20 Traits of an All-Star Employee

What traits make for a great employee?  Depending on who you ask, there are thousands of possible answers to this question.  We narrowed down the list, collecting the qualities that tie together top-performing employees.  See what traits will bring out your inner star and how they apply to any job. 

  1. Ethical

Quality of work means nothing if it comes at the cost of an individual’s integrity or reflects poorly upon their organization. 

  1. Reliable

When a project/task is assigned that project/task will be completed; or if there are bumps in the road, there is early notification of those bumps and ideas for how the team can reach the main goal through an alternate path. 

  1. Results-driven

Outcomes must be used to inform future strategy or processes won’t improve.

  1. Innovative

They know that to get better results, they must try new things.

  1. Team-oriented

They listen respectfully to other peoples’ ideas without judgment; they ask for and offer support to their teammates.

  1. Curious

They have a mindset which tends to build relationships, promote healthy dialog, expand ideas, encourage the upward flow of ideas and stimulate innovation. They always look for the possibilities in an idea. 

  1. Accountable

They ask the question “what more can I/we do to get the results we desire?” 

  1. Assume positive intent 

They assume the best in others and believe that everyone is doing the best they can, given their current thinking. They do not act on their assumptions. 

  1. Good listener

They give someone their full attention in conversation and don’t multi-task while listening; they hear the entire message, understand beyond the words being spoken and gain deeper insight and perspective. 

  1. Appreciative

They appreciate positive behavior that strengthens relationships and improves morale. 

  1. Energetic

They have a positive attitude and are enthusiastic. 

  1. Role Model/Leader 

They are conscious of the shadow they cast and model the behaviors and attitudes that they want to see in their colleagues. 

  1. Good communicator 

They are able to make themselves understood and do not hesitate to ask others for clarification when necessary. 

  1. Supportive

They try to understand their teammates’ perspectives when deciding how best to support each other.  

  1. Flexible

They are able to work with a variety of personalities, in a variety of conditions, and are willing to adapt to address unfamiliar or changing obstacles.

  1. Self-motivated 

Their work ethic is fueled by a personal desire to succeed, rather than drawn from an external source.

  1. Honest 

Trust is crucial to working as a team, and honesty is the key to establishing trust in a relationship.

  1. Passionate

They allow themselves to become emotionally invested in their work, which yields better outcomes.

  1. Detail-oriented 

Little mistakes can have big consequences, so they pay attention to the details, which allows them to understand the bigger picture. 

  1. Persistent 

When they face a tricky problem, they dig their teeth in rather than admitting defeat. 

Are you Management Material?

Are you Management Material?

Being a boss can be very rewarding, and when you’ve gained a lot of expertise in your area, the next logical step is often becoming a manager.

But management is certainly not for everyone. In fact, when a supervisor role isn’t a good fit, it can damage an otherwise promising career, so it should be considered very carefully. Here are three questions to ask yourself before becoming a manager:

  1. Are you motivated by reaching your own professional goals, or by helping others achieve their professional goals? There is not a right or wrong answer here. It’s really about what personally motivates you. Do you prefer having more control over your work product, or are you willing to work through others by teaching and mentoring them through the process? And keep in mind that those you manage may not do things exactly the way you would have. Will you get satisfaction from watching them develop and solve problems?
  2. Are you comfortable being an outsider and making unpopular decisions? As a manager, you’re less likely to receive open and transparent communication from your employees as you would as a department colleague. You’ll never again be “just one of the team” as you were before you were a manager. You’re the one who has to push team members along a path, and sometimes tell them they’re not getting the job done. A regular part of a manager’s job is dealing with problem performers, incredibly demanding employees or employees who question everything you do. These are complex issues and you need to possess excellent communication skills. You also need to have confidence in your decision-making abilities because your team isn’t always going to agree with you.
  3. Do you prefer to do your job with few interruptions, or are you willing to be interrupted regularly?If you mostly want to focus on completing your own work, management might not be for you. Managers have to embrace an open-door policy knowing that they will be pulled into conversations and issues they didn’t anticipate every day, often from team members who say, “This will just take a minute …” These interruptions are part of the job, and sometimes that means doing your “regular work” after hours.

Becoming a manager is not for everyone. If you have a well-defined career path as an individual contributor and you’re approached about taking the next step in your career by moving into management, proceed with caution and accept the job for the right reasons.

Never move into management simply because it’s different than the job you have, especially if you’re not really passionate about the role. However, if you feel the desire to expand your skill set and are excited at the thought of taking on greater management responsibilities, becoming a manager can be an incredibly rewarding and challenging role.

10 Tips for How to Ace a Job Interview

Your resume blew your future employer away, you got an interview and now you need to ace it to get the job. Interviews can be quite intimidating, but in the end, success comes down to being well prepared, likable and confident.

Here are our top 10 tips for how to ace a job interview:

  1. More knowledge = more confidence

You started the research process with a tailored application, now it’s time to up the ante: Find out about the company’s mission, achievements and milestones. Social media channels are as much of a must-read as profiles about the industry, the competition and the person you’re interviewing with. The more you know, the more empowered and confident you will feel.

  1. Dress the part

Interview clothes should always look professional, be comfortable and make you feel confident. Find out what the company culture is like and how people dress before deciding on what you’ll wear (think suits for banks, something business casual for ad agencies etc.). And remember that if you never wear suits and want to wear one for the interview, practice wearing one in advance (you might end up looking and feeling uncomfortable otherwise.) Don’t forget to shine your shoes and make sure they don’t give you any blisters before you head out the door.

  1. Master the warm-up questions…

You can bet money that you will have to tell the interviewer about yourself, why you should be hired and what your career goals are. Practice the answers but don’t sound like a broken record. Don’t just memorize your resume and basically read it out when asked to talk about yourself. It’s smart to use it as a reference point as your interviewer is likely to have it in front of them and to mention key events or points when appropriate, just make sure your answers always add something interesting to the story your resume already tells.

  1. …and get ready for the tough ones

Why don’t you tell me about your weaknesses? Here’s how you score bonus points with tricky questions like these: Pick a weakness and elegantly turn it into a strength that relates to the job. “I’m a little impatient, but it’s simply because I like to finish projects on time and not disrupt the workflow of the whole team.” The key thing is, to be honest, and never ever answer with: “I have no weaknesses.”

  1. Prepare for some brain-teasers

If you were a kitchen tool, which one would you be and why? These questions don’t always come up, but if they do, try to be relaxed and confident when answering them. They’re there to test you on your critical thinking skills and how well you think on your feet. Make sure to highlight your personality with your answer and make your answers as fun and interesting as you can (without being inappropriate, of course.) And what about that kitchen tool then? Consider an answer like this: I’m a can opener. Even though it’s not the first tool that comes to mind in the kitchen, it can be crucial for every course of the meal.

  1. Know when to ask for a time-out

If you don’t know the answer to a question or you feel yourself panicking a little, take a deep breath and ask confidently and calmly if you can get back to the question later. Avoid rambling on and on and don’t let any panic show. It’s much better if you build up your confidence with some other (easier) questions and then return to this tougher one later. (Who knows, your interviewer might forget to ask it in the end anyway!) Word of warning though: Don’t rely on this too much and only skip questions if absolutely necessary; asking to skip a question too many times could make you seem unprepared.

  1. Be honest

Gaps or detours in your resume are no reason to freak out. You got an interview, after all, so they clearly liked your profile and want to get to know you better. Be honest and explain what you learned during that time off (whatever the reason was) and how it will benefit you in the job you’re applying for; even a period of unemployment can be turned into an advantage if you used that time to develop yourself somehow and kept actively looking for work.

  1. Avoid these

Don’t be late, rude or talk bad about your former bosses or colleagues. Lying, oversharing, making inappropriate jokes or dominating the conversation are other great ways to make a bad impression. If you show up on time, look presentable and come across as nice and sociable, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get off to a good start.

  1. Always have a question prepared

Questions are easy to prepare so never miss the opportunity to show off your critical thinking skills with gems such as “What speaks against hiring me?”. If there are any doubts or hesitation, this is your chance to clarify something about the job on offer and provide more information about yourself.

  1. Follow up

Last but not least, always follow up with an email or even a handwritten card thanking your interviewer for the opportunity. It’s a good chance to quickly mention, once again, why you’re a good fit and how lovely it was to meet everyone. Keep it short, sweet and friendly, and remember to send it within 24 hours of your interview.

Are you ready to test out these interviewing tips?  Contact your local Diverse Staffing office and set up an interview. Or just stop by.  Walk in interviews are available.

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How to Write a Thank You Email After a Job Interview?

In this world of online job ads, mobile apps and social media networking, sending a thank you email to the recruiter or interviewer seems to be an old-fashioned idea.  If you think this way, then you are wrong. It still means a lot and is the crucial final step in a successful interview process. Experts suggest sending a well-written thank you email to each of your interviewers, as an acknowledgment of their time and effort. This shows that you are respectful of your interviewer’s time.

Here are some tips that will help you in writing a thank you email after the interview and explain all that you need to include in the same.

Send It within 24 Hours of the Interview

After you had your job interview, make sure to follow-up within 24 hours. It is always a good idea to send a follow-up letter or an email when the interviewer’s impression of you is still fresh in his/her mind. Recruiters nowadays have a habit of being persistent in their hiring campaigns, and thus conduct interviews every now and then. To ensure that your candidature is still going strong, send in your letter of gratitude through an email. Surely, this is something that will make you stand apart from rest of the candidates. 

Make it a Brief Wrap-Up of your Discussion

Without a doubt, you nailed the interview. Every element was kept into consideration and questions were answered in the most professional way possible. However, keep in mind that you need to mention all the points discussed during the interview. Go ahead and express how strong-a-fit you make for the job role and the organization as a whole.

Highlight your skills and remind the interviewer why they should hire you.

Give It a Personal Touch

Again, there’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to writing a thank you letter. It is your free will to give it a personal touch and customize the body according to the role requirements. If you think you forgot to cover anything or want to give a clarification about anything that can affect the employer’s decision, this might be your chance to put forth your viewpoint.

Remember, whatever you do, abstain from going overboard. Present your case in the politest way possible.

Keep it Short and Error Free

Keep your thank you email concise and to-the-point. Focus on blunt details/points and summarize your job suitability in an error-free way. Your thank you note will leave a final and lasting impression on the hiring manager. It is important to ensure that the email is well drafted and error-free. Re-read it multiple times. If possible, get it proofread by someone who has a good command of English to save yourself from making any irrevocable mistakes.

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7 Keys to a Successful Interview After Being Fired

Getting fired from a job almost always provokes mixed emotions; you may be shocked, dismayed if you were let go over an honest mistake, or alternately, relieved if you had been laboring under a superior with unrealistic expectations for months or years. No matter your specific situation you must face the same imminent hurdle as everyone else who’s ever been fired: Figuring out how to handle your next job interview. Interviewing after being fired is a delicate process, one wherein honesty, diplomacy, and professionalism must be precisely balanced.

If you’re struggling to understand how you ought to present yourself and your situation to a potential employer, the 7 job interview tips below should help you to develop successful post-termination interview tactics:

  1.  Deal with your emotions before tackling the interview.

It’s inevitable that the question of why you left your last job will come up during interviews, and if your emotions are still running hot, your answer is almost guaranteed to go over poorly. You may commit a major interview faux pas like speaking negatively about your former workplace, you may give the impression that you cannot think calmly under pressure, or you may make your work ethic look less than admirable.

As such, it’s vital to work through the emotions connected to being fired before you attempt a job interview. Talk to a friend or career counselor and don’t hold back feelings of shame, sadness, anger, etc. Work it out so that you can start your post-termination interviews with a clean slate, ready to discuss your dismissal with frankness and positivity.

  1.  Get your confidence back.

Being fired can leave deep wounds in a person’s self-esteem, even if the termination was unfair and the employee in question knows they didn’t really do anything terribly wrong. Alas, we can’t walk into job interviews with these scars showing; most interviewers decide who they will hire within just 3 minutes, largely based on how confident and professional that person seems. Things like assertive body language, eye contact, and action-oriented language make a huge difference during the interview process.

Prior to tackling an interview after you have been fired, you should, therefore, do something to rebuild your confidence: Volunteer, for example, or participate in a sport or hobby you excel at. Volunteering has the bonus of padding your resume so that your termination is not the most recent item on it.

  1.  Don’t speak ill of your former employer. 

Yes, this can be a challenge if he or she really did unfairly fire you, but it’s necessary to be polite and positive about your last boss no matter what he or she did. Speaking ill of your former employer will not show your interviewer that your dismissal was not your fault; it just makes you look unprofessional (and will likely make your interviewer concerned that you will speak badly of his or her company as well).

  1.  Don’t lie.

 While it’s important to frame the facts in as positive a light as possible, one should never outright lie about what occurred surrounding a termination. Research reveals that over 70 percent of interviewers can detect a lie immediately (whether expressed vocally or written into a resume), and most will absolutely refuse to hire anyone they catch trying to falsify the details of their work experience. Ergo, you should absolutely be honest about what happened—but refer to the point below for tips on how to candidly explain your termination.

  1.  Practice explaining your dismissal.

In interviews, semantics matter. While you should be direct when talking about what happened at your prior place of employment, there’s a world of difference between saying “I was let go because they gave me too much work to do and I couldn’t handle it,” and saying, “After my colleague left, my boss added her workload to mine, and I struggled to keep up. However, I learned the importance of being extremely organized from that experience and have since developed better time-management skills.” The latter response adds context to the situation without speaking negatively about the interviewee’s prior workplace. It also shows that the interviewee has thought carefully about his or her role in the termination and is serious about doing better.

  1.  Take responsibility.

Another important aspect of the response above is that the interviewee does not try to avoid taking the blame for being dismissed—even though the situation was somewhat unfair. He or she is willing to look at his or her mistakes honestly, own up to them, and learn from them, which conveys an image of maturity and professionalism.

Remember, your prospective employer isn’t looking for perfection; he or she is looking for accountability and problem-solving skills, so if you show said traits, you should be able to make a graceful recovery from your termination.

  1.  Be positive, then bring things back to the present.

Above all else, once you have respectfully answered your interviewer’s question about why you left your last job, it’s important to steer the conversation in a positive direction and bring the focus back to the present. The less time you spend talking about your termination, the less of a lasting impression it will make, and rightly so—being fired is an unfortunate occurrence, but it’s not who you are.

Now that you understand how to interview successfully after being fired are you ready to get back into the job search and start interviewing?  If so, take a look at our open positions and see if they might be the perfect job for you. We conduct open interviews daily at all of our locations.  

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12 Signs You’re in a Dead-End Job

12 Signs You’re in a Dead-End Job

You want to make a difference. You want to feel appreciated. You want to be challenged. Most importantly, you want to know your hard work today is building towards a goal.  If you don’t see any of these things on the horizon it might be time to re-evaluate your situation.  Here are 12 signs you’re in a dead-end job:

  1. Your boss won’t give you the time of day.

You can’t get time with the boss to move projects forward.  Your projects seem to get lost in the abyss.  You are being ignored and emails go unanswered.  You’re lucky if you catch your boss in the breakroom making their morning coffee.

  1. Your thoughts and opinions don’t matter.

You share your best ideas and solutions, but they are never implemented. Your voice isn’t heard, and your opinions aren’t valued.

  1. No interest in knowing your goals.

You can see yourself doing amazing things for your current employer, but you aren’t being asked about your professional goals or future plans.

  1. Career plans are ignored.

You are asked about your career goals and plans, but the boss pays no attention to them and doesn’t take you seriously.

  1. Your company hires outside talent.

You have watched on multiple occasions high-level positions open up and instead of promoting from within, the corporate culture is to bring in outside talent.

  1. You get no recognition.

There’s no praise in sight.  No matter what you do, you can’t seem to please.  You could do the impossible and the silence that would follow would be deafening.

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  1. Decision makers practice favoritism.

You see favoritism or bias in management practices.  If you’re not on their good side, you’ll probably be stuck doing what you are doing without any promotion in sight.

  1. Unfair treatment.

You notice your colleagues are getting opportunities you don’t get.

  1. Your skills are not being tapped.

You came into the job with a large skill set but your supervisor doesn’t tap into or go beyond what you’ve been contributing for quite some time.  You may have been passed over for a promotion or your request to take on more challenging projects have been ignored.

  1. You’re not challenged.

You feel unchallenged by your job, your boss, or your co-workers with no avenue to change the projection of things.

  1. You lack motivation and enthusiasm.

You get that Monday morning feeling every morning and you find it hard to get out of bed.  What you used to enjoy doing is no longer enjoyable.  There’s no challenge, no opportunity that excites you at the workplace.

  1. A machine could do your job.

Your role is becoming obsolete, as the skills required are being replaced by technology.

Questions to ask yourself before resigning

If you’re seeing all these signs, it might be time to make a change. But, before you go job hopping, make sure the problem is not with you. Here are a few questions to ask prior to hitting the road:

  • Have I communicated my career goals to my manager?
  • Have I shown that I am willing and able to take on new roles and responsibilities?
  • Does my employer offer training that I am not taking advantage of?
  • Have I looked for ways to expand my current role by identifying unmet needs in the organization?
  • Are there any other roles with my current employer that could help me learn new skills and address new challenges?

What to do when you know it’s time to move on

You’ve pondered the above questions and think it’s probably time to move on from your current job. But before you look for similar work elsewhere there are a couple more questions to ask yourself:

  • If I was offered me a promotion within the company, would I really want the new job?
  • Is there a job somewhere else in the company that excites me?

If your answer is “No!” to both of these questions, you may need to do more than look for a better version of your current job. You may need a career makeover. When choosing a new field or industry, think about where there is consistent and sustained job growth. If you do decide to change careers, you can often improve your odds of making a successful transition by first taking on part-time roles, temporary work, or projects.

If you like the type of work you do but desire a fresh start with a new boss and company, start pursuing one. Job seekers with in-demand skills are in the driver’s seat in today’s employment market. So be proactive and begin the process. There’s no reason to languish in a dead-end job without a plan to improve your situation.

Time to look for a new job? Diverse Staffing can help you find the right opportunity!

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