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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.