Adams & Garth Blog

6 Must-Ask Interview Questions

January 21st, 2014

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows good questions can reveal the true nature and intentions of a job candidate. But bad interview questions? Those typically result in hiring mistakes.

To help ensure you hire right, here are a few interview questions to ask every candidate:

1. Why do you want to work here?

There are two reasons to ask this question. First, it shows you how prepared a candidate is. If they offer an incredibly detailed answer with specifics about the company’s reputation and employment brand, then you know they did their homework. In addition, this question helps you gauge whether someone really wants to work for your company or just wants a job.

2. What areas were highlighted in your last performance review as needing to be improved?

This question is great to ask because it helps you get a true sense of the candidate’s weaknesses and assess how self aware they are of them. Plus it’s a question that can be easily verified with a phone call to their past boss.

3. Tell me about a time you had to work on a project that didn’t go as expected.

Regardless of the position you’re hiring for, obstacles and challenges will be a part of the new hire’s reality. Asking this question helps you gauge how well they deal when things don’t go as expected. More specifically, it will better help you assess their problem solving, creative and critical thinking skills.

4. What kind of work environment is ideal for you?

Sure, you need to hire the candidate with the right skills to get the job done. But if they don’t fit well within the culture and the operating environment at your company, then they’re not going to thrive.

So if you offer a more formal, conservative setting and a candidate describes a laid-back environment as their ideal, then you may want to think twice about hiring them.

5. Describe the perfect job. 

Remember, a good hiring decision is about finding the person that fits. And if a candidate goes on to describe a job that in no way resembles what you can offer them, then it’s likely not a good fit. That doesn’t mean they are a bad candidate. It simply means they are not the right fit for you.

6. What kind of people do you find most difficult to work with?

If a candidate ticks off a litany of personality “types” they don’t care for, then it could be an indication that they’re actually part of the problem. Another reason for asking this question is to find out how a candidate deals with a difficult personality type, so you can ensure they have strong interpersonal and problem solving skills.

If you’d like to outsource the entire hiring process – interview and all – give Adams & Garth a call. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg – and Central Virginia, we’ll 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.

Contact us today to learn more.


 

How to Hire Engaged (a.k.a. Productive) Employees

November 5th, 2013

By now, you probably know that employee engagement is an issue in most workplaces. In fact, according to a recent study by Dale Carnegie Training, 29% of employees are “fully engaged” with 26% “disengaged” or non-productive.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg – and Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows that when employees aren’t engaged, it leads to far-reaching, negative impacts on the company as a whole. Not only are they less productive, but they’re also less loyal too. As a result, you may be dealing with the issue of high turnover at a time when you’re trying to combat low productivity. Not a good situation to be in.

But there is one step you can take to deal with low levels of engagement and ensure your staff stays motivated – and it involves making the right hiring decisions from the start. To help you, here are a few signs to look out for when hiring:

Look for a Track Record of Engagement

There are certain people who are hard working and driven, whether they’re working in a leadership position or an internship. These are the people that you want to hire. So how do you find those with a pattern of engagement?

First, be sure to ask interview questions about what their career goals are and what motivates them to succeed. Also, when checking references, you’ll quickly be able to tell when talking to a past boss just how driven (or not) the candidate was. Be sure to ask questions like: “Would you hire this person again if you could?” A quick response in the affirmative vs. a pregnant pause speaks volumes.

Look for Growth Potential

While you don’t want to hire someone who isn’t qualified, also keep in mind that the person who will perform best may be someone who has never held the position before. For them, it’s a step up, full of exciting new challenges and opportunities. For someone making a lateral move, they may already be feeling bored and frustrated in their current position. So what’s to say they won’t feel the same way in a similar position at your company?

Listen to Each Candidate 

Rather than spending all your interview time selling the opportunity, really listen to the candidate and what they’re looking for in an employer. What kind of culture are they most productive in? What are their short- and long-term career goals? What are they passionate about? Find out what the candidate wants – then ensure the opportunity you’re offering can deliver.

Keep in mind too that if you find a talented candidate you want to hire – but know you can’t offer them what they’re looking for – you’re going to wind up back where you started: with a disengaged employee. You need to be honest with yourself to ensure you hire someone who not only can do the job, but who’s goals align with what your company is offering.

Need More Help Hiring Engaged Employees?

Give Adams & Garth a call. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg – 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.

Contact us today to learn more.

Adams & Garth Announces Melissa Oprandy as Business Development Manager

July 5th, 2013

Adams & Garth Staffing and Executive Search is proud to announce that Ms. Melissa Oprandy has been hired as a Business Development Manager for the Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Staunton, Virginia offices.

Melissa joined Adams & Garth in June 2013 and has quickly immersed herself in Adams & Garth’s philosophy of matching the best possible candidate with the client’s job requirements.  “I am very excited to be part of the Adams & Garth Team and look forward to continuing our tradition of being named “Best of Staffing” in the industry to both our current and future customers!”

Melissa is a native of Charlottesville and received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from George Mason University.

Previously she lived in Germany while working in advertising and sales for the armed forces newspaper, Stars & Stripes. Melissa looks forward to understanding the challenges and opportunities involved in staffing premier clients with the best possible employees. In her new role as Business Development Manager, Melissa plans to carry on Adams & Garth’s mission to be Virginia’s leading staffing service and executive search firm.

Hey Boss, Is it Time to Evaluate Yourself?

July 2nd, 2013

You give your employees evaluations. But when’s the last time someone evaluated your performance?

After all, when you’re the boss – and don’t have anyone to answer to – things like “personal career goals” and “areas for improvement” can certainly get left on the back burner…indefinitely. But, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg, Adams & Garth knows that when you’re a better manager, your team, your company, and your own career will benefit in the end.

So how exactly do you go about evaluating yourself?

Put yourself through the same process that you do your employees. You undoubtedly have some kind of evaluation form you use; so start there.

Some key areas to focus on in the process include:

Growth and Development

Your business might be doing great, but how’s your career development going? It’s especially important to look at this if you’re growing as a company. After all, managing five employees is far different than 50. And if that’s where you eventually want to be, you need to acquire the skills and habits that will help you get there.

Weaknesses

Do you have a bad temper? Do you give your employees unrealistic expectations? Do you let toxic employee behavior get swept under the rug?

You know areas that need improvement, you probably just don’t have the time to deal with them. But small problems and weaknesses can turn into big cracks if you ignore them too long. So face facts and work to shore up your personal weaknesses.

And if you can’t do something on your own, or don’t have the right skill set for a certain task, then delegate or outsource to someone who does.

Objectives

What are your goals for the future of the company? What are your plans for getting there? And are you on the right track?

By taking a step back and evaluating yourself and your goals you can find out. For instance, if one of your goals is to increase capacity, but you’re not willing to hire new employees, then it probably won’t work out.

Evaluating yourself isn’t an easy process. But it will be one that can reap great rewards if you’re truly honest with yourself. You can set more accurate and achievable goals; forecast challenges and foresee opportunity; and fill skill gaps. You’ll be a stronger manager and have a stronger company in the end.

And if you need more help filling skill gaps or dealing with staffing challenges, let Adams & Garth know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg – 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 that are a great fit for you. Contact us today to learn more.

Should Your Company Be Offering “Returnships”?

February 12th, 2013

As one of the leading Lynchburg staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows that despite high unemployment, many employers out there are struggling to find candidates with high growth potential. One solution to this dilemma that has been increasingly popular in the recent past is offering a returnship program.

“Returnships” (a term actually trademarked in 2008 by Goldman Sachs), also known as “return to work” programs, are short-term, non-binding, paid arrangements that are similar to internships, except they’re for more experienced workers.

They give mature workers who have been out of the workforce for a period of time the chance to:

  • Sharpen their skills;
  • Make important connections;
  • Learn new technology; and ultimately
  • Gain the preparation they need to get back into the workforce.

For the employer, they also offer a host of benefits.

For instance, they allow companies to access candidates with more experience than what is typically found in younger recruits. These are typically people who have more than 10 years of experience – they may simply have taken some time off to care for young children or aging parents.

As a result, when an employer brings a candidate on board through a returnship program, they can gain access to a higher caliber of talent, and then are able to test them on the job before committing to a full-time hiring decision.

So how can you set up a returnship program at your company?

  • Use your internship program as a starting off point. If your company has an internship program, there are many elements – e.g. your application process and orientation program – that you can re-use for your returnship program, rather than reinventing the wheel.
  • Keep in open mind. Hiring managers can often aim to make a perfect “paper match” – in other words, matching a candidate’s skill set to the job. However, in the process, personality, soft skills and work styles go by the wayside. Instead, keep an open mind with your returnship program to ensure you don’t discount a candidate who would actually be a great fit for your company.
  • Offer some flexibility with your program. Not all participants in your returnship program are going to have the same needs. That’s why it’s important to let them have somewhat of a say in the process. For instance, it’s important to understand what specific skills or abilities they feel they need to improve upon or learn about the most.
  • Match participants with a mentor. Just as you would with an internship program, pair each program participant with a veteran member of the company. This person can not only serve as a sounding board and adviser, but they can also educate the participant about the internal dynamics of the company, so the returnship participant feels more comfortable there.

Are you one of those companies having a hard time finding talent for critical positions?

If you are, give Adams & Garth a call. As one of the leading Lynchburg staffing agencies, we can give you access to talented individuals who can increase productivity and deliver the solutions you need. Contact us today to learn more.

How You Can Try Before You “Buy” New Hires

January 8th, 2013

When it comes to hiring, you don’t have a crystal ball. So, as one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg, Adams & Garth knows that each time you sign on a new employee, you’re really taking a chance as to whether that have the skill set, personality, drive, and work ethic you need. Every candidate says things like “I’m a team player” in order to land the position…but they may not actually be one once on the job.

So what’s a manager to do? One answer is to put temporary-to-hire staffing to use.

Temp-to-hire simply enables you to bring on an employee for a trial period and then make a decision as to whether to hire them full-time. This probationary period allows you to evaluate an individual’s on-the-job performance and make a more informed choice about hiring them. You are under no obligation to hire the employee once the trial period ends.

So if you do choose to bring on temp-to-hire employees, how can you make the most of this staffing option? Here are some tips:

  • Put them through your training and onboarding process. Just because they’re a temp-to-hire employee, rather than a full-time one – yet – you don’t want to put them at a disadvantage by not offering the full gamut of training and support you would to a full-time new hire.
  • Give them ‘real’ assignments. In other words, give them assignments that would be a part of their job if they were hired full-time. If you don’t, you won’t be able to accurately assess their performance.
  • Introduce them around. Keep in mind, you’re not just evaluating their hard skills, you’re evaluating their soft skills too. So make sure that you introduce the temp-to-hire employee to their co-workers and company key players just as you would a full-time hire.
  • Talk with your staff before making a hiring decision. When the trial period is coming to an end, ask your staff members for their input. They’ll likely be able to offer some valuable insight, helping you to make a wise hiring decision.

Interested in Putting Temp-to-Hire Staffing to Work at Your Company?

Give Adams & Garth a call. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg, we can help you drastically reduce the risk of a bad hire through our temporary-to-hire staffing option. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

8 Things to Do When an Employee Quits

October 9th, 2012

You may have thought things were humming along. But the two-weeks notice you just received from an employee has brought your world to a screeching halt.

First, take a deep breath. Employee resignations are just a reality of doing business. Second, get to work. As one of Lynchburg’s top staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows there are some steps you need to take to ensure the exit process unfolds seamlessly.

Here’s a look at 8 of them:

1. Notify Key Players.

Your boss, other managers, and HR will need to be notified when an employee resigns. Also, if the employee didn’t give you a written resignation letter, ask him or her to do so, so that you can keep it on file.

2. Notify the Rest of Your Team.

Besides key company players, it’s also important to notify the rest of your team so that they’re not blind-sided by the departure. They may be working on projects or tasks with the departing employee and will need to have plenty of lead time in order to delegate the work to someone else.

3. Determine When to Terminate Network Access.

You don’t need to cut off an employee’s computer or phone access right away, unless you have good reason. But you should notify your network administrator the date that the employee’s email and phone extension should be re-routed. You’ll also need to decide who those communications should be routed to.

4. Make Sure Company Property is Returned.

From laptops and tablets to cell phones and ID badges, make a list of all the company property the employee has and ensure it’s all returned before their last day.

5. Determine Payment of Unused Paid Time Off or Unpaid Expense Amounts.

If your company pays employees for unused paid time off, like vacation or sick days, you’ll need to determine how much is owed to the departing employee. Also be sure to pay the employee for any unpaid expenses for company business.

6. Make Sure Your Employee Gets a Letter About Their Benefits.

If your organization must comply with COBRA, then make sure your employee gets all the information they need about their rights under the law. For instance, if they haven’t accepted a new position yet, then they may choose to extend and pay for their health insurance coverage with your company.

7. Remind the Employee About Confidentiality Breeches.

An employee may not have a non-compete or confidentiality agreement with your company, but most companies do have policies for all employees prohibiting them from sharing confidential information. So if your company has one, remind your employee about it.

8. Conduct an Exit Interview.

During an exit interview, an employee may offer authentic insight into why they’re leaving…and it may have something to do with your company’s culture or business practices. So it’s wise to conduct an exit interview and ask probing questions of the departing employee so that you can take steps to reduce turnover in the future.

Need Help Filling a Position?

If an employee just quit, and you need help filling their position, let Adams & Garth know. As one of Lynchburg’s top staffing agencies, we take the hassle out of hiring; we can help you find and hire top-notch candidates for a variety of positions. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more about how we can help you.

5 Tips for Making Your Hiring Function More Effective

September 4th, 2012

As one of the top staffing agencies in Lynchburg, Adams & Garth knows that hiring is certainly not easy. After all, you’re dealing with the ultimate unknown – people – and the fact that appearances (and resumes!) can be deceiving. Aside from the risk of making a mistake, hiring is a part art, part science – and it requires a significant investment of time and energy in order to get it right.

So how can you make the most of your hiring function, so you do hire right? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Let Your Top Performers Be Your Guide.

Look to your top performers to determine the kinds of skills, attitudes, and habits that lead to success within the company. Then look for job candidates with similar attributes.

Also, be sure to ask your top performers for referrals when you do have an opening. Successful people typically hang around with other successful people, so they may be able to refer you to your next great hire.

2. Let Candidates Screen Themselves Out.

In today’s job market, you’ll likely be inundated with resumes from qualified and unqualified candidates. So try to cut down on the flood by letting candidates screen themselves out. For instance, use language such as “MBA required for this position,” or “must have corporate sales track record.”

3. Describe a Typical Day or Week in the Position. 

From a candidate’s perspective, it’s hard to envision whether they’d be right for a position that, for instance, requires “strong interpersonal skills.” However, if you offer specific details about what a day or week in the position would be like, candidates will have a better sense of whether the job is the right fit for them.

4. Give Top Candidates an Assignment.

After you’ve whittled your candidate selection down to two or three, task them with completing an assignment. That will offer you a much better indication of their skill level, motivation, and work ethic.

5. Don’t Just Hire When You Have an Opening.

Always be on the lookout for top-notch candidates. And if there’s someone you know would be the perfect fit for your organization, then be open to hiring them.

Want Expert Help With the Hiring Process?

Let Adams & Garth know. As one of the top staffing agencies in Lynchburg, we can take the hassle out of hiring for you. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

How Safe is Your Workplace?

February 14th, 2012

As one of Lynchburg’s leading staffing agencies, we know that having a safety program is of paramount importance, especially if you work in an industry where employees could get easily injured. Otherwise, you could pay for it in the form of employee leave or workers’ compensation claims. And in fact, in 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the most serious injuries and illnesses cost U.S. employers more than $53 billion in workers’ comp.

The good news is that implementing an effective safety program should actually save you money in the long run. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Get your leadership team to buy into it. 

You can have the best rules in place, but they don’t mean anything if they’re not enforced or if your supervisors aren’t setting good examples. That’s why it’s critically important for you to get your leadership team on board by asking for their input and ideas and also giving them the authority to reprimand those that are breaking the safety rules.

Know your weaknesses. 

If there are certain tasks or pieces of equipment that pose a more serious threat, then identify those risks and document what you’ve done to ensure accidents don’t happen because of them. But don’t stop there. Train your team about the hazards and arm them with the information they need to properly deal with danger zones.

Evaluate your safety program. 

Once you have a program in place, it’s important to evaluate it on a regular basis to make sure it still meets your safety needs. In addition, if you buy equipment or bring in any hazardous materials that could pose a threat, then educate your employees about these new hazards.

Get outside help. 

Talk to your insurance provider. They should be able to offer you guidance and advice on implementing an effective safety program. You can also look to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety tips and requirements.

In addition, if you use temporary staffing on a regular basis, it’s especially important to have a strongly enforced safety program in place and to educate all temporary workers about it.

And if you need some help with your temporary staffing function, give us a call. As one of Lynchburg’s leading staffing agencies, we can provide you with the flexibility to staff up when needed, without increasing your permanent headcount. We can also help with your orientation and safety training program for temporary workers. Contact us today to learn more.

Is the 9-5 Workday Ending?

December 27th, 2011

The 9-5 schedule is a traditional part of the workplace. However, it may be falling by the wayside. In fact, as one of Lynchburg’s top staffing agencies, we’re seeing many businesses allowing employees to work a more flexible schedule and/or telecommute. This is especially true for companies that employ a lot of younger workers who are comfortable with working virtually.

And considering that by 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be made up of Gen-Yers – those born between 1982 and 1993 – implementing a more flexible work schedule now simply makes good business sense. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Lynchburg, we know it’s a value added benefit that will allow companies to better recruit and grow young talent for the future.

What’s more is that many Gen-Yers choose workplace flexibility over money. In fact, according to a survey by Mom Corps., 37% would take a pay cut if that could have more flexibility in their work schedules. Not only do many of these workers value flexibility, but they also value the employers that offer more of it, remaining loyal, motivated, and productive as a result.

And with today’s technology, being out of the office doesn’t necessarily translate into not getting work done. In fact, some employees may be more productive at home, working virtually.

Even better, if you’re interested in implementing a more flexible schedule, you have several options from which to choose. These include:

  • Compressed Work Weeks – This option allows employees to work three or four 10-hour workdays, rather than 5 8-hour days.
  • Variable Schedules – This option allows employees to choose how many hours they work each day, as long as they get in 40 hours of work per week. For instance, they can work 10 hours one day, 8 hours the next, and so on.
  • Flex Time – This allows employees to have more flexibility in terms of when they start and end their days. For instance, they may choose to work from 7 am to 3 pm, or from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • A 9/80 Schedule – This option takes place over two weeks. It consists of eight nine-hour workdays and one eight-hour workday. On day 10 of the cycle, usually a Friday, the employee is off. A worker on a 9/80 schedule has a two-day weekend during the first week and a three-day weekend before the schedule starts again.

The bottom line is that the workplace – and the work schedule – is changing. Those employers who understand this and remain flexible will reap the rewards in the long run.