Adams & Garth Blog

Conducting Employee Reviews With Underperformers

December 16th, 2014

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Staunton – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows whether you’re the boss or an employee, you likely view the performance review process as a painful one. But it can seem even more excruciating when you have to conduct an evaluation with an employee who is underperforming.

How can you approach the awkward conversation and make it as effective as possible? Here are some tips to help you get your less-than-stellar team member back on track:

Determine the Root Cause of the Problems

It’s never a good idea to go into a performance review and just wing it. But this is especially true with an underperforming employee. You need to take the time to think about what’s causing the problem so you can work with your employee to address it. Ask yourself:

  • Is this person a bad fit for the job?
  • Do they lack the required skills?
  • Are they being given enough training and support?
  • Am I giving them enough feedback throughout the year?
  • Do they understand what’s expected of them?
  • Do they have clear performance goals and objectives?

What you might find out is that you are contributing in some way to the poor performance. So don’t simply concentrate on what a problem employee is doing wrong; you may need to make some changes, as well.

Get Feedback From Others

Before your performance reviews, ask other employees and managers for their input on the situation. You may want to conduct a 360 review, or connect with the individual’s past boss at the company and ask for their advice on the matter. When you have conversations like these, handle them with care and keep them confidential.

Have a Conversation With the Underperformer

Though it can be tempting, don’t lecture an employee on everything they’re doing wrong. To engage the employee in the process, it’s important to have a conversation. Explain to them what you’re seeing and how it’s affecting the team. Make it clear you want to help them and ask them for their take on the situation. Work together to brainstorm solutions. Keep in mind, your employee may need some time to digest the information you’re presenting, so don’t expect an immediate resolution.

Create a Plan of Action

Work with your employee to create a plan to get them back on track. Talk about what you’re each going to do differently and settle on goals and measurable actions that you can use to monitor progress. Make sure part of the conversation involves the resources your employee will have access to in order to accomplish the goals and expectations you’ve set forth. The last thing you want to do is set them up for failure.

Monitor Progress

Make sure you follow up. Check in with your employee regularly and set up formal touchpoint meetings to talk about progress, challenges and successes.

And whatever you do, don’t ignore issues with problem employees. Though they can be uncomfortable to talk about, it’s a must if you don’t want them to fester and affect the morale on your team.

Need help hiring top performers? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Staunton – and Central Virginia, our trained specialists can take the hassle out of hiring, so you get the skilled, hard-working employees you need. Contact us today to learn more.

Should You Give Your Boss a Gift This Holiday Season?

December 9th, 2014

To gift, or not to gift? That is the question when it comes to your boss this holiday season.

As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows that some employees buy their bosses gifts each year, while others are on the fence about whether or not to do so, or how much to spend. If you fall into the latter category, then you’re certainly not alone. It’s tricky because if you don’t buy a gift and your co-workers do, you may look unappreciative. On the flip side, if you get too big of a gift, then your boss and colleagues may think you’re sucking up.

To help you decide what to do, consider the following:

  • Employers should typically be the ones giving to their employees during the holiday season to thank them for their dedication and hard work. So don’t feel like you need to get your boss a gift just to keep your job or look good.
  • That said, you might feel truly grateful for the opportunities your boss has afforded you and want to get them a gift to show your thanks. If that’s the case, then avoid being overly extravagant. Oftentimes, the best gifts aren’t the biggest. So consider something small, like a hand-written note with a gift certificate to your boss’s favorite lunch spot or a basket of treats. Avoid gifts that can be seen as too personal, like perfume or jewelry, or too pricey. You don’t want to offend your boss or make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Another option for gift-giving is to join forces with your co-workers and purchase one large gift for your boss. Ask your colleagues to contribute as much as they are comfortable with and then make a group decision about what to get your boss. That way, everyone feels included and on equal footing.
  • If you’re a new employee at the company, ask around for what is typical this time of year. You may find out most of your co-workers don’t purchase gifts for the boss, or that everyone pools their money to purchase one gift. Whatever the case, when you know the precedent, you can follow it.

Looking for a new boss this holiday season? Call 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.

Celebrating the Holidays at Work

December 2nd, 2014

It’s that time of year and employees want to celebrate. What are the benefits of embracing the holiday spirit – and in what ways can your company do so?

The Benefits of Holiday Celebrations:

  • Allows employees to relax and recharge.
  • Boosts morale, which in turn increases employee motivation and productivity. When employees are motivated, they deliver greater organizational success.
  • Enhances loyalty, thereby reducing the attrition rates of the organization.
  • Fosters an environment of caring and respect, enhancing the bond among employees.
  • Reaffirms a company’s desire to create a “family-like” atmosphere and reflects how much an employer cares for employees. Also sends a positive message that you value and respect your team.

Tips for Celebrating the Holidays at Your Company

Create a Planning Committee

The group should include those from across the company who will plan and implement holiday events.

Give Back

Make a donation on behalf of your employees for a cause that aligns with the beliefs and values of your company. Make sure to communicate the impact of the contribution with employees. Also, get employees involved in selecting the cause to support.

Recognize Top Performers

However you do celebrate, make sure to announce employee successes over the past year by recognizing both individuals, as well as teams. For instance, you can present service or performance awards to show appreciation to staff while they’re among their peers and business leaders.

Don’t Forget About Diversity

Not everyone celebrates the holidays, so be respectful of different religious views. Pay attention to the diverse customs and needs of your entire workforce so everyone feels included.

Reinforce Company Policies

Instances of inappropriate behavior, like sexual harassment, are higher during this time of year. That’s why it’s important for companies to remind employees that policies are still applicable during company events.

Have a Good Time

Regardless of how you celebrate the holiday season, what employees will remember most is how the event made them feel. So whatever your company does, just make sure it’s appropriate for your unique workplace and culture and that people have fun and feel appreciated.

Understaffed during the holidays? The holidays are a busy time of year for many companies. If yours is one of them, call Adams & Garth. As leading Staunton recruiters, we can give you access to top candidates throughout Central Virginia that will hit the ground running at your firm. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Help! I Love My Job, But Hate My Boss

November 25th, 2014

Love your job? Can’t stand your boss? As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows you’re not alone. There are countless employees out there who loves their positions, but hate those they report to. If you’re in this situation, what should you do? Jump ship, or try to make it work? To help you, consider the following:

Check yourself.

Consider your role in the problem. For instance, your boss may have issues with you because you’re not performing well on the job. So if you’re five minutes late every day, behind on your work, and not reaching productivity goals, then strive to improve and better meet your boss’s expectations.

Become an ally.

Your job is to work for your boss and support his or her initiatives. So be proactive to learn about your boss’s expectations and priorities, then get to work helping them achieve their goals. A boss who knows that you are actively supporting their best interests will come to view you as an ally, improving your relationship in the long run.

Set up regular status updates.

On a regular basis, check in with your boss and bring him or her up to date on the projects you’re working on. These conversations will not only keep your boss in the loop, but also facilitate a more positive working relationship.

Go over your boss’s head.

If your boss is creating a truly toxic environment no matter how hard you work to rectify the situation, then you may want to talk to their boss or go to HR. Before you do so, though, document the offenses in writing for a certain period of time (for instance, a week, a month, or a quarter), then discuss the issue with your boss’s supervisor and/or Human Resources.

Move on.

If you’ve made attempts to change the working relationship with a bad boss and have still come up empty handed, it may be time to move on. That said, you should try to stick it out until you find a new opportunity. Here’s why:

  • It’s much easier to find a new job when you’re employed. If you aren’t, hiring managers will wonder why you aren’t working. And fair or not, hiring managers place a higher value on those who already have a job than those who don’t.
  • Finding a new position can take a long time. In today’s employment marketplace, it can take up to a year – or more – to find a new job. Are you financially prepared to be unemployed for that long? If not, then keep your job until you find a new one. The last thing you want is to accept a bad fit job just because you’re under financial pressure.
  • It’s easier to explain why you don’t want your current manager contacted as a reference. If you’re searching for a new job while employed, it makes sense that you don’t want prospective employers contacting your manager. However, if you’re unemployed and don’t want them to contact a former manager, they’ll wonder why.

If you’d like professional help with your job search, call Adams & Garth. 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. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

Warning: Be Wary of This Candidate

November 18th, 2014

As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows making a bad hire is expensive. Worse, it also means you likely missed out on hiring someone great. So how can filter out those candidates who perform well during the hiring process, but will fall apart once on the job? Here’s a look at a few traits to be on the lookout for:

They’re too vague.

In the business world, generalizations simply don’t cut it. It’s important for you to know facts, figures and details when it comes to hiring the right person for the job. If you continually probe a candidate for these specifics – and come up empty handed – then move onto another candidate with a proven track record they can talk about.

They ramble.

Sure, rambling might be a sign of nervousness in an interview. But it’s also a sign that a candidate might not really understand what you’re asking them. Not being able to provide a concise answer could also mean they’re ill-prepared or have weak communication skills.

They’re too casual.

Whether they show up to the job interview dressed inappropriately, or they seem to have a lack of regard for you or your staff, then it’s a sign of what’s to come if you hire this person. Ditto if they seem overly tense and stressed out.

They don’t know much about your company.

Once you start asking questions, it quickly becomes clear a candidate knows next to nothing about your company. The best candidates will not only know the basics, but also the unique value they can offer you. If a candidate isn’t going to spend any time learning about your company before the interview, then it shows a lack of attention to detail and professionalism.

They’re negative.

A candidate who is critical or openly bashes a former boss, co-worker or employer may carry that resentment over to their new position. In addition, making negative comments shows a lack of tact, as well as poor judgment.

They don’t ask questions. 

Candidates can’t find out if they’re a good fit for you if they don’t ask questions. So be wary of those who don’t. It’s an indication they’re unenthusiastic about the job, not prepared, or lazy.

They focus on the perks.

An initial interview should be about a candidate learning more about the company, the role and your needs. If it seems like they’re asking too many questions about vacation time and salary, then it’s a sign “the perks” are the priority, not the work.

When a candidate shows the signs above, then filter them out of the running and move onto other, stronger individuals. And if you need help with the candidate sourcing process, 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 top talent, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

How to Get Job Search Help From Your Network

November 11th, 2014

When you’re searching for a new job, one of the first areas to look to is your network of colleagues, friends and family. As one of Charlottesville’s leading employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows that many times, job opportunities aren’t posted or advertised, so you won’t learn about them unless you’re referred by someone you know. That said, there’s a right way – and a wrong way – to leverage the power of your network to help you find the job you want. To help you, here are a few tips:

Contact people individually.

Don’t send out a mass email to everyone in your address book. Instead, think of those individuals who work in industries that are most likely to need people like you. Then call or email each one of them separately. They’ll be much more likely to respond and help you when you communicate directly. Why? Because when people are a part of a group email, they’re going to assume that someone else on the list will respond and help you.

Don’t be generic.

Don’t tell your network that you’re looking for “anything.” They won’t be able to point you in the direction of jobs that are a good fit for you. Instead, be as specific as possible when it comes to the kind of position you want and the type of company you want to work for. For instance, let your network know you’re looking for “a full-time job as a bookkeeper at a small to medium size company.”

Reach outside of your field.

Even if you work within a certain field, don’t limit yourself to only networking inside it. Otherwise, you may miss out on a great opportunity. Connect with those outside your industry too because they may know about jobs or hiring initiatives at companies you hadn’t initially considered.

Be tactful.

It’s annoying when someone you reach out to doesn’t get back to you. But don’t take offense. They could be incredibly busy, don’t think you’re a good fit for the position, or have a personal crisis on their hands. You never know what an individual is going through. So if you contacted someone a couple times and they haven’t returned your call or email, don’t get aggressive. Simply cross them off your list and focus instead on those who can help you.

Looking for jobs in Charlottesville? Get help from Adams & Garth. As one of Charlottesville’s leading employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Search our Charlottesville jobs now or contact us today.

The ABC’s of Your Company’s Career Pages

November 4th, 2014

It’s been a while since job seekers turned to the likes of newspapers to find out about potential job opportunities. Today’s candidates, instead, turn first to the Internet, scouring social media sites and job boards for positions.

But, as leading Virginia recruiters, Adams & Garth knows it’s not enough to simply post openings on these websites. It’s important, too, for your company to have a designated career website or careers web pages on your corporate website. So what should be on them?

Besides job postings, effective careers pages will offer the job seeker a clear sense of who you are as a company, what kinds of people work there, and why a candidate should would want to work there too. These pages should not only represent the personality of the company, but they should also appeal to the type of talent you’re trying to attract.

To help you build effective career pages, here are a few tips to follow:

Publish strong content that showcases your company’s personality.

When it comes to your career pages, your goal is put a face on your company. To do so, you need to regularly publish engaging and interesting content that gives job seekers a glimpse of the company’s mission, vision, values and brand. You can do so in a variety of ways, including:

  • Publishing a blog with articles authored by employees;
  • Uploading snapshots that showcase your office environment; and
  • Posting videos that enable employees to share what they like most about working at the company.

Build a simple application process.

Remember, you’re not using your application process to make a hiring decision. You’re simply trying to hone in on good candidates and filter out weak ones. That being said, many companies make the mistake of including a long, convoluted application process on their websites. The end result is frustrated and disengaged job seekers who give up before submitting anything.

Instead, keep it simple with your application process. Keep in mind, you should be using the phone screening and interviewing process (not the application process) to meaningful questions that reveal a candidate’s true nature.

Focus on the candidate.

Your career pages shouldn’t be all about you; instead, they should be about what you, as an employer, can offer to potential employees. With that in mind, avoid promoting your company products and services on you career pages. Instead, focus on educating job seekers about why they should want to work at your organization.

Promote your career pages.

Use your social media profiles, job board accounts and email signature to promote your career pages and drive candidates to them. After all, if you spend ample time and effort in building these pages, you want to ensure your target audience knows about them and is viewing them.

If you’d like more help recruiting top talent for your company, call Adams & Garth.  We can not only give you access to top candidates, but also help you ensure they will hit the ground running at your firm. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.


Do You Need a Video Resume?

October 28th, 2014

Making an impression on hiring managers is an important part of finding a new job in Central Virginia. After all, they get dozens if not hundreds of resumes from applicants – so standing out among them is critically important.

But does that mean you need a video resume?

Unless the job listing specifically requests that you submit one, the answer is “probably not.” If you have a solid background with the right skill set for the opportunity, then that’s what’s going to sell you as a strong candidate for the position…not a video resume.

In addition, a video resume can actually harm your chances of landing an interview. For instance, if a job listing does not call for a video resume to be submitted, a hiring manager might be frustrated by yours because they want to simply scan cover letters and resumes, not commit a lot of time to watching a video resume.

So when it comes to applying for positions, stick with the tried-and-true cover letter and resume. Spend ample time polishing and customizing yours for each opportunity you apply to. When you do – and your skill set is a match for a position – you will stand out to a hiring manager, all without a video resume.

That said, when a job listing does call for one, how can you develop a video resume that’s professional?

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Dress for success in the video. That means wearing what you would to a job interview.
  • Make sure the room you record in is quiet and neutral so there are no visual or audio distractions.
  • Make eye contact with the camera.
  • Start off your recording by stating your name and the job opening you are applying for. Segue into discussing your background and why it’s a good fit for the opportunity and the company.
  • Don’t ramble on. If you get an interview, you’ll have plenty of time to talk about all your accomplishments. Just focus on a few keys ones that are truly relevant for the job you are interested in.
  • Be mindful of your pace. You don’t want to talk too quickly or too slowly. Instead, try to keep a natural pace.
  • Once you’ve completed your video resume, upload it to a site like Vimeo or YouTube so you can share the link with employers. Be sure to include it too on your LinkedIn profile.

And if you need help standing out to hiring managers – and landing a new job in Central Virginia, please contact Adams & Garth. We’ve partnered with leading employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields.

Do You Have A “Healthy” Office?

October 21st, 2014

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Culpeper – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows that in today’s culture, health and a person’s well-being are important to workers. Is your workplace set to help with that? If not, here are a few tips for improving your office:

Tip #1: Add Plants to Your Office Space.

There are plenty of benefits to adding some green to your indoor space, including the fact that indoor plants have been proven to reduce stress and many actually clean pollutants out of the air. That said, unless you want to spend a lot of time tending to said plants, look for varieties that are hardy and require minimal care.

Tip #2: Use Natural Lighting.

According to studies, natural light reduces stress and fatigue. It’s also ideal for improving mood and enhancing productivity. So try to minimize the use of overhead fluorescents and take advantage of windows and skylights instead. If you can, hold meetings and brainstorming sessions outdoors.

Tip #3: Make Sure Everyone Has Comfortable Seating.

Ensure all your staff members have ergonomically correct chairs with adjustable heights and arms. This kind of seating has been manufactured after years of research into body movements, skeletal stress and postures that lead to pain and ache. The end result is maximum comfort, improved health and higher productivity.

Tip #4: Encourage Breaks

Everyone needs a break during the day. But some office cultures seem to reward those who work around the clock. While this might offer short-term gains, in the long run, it will lead to burned out employees.

That’s why it’s so important to encourage your staff to take breaks throughout the day. Whether it’s getting up to stretch and grab a beverage, or going for a 10-minute walk outside, your employees will have a chance to decompress, clear their minds and renew their energy. In addition, stepping away from work can actually provide some much-needed clarity about a challenging problem or project.

Tip #5: Offer Healthy Snacks

Keep snacks on hand for staff members to munch on during busy days and long-running meetings. Think nuts, dried and fresh fruit and trail mix. Not only are these delicious and nutritious, but they also help your employees keep their energy levels up.

Your employees spend most of their time at work. The environment they operate in is therefore critically important and can impact their overall success on the job. To benefit the health of your employees – and your company – be sure to develop a culture that is conducive to good health and well being.

Need help hiring for your company? Contact Adams & Garth. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Culpeper – and 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 candidates so we can find the ones who are a great fit for you.


14 Questions Every Candidate Must Ask During a Job Interview

October 14th, 2014

As Virginia’s job search experts, Adams & Garth knows that too often candidates go to interviews expecting to be interrogated. But when it comes to determining whether or a not a potential job is right for you, it’s vital that you conduct your own cross-examination. The last thing you want is to accept a position that isn’t at all what you thought it would be – just because you didn’t ask the right questions during the interview.

Asking questions can help you dig deeper and learn more about the culture, the company leadership, their management style and employee retention. These are all critical factors when it comes to deciding whether the opportunity is a good match not just for your skill set, but for your personality and lifestyle as well.

To help you assess your next potential job, be sure to ask these questions:

1. How long did the last person who held the position stay?

2. Why did they leave?

3. What are some of the obstacles of this job?

4. What constitutes success in this position?

5. Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?

6. Can you tell me about my potential boss’s management style?

7. What kind of person meshes well with it?

8. How would you describe the company culture?

9. What’s one thing you would change about the culture if you could?

10. What do you like most about working here?

11. What do you like least?

12. What types of people tend to thrive within the company?

13. What types of people wouldn’t fare as well in it?

14. What are the company’s plans for new products or growth?

Also, before the interview ends, be sure ask the interviewer about the next steps in the hiring process, as well as when they expect to make a hiring decision. If you don’t, you’ll spend the next week agonizing about your performance in the interview, whether you got the job, and when you’ll get a call about it. When you ask about next steps too, it gives you an opening to follow up with the interviewer if you don’t hear back within the allotted time. So, for instance, if they told you they’d make a decision by Friday and it’s now the following Tuesday, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to follow up.

Looking for a great new job in Lynchburg? Call Adams & Garth. As Virginia’s job search experts, we can offer you a variety of services to help you find a new job and advance your career. Contact us today to learn more or search our Virginia jobs now.