Choosing Your References

References come down to two types of people: personal and professional. While you may be tempted to list out personal references because they are more likely to give you glowing reviews, you need to avoid this. While your character and ethics should be a huge part of who you are as an employee, potential employers are much more interested in how you function as an employee.

Choosing your references can be a little tricky, but when you know the types of professional contacts to use, it becomes much easier.

Co-Workers

When you are choosing your references, one of the best types of people you can add to your list is co-workers. While managers have an insight into who you are as an employee, co-workers work directly with you on a daily basis. Further, in some cases, you may have a friendship that extends beyond the office, which means they are more likely to give you that glowing reference. Co-workers see you working every day and understand how you function in an office, conduct your work, and present yourself as an employee.

Teachers

If you have recently graduated high school, college, a trade program, or any other type of school/training, then your teachers are great references. Teachers and instructors have unique insights into your work ethic, attitude, and skill levels. Teachers see you grow as students and begin grasping the concepts that will shape your future career. If you have a great relationship with a teacher or instructor, then you should consider adding them to your reference list.

Professional Group Members

In many cases, job seekers are already part of professional groups. Whether they are industry-specific professional groups or simply career development-type groups, other members make great references. If you are active in your group(s) and have formed great mentor relationships, then you should consider using someone in your professional group as a reference. While these are more of a personal reference, it is coming from a more professional and developmental perspective. These references can attest to your character, growth, and goals.

Clients

If you work at an agency or as a freelance professional, using your existing clients to get a new job or new clients is a great way to get a job or project. While using clients as references can be tricky, they can attest to how you work with clients/customers and can speak to the quality of your work.

Supervisors or Managers

Depending on your relationship with current and previous supervisors and managers, they can make for great references. Future employers love hearing from your supervisor because they have direct insights into you as an employee. However, before you start listing your supervisors on your reference list, you need to evaluate your working relationship and if you are still working for that person, make sure they know and understand you are looking for a job. If you don’t, then they could be taken off guard and it could result in the loss of your current job.

No matter who you choose to list as a reference, you need to notify that person and ask their permission. The people you choose as references need to know that someone could be calling or emailing them to ask about you as a person and an employee.

Do you have any questions about choosing your references? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Successfully Work with a Staffing Agency

Whether you’re looking for project work or a full-time job, working with a staffing agency greatly improves your chances of finding a job that fits your skills, experience, and career goals.

If you want to build a successful relationship with a temp agency, you need to first understand who the staffing agency works for.  Staffing agencies are hired, and paid, by companies looking for temporary workers and need help filling vacant labor jobs. This means that a recruiter’s main goal is to find the right talent for their client and not just a job for their candidates.

REMEMBER: A staffing agency wants to place you but never at the expense of their client. They won’t send you for a construction job interview if they feel you are unprepared or not a good fit for the vacancy.

Second, what the staffing agency expects from you.  A professional and reliable staffing agency will work with you early on to set expectations around communication, feedback and the process they follow when setting up interviews for potential jobs.  Always ask these questions before working with a temp agency:

  • What can you expect when working for them?
  • How often will they communicate with you? (Daily, Monthly e.t.c)
  • How long will it take to find you a job?
  • Will they share feedback with you regarding your interviews and resume?

Third, it is important to find a staffing agency that is open and honest with you.  You want to find an agency that:

  • Provides feedback that helps emphasize your strengths to potential employers
  • Is truthful when the job isn’t the right fit
  • Keeps you informed throughout the interview and hiring process

However, you also need to reciprocate. Staffing agencies can only do their jobs well when candidates are honest with them.  You must be truthful about your skillset and experience level. If you have a criminal record, please communicate that upfront.  While you may be hesitant to share certain information for fear that it will impact your chances of getting a job, not telling the truth can damage your reputation and affect your future job prospects.

The fourth and final key to successfully working with a staffing agency is to make sure they are a good fit.  There are many staffing agencies available and you need to make sure that you find the right fit for your specific needs.  Finding a temp agency that specializes in your industry is a necessity as well as working with someone whom you feel comfortable with and trust to give you honest feedback.

If you are interested in learning more about Diverse Staffing and the jobs that we have available near you click here.

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.

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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How to Stay Motivated During the Holiday Season

It may be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but the festive months on the tail end of the year unfortunately happen to often see major losses in productivity. With it being so easy to mentally check out as the holidays arrive, how can we enjoy this time of the year while keeping ourselves motivated at work?

  • Be flexible: Embrace the chaos of the holidays. When you are responsive to change and are willing to adapt, you are more capable of successfully juggling end-of-the-year projects as well as the busy social scene.
  • Don’t overcommit: Maintaining a manageable work-life balance is always important, but you’ll find it to be key this time of year. As tempting as it may be, don’t weigh down your calendar with social engagements. RSVP to all those Christmas parties wisely! Over-doing it can lead to a stall in productivity, which can easily lead to unwanted stress and sickness this holiday season.
  • Network: Take advantage of the events and parties you do attend by meeting new people in your industry and broadening your network. If you pick your parties and your conversations just right, you could set yourself up for better business in the coming year.
  • Clean up the clutter: Forget “spring cleaning”- the end of the year is a better time than ever to organize your life. That stack of papers has been in the corner for two months now. Unless it is vital to current or future projects, let the eye sore go. Clutter causes distractions and can make every job seem a little harder when you have to shift and sift every time you’re attempting to locate something. Simplify your life. Your 2016 self will thank you.
  • Get some help: With many industries being short-staffed and/or picking up at the end of the year, teams can easily become overwhelmed and get behind. Don’t be afraid to contact a reputable staffing company to help you find some temporary help that can carry some of your load. If you are an employer in the industrial, call center, IT, or administrative industries who wants to build upon their team this winter, contact us at (317) 813-8000 today.

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Tips for Starting a New Job

Starting a new job can be an intimidating process. From filling out forms to reading employee handbooks to knowing what to do during your lunch break, there are a lot of roads to navigate. And the first day isn’t the only thing you are probably worried about.

At many companies and organizations, the first 90 days are like a trial run. You will not receive your full benefits until those 90 days are over and you will more than likely have a review. Starting a new job does not need to be all doom and gloom. If you go into the process with the right attitude and the right tools, you can quickly start to own your job and your new environment.

Come Prepared

No matter how many times you start a new job, there will always be forms to fill out. Before you head in that first day, be sure you bring the right paperwork, numbers, and forms you need to fill out tax information and other work-related documents. For example, if your new employer supports direct deposit, then you should bring a blank check, so you can provide your routing and account number.

Make Work Friends

That first day can be overwhelming. Introducing yourself to new coworkers can really ease that tension and loosen you up a little bit. If you are invited out for lunch, take advantage of the opportunity to meet people and learn more about the company. If no one is going out, be sure you sit with new coworkers at lunch and start to gain an understanding for how the office works.

Engage in Your Work

It can be difficult to just jump into the work on your first day, but if you have a chance to, then do it. Engaging in your work on the first day and every day will give you a sense or purpose and ownership. The quicker you get to what you are there to do, the quicker you will lose that tension associated with the first day.

Pay Attention to Details

In life and in work, details are incredibly important. There is absolutely no doubt about that. However, at work you need to pay attention to your orientations, your work, and your coworkers so that you can do more than just survive those 90 days. When you pay attention to details, you pick up on the nuances of the office and your tasks.

Starting a new job does not need to be an intimidating experience. Will there still be nerves? Yes, but those nerves should not keep you from doing an amazing job. When you commit yourself to your work and to success, you will come through the process for the better.

Positioning for Success: Creating Purpose

When you feel like you’re down on your luck and having trouble finding your next job opportunity, it can be hard to find purpose in anything. From filling out job applications to filing unemployment, you may be pretty discouraged. One of the best ways to combat this feeling is to position yourself for success. It’s easy to give up and settle, but you won’t find success by doing that.

Positioning yourself for success can be difficult and is certainly a journey. However, by creating purpose you may just find the success you are looking for. Even if you are currently unemployed, that doesn’t mean you have to be purposeless. Here are a few ways to position yourself for success by creating purpose:

Brand Yourself

No matter what type of career or industry you work in, knowing who you are is important. Branding yourself can be broken down into just that. While companies use brands to tell consumers and customers about their products and services, you need to create a personal brand that tells potential employers about you. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a logo or a website. It does however mean you need to evaluate your goals, lifestyle, and your professional persona.

Develop Passion

Without passion, much of life will seem pointless and purposeless. If you aren’t excited about what you do for a living, then you’ll have a much harder time finding a job. You need passion in order to make a difference, make a change, or improve your career. Without passion, you are far more likely to remain stagnant in life. By making conscious choices and decisions to develop a passion for what you do, you’ll find increased results in your job search.

If you want change to happen in your life—if you want to find a new or better job—then you need to focus on these factors:

  • Your mind
  • Your attitude
  • Your appearance
  • Your words
  • Your follow-up

When you focus on these things and make efforts to improve them, then you’ll start to see positive changes happening in your life.

Do you have any suggestions for creating purpose in your life or career? Leave your stories and suggestions in the comments section below!