Adams & Garth Blog

5 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview

April 14th, 2015

As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville , Adams & Garth knows that these days, more and more companies conduct phone interviews before they invite you into the office for a face-to-face one. These screens can range anywhere from a 10-minute chat just to gauge your interest and qualifications, to hour-long, in depth interviews.

So how do you know which type you’re going to have – and how can you prepare for it? Here are 5 ways:

#1. Ask how long the phone interview will take.

When scheduling the interview, whether it’s with an actual hiring manager or their assistant, inquire about how much time you should schedule in for it. This way, you can make sure you don’t schedule any other events or activities too close to the phone interview.

In addition, you’ll have a good sense of just how in-depth the interviewer plans to get. A 10-minute phone screen is going to be far different from a 60-minute interview. With the latter, you’ll need to prepare just as you would for an in-person interview.

#2. Set the scene.

Make sure you schedule the phone interview during a time when the kids aren’t home and in an area that will be completely quiet (i.e. no barking dogs if the doorbell rings). Otherwise, you won’t be able to focus. And while background noise isn’t a deal-breaker, it can come across as unprofessional, hindering your chances of getting the job.

#3. Know the role.

Prepare for the phone interview ahead of time by reviewing the job description and making sure you have a solid understanding of the role. Also, think about what skills and experiences you have that are most relevant for the opportunity. You may not have a chance to highlight these, but if you are asked about them, then you’ll be prepared.

#4. Keep any notes in front of you.

One of the advantages of a phone interview is that you can keep your resume and notes right in front of you. For instance, you can write down an important skill – and the value it would offer to the potential employer – and keep those details in front of you. That way, you won’t forget points you want to get across.

In addition, you can also anticipate the kinds of questions you’ll be asked and write out answers ahead of time. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel.

#5. Be enthusiastic.

Remember, on a phone interview, a hiring manager can’t see you; he or she can only hear you. That’s why your tone of voice matters. Keep it upbeat and enthusiastic. Also, don’t speak so quickly that you’re hard to understand over the phone.

Need more help finding your next job? 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.

Help! A Fired Employee is Bashing the Company

April 7th, 2015

The problem: You fired an employee who wasn’t performing to expectation and had a bad attitude to boot. Now, weeks later, he is calling his former co-workers at the company and going to social media to badmouth your company. Even though you gave him many warnings, he thinks he wasn’t treated fairly and wants everyone to know it.

Should you call him on his bad behavior or just leave it alone?

The solution: As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth can tell you that your best bet is to let the situation run its course. Your former employee is likely angry and taking his frustration out on your staff. But even if he’s complaining about what a terrible employer you are, your people know how they are treated. And if they thought it was badly, then they wouldn’t stay at your company for long.

On the other hand, if you aggressively pursued this person and tried to prevent him from speaking his opinion, then you could appear heavy-handed…or worse, guilty of the unfair treatment the employee is claiming. So try to stay out of it if you can.

If the situation is continuing to escalate, then consider making a general statement to your employees about how the company is committed to treating everyone fairly, and follows all proper policies and procedures when making important decisions. Specifically, talk about how the company handles performance issues, including how many times people are warned before being let go. That said, don’t get into the details of this particular person’s termination.

Also, take what this employee is accusing you of to heart. In other words, was the firing mishandled? Were there steps you should have taken but didn’t? While you can’t ensure every employee who gets fired isn’t going to go around and talk negatively about you, you can ensure that they are treated fairly and with dignity and respect. If you’re not sure, then it’s time to evaluate your HR policies surrounding terminations.

However, if your disgruntled employee is starting to go to social media and publicly defaming your company and trying to cause harm to its reputation, then it’s time to get your HR department and legal counsel involved.

Remember, if your employees know you to be a fair and reasonable employer, then the employee’s statements aren’t going to harm you. The personal experiences they’ve had themselves will make a far bigger impression on them.

Do you need help filling a position? If you do, call the staffing experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the top staffing agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find and hire top talent, the first time.

Contact us today to learn more.

5 Signs of a Bad Job Offer

March 24th, 2015

As one of the leading Harrisonburg employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows when it comes to job offers, some can sound too good to be true. Whether the compensation is far more than you expected, or the hiring process was incredibly speedy, something about the offer is nagging at you. What are some signs that a job offer might not be legitimate? Here are 5 signs to look out for:

Sign #1: They made you an offer without interviewing you.

There are certain steps of the hiring process that even the best employer skips. However, interviewing isn’t one of them. If a company makes you an offer – without conducting one or more in person or phone interviews – then it could be a sign of desperation on their part. If that’s the case, then you have to wonder why they’re having such a hard time hiring for the position.

Sign #2: The hiring manager acts in an unprofessional way.

Paying attention to how you’re treated during the hiring process can be an indication as to how you’ll be treated once hired. And if you’re experiencing disrespect or a lack of courtesy, then it’s a sign of what’s to come should you get hired.

For instance, if the hiring manager cancels your interview an hour before and doesn’t offer an apology or explanation, then you may want to look elsewhere for employment.

Sign #3: The organization has a bad reputation.

If you don’t know much about the company, then look to the Internet for some help in learning more. Conduct your own search of the employer and how they treat their employees. The Careers section or page of their website is a good place to start. Also, look for online third party forums too in which employees can rate their employers. In addition, if you know someone who works at the company, connect with them and ask about what it’s like working there.

Sign #4: The hiring manager doesn’t offer you clear facts about the job.

If the hiring manager can’t define the position in terms of goals, responsibilities and expectations, then how do you know if it’s a good fit for you? If a company offers you job – and you’re still not crystal clear about what you’re supposed to be doing and how your performance will be measured – then chances are you’re walking into a bad job situation.

Sign #5: You have a bad feeling.

Sometimes you can’t pinpoint a particular reason why you want to turn down a job. You simply have a gut feeling it’s not right for you. In those instances, trust your gut. If the job doesn’t feel right, at least do more research on the company before making a decision.

If you need more help getting job offers that are right for you, call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Harrisonburg employment agencies, we work with top employers throughout Harrisonburg and Central Virginia and can help match you with a job opportunity that’s a great fit for you.

Contact Adams & Garth today to get started.

 

Always Overlooked at Work?

March 10th, 2015

Feel you like you work hard but are constantly passed over for promotions? Keep in mind, your perception may not be the same as your boss’s. To help you get noticed – and get ahead in your career, here are 5 tips to follow:

Tip #1: Determine your worth.

What value do you offer to your employer? Have you helped save money, save time, improve productivity, or enhance efficiency over the past year? As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth can tell you if you don’t know your value, then neither does your boss. Identify those qualities and accomplishments you bring to the table that no one else does.

Tip #2: Promote your interest.

Does your boss even know you want a promotion? If it’s a secret ambition you haven’t voiced, then the answer is likely “no.” He or she is not a mind reader, after all. You have to share your desire in order to move up. Think about how you can effectively articulate your value using the information you learned in Tip #1. Then meet with your boss in person, promote your accomplishments and ask about opportunities for advancement.

Tip #3: Ask what you need to do to get ahead.

If your boss doesn’t think you’re quite ready for a promotion, find what you need to do to get there. Simply ask: “What would you recommend I work on to position myself for a promotion?” If your boss makes specific recommendations for improving your performance or enhancing your skill set, take those suggestions to heart and create an action plan for implementing them.

Tip #4: Expand your network.

It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone with those you work with on a daily basis. But doing so won’t help you get ahead. Stretch yourself and get to know those outside your department. Befriend those in HR, or other departments you’re interested in working in.

Tip #5: Dress the part.

If you want to grow into a leadership position, then dress the part. Don’t show up to work in jeans and a t-shirt, even if that’s what co-workers wear. Stand out with sleeker, more professional attire.

Advancing your career is 100% up to you. Follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way toward your next promotion.

Feel like you won’t get promoted no matter what you do? 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.

Sloppy Mistakes That Are Killing Your Job Search

February 24th, 2015

As one of Central Virginia’s leading employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows you can have the most experience and the strongest skill set. But if you’re making sloppy mistakes on your resume and in your cover letter, then you’re not going to get an interview, let alone the job offer.

What are some of the biggest and most egregious errors candidates make when applying? Here’s a look at 4:

Mistake #1: Spelling and grammar mistakes.

One minor typo won’t hinder your chances of getting an interview offer, especially if you have a strong background. However, if your resume and cover letter are sprinkled with mistakes in spelling and grammar, then it’s going to be a red flag for a hiring manager. Every job requires some degree of communication, often times in writing. If a hiring manager is concerned about your ability to do so in an articulate and professional way, then you’re not going to be considered for the job.

Mistake #2: Writing in a tone that’s too casual.

With texting and Facebook, people today – especially those in the younger demographics – are used to writing in a far more casual tone. While this might be ok in an online social setting, it’s not acceptable when submitting your cover letter and resume to a potential employer. You don’t need to adopt a completely formal, uptight tone. You can still be conversational. But you must follow the rules of grammar you learned in grade school. That means no “LMKs.”

Mistake #3: Addressing your resume to the wrong person.

Consider yourself lucky if there’s an actual name of a hiring manager in the job posting. When there is, you’ll have someone to contact and follow up with after you apply. However, they likely won’t want to hear from you if you put the wrong name (for instance, the last hiring manager you applied to) in your cover letter or in your email with your resume. Make sure you review everything before hitting that “send” button.

Mistake #4: Using the wrong company name.

This often happens when candidates do a quick cut and paste from the last job they applied to and forget to swap out the company name. But this signals to the hiring manager that 1) you didn’t take the time to tailor your cover letter for their job opening and 2) you lack attention to detail because you clearly didn’t proofread. Either way, it’s not the message you want to send to a hiring manager.

The mistakes above can be easily avoided by simply taking some additional time and effort to review your resume and cover letter before sending it to a potential employer. If you’re uncertain of its accuracy, then give it to a friend or family member to review ahead of time.

If you need more help with your resume, cover letter, or job search, turn to the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Central Virginia’s leading employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact us today to learn more or search our Central Virginia jobs now.

Passed Over for a Promotion?

February 10th, 2015

If you were expecting to be promoted, but got passed over, it can be especially painful. But, as one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows how you react and the steps you take next can have a significant impact on your career path. So carefully consider your actions.

Assess yourself.

There’s likely a reason you didn’t get the promotion. Be honest with yourself about why that is. And don’t let feelings of anger or jealously get the best of you. If you want to get promoted in the future, you need to continue doing your job – and doing it well.

Don’t blame your newly promoted colleague.

Remain professional at all times. While it may be tough, let go of any feelings of frustration directed at your colleague and congratulate him or her. Support and assist them as much as you can in their new position.

Talk to your boss.

While the conversation might be uncomfortable, it’s important that you understand why you were passed over for the promotion. How can you improve in weak areas or gain the right skills if you don’t know what they are? So rather than sulking about the fact that you weren’t promoted, look at the experience as one to learn from and focus on those areas in which you can improve.

Also, whatever you do, don’t try to convince your boss that they promoted the wrong person. While it’s ok to express disappointment, arguing will simply insult your boss’s judgment.

Set goals.

Once you know which areas to focus on, set goals for developing the skills you need to get promoted in the future. You may also want to speak with your boss to create a game plan to be reconsidered for a promotion once you reach certain milestones. Just make sure you’re both clear on expectations.

Consider whether to move on.

There are time when people are promoted due to biases and personal relationships. That’s the ugly truth. In these kinds of situations, you need to think seriously about whether you want to stay with your employer or move on. If you’re a hard worker and good at what you do, then there’s no reason as to why you can’t earn a promotion. But if you’ve been trying for several years now, with no success, then getting a job with a company that appreciates all you have to offer should certainly be considered.

Ready to get promoted to a new job at a new company? Read our post about How to Get Job Search Help From Your Network, or call Adams & Garth. As one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth partners with leading organizations throughout Central Virginia – and can give you access to rewarding jobs in your field!

Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

When Your Boss Doesn’t Show You Any Love

January 27th, 2015

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is on everyone’s mind. But when your boss doesn’t show you any – in the form of respect, warmth, recognition, or kindness – it can be tough to handle. Is it time to move on for greener pastures? Or should you stick it out with an ill-tempered or detached boss?

As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth can tell you: It depends.

First, think about where your boss is coming from. He or she could be under a lot of pressure and stressed out, while you’re interpreting their attitude as a problem with you individually. Ask around and see if other co-workers are experiencing the same treatment. If they aren’t, then dig a little deeper to find the root cause.

Here are a few possibilities:

Your boss has a problem with your performance.

Are you often late, unprepared, or do you miss deadlines? Does your boss assign the important or more challenging tasks to others? Have you had performance problems in the past? Then those issues could be the source of your boss’s frustrations. If they are, then it’s up to you to change his or her mind by building a track record of positive performance and good behavior.

Your personalities don’t mesh well.

You may do good work, but perhaps your personality and your boss’s simply don’t blend well. Part of the problem is likely the two of you have different communication styles. Whatever the case, there are a few ways you can open up the lines of communication, including:

  • Being calm. Don’t get angry. Your boss doesn’t have to share your opinion and the two of you don’t need to be best friends.
  • Ask your boss for advice and guidance on your performance. For instance, you may have a habit of just pointing out problems and he or she may want you to offer solutions instead.
  • Don’t demand, instead suggest. Aim to solve problems and attain a productive and professional relationship, rather than be argumentative.

Your boss feels threatened by you.

If your boss treats you inconsistently – for instance, you’re having a good conversation and then you present a fact they didn’t know and they get defensive – then it’s a sign they’re insecure around you. If that’s the case, they can then use the power of their position to make your life miserable at work.

So how do you deal with this sticky situation?

Start by always being constructive and aiming to collaborate. Look for ways to help your boss and make their job easier. If you find a mistake they made, don’t bring it up in front of others. If problems persist, talk to your boss and ask for clarification about the issue.

Ready for a new opportunity – with a new boss? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, we will work to get to know you, your background, skills and personality – all so we can match you with job opportunities that are a terrific fit. Search our Central Virginia jobs now or contact us today.

 

7 Secrets to a Cover Letter That Gets Results

January 13th, 2015

Is one of your resolutions for 2015 to find a new job? If it is, then your cover letter is a critical component of the process. In fact, as one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows your letter can be the difference between getting a call for an interview or not. To help you write one that gets results, follow these tips:

#1. Don’t offer the same details that are on your resume.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition and showcase your personality. It should not just be a summary of your resume. Instead, it should add something new to your candidacy, such as work habits, why you want a particular job, or references or positive comments from a previous boss.

#2. Stick with facts, not hyperbole.

Avoid fluff and exaggerated statements such as “I am the best qualified candidate for your opening.” Instead, focus on facts, figures and details, like why you’re a good fit for the job. That’s the kind of information that will help you stand out to a hiring manager.

#3. Show personal interest.

Make the case as to why you’re the best person for the job in an enthusiastic way. If you’re applying to a company you’ve always wanted to work for, then explain why you’re a fan. If there was something in particular that resonated with you in the job description, discuss that. If there’s a certain aspect of the job that aligns exactly with one of your strengths, highlight it in your cover letter.

#4. Describe how you can help.

Your cover letter shouldn’t be all about you. When writing one, think of it from the perspective of: how can my skills and experience help this company? If you’re in sales, for instance, describe how you’d go about increasing revenue. If you work in customer service, highlight how you’d enhance the company’s service process.

#5. Offer explanations.

Your cover letter is the place to explain issues such as gaps in employment, or if you’re over- or under-qualified for the position. If you don’t address situations like these upfront, the hiring manager may simply overlook your resume. It’s up to you persuade them as to why you deserve a second look.

#6. Be conversational.

While you don’t want to be too casual, or use slang, don’t go overboard and be too formal either. The best cover letters use language that is warm and conversational in tone.

#7. Don’t cut and paste.

When sending a cover letter, don’t use a form letter. Hiring managers can quickly tell which candidates spent time crafting a custom letter and which ones simply cut and paste from the Internet.

Your cover letter is typically the first impression you make with a hiring manager. That’s why it’s important to spend the time to get it right. Still, cover letters can be a challenge to write. If you need help, call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we can help you with the process. We also 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.

New Year’s Resolutions When You’re Looking for a New Job 

December 23rd, 2014

Is “finding a new job” on the top of your to do list for 2015? If it is, then be sure to set these 4 resolutions ahead of time so you can achieve job search success:

Resolution #1: “I will network more.”

As Harrisonburg recruiters, Adams & Garth knows that networking is the fastest path to a new job. To leverage all it has to offer, commit to attending at least one networking event each week, whether it’s in person or online. Also, try to meet at least one new person each week and re-connect with old colleagues and business contacts.

In addition, leverage the power of social media and online forums to reach out to those in your field. Keep in mind too, just because someone doesn’t work in your industry, doesn’t mean they can’t help you in your job search. So keep an open mind when networking. You never know where it can lead.

Resolution #2: “I will apply only to positions I’m qualified for.”

When searching for a new job, it’s tempting to apply for every job under the sun. But in doing so, you’re wasting your time – not to mention the hiring manager’s time – because you’re applying for jobs you’re not really qualified for. When it comes to job hunts, quality trumps quantity every time. Focus only on those few positions you’re really qualified for and tailor your resume and cover letter for each one.

Resolution #3: “I will spend ample time preparing for interviews.”

You spent the time and energy creating a great resume and cover letter. But if you don’t invest that same effort in preparing for interviews, you’re not going to get the job. When you do schedule an interview, be sure to:

  • Research the company (including mission, vision, key players, and competitors) and the position.
  • Spend some time preparing your answers to common interview questions.
  • Be ready to talk about why you’re a good fit for the job with specific examples of your strengths and accomplishments.
  • Have a list of questions ready that will help you assess whether the job and the company are the right fit for you.

Resolution #4: “I will work with a recruiter.”

Recruiters are another great source for finding out about job opportunities. Many times, companies don’t advertise positions they’re looking to fill; one way to find out about them is through a recruiter. So work on finding one you trust and leveraging their contacts and experience to help you find the job you want.

If you’d like to learn more about how a recruiter can help you in your job search, call Adams & Garth. Our Harrisonburg recruiters will work with you to learn about your career goals and background, and then match you with job opportunities in which you can thrive.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

 

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.