 4 Tips for Creating a Training Plan for Your Team

July 19th, 2016

In just another month, it’s back-to-school season for students. But what about education for your employees? Do you have a training program in place to help them learn, improve and develop?

As leading Staunton recruiters, Adams & Garth knows when it comes to training, efforts are typically focused on new hires or entry level workers. However, studies show that training for employees across all levels can yield big benefits in the form of improved performance and higher productivity. In addition, it can also boost retention efforts by demonstrating your company’s commitment to its employees.

To help you take advantage of these benefits, here are 4 tips to keep in mind when creating a training plan for your team:

Tip #1: Assess your needs.

Before you create a training program, you must first evaluate:

  • Your company’s strategic objectives, mission, vision, philosophy and weaknesses.
  • Your employees’ overall performance, along with strengths and weaknesses, including any skill gaps that can be addressed through training.
  • Your own observations about where employees feel confident and where they feel ill equipped.
  • Workplace regulations and changes your company needs to make to remain in compliance.

Tip #2: Know your audience.

Different people learn differently. So it’s important to address the diverse learning needs of your employees. Some may learn better via written instructions, videos and handouts; others will absorb more through online interactive assignments. Other employees, like tactile learners, will learn best through live demonstrations and practice scenarios. So it’s important to know who your audience is – and the most effective way to teach them.

Tip #3: Get buy-in.

Adults learn differently than children do. That’s why it’s important that you customize your training approach to the needs of your adult learners. For instance, get trainees involved in the curriculum by asking for their feedback and advice on topics to cover and approaches to take. In addition, it’s important to show employees how they’ll benefit from the training program and specifically, how it will help them improve performance.

Tip #4: Track efforts.

Make sure you establish metrics so you can track progress of the training program. Also, once the program is underway, solicit feedback from your employees so you can find out what they found most helpful and areas where the program can be improved, as well as topics to cover in the future.

Do you need more tips on how to hire and retain top talent for your team? Call the staffing experts at Adams & Garth. As leading Staunton recruiters, we can give you access to top candidates that will hit the ground running at your company – and help you train and retain them going forward. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.