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IT and Healthcare – Where the Jobs Are!

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 8, 2013

0 Blog, IT Staffing, What's New in Staffing? Healthcare, Healthcare Industry, Healthcare Jobs, IT, IT Job Market, IT Marketplace, IT Professionals, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IT job market added 62,500 jobs in 2012, a good start, but not yet a number that returns the sector to its pre-recession highs. But for those of us staffing IT professionals for the healthcare industry, we have seen an exceptionally robust demand for IT talent over the last three/four years. In 2012, IT jobs in healthcare and healthcare insurance lead the way as the fastest growing segments of the IT marketplace. 2013 is shaping up to look the same. Part of the reason for healthcare-related IT growth is driven by an overall growth in healthcare services in general—the growing patient population fueled by our aging baby boomers. Overall healthcare employment rose by 338,000 jobs in 2012, and is expected to surpass that number in 2013. According to the Center for Health Workforce Studies one in nine Americans will be working in a healthcare related job by the year 2020.  IT growth is also being fueled by changes directly impact the healthcare industry. Two of the primary drivers of growth in healthcare IT have been the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act, (ObamaCare). The Recovery Act set new technology standards for medical providers, requiring that hospitals, clinics and insurers adapt standardized electronic systems for storing and sharing patient health records. The new ICD-10 billing and coding standards are being implemented now. In similar fashion, the Affordable Care Act has created a whole new set of IT jobs stemming from the state-based online health insurance marketplaces that must be operable by January, 2014. By all counts, the basic infrastructure that needs to be in place just to meet the new service needs of the millions of new patients/consumers who will be entering the healthcare marketplace between 2013 and 2020 ensures strong growth in the IT job market for several years to come. As healthcare providers have been turning more and more to new forms of virtual care as a way to lower their operating costs, IT professionals have been expanding the quantity and quality of ways patients and providers can interface virtually. In the last two years, those interfaces have had to accommodate an increasingly mobile population of healthcare customers, requiring constant changes in mobile friendly interfaces. Other IT projects have been focused on improving clinical data searches, business intelligence, and the development of systems to allow various software, apps, databases and clinical hardware to share and exchange information. Big data has definitely been a trend alive and well in healthcare IT. With some variation between surveys, IT salaries have been slated to grow somewhere between 1-5% over the next 12 months, with the bulk of the higher percentage increases being earned by the IT professionals who are involved with healthcare. For more information about jobs in IT, healthcare, insurance and financial markets in particular, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com—please include IT jobs in the subject line.

When is Work, Work?

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 7, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Employer of Record services, Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA, Non-Exempt Employees, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Temporary Workforce

Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all non-exempt employees must be paid the minimum wage for all hours worked in a work week and must be paid overtime at the rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week. What isn’t often discussed is what hours of work or work related activity must be included in the count of hours of work paid at either regular or overtime rate. We run into these issues periodically when working with our hourly paid flexible workforces. Whether these workers are categorized as exempt or non-exempt, they must be paid for all hours of work. The following is a list of situations where we frequently field questions from our clients:

  • Pre and Post-Job Activities. All job-related activities required as a part of an employee’s work must be calculated as hours of work.  This includes work performed either before or after the employee’s  actual work schedule and includes pre-start orientations, required after hours meetings, or any hours spent by workers for their employer’s (or our client’s) benefit. Examples of time to be paid would be the time it takes to complete a time card, to change in or out of required work clothes or equipment, to assemble materials needed to perform the work, or to receive instructions about the work—all are considered hours worked and the employee must be paid.
  • Waiting Time. Employees who arrive at a work site early—earlier  than the required start time—are not automatically entitled to be paid for any time they spend waiting to begin work.  However, if an employee reports at the required time and then waits because there is no work to start on, the waiting time is compensable.
  • Stand-By Time. Workers who are required to stand-by at a worksite “ready” to work, must be paid for this waiting time.  Stand-by time typically refers to short-term time periods where a worker is not officially working but is asked to “stand-by” ready to work. The defining rule for stand-by time is that if the employee remains under the employer’s control to the point where they cannot use their time for their own purpose or benefit, the stand-by time must be paid. 
  • On-Call Time. On-Call time is different from Stand-By time in that it includes time spent by an employee “available” to be called into work while free to pursue activities for their own benefit. The FLSA requires employers to compensate workers for on-call time when such time is spent “predominantly for the employer’s benefit.” This means that an employee, who is only required to be available for work if asked, is not considered working and is not paid for their time on-call.
  • Meal and Break Periods. Under FLSA rulings, time spent for meal or rest periods may or may not be compensable, depending on the amount of time provided for the break and to what extent the employee is relieved from their work duties while on break.
Bona fide meal periods need to be of sufficient duration (30 minutes or more) and free of work duties in order for the meal period to be exempt from required pay regulations. If, for example, an employee is asked to sit at their desk to answer phones during their lunch break, they should be paid for their meal break. While employers can have policies prohibiting employees from leaving the work site for a meal break, it is only when work is required of them during the break, that their time must be compensable. Rest periods, on the other hand for shorter periods (5 to 20 minutes) are always counted as hours worked.
  • Unauthorized Hours of Work. Employees who, with the direct or implied awareness of their employer, start work before their work is scheduled,  work through unpaid breaks,  or continue to work after their work schedule is officially over, are considered to be working during all these times periods and their time “at work” must be paid. This is true even if these hours of work were performed voluntarily and are considered by their employer to be “unauthorized.” If the work performed during these “unauthorized hours” benefits the employer, the FLSA requires that the employee be paid. This puts the burden on management to make certain that regular work time rules are rigorously enforced, perhaps even promising disciplinary action for employees who work in unauthorized ways.  Merely stating that all work be authorized is not sufficient.
For more information on the work rules outlined by FLSA regulations and as applied to either your temporary or hourly workforce, contact our infodesk@pacestaffing.com.

Prepare for a Changing Hiring Landscape

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 28, 2013

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices, Human Resource Roles Adjust Your Hiring Strategy For 2013, Hiring Strategy Challenges For 2013, Prepare For A Changing Hiring Landscape, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing Agency, staffing agencies in seattle, staffing agenciesi in seattle wa, Staffing In Seattle, Staffing In Seattle WA, Temporary Staffing In Seattle

In the world of HR and business management, every era brings a new set of exciting opportunities, and along with those opportunities come challenges unique to the age. 2013 is no exception, and savvy hiring managers are already looking for ways to adjust and streamline their approaches to candidate sourcing, and screening in the year ahead. Here are a few of the most important ways in which recruiters, managers and HR pros will need to adapt.

Prepare for the 2013 Hiring Landscape

1. Optimize Mobile Utilities

A few years ago the world started to go digital, and companies that ignored or shrugged off the arrival of the Internet age did so at their peril. Those who weren’t ready to launch websites and start thinking about SEO were swept aside, and online selling and marketing are now commonplace for almost every business model, product, and service. Now it’s time for the next step: taking web utilities and making them accessible by mobile device. If talented job seekers can reach you online, that’s great. If they can reach you from a mobile device while on the go, that’s better.

2. Match Skills with Positions

Workforce shaping and in-house training are becoming watchwords for the next decade. It’s no longer enough to simply hire smart young candidates brimming with potential. In a world of increasingly focused and narrow skill sets, you don’t need ambitious go-getters; you need Level 2 CNC programmers, licensed and certified technicians, designers, engineers, and artists who specialize in your tiny corner of the marketplace.

3. Cultivate a Pipeline

How far into the future does your long-term staffing plan extend? If your answer is “three years or less,” that’s no good. Get the most out of your existing talent by making sure your best employees have a place to go when they’re ready to advance. And if you have a position that’s likely to open up during the next few years, groom and train someone in-house; you’ll mitigate risk and save countless resources when that day arrives.

4. Use Visual Media

Visuals are fast becoming the most effective message delivery system to your pool of talented potential employees. Find a way to incorporate graphs, illustrations, videos and multi-media into your job posts and other targeted information, like the “careers” tab on your webpage. Every open position in the company should have its own frequently updated blog, and that blog should be heavy with visual media and visual messages.

For more information on preparing your hiring strategy for the challenges ahead, reach out to the Seattle staffing and HR experts at Pace. Our years of experience allow us to look into the future and see what’s coming, and we can help you do the same.

Topics to Avoid in a CPA Interview

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 21, 2013

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles accountant jobs in seattle wa, accountant jobs seattle, accounting jobs in seattle, accounting jobs in seattle wa, accounting staffing agencies seattle, accounting staffing agencies seattle wa, accounting staffing seattle

You’re heading into your interview for an accounting position, and for the most part, you aren’t worried. You have confidence in your skills, you have enough experience to qualify for the position, and you’ve been practicing and polishing your generic interview skills. But before you step into the hiring manager’s office, make a note: There are a few topics that it’s best to avoid in a financial interview. Don’t bring these topics up voluntarily, and if they surface on their own, move past them gracefully and quickly. Don’t Dwell On These Interview Topics 1. Your most important mistakes Becoming great at anything means making a few mistakes along the way. Your mistakes provided the lessons that make you valuable as an employee. But ironically, employers don’t really want to hear about them, even if they ask. If you were fired from a previous position, laid off, or reprimanded as a result of an error, failure, or oversight, focus your explanation on the positive. Talk only about what you learned from the episode, not the details of what when wrong in the first place. 2. Salary, benefits, deal breakers and deal sweeteners Don’t attempt to alter the terms of the deal before a deal exists. For example, you may live five states away, and unless the company funds your relocation, you’re unlikely to accept the job. But even so, now isn’t the time to bring this up. If you have deal breakers, like a salary minimum, handicapped accommodation requirements, the need for comprehensive health insurance, or he need for onsite childcare, don’t talk about it now. Of course you’ll have to bring these things up before you sign any contracts or accept the job, but let the offer happen first. 3. Gossip and name dropping beyond the strictly professional If you need to bring up the name of a mutual contact or a client your interviewer may know, keep all discussions of this person positive and short. You aren’t aware of all the relationships and politics at work, so play it safe and you’ll be less likely to accidentally insult someone. This includes organizations as well as individual people. 4. The private affairs of previous clients Of course you would never disclose any privileged information about your current or former clients. But be clear about this with your word choices and your demeanor. Everything you do and everything you choose to say should inspire trust. For more information about what to bring up—and what to avoid—during your industry-specific interview, arrange a meeting with the Seattle job search experts at Pace. We can connect you with leads, help you polish your presentation, and give you the tips and tools you need to land the job you want.

IT Employment Grows Briskly in January

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 19, 2013

0 Blog, IT Staffing, What's New in Staffing? Information Technology, IT Employment, IT Employment Opportunities, IT Staffing Seattle, Seattle IT Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Temporary Staffing

According to a press release from TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT service firms, clients, consultants and suppliers, IT employment set another all-time high in January with an increase of 15,800 jobs. IT employment has grown by over 4% since January 2012. "Despite the lingering uncertainty with the U.S. and global economies, I anticipate demand for IT professionals will remain robust throughout 2013," said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe.

Career Fields on the Rise: Healthcare Management

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 15, 2013

0 Blog, Healthcare Staffing healthcare careers in seattle, healthcare careers in seattle wa, healthcare careers seattle, healthcare careers seattle wa, healthcare staffing agencies seattle wa, healthcare staffing in seattle wa

If you’ve been thinking about a career in healthcare, but you’d rather focus on planning, organizing, budgeting and management than one-on-one patient care, maybe it’s time to look beyond nursing and medical school. Your ideal career my lie in the field of healthcare management. Not only is this a rewarding branch of the industry, it’s also a field undergoing a rapid expansion, and opportunities are on the rise in almost every geographic area of the country. What is Healthcare Management? Healthcare managers may not handle patients directly, but without them, treatments and clinical facilities go unmanaged and patient care is poorly controlled. These are the people who organize and run health and medical service facilities from the ground up. All operations that take place within these facilities are navigated, launched and controlled by healthcare managers. Their task is typically administrative rather than medical, but they’re the ones making the hiring and staffing decisions, maintaining the facility, handling business communications, negotiating vendor contracts, and dealing with every other aspect of clinical operations. Why is this Field Growing So Fast? Between 2010 and 2020, the available positions in this field are expected to increase by over 22 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This expansion will be a result of two primary changes about to take place in the industry. First, an aging population will be increasing the pressure on available healthcare services, and so will an expected increase in who those who will now have access to healthcare as a result of the newly passed Affordable Care Act. The second reason has to do with the proliferation and diversification of healthcare and treatment facilities. Instead of having access to only a doctor’s office or a hospital, patients are now receiving treatment at drug store clinics, urgent care centers, and a wide range of highly specialized facilities. These facilities will need managers, and these managers will be well compensated for their efforts; annual pay for hospital managers in 2010 averaged at approximately $84,000 , and this number is only expected to rise as demand increases. Should you Pursue a Career in healthcare management? You’re the only one who can determine if a healthcare management career is the right choice for your personality, your working style, and your long term goals. But if you need more information, reach out the Seattle staffing experts at Pace. We can answer your questions as you plan your career and make your next big move.

Top 10 Suggestions for Supervisors – 2013

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 14, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Employee Evaluations, HR tips, human resources, Job Performance, Job Performance Evaluations, Management Tips, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing Agency, Temporary Staffing In Seattle, Work Place Environment

The following article was published by the ASA, as written by A. Kevin Troutman of Fisher & Phillips Law Firm.  As the New Year unfolds, supervisors may have even less time to manage all the complexities that arise in the world of employment law. With goals and deadlines to meet, well-intentioned managers may be tempted to rely on experience and “common sense” to guide them. Unfortunately, this approach often creates headaches and even litigation, despite managers’ good intentions. Today’s alphabet soup of employment laws (ADA, ADEA, FMLA, OSHA, NLRB, etc.) are simply too vast and complicated for most supervisors to digest on their own. Other issues are so subtle or counterintuitive that even seasoned HR professionals can find it difficult to recognize and/or deal with them. There is a silver lining to this cloud. A few basic practices can help supervisors avoid many problems—or at least recognize when to turn to HR for guidance. 1. Always tell employees the truth This rule encompasses more than avoiding outright falsehoods. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of making sure that employees always know how you assess their job performance. Of course this includes telling employees what they are doing well—but perhaps even more important, it means telling them how and where they are not meeting expectations. While many supervisors may prefer to avoid delivering “bad news,” this rule is an increasingly critical aspect of their jobs. Performance evaluations illustrate this point.  Audits routinely show that well over half of all evaluations rate employee performance above average, a de facto impossibility. Unfortunately, evaluations that overrate employees’ job performance can be devastating during litigation. Judges and juries are generally unsympathetic toward supervisors who suggest that they did not really mean what they wrote on a performance evaluation. This simple rule is so important that companies should consider discontinuing annual performance evaluations unless they can be done accurately and honestly. 2. Communicate clearly and directly Going a step beyond Rule No. 1, supervisors should expect employees to do their jobs and cannot let “politically correct” language obscure their message. Specifically, they must communicate clearly without being insensitive or disrespectful. For example, instead of telling an employee that he or she has an “opportunity” to improve, identify what specific aspects of performance are below expectations and what must be done to improve. Offer to assist, but make it clear that you expect improvement. When documenting these communications, be succinct and explicit. Always try to address “who, what, when and why.”  (As simple as it seems, this includes ensuring that documentation is legible, dated and signed where appropriate.) This rule applies to policy violations, poor attendance and simple coaching or reminder sessions. 3. Avoid surprises Many lawsuits result from anger or hurt feelings, which may be the result of an employee being surprised by disciplinary action or a termination. Remember, a supervisor’s silence is typically interpreted as approval, but if communication is consistent, clear and direct, employees should never be surprised by disciplinary action. They may not agree with the supervisor’s decision, but they should never be able to say truthfully that they did not see it coming. 4. Always get both sides of the story It’s surprising how often supervisors violate this simple rule. As a practical matter, there should be no exceptions to it. No matter how egregious or clear-cut the facts appear to be, always give accused employees a chance to tell their side of the story. (The only possible exception might be when there is a legitimate objective or safety concern that would prevent this from occurring.)  Consistent with this rule, do not document conclusions or prepare termination paperwork until the investigation is finished. 5. Keep your promises Don’t make promises that you cannot keep. Supervisors who promise to meet periodically with employees or to provide periodic feedback must do so. Again, jurors are unlikely to forgive supervisors who criticize an employee’s job performance, but fail to abide by their own follow-up schedule. So do not set deadlines or timetables that you cannot meet—instead, maintain some flexibility. Don’t make oral promises such as, “as long as you do your job, you will always have a place here.” In some states, these promises can be legally enforceable. 6. Do not ignore protected status in making employment decisions At first blush this rule may seem illogical, but when considering disciplinary action it is always important to consider how you have handled similar situations in the past. If an employee in a protected classification (race, sex, religion, age, disability, etc.) is treated differently under the same circumstances from someone who is not in the protected class, supervisors and HR must be able to justify the reasons clearly. When considering which employees fall in a protected classification, don’t overlook employees who recently took FMLA leave, sought an accommodation under the ADA, or provided information in response to an investigation of alleged workplace discrimination. These activities protect employees from retaliation and likewise require consideration of comparable situations where no employee had engaged in protected activity. 7. Think before hitting “send” Email traffic provides increasingly fertile ground for both sides in employment cases. Supervisors must therefore recognize that their email messages are potential trial exhibits. A quick, off-hand message has the potential to be extremely embarrassing if presented out of context to a jury. Therefore, it is never a good idea to fire off quick responses, especially when emotions are running high. Wait a few moments before hitting “send” and be especially careful about using the “reply to all” button. 8. Document important facts when they’re still fresh Important details can easily get muddled in today’s fast-paced work environment, so make a habit of jotting down those key facts when they occur. When doing so, be sure the documentation is dated, legible and understandable (see Rule No. 2). Always include objective language describing “who, what, when, where, why” and identify any witnesses. Identify the author of the documentation—sometimes nothing can be more difficult than retrospectively trying to determine who prepared unsigned material. 9. Send it to HR When supervisors keep files containing notes or information that has not been forwarded to HR, it almost always creates problems when litigation ensues. This can force the employer to change a representation it has already made to the EEOC or plaintiff’s counsel. More importantly, it can support a plaintiff’s contention that the supervisor (who is usually the alleged wrong-doer) cannot be trusted or is hiding something. On a related note, always refer employment verification and reference inquiries to HR, who will ensure company-wide consistency in responding. 10. Never forget that you are the boss Even during meal breaks, after hours, on weekends, or away from the workplace, supervisors still carry the mantle of company authority. Unguarded, inappropriate or “joking” comments can and do come back to haunt supervisors who forget this. When an employment relationship goes bad, seemingly innocuous comments often emerge. Comments made in jest rarely look good in front of a jury.  This is a critical and sometimes painful lesson for supervisors to learn. Bonus Rule 11 Always strive to be fair, consider “how would this look to a skeptical third party (like the EEOC or a jury) who knows nothing about me or the employee?” The workplace is complex and demanding, especially for supervisors striving to meet deadlines, maintain positive employee relations and avoid legal pitfalls. While they are not a “cure all,” these suggestions can help supervisors manage more effectively.

Employee? Independent Contractor? Somewhere in between?

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 13, 2013

0 Blog, PACE News!, What's New in Staffing? 1099 Workers, Employer of Record, Employer of Record services, Independent Contractor, Seattle Sick and Safe, Seattle Temporary Staffing, staffing agencies seattle, staffing Seattle, W2 Employees

With healthcare costs rising and mandated benefit requirements either already in play (e.g. Seattle Sick and Safe) or just around the corner (e.g. ObamaCare), employers are contemplating their staffing decisions related to the use of Independent Contractors compared to W2 employees. … Read More »

Ask What You can Do for the Company

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 7, 2013

0 Blog, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR JOB SEEKERS employment in Seattle, employment in seattle wa, employment seattle wa, employment services seattle, employment services seattle wa, staffing services in seattle wa, staffing services seattle

Here at the Pace Staffing Network, we often hear the same lament from job seekers over and over again: “I was turned down for a position I really wanted…What did I do wrong?” Nine times out of ten, a closer look at the applicant’s resume and cover letter will reveal a similar problem, and that problem has to do with what the marketing world calls a “value proposition.” Your resume is a proposal of sorts, or a request, and all effective requests and proposals can be summarized in ten words or less. For example, a company selling a car will research its target audience and present a simple message that appeals to that specific audience, as in “This car will keep you safe”, or “This car will make you look cool in front of your friends.” Your resume needs a value proposition. And as you put your simple message together, you’ll need to focus on your target audience. Ask yourself what your customer wants, NOT what you want. Don’t think of this as a two-way dialogue, or a negotiation in which you both gain something you need (in reality, that’s what it is—after all, you’ll work hard in exchange for your pay, and you’re not asking for a favor. But before you negotiate the terms of this agreement, you’ll have to edge out twenty other candidates in order to receive an offer.) Instead, figure out exactly what your potential employer wants and make it clear that you can offer this specific service, skill, talent, or attitude. Focus on Your Value Proposition: What do you have to Offer? Before you sit down and start typing, think. Read the job posting very carefully, then read it again. Visit the company website and think like a detective. Use your instincts, study the way this company’s business model works, and put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager who will review your application. If you were in her position, what would you be looking for above all else? Remember these four truths that are very likely to apply to her situation: 1. She’s busy. She’s not going to spend an hour trying to figure out why you’ve suddenly decided to give up your retail career in order to pursue a job in IT. If you’re making this switch, clearly tell her why, and do so within the first three sentences of your cover letter and resume summary section. 2. She has a pile of resumes on her desk from candidates just as qualified as you are. 3. She needs something done that she can’t do herself. That’s why she’s in hiring mode. 4. Her reputation is on the line. If her chosen candidate does well, then she’s done well. Keep these things in mind as you formulate your value proposition. This simple, short, elegant statement should provide the central framework that supports your entire application. For more guidance on assembling and fleshing out this framework, turn to the Seattle job search experts at Pace.

Dealing with Professional Adversity

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 30, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles staffing agencies in seattle, Staffing Agencies In Seattle WA, staffing agencies seattle, staffing agencies seattle wa, staffing agency seattle, staffing firm seattle, staffing firms seattle wa

 So you’ve had a rough day. Or maybe you’ve had a rough year. You fought hard for your promotion to management, but the reality of the position isn’t playing out as you imagined. Or maybe you fought hard for your new job, you celebrated the day you received an offer, and now you’d rather die than spend another day in this nightmare. Or maybe, like countless professionals these days, you weathered the ups and downs of office life until the day you didn’t, and now you’re out on your own doing whatever you can to make ends meet until you can get your career back on track. Whatever your position may be, it’s no picnic, and no crystal ball can assure you that things will look brighter by the end of the day, the week, or the even the decade. So what should you do? And how can you channel the optimism you need to carry you through this challenging chapter of your professional story?  Try these simple tips. Staying Optimistic During Challenging Times 1. Line up your role models. Many of the people who we consider paragons of “success” didn’t face an easy path on their way to the top. In fact, some of the most successful people in history struggled with crippling setbacks, disappointments, and episodes of uncertainty. Who are your adversity role models? Think of the person at the top of your list (either a famous name or a personal hero drawn from your circle of family and friends.)  Take a close look at this person’s life, and recognize that during his or her darkest periods, she was just as uncertain as you are about how the future would play out. 2. Stop negative thought cycles. One negative thought (or imagined worst case scenario) tends to lead to another. So when you feel yourself losing your footing and sliding into a dark place, recognize that this is happening and do three things: 1.) Stand up from your chair or change your physical position. 2.) Take three deep breaths in and out for a count for five seconds each. 3.)  Switch gears and turn your unrealistic negative fantasies into realistic positive ones. 3. Fail hard, and fail smart When you fail (which you will if you’re a human being), learn from the experience. But actually learn, don’t just surround yourself with cheerful sounding platitudes. The lessons your failure brings may not resemble the lessons you have in mind, or the ones you’ve absorbed from movies and TV. In fact, they may not look familiar at all and may be unexpected and utterly unique to your own life. Be quiet for a while and stay alert to the real lessons, the ones that will have meaning for you, and only you. When you face a rocky stretch of road, remember that you don’t have to navigate your situation alone. You can, but you don’t have to. Reach out to the career management and staffing experts at Pace for insight, perspective, industry news, job leads, and other information that can help you find your footing and move forward with confidence.

Are You Hiring Game Changers?

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 25, 2013

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices

The following article was written by Randall Birkwood, owner of Ascendant Talent and a good friend of the PACE Staffing Network.  We think Randall’s list of changes we should be making to the hiring process in order to hire Game Changers is must  reading for Hiring  Managers and HR/Recruiting  professionals.  You have staffed your team with all the right people: they graduated from top universities, worked at leading companies, stayed at each company the requisite length of time, and exuded intelligence in the interview process. Yet you see other companies with far less surface talent achieving incredible results and outstripping you. Why is this? The most likely reason your company is failing to progress is that you still hire based on standard interview processes that have been followed for decades. You focus on qualifications only, and ignore focusing on the individual attributes that will help you find the game changers. A game changer is a person who thinks outside the box and approaches problems differently from the rest of us. They approach problems with passion, a unique perspective, and their thinking inspires others to build on their ideas. With game changers on your team you can move from average to an industry leadership position. Good examples are Apple and IBM, which transformed themselves from fading brands into dominant positions by adopting the ideas of leaders who were game changers. Three football teams have had great success this year bringing in game changers. The Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson), Washington Redskins (Robert Griffin III), and Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck) have seen vast improvements after they drafted rookie quarterbacks who have the unique attributes of game changers. An example of a game changer in the music industry is Steven Tyler. In his entertaining autobiography he discusses how he approaches the four elements of writing a song: melody, words, chords, and rhythm. He explains, “You know right away if a song has that magic. It has to have those extremes—the one thing it can’t be is okay. Okay is death.” He adds: “Never mind the melody, never mind the chords—no, no, no. You start with infatuation, obsession, passion, anger, zeal, craze, then take a handful of notes, sew them into a chord structure, create a melody over that, and then come up with words that fit it perfectly.” His diverse way of thinking is completely different from standard music writers, but as a game changer, his unique perspectives have resulted in incredible successes. If we analyze the way the majority of companies hire, we see a system that is designed to hire okay performers. We focus solely on the tangibles: the candidate’s job history, education, and interview performance. We ignore the game changing intangibles like diversity of thought, work ethic, intelligence, and common sense. As an example, diversity of thought means approaching challenges using varied thought processes based on personal creativity and different life experiences. If you can combine diverse thinking with a strong work ethic, intelligence, and common sense, you have a game changer. The results of game changers can often transform the way we do business. To hire game changers, you will need to make modifications in the following areas:

  • The job description. The hiring manager and recruiter should schedule an hour meeting at minimum. Focus on listing what the new hire will successfully achieve in the first year before there is any discussion of candidate requirements. Then list minimal technical requirements and the personal attributes needed to be successful. You will likely discover that there is a far wider gamut of backgrounds that fit your position than you did prior to the meeting. The final position description should place more emphasis on what the new hire will do versus just a laundry list of candidate requirements. In fact, make sure you are displaying the minimum requirements so you don’t exclude potential game changers from the candidate pool.
  • Attracting game changers. They didn’t necessarily go to the best universities and score high on interview presence. They are sometimes the quiet person who got big results, and didn’t necessarily look for attention. To find game changers you should build recruiting strategies that focus on meaningful achievements at other companies or universities, and then find out who was responsible for them. Many times you will find a game changer came from a small- or medium-sized company where there were fewer resources available, thus the need for more personal initiative. This part involves hard work as you will need to network with your company’s employees, as well as outside contacts—but if you want to improve company performance you will need to take these steps.
  • Assessing for game changers. Re-examine your standard interview questions and hiring process. Your focus and emphasis should be on assessing for diversity of thought, work ethic, intelligence, and common sense, and not just work experience and technical skills. Sure, the candidate will need to meet minimum technical requirements of the role, but you will also need to focus on the four areas above. First dig into how they approached specific challenges in the past. (Example. “At your last company, describe something that was implemented primarily because of your idea. What was your role and what was the outcome?”) Learn in great detail how they got from point A to Z. What were they specifically responsible for, and how did they approach each situation? Second, present real challenges or problems in the interview and look for their diversity of thought, work ethic, intelligence, and common sense in solving them. Finally, ensure you include diverse thinkers on the interview team. (You may also want to explore assessments that test for these personal attributes, as a supplement.) With an interview process that focuses on assessing for these attributes you have a much greater chance of identifying game changers.
  • Making offers. Game changers are motivated by challenges far more than their peers. Yes, they like to be compensated well. But you know you have a game changer when she has been presented with your challenges, and creatively and passionately digs into solutions — and she doesn’t even work for you! Your best bet is to challenge her and let her know what she will be responsible for achieving when she takes the role. If your challenges are interesting, a game changer will take the bait every time.
  • Keeping game changers. Since their main motivation is creatively and passionately attacking challenges, the manager’s job is to keep them engaged in the long term. This is done by keeping them challenged on an ongoing basis, giving them resources, praising and rewarding, and simply getting out of their way except when needed.
Challenge yourself to move beyond traditional hiring methods, looking only for tangibles — and hire game changers who will bring the intangibles. Redefine how you approach the job description, how you attract and assess candidates, and how you hire and motivate, so you are a destination for game changers. You need them, because they will move the dial forward from average to spectacular. Your alternative is being okay, and as Steven Tyler says, “Okay is Death.” Randall Birkwood is a former director of recruiting at T-Mobile USA, Cisco Systems, Microsoft Corporation, and Intermec Technologies. While at T-Mobile his organization was cited as  a top 10 benchmark firm in recruiting and talent management. He has been an advisory speaker at General Electric and AT&T for VPs and HR Directors, and has spoken at a number of conferences in the U.S. and UK. He was the subject of a cover story on the "War For Talent" in Internet World Magazine.

Accountants: How to Polish Your Job Search Strategy

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 23, 2013

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR JOB SEEKERS accounting jobs in seattle, accounting staffing agencies in seattle, accounting staffing agency in seattle, accounting staffing agency seattle, staffing agencies in seattle

While accountants have suffered from the recent economic slowdown just as much as professionals in other fields, laid-off accountants with great job search strategies don’t tend to stay on the market for very long. If you’ve recently been turned loose by your employer, dust yourself off and get back in the game as quickly as possible by keeping these considerations in mind.

Job Search Tips

1. Take on private work. If you specialize in tax management or any other aspect of the field that you carry with you, reach out to potential private clients while you search for a new employer in order to keep your track record current. Licensed CPAs are always in demand, so stay busy until you find a new full time position.

2. Don’t gather moss. If you need to take a few days to decompress and deal with the emotional aspects of your transition, do so, but don’t let your wheels start to spin. As soon as you feel up to it, start scanning your list of contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook and your private address book. When you see the name of someone who can offer you guidance and advice, pick up the phone and make a lunch date.

3. Get resume help. Of course you’ll need to update and polish your resume, but this time, get some real outside assistance. A professional resume editor can take you through the process, clean up the mistakes you can’t see, and provide vital perspective.

4. Think about expanding your range of options. If you see a job posting in another state, are you in a position to move? Make these kinds of decisions now, so you can buckle down later and keep your eyes and typing fingers aimed only at the realistic jobs you really want.

5. Get face time. A flawless resume might get your foot in the door, but even better, try to show up at the conferences and networking events where your potential employers may be making an appearance.

6. Reach out to others in the same position. Were you laid off with a large group of peers? If so, stay in touch and find ways to help each other. Share leads, ask for leads, and turn to one another for conversation and support when the going gets rough.

A layoff isn’t the end of the world, especially for finance professionals and certified CPAs, who are still in demand in many areas of the country. Just stay positive and keep moving and you’ll put this chapter behind you as fast as possible. If you are looking for accounting staffing agencies in Seattle, contact Pace for job search tips and a list of available accounting positions in your area.

Employees Look for Employers Who are “Flexible”

by Jeanne Knutzen | January 16, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles company flexibility seattle, seattle staffing firm, staffing agencies seattle wa, staffing agency seattle, staffing agnecies seattle

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In fact, when it comes to recruiting, your FLEXIBILITY as an Employer or Hiring Manager, can provide a competitive advantage!

Flexibility in the relationship between employees and their managers can go a long way in terms of recruiting, morale, and your bottom line.   But despite evidence supporting the positive influence of flexibility, many managers still see this as counter-intuitive and are reluctant to increase wiggle room in scheduling, time management, and company policy. But these managers do so at their peril. If you find yourself having a hard time releasing your grip on rigidity and corporate tradition, here are a few things to consider. Reasons to Implement Flexibility
  1.  Allowing proven and trustworthy employees to work remotely, even just once a week or a few times per month, can help these employees attend to other obligations and then move work to the top of their priority list. A strong work life balance means grounded, well-adjusted and focused employees, which provides a cascade of positive benefits for the company.
  2. Working outside the office actually appears to increase, rather than decrease employee work hours and overall productivity. The reasons behind this aren't clear, but they may have something to do with the overcompensation employees often display when they aren't used to working with low supervision.
  3. Allowing an employee to leave the office on a Wednesday and make up the hours on Thursday or Saturday can have a surprising impact on appreciation and company loyalty. This shift takes nothing away from you, or your business, but it brings disproportionate reward since it often means so much to the employee.
  4. Flexibility with company rules, rather than by-the-book rigidity, may seem to open the door to all kinds of grey areas and weaken the entire concept of “company policy”. But if you demonstrate a case-by-case attitude toward dress code enforcement, for example, it shows that the company culture is humane and reasonable. Just know where to draw the line; dress codes are one thing, but hard hat zones and safety violations are another. It’s also important to make sure flexibility is distributed fairly.
  5. A flexible approach to onsite versus offsite project completion also demonstrates that your organization is tech savvy and unafraid to rely on wireless connectivity. An increasing number of offices are not only allowing their employees to work occasionally offsite, but are in fact hiring full time remote employees who live in other states. This flexibility may be the key to attracting and retaining the best talent in the business, regardless of location.
For more information on the benefits of flexibility, or how to hire, manage, and retain offsite employees, reach out to the Seattle staffing experts at Pace. We can connect you to the best candidates available and help you hold onto them once they’re onboard.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]