Adams & Garth Blog

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.

What If You Don’t Want That Big Promotion?

July 12th, 2016

You’re dependable, smart, hard working – and a big promotion is right around the corner thanks to your efforts. But what if you don’t want one? You’re happy where you are in your career and have no desire for the stress and responsibility that inevitably comes with moving up.

As one of the leading employment agencies in Harrisonburg, Adams & Garth knows if you’re offered a job promotion – and you’re not thrilled about it – handling this tricky situation can be tough. But it’s up to you to talk with your boss and explain where you’re coming from.

When doing so, keep in mind the old adage – “It’s not you, it’s me.” Even if it really is about the job being offered, spin it in a way that’s going to least offend your boss.

How do you do that?

First and foremost, it’s important to show gratitude about the opportunity being offered. It can help lessen the blow for your boss and those around you. For instance, “I’m so flattered that you’re offering me this position. The truth is that I would love to take it, but…

So how do you fill in the blank?

Be honest without highlighting any of your own shortcomings, or pointing fingers. For instance, explain:

  • How much you love your current role and the fact that you have big plans for it going forward. Talk about your goals for the next three, six, nine and 12 months and how you want to see them come to fruition. Discuss the value you want can provide in your existing position and how it will make a difference for your boss, the team and the company.
  • Why you don’t believe you’re the best person for the job – for instance, because you have small kids at home, or elderly parents you’re caring for and it’s not a good time for you to be taking on an expanded role at work.
  • Your overall career path, where you see yourself in five years, and why the promotion doesn’t fit in with that vision.

Also, if you work alongside someone whom you do think would be a great fit for the job, let your boss know. It shows that you care about the success of your co-workers and the organization – and can hopefully help get you off the hook for a job you don’t want.

Interested in learning about other jobs in Harrisonburg? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Harrisonburg – and Central Virginia, we can help you with your search from start to finish, from crafting a strong resume to matching you with an opportunity that’s a great fit for you.

Contact Adams & Garth today to get started.

Handle With Care: How to Deliver Bad News to a Good Employee

July 5th, 2016

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows that giving bad news is hard. As a manager, though, it’s also a part of your job.

But what if you don’t agree with the news – for instance, a decision was made among the higher ups not to promote your top employee, or to turn down a raise request from one of your hardest workers? It can make an awkward situation all the more difficult.

Here are 5 tips for how you can best handle the situation:

Tip #1. Know before you go.

Clearly, you need to have a discussion with your employee. However, before you go to a meeting with them, make sure you have answers about the situation. For instance, who made the final decision and what was their rationale?

Your employee will undoubtedly ask these kinds of questions and it’s up to you to get answers ahead of time. You may also want to prepare and rehearse exactly what you’re going to say to your employee.

Tip #2. Be clear.

Even if you don’t agree with the final decision, you don’t want to give your employee mixed messages. Instead, explain the decision and why it was made. Be thoughtful and compassionate about how you deliver the message – but also very clear.

Also, be mindful of your body language during this conversation. For instance, make sure you look your employee in the eye and don’t fidget or try to evade questions.

Tip #3. Explain “the why” behind the decision.

It’s hard for an employee to accept an unfavorable decision or bad news if they don’t understand “the why” behind the decision. However, if you explain the rationale – and the decision-making process that was used, there’s a much better chance that they can accept the situation and move on.

Tip #4. Let your employee vent.

No doubt your employee will be upset about the decision. And it’s important for you to acknowledge their disappointment.

However, even if you disagree with the final decision, don’t share your misgivings with your employee. Instead, explain how this particular decision was made, and that you and the rest of the executive team are going to look at how these decisions are made going forward. Don’t get into a debate with them about whether or not the decision was a good one.

Tip #5. Talk next steps.

Give your employee a few days to process the decision. Once they have, meet again to discuss next steps going forward. For instance, if they were turned down for a promotion, have a conversation with them about what they need to do going forward to get promoted and how you plan to help them.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows that giving bad news is never fun – especially when it’s to a really good employee. But by following the tips above, you can handle the situation with care, while still ensuring your staff member stays on track.

Need help hiring for your team? Let us know. With more than 15 years of staffing and recruiting experience right here in Charlottesville, we can help you source, hire and retain top employees for a variety of positions. Contact us today to learn more.



What’s a Pain Letter – & Should I Be Using One in My Job Search?

June 28th, 2016

Writing a cover letter is a tough job. How do you convince the hiring manager you’re right for the position in just a few paragraphs?

One recent trend is to send in a “pain letter” rather than just a cover letter. A pain letter is simply where you talk about a hiring manager’s biggest problem – i.e. “the pain” – and then explain how you can solve it. Some experts so that in doing so, you showcase your skills and experience, your knowledge of the company, and your desire to make a contribution.

But are pain letters really a good idea? After all, how do you really know what a hiring manager’s biggest pains are?

Sometimes, the answer is right in the job description. For instance, the job description might say something like:

“We’re looking for a social media manager who can develop an effective strategy and improve our presence on various social media channels.”

Once you know the specific pain point (lack of strategy and visibility on social media in the example above), you can get to work crafting a letter that shows how you can relieve the issue for the employer.

That said, if you can’t figure out a specific pain point, don’t try to guess at it. If you do – and you’re off the mark, you’ll appear presumptive and out of touch to the hiring manager. Instead, aim to frame your cover letter in terms of what the hiring manager needs (a finance whiz, an administrative guru, or whatever the case may be) and how you will excel in the position.

Keep in mind, the best way to stand out to a hiring manager isn’t to follow the latest trends. It’s to have a solid resume with a proven record of success and write a compelling cover letter that explains why you’re a great fit for the job.

A few other cover letter writing tips include:

  • Tell a story – in other words, why you want to work at the company, or why you first entered your career field.
  • Don’t regurgitate your resume. Include new information on your cover letter.
  • Use numbers where you can to quantify accomplishments.
  • Don’t be overly formal; be professional yet friendly.
  • Customize each letter for the different positions you apply to.
  • Keep it short – no more than one page.

Need more help writing cover letters – or finding your next dream job in Central Virginia? Call the employment experts at Adams & Garth. We can connect you with leading employers and top jobs throughout Central Virginia. Call us today to find out more.

5 Traits Your Small Business Should Hire For

June 21st, 2016

As leading Staunton recruiters, Adams & Garth knows when you run a small business, every employee on staff can have a big impact on your bottom line. Not only are they the face of your company, but their successes and failures behind the scenes can dictate whether you flounder or flourish.

With that in mind, how can you hire the strongest people for your team? Here’s a look at 5 traits to be on the lookout for during the hiring process:

#1: A High Level of Enthusiasm.

The right technical skills don’t mean much if an employee isn’t enthusiastic about their job and eager to learn more. So ask candidates about why they want to work at your company and take note of answers that show a sense of excitement about your business.

Also, keep an eye out for those who have a love of learning, even though they’re industry veterans. Those are the people who will bring innovation and creativity to your company – along with a competitive advantage.

#2: Easy to Get Along With.

In a large company, you may not notice difficult employees as much. But in a smaller business, a poor dynamic can truly wreak havoc. That’s why it’s important to hire those people who seem easy to get along with, have a positive attitude, and can mesh well with your existing team.

#3: Great Multi-Taskers.

When you run a small business, you wear a lot of hats…and so do your employees. As a result, it’s important to look for people who are flexible, can switch gears quickly, and manage a variety of different projects simultaneously. When interviewing candidates, ask them to tell you about a time when they had to juggle multiple projects at once.

#4: Motivated to Succeed.

When you’re running a small business, you don’t have a lot of time to hold hands. You therefore need people who are internally driven and motivated to succeed.

These are the people who will look for ways to help you grow the company – without you having to ask – and will welcome new tasks and responsibilities. When screening resumes, look for candidates who have a strong record of achievement in their past positions.

#5: Strengths Different From Your Own

It’s easy to hire people just like you. But diverse teams lead to stronger companies.

As a result, it’s important to look for and hire those with a skill set, abilities and personality different from your own. They can help you overcome any blind spots and bring a fresh perspective to the table.

Do you need more help hiring for your small business? Call the 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. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

How to Deal With Unrealistic Deadlines at Work

June 14th, 2016

As one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows that deadlines are a fact of life in the world of work. Sometimes they’re generous, and other times tight. But when you’re consistently having a hard time meeting your deadlines, it’s time to take a step back and start asking some questions. Here’s a look at 4:

#1: Are my colleagues having a hard time meeting deadlines?

When you’re consistently battling difficult deadlines, take a look around you. Are those you work with in the same boat? Or do they seem comfortable with timelines for their projects? If it’s the latter, then talk to them about what they’re doing to meet deadlines. Do they start earlier, plan differently, or delegate to others?

#2: How did the person who held this job before me meet deadlines?

If you’re relatively new in a position, ask about what your predecessor did to complete the job within the deadline. They may have come up with various shortcuts that could be helpful for you.

#3: Am I prioritizing work properly?

Take a look at all your projects and how you’re prioritizing them. Also look at how you’re spending your time during the day. Are you too focused on projects or work that has a longer deadline or isn’t priority? If so, you need to rework your schedule.

#4: What can I accomplish within the timeframe?

If you can finish 90% of the project by the due date, tell your manager as soon as your realize that fact. Then talk about how long it will take you to finish the remaining 10% and why it’s not feasible to complete it by the deadline. There may be issues or obstacles your boss isn’t aware of, so it’s up to you to bring them up.

If, after answering these questions, you come to the realization that the problem is systemic – and that all your colleagues are facing unreasonable deadlines, it’s time to have a conversation with your boss. Don’t go on the offensive. Simply have an honest discussion with your manager about deadlines and how you can collaborate to better prioritize and schedule work.

If you’re overworked in your current job and looking for something new, call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find a great new job in Central Virginia.

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

How to Let a Candidate Down in the Best Way Possible

June 7th, 2016

You’re in the process of hiring and have a clear front runner for the job. The problem? You just finished interviewing a candidate you really like and respect – but you know they’re not the best fit for this particular opportunity.

You don’t want to burn any bridges. After all, they could be an ideal match for a future position with your company. But let’s face it – it’s an awkward situation and the news you’re about to deliver won’t be welcome.

How do you let a candidate down in the best way possible?

Be responsive.

It’s understandable that you don’t want to have to let a good candidate down. However, it’s part of your job. And the faster you cut them loose so they can move onto other options, the better. Don’t drag your feet on this one. As soon as you know you’re not going to hire someone, you need to let them know too.

Keep in mind, if you keep the candidate in the dark for too long, they’re going to get upset and won’t want to apply to your company in the future. Overall, a lack of responsiveness also reflects poorly on your employer brand.

Offer feedback.

It’s not always wise to offer feedback to every candidate you don’t hire. However, if there was someone who was a close fit, just not quite right, let them know you think they’re terrific – just not the best match for this particular job. When you do, give them a specific reason why (i.e. avoid canned HR language here). For instance, let them know another candidate’s had three more years of project management experience.

Ask to stay in contact.

Job candidates are used to the “we’ll keep your resume on file for up to a year” response. So when you have a candidate who you’d really like to apply to future jobs, don’t just tell them you’ll hold onto their resume. Connect with them on LinkedIn, invite them to a networking event, and promise to keep your ears open about any future openings within the company.

It’s never fun to let a job candidate down…especially one who has great skills and experience. However, if you approach it the right way – and follow the tips above – you can let them down gently, stay in touch, and potentially bring them on board in the future.

Do you need more help finding great candidates for your job openings? Call the experts 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 quality candidates so we can find one that’s a great fit for you. Contact us today to learn more.

6 Things You Need to Know Before Re-entering the Job Market

May 24th, 2016

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows if you haven’t held a job (at least one you’ve been paid for) in the last decade, the thought of re-entering the employment market can be intimidating. After all, job searches have certainly changed a lot in recent years thanks to technology.

To help you get your hunt off to the best start possible, here are 6 things you need to know beforehand:

#1: Gone are the paper resumes.

Today, most companies will have you apply online or submit your resume and cover letter via email. This can certainly save you on the cost of postage; however, keep in mind, not all employers have user-friendly online application systems.

#2: Resume rules have changed.

Don’t plan to pull out your old resume, insert your most recent contact information, send it out to employers and expect a call for interviews. You’ll need to do some serious editing and polishing first – including:

  • Replacing your objective with a summary of qualifications;
  • Focusing on accomplishments rather than tasks in your job history; and
  • Getting rid of the “references available upon request” statement.

Also, don’t worry about cramming all your information into one page. A two-page resume is completely acceptable.

#3: Expect phone screens.

It used to be that a hiring manager would review your resume and if they were interested, call you in for an interview. Not today. Instead, phone screens are the standard first step in the interview process. This gives employers a chance to screen candidates and determine who the strongest contenders are – then invite the short list in for an interview.

#4: You’ll likely have multiple rounds of interviews.

In addition to the phone screen, many employers today also conduct at least two rounds of in person interviews. If you’re interviewing for a senior level position, expect even more. As a result, the hiring process can take several months – not the one or two months you may have expected.

#5: You’re asked to share a lot of information.

Many employers today will ask you to disclose a plethora of information – before they’ll even interview you. This includes everything from a salary history to references.

#6: You don’t always hear back.

The hiring process has become less personal over the years. That means even if you do get an interview for the job – and you don’t get the offer – you won’t always hear back from the employer.

The job search process can be a stressful one, especially if you’ve been off the market for an extended period of time. Let the employment experts at Adams & Garth help you get back up and running. 

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout Central Virginia to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. We can also help you craft a solid resume and polish your interview skills.  Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

How to Get the Most from Your Summer Interns

May 17th, 2016

Summer is just around the corner. And with the season, college students and new graduates will beginning their internships. If you’ll be managing an intern this summer, are you prepared to offer a valuable experience, so you can get the most from them? To help you in the process, here are 5 tips to consider:

#1: Create a meaningful opportunity.

Sure, your intern might be making coffee and filing. But that shouldn’t be all they do. Ambitious interns will want an opportunity to learn new skills, gain insight and make a contribution.

Start with the basics with your intern, but increasingly give them more responsibility as the summer goes on so they feel a sense of accomplishment. Teach them the tools of the trade in terms of software, whether it’s Excel or Sharepoint, to make them more marketable once they are applying for a job. And point them to books, publications, blogs and other sources of information that would be useful for them to read.

#2: Set them up with a manager.

Make sure you pair your intern with a single manager they will report to. If they’re thrown into the job without a point of contact, specific goals set for them, and someone to hold them accountable, they’ll flounder. It’s important to choose someone on your team who will enjoy and be good at managing and helping an intern.

#3: Talk big picture.

Make sure your intern understands the big picture of what your company does and how they fit in. By sharing insight into the big picture, you can bridge any knowledge gaps and help your intern be more motivated to succeed.

#4: Assign a dedicated project.

Your intern might be working on a various tasks throughout the summer. However, be sure to assign them one dedicated project that they can tackle. When you do, it will keep them focused, help them obtain new skills more quickly, and provide a means for you to measure their success.

That said, don’t assign them a project and then check in a month later. Instead, have them complete regular drafts that you or their manager can review so you can ensure they’re on the right track.

#5: Check in often.

Meet once a week with your intern to check in. This can be a quick 10-minute coffee break together, or you can invite them to lunch. But just make sure you review objectives and check on progress, and also answer any questions your intern may have.

Do you need more help hiring for your team this summer? 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 for the summer – and all year long. Contact us today to learn more.

How Long Does It Usually Take a Hiring Manager to Get Back to a Candidate?

May 10th, 2016

You’ve applied for a position you’re a great fit for. You expected to get a call for an interview within a day or two. But now it’s been over a week and you haven’t heard a thing.

Nada. Zilch. Zip.

Is this typical? And, on average, how long does it take a hiring manager to get back to a job candidate?

As one of the leading Harrisonburg employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows that rarely will a hiring manager reach out to you within a day of you submitting your application. This can happen, but it’s not likely to.

Keep in mind, hiring managers aren’t just filling the position you’re applying to. They may have a dozen other jobs they’re working on, along with a slew of duties they have to take care of each day. As a result, if it’s only been a few days, they might not have even looked at your resume yet.

Most candidates will have to wait at least a week or two to hear back. But some have reported getting a call for an interview six months after they applied for a job. While that’s not the norm, it can happen.

The lesson here?

There is no average amount of time it takes for a hiring manager to reach out to a candidate for an interview. The hiring process varies widely from company to company – and every hiring manager has a different workload and operates at different speeds.

However, one thing that’s true across the board is that you can drive yourself crazy while you’re waiting. When you’re job searching, time seems to move incredibly slow. But refreshing your email one more time won’t get a hiring manager to reach out to you any faster. Instead, focus on submitting the best possible resume and cover letter you can to each position you’re interested in.

Then move on.

That means don’t check your email every 15 minutes wondering if the hiring manager got back to you. That means stop agonizing, wondering and waiting with bated breath about the opportunity.

Instead, move onto the next job opening that interests you and focus on submitting a terrific cover letter and resume. Then rinse and repeat.

All that said, if you haven’t heard from a prospective employer within about a month, then you can probably assume you’re not in the running for the job (although that’s not written in stone either).

Would you like expert help finding your next great job? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Harrisonburg employment agencies, 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 great fit for you.

Contact Adams & Garth today to get started.