Adams & Garth Blog

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.

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.