Tag: Seattle Staffing

* A Candidate Driven Marketplace

by Jeanne Knutzen | July 21, 2015

0 Blog, Hiring.Best Practices, What's New in Staffing? candidates, Seattle Staffing, staffing agencies seattle

Hiring has been a priority element of many company’s business plans since the middle of 2014, but employers continue to struggle meeting their staffing goals. Needs for operational, managerial, technical and professional staff are going unfilled for longer and longer periods of time, in many cases having a significant impact on business or service performance. … Read More »

Need Your Temporary Employee to Make A Difference? Try Beefing Up Your Onboarding Process!

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 6, 2014

0 Blog, Management.Supervision Contract Employee, contract staffing, Flexible WorkForce, hiring, Onboarding, Orientation, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Temporary Employee

Speaking as a company who takes the time to 1) understand the work our temporary employees will be doing for our customers, 2) determine the skills, knowledge, and experience our workers need to have to do the work at the levels needed, and 3) evaluate each employee in terms of the soft skills important to placement success – we know that even the “right fit” isn’t always good enough to ensure that a temporary employee will hit the floor running. If our clients have high stakes work in play and need our temporary employee(s) to perform at high levels right out of the gate, we suggest a thorough onboarding process to get our employees up and running quickly. It goes without saying that the days of greeting a temp, showing them their work station, lunchroom and bathrooms, and then leaving them alone to figure out what to do next, are long gone – if they ever existed. Work is much too complex, the importance of following work policies too critical, etc. to leave a temp’s orientation to chance. While temps are known for the ability to figure things out, because work environments are almost never the same, when it comes to temporary or contract workers more time needs to be spent up front, explaining all those things that are unique about you, your work environment, and your expectations of their work. In some ways, because you need/expect productivity quickly from your temporary/contract workers, the timing and importance of their orientation may even be more important than the timing and importance of the orientation you provide to your core workforce. The two orientations are, of course, quite different. Orienting your temporary/contract employees must be done quickly and efficiently, requiring a clear roadmap or checklist of what they need to know. Here are FIVE THINGS you likely will want to cover: 1.  The Circumstance – the reason why you chose to hire a temp rather than a core worker.  Why does their job, even if temporary, exist? What goals must be reached in order for the employee’s work to be considered successful? You might be amazed at how important it is to share your reasons for hiring a temp instead of a core employee – it gives the temp a sense of purpose, sometimes showing them how they are both a unique and special contributor to an important team goal, “I chose to bring on as a temp, because I needed a level of skill and experience I didn’t have with my current team. Your skills are so strong in (describe) we are going to let you take the lead in those areas where that skill is needed.” A temp, who clearly knows you value them as a “contributor” if only for a short period, is an employee you can count on to go out of their way to “make a difference.” 2.  Your Expectations and Priorities.  “In order for our time together to be considered successful, I need you to__________________.” Define the work outcome you are trying to achieve, how success will be defined and the impact of success. Examples of goals might be, 1) “I need you to complete this project within the time frame frames we’ve discussed,” 2) “I need you to work very cooperatively with our accounting team who is watching this project with a very critical eye” or, 3) “I need you to bring any issues to my attention right away as it is important that we work through any and all problems very quickly. Senior management has their eyes on this project.” The impact of their work is also an important element to be communicated, “This project is one of three projects we will be working on this year that are most related to our company’s ability to compete for business in South America.” 3.  Explain when, how and how often they need to be checking with you.  If you need quick updates at the end of each day, let them know. If you want them to stop by your office at least once a week, let them know. Knowing what you expect from them in terms of keeping you informed is a key element of placement success. We’ve seen very talented temporary or contract employees not meet our customer’s expectations simply because they didn’t know when or how often to communicate with our client. 4.   Identify challenges and what they should do when they encounter them.  “I want you to know you are likely to uncover challenges with_______________________. When that occurs, I want you to get help from George who knows how to push through these types of obstacles.” Fill in the blank, honestly and completely, so that your temporary worker knows what to expect and how to get issues resolved. 5.  Your hiring policies. The employees’ chances of being hired.  Don’t beat around the bush – implying there is a chance your temporary employee can be hired if that chance is minimal. At the same time, if the chances are good that their time as a temp is looked on as an audition for a direct hire opportunity, let them know. Describe the policies and processes in place that allows a hiring manager to consider (or not consider) hiring a temporary employees and what they would need to do in order to be considered. If you have clear policies, you can expect your staffing vendor to have shared this information with their employee prior to their placement, but re-stating these policies during an onboarding process, is a good way to reinforce the rules. Some hiring managers will imply a higher probability of hire than actually exists as a way to keep the temporary employee motivated. In fact, just the opposite is what’s created when the offer of employment isn’t forthcoming. Kyle Update SignatureThe onboarding of temporary employees is another area of managing a flexible workforce that needs careful planning and preparation. The PACE Staffing Network typically works closely with our employer clients to share the responsibility of a well engineered communication process where both PACE and our clients need to pay a role. For more information about employee onboarding and other factors important to managing a high impact flexible workforce, contact me, Kyle Fitzgerald, at kylef@pacestaffing.com. I am PACE’s Director of Business Operations and part of what I do is consult with employers on how to use temporary/flexible employees in ways that create a competitive advantage.  

Five Ways to Make a Difference as a Recruiter

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 11, 2014

0 Blog, Recruiting. Best Practices job seeker, recruiters, Recruiting, recruiting team, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, social media, staffing

When recruiters think about improving their effectiveness as recruiters or as a recruiting team, they often think in terms of what changes in technology or recruiting content might do for them. We could be so much more effective if we had a new ATS? More access to (expensive) job boards? A better social media strategy? A more attractive compensation or benefit package? Because of the many things in the recruiting process recruiters can’t control, they often overlook the things they can. Here are five things that come to mind for recruiters who want to make a difference: 1.  Know Your Recruiting Story – Tell It Often and Well A good recruiter knows that at some point in the recruiting process, the mechanics of a particular ATS system or their skills to find the hard-to-find no longer matter. Their ability to tell the story of “why this job, this company, should be the job or company for you" is what makes the difference. “Why do I want to work here?” is the fundamental question candidates are asking as they start an application process or accept a job offer. Effective recruiters have a range of stories to answer that question. And for different candidates, a different job, the story needs to be told differently, depending on the candidate’s individual needs and preferences.

  • How will taking this job impact the life or career aspirations of the “right” candidate?
  • What causes are important to your employer that will mean something to a particular candidate?
  • What will working for this company, this boss really be like? Can you tell that story in an honest compelling way?
It goes without saying that at some point stories can’t be told via recruiting brochures or e-mail exchanges. Good recruiters need to be able to tell their stories in up close and personal ways. 2.  Be Honest. Be Real. Make It Easy! Fancy job postings filled with standardized text describing a lot of company information many times irrelevant to a particular job seeker, can be a turn off to job seekers who prefer to be talked to in a more personal, authentic way. While your job postings need to be well organized with key information easily available, the words you use to describe the job and your company need to be believable—as if you are talking in person to the right candidate. Avoid company jargon, keep the writing simple and short, organize information so that the job postings can be skim read quickly. And a special touch would be to invite candidates to engage with you in ways other than filling out a lengthy application—a real differentiator in today’s marketplace where candidates are  tired of dealing with the black holes of “in the cloud” interactions. Most will welcome a chance to "interact" either before, during or after the formal application. Top candidates always have choices as to where to work, and often need to be romanced before the dating can effectively begin. 3.  Prioritize First Impressions – Be Urgent. Responsive.     Moving quickly and responsively to the candidates who elect to approach your company for a job is a HUGE opportunity for differentiation in today's job market. If part of your job includes a responsibility to respond to candidate inquiries, make sure you respond with URGENCY, preferably NOT with an automated response. You would be amazed at how many companies lose talent battles simply because their initial contact to a candidate was too slow (someone got there first) or impersonal, treating the candidate as if they were one of thousands. Candidates form first impressions about your company and you as a recruiter just like you do. The kind of impression you have on job candidates in general can make a difference to how your candidates think about you and your company as a place to work. 4.  Become a “Servant Recruiter”       Using John Kennedy’s famous challenge to America in his inaugural address “Ask not what the candidate can do for you, but what you can do for them,” we believe the impact of the same paradigm shift for some recruiters can be dramatic. You’ve heard of becoming a “servant leader,” well by becoming a “servant recruiter” can significantly grow your recruiting effectiveness. Here’s how it works. Instead of being that “gate keeping authority” messaging to candidates that they either “meet certain job requirements or go away,” become a career partner—someone candidates can share their true selves with, someone who candidates know cares about them as individuals, someone candidates can invite into their professional lives as a valued adviser and partner. Talk about a way to build pipelines of active and passive candidates for future staffing needs? It goes without saying that a candidate who experiences you as a “recruiting servant” will become a candidate who is not only ready to go through the application process today, but someone who will sing your praises to others in the talent community tomorrow. 5.  Optimize Technology But Know Your Value! The range of recruiting technologies available in the current marketplace is mind boggling and there is no question that the impact of these new technologies has been game changing for both recruiters and their employers. The truth is that these technologies are tools – simplifying and automating those parts of the recruiting process that are amenable to that automation, but leaving a lot of room for recruiters to make a difference in all those places in the recruiting process that only humans can impact. A recruiter 1) who tells the “why this job is the right job for you” story often and well, 2) who has changed their paradigm from “gate keeper” to “servant recruiter,” 3) who is prioritizing urgency in how they create first impressions, and/or 4) who knows how to communicate simply and authentically in ways that invites candidate trust is a recruiter who will always be more effective than their more technology-reliant counterparts.   Keep your technology robust and current but make sure the “human touches” that only recruiters can deliver are the real differentiators in your recruiting process.    The PACE Staffing Network has been using cutting edge recruiting technology since we first automated our staffing operation in 1984 – long before automation was a staffing necessity. We have learned firsthand the things even the most powerful recruiting technology can do and the things it can’t. Our strategy is to take full advantage of the best technology has to offer, while preserving our up-close-and-personalized approaches to candidate and client relationships. Our staffing network is made up of independent recruiters and staffing suppliers who operate from that same operating philosophy. Our unique network approach is why, regardless of our client’s needs, we always have either the candidate they need somewhere in our network, or the recruiting solution that will uncover them quickly. For a personalized introduction to the power of our recruiting network and how it would deliver value to your company, contact us at 425-637-3312.

A Check Up for Your Team – Eight Factors Important to High Level Team Performance

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 5, 2014

2 Blog, Human Resource Roles Assessment Center, Candidate Assessments, Hiring Team Players, Hiring/Firing, Seattle Staffing, staffing Seattle, Team Performance, Team Problem Solving, Team Work, Teams

Doing the work to build a high performing team always seems like a daunting task. So many different personalities, agendas and styles have to come together in order for the team to achieve its goal of accomplishing considerably more than what could be accomplished by individuals, working separately. And when you think you’ve (finally) arrived, figuring out how to keep a successful team motivated to keep performing at increasingly challenging levels can be an equally daunting challenge. What does it take to keep a team continuously improving? To embrace a new mission? To tackle new goals? Sometimes the real issue isn’t about the team’s performance, but about a lack of recognition of where the team is going, or knowing when you’ve arrived—making it easy to get lost or disillusioned along the way. The following is a list of eight characteristics we believe define a high performance team. To get your team involved in their own self-assessment, ask each team member to rate their team on each characteristic using a scale of 1-5. At your next team meeting, have each team member share their scores and comments to see where the team agrees there is opportunity for improvement. 1.  Problem Solving. The team has normal and routine ways of tackling problems, addressing issues, and handling conflict together. All team members know when and how to escalate issues to team problem solving formats and do so as needed. Problems tend to be addressed proactively, before they have grown into serious issues. Rating                                                   2.  Synergy. It is clear to all team members that they accomplish more together than they could individually. Team members feed off one another, generating new and creative ideas that wouldn’t be generated by working alone. The team regularly sets goals for what they can do together, that are much bigger than the sum of their individual efforts. Rating                                                   3.  Adaptation. Flexibility. High performing teams have learned how to be flexible, responsive, orderly and direct. They regularly move into unknowns where they must quickly adapt to new information or situations as they are presented. They have routines, but are open to changing them quickly when they no longer work. Rating                                                   4.  Open and Authentic. The team regularly uses active listening to ensure information is exchanged between team members as intended. Conflict is encouraged as a way to constructively explore something new or different. Curiosity is more important to the team than is judgment. Rating                                                   5.  Results Focused. No matter the obstacle, the team finds a way to deliver the high quality work they all know is ex pected of them—on time and within budget. The drive for results frequently trumps other considerations and team members “buckle down” when the going gets tough. Personal challenges are acknowledged, but are never allowed to supersede the team’s mission. Rating                                                   6.  Always Learning. The team places a high value on its collective learning and is constantly exploring new knowledge and new ways of working together. Individuals frequently take responsibility to bring back information to the team as a way to grow the team’s expertise and ultimately its performance. Rating                                                   7.  Accountability. Team members take full accountability for both team results and their own contributions to those results. When things go wrong, there is no finger pointing or blame—team member’s step up to the plate regularly to diagnose personal or team mistakes and explore ways to avoid them in the future. Rating                                                   8.  Support.  Members of most high performance teams spend time supporting one another in a variety of ways that reflects their mutual respect and encourages their enjoyment of each other. Team members regularly extend their personal efforts to ensure the success of others on the team. Rating                                                   The PACE Staffing Network has been helping HR and Hiring Managers put together the right combinations of people and skills to create high performance teams for over three decades. Our Assessment Centers help customers not only select employees who have the hard skills needed to be successful on a team, but the necessary aptitudes and work styles needed to become strong team contributors. If you’re having difficult putting together the right team, please contact 425-637-3312 for a complimentary exploration of the many things you can be doing to improve team performance.

Are You Making the Most of Your Temporary Staffing Options?

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 1, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Contract Employees, Downsizing, Flexible Staffing Models, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Shamrock Organization, Staffing Solutions, Temporary Staffing, WorkForce Optimization

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]1. What percentage of your total workforce currently falls into one of the flexible worker (temp, contract, part-time) categories?  While there is no magic ratio of flex-to-core employees, if your percentage of core to non-core staff is 10% or below, look hard at the things your company is doing to embrace the “flexible work” model. The “shamrock organization” that has been widely touted as the model for the future, suggests that as much as 33% of your workforce can be contingent workers, while another 33% are the workers provided by “outsourced” service providers. Only 33% of this shamrock workforce are core employees, with the responsibility to manage and coordinate the work of the contingent others. Does this staffing model make business sense for your company? Your team? How much money could you shave off your operating budget if you became more “shamrock” like? 2. Is the demand for your goods or services increasing or decreasing? How have you adjusted your headcounts to deal with these trends? Reducing or adding to your temporary/flexible workforce is fast becoming the preferred staffing model to cushion the highs and lows of economic volatility. The notion of “right sizing” isn’t just about reducing staff; it’s also about not making permanent commitments to core employees until you know for sure that a business trend is stable. Using a flexible staffing strategy to always stay “right sized” has become a strategic method used by employers to transition wage costs from a fixed cost to a variable cost. Investing in or holding onto fixed costs that your competitors treat as variable will eventually impact profitability and your ability to compete. 3. Do you have a good handle on the rhythms of supply and demand for your department’s particular goods and services? The reoccurring low and high points of your team’s work cycles? With the growth in popularity of temporary and contract staffing options, an employer’s ability to move employees in and out of work environments quickly has significantly improved. Many employers have made a science out of staffing their teams at levels to support the lowest points in the demand cycle and using flexible workers to cycle-up or cycle-down in response to business need. “Workforce optimization” software’s have been developed to help companies track productivity requirements prior to impact. 4. How much overtime is currently being required of your workforce – core and flex? Overtime is very costly and is often a reactive strategy rather than the result of a well thought out plan. Staffing with the right number of core employees and augmenting up or down with flexible employees should eliminate most overtime requirements. 5. When special projects or reworks come up, do you typically have enough employees currently on staff to handle the extra work load? If you have core staff that consistently have the time to volunteer for additional work, chances are your company has too many fixed wage costs embedded into your workforce strategies. Most work that is non-reoccurring or not part of your regular routine should be done by your flexible workforce, not your core. 6. How long is it taking you to hire a core employee? What is the impact to your business of an inability to hire? If you need to move quickly and it takes too long to hire a core employee, you can miss important opportunities. Temporary or contract employees with the skill sets you need, can be brought in and put to work quickly. Temp-to-hire staffing models have dramatically increased over the last two years. Workers who have found themselves suddenly out of job are oftentimes willing to work in non-core ways. Many of these employees will bring new ideas and new ways of working to your company, promoting an atmosphere of change. 7. Are there jobs under your direction with high turnover, requiring you to be constantly in “hire” mode? Reoccurring turnover can be a sign that the job you are trying to fill just might not lend itself to a core staffing model. Many work groups composed of workers with low to moderate skill levels have been fully converted to a temporary staffing model. Another way of dealing with a high turnover job is to use a rotating group of auditioning contingent workers who you can use to keep work flowing, while giving workers a chance to demonstrate their special interest in or talent for the work to be performed. This auditioning process allows you to “always be hiring” while outsourcing much of the staffing costs to a third party employer. 8. Are there jobs under your direction where the morale of the work group seems to be an issue? Or where a large number of employees are no longer on their A-game? In large teams performing repetitive tasks, there are oftentimes cycles in employee performance that can be managed just like any other business cycle. If your productivity goals are such that all employees need to be on their A-game always, you might consider a more flexible staffing model that capitalizes on the opportunity to bring fresh new employees into your work group at just the right time—recycling employees who might have “burned out” into other work or jobs. 9. Is your team undergoing significant process changes? Bringing on new ways of working? New technologies? Periods of rapid or longer term change are often times when you need to slow down your commitments to core hiring and convert to a more flexible and short term work model. It is not unusual for work groups dealing with extended periods of uncertainty or change to be composed of more temporary than core workers. 10. How much of your operating budget can you devote to temporary or contingent staff? Many companies that monitor hiring levels carefully will at the same time provide considerable budget dollars for temporary/interim staff. One of the ways to add to your workforce without breaking full time employee (FTE) rules is to identify an employee you want to hire and instead of hiring them directly, you use an “employer of record” service through a third-party employer service. This staffing strategy avoids most of the hidden costs associated with core employees, retains the flexible component of an hourly employee who can go in and out of your workforce “at will”, plus protects your current core employees from the stress of trying to do more than they have core FTE to do. For more information about ways to drive down fixed costs by using flexible workforce strategies, contact the PACE Staffing Network at infodesk@pacestaffing.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Workforce Trends – time to reboot how we staff our companies?

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 24, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Contract Workers, Employment Data, Hiring Trends, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Staffing Agency, Temporary Workers, Temps, WorkForce Data

We wanted to share with our customers an edited version of a recent article by John Zappe published in The Fordyce Letter. Here’s the data Mr. Zappe is referencing—data from a recent study conducted by Duke University, polling over 500 US CFOs. It would appear that US companies are shifting away from a reliance on full-time, permanent workers and moving to workforces with larger representations of temporary, contract, and part-time employees. When I see data like this I remember back to the days when I first became a student of staffing and heard futurists like Charles Handy (author of Age of Unreason) talking about the future of the work force looking like a clover leaf—33% core employees; 33% temp employees (auditioning for core positions) and 33% outsourced providers (doing work for an organization that fell outside the organization’s core competencies). Mr. Zappe attributes the current trend to “a fragile economy and the looming implementation of the national healthcare program.” As reported in this study, 59% of CFOs have increased temporary and part-time workers and are turning with greater frequency to outside consultants and advisers. “The results show the emotional impact of the recession lingers on, keeping CFOs wary about spending, especially on hiring, even as they are more optimistic about their company’s financial health.” The level of optimism about profitability was good. US CFOs reported their expectations that profits will raise an average of 10%. At the same time, they predicted hiring to stabilize at the current low levels, overall headcounts to increase by only 2%. Outsourced employment was targeted to grow at 3%--significantly faster than other types of workers. Kyle Update SignatureEconomic uncertainty was cited by 44.3% as the reason for not hiring permanent full-timers. The new healthcare law was cited by 38%, while 24% said salary considerations kept them from full time hiring. Of the 28% of companies reported to be employing workers outside of the US, almost 75% expected to add additional workers in the coming year, with the majority of them adding at least as many overseas as in the United States. This article was prepared by Kyle Fitzgerald, Client Solutions Manager of the PACE Staffing Network using information from a variety of sources. For a conversation with our consulting team on what this change in workforce demographics means to you and your company, email us infodesk@pacestaffing.com.  Our mission is to help companies use alternative staffing strategies to their competitive advantage.  

25 things you need to know in order to hire the “right” employee

by Jeanne Knutzen | September 18, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Job Market, pace staffing, Recruitng Profile, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Staffing Agency, Temporary Staffing In Seattle, Work Environment

Hiring the right employee isn’t just about finding the best talent in the marketplace, but finding and eventually hiring an employee whose skills, work style and motivations best “fits” the unique requirements and offerings of a specific job and the work environment that goes along with it. To “hire right,” hiring managers and recruiters need to first understand the type of employee who best fits the actual work requirements—to create what we call a RECRUITING PROFILE.  Recruiting profiles are different from JOB DESCRIPTIONs, in that they are singularly focused on defining the qualities of candidates best suited to do the work identified in the job description. An effective RECRUITING PROFILE helps recruiters and hiring manager’s source candidates from the right places, recruit them for the right reasons, and hire the one candidate who best fits the full scope of work requirements. It focuses on KEY REQUIREMENTS, both the hard and soft skills needed for success, instead of wasting recruiter time chasing a perfect candidate who may or may not exist. Here’s our list of 25 things recruiters and hiring managers need to know about a job BEFORE they begin the search for candidates. This is a list based on our years of experience supporting countless hiring decisions, paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. THE WORK 1. Why Does this Job Exist? From an organizational perspective why is this job needed?  What is it intended to accomplish/contribute different from the contribution of other jobs on the team? 2. How Will the Employee Spend Their Day? What are the reoccurring tasks the employee will need to perform on a regular/daily basis? How will the employee spend most of their time? Doing what type of work/tasks? 3. Variety. Scope of Work. What is the range of work or variety of tasks that must be performed in order to produce the work product needed?  How varied in terms of content or complexity? How much organization is required to deliver the results needed? 4. Work Cadence. What is the typical pace of work that is required to achieve deadlines? Will the employee be expected to be an accomplished multi-tasker? How frequently are they asked to meet deadlines and what is the impact to others for an employee missing a deadline? 5. Key Deliverables. What are they key outcomes or work products that must be delivered on a regular basis by the person doing this job? What is the impact to the team/organization if the work doesn’t get done? Who/what is impacted? 6. Complexity. How would you describe the level of detail or complexity that goes into the completion of each deliverable/work product? How many factors must be considered before taking action? How much coordination must be done with others? 7. Quality or Quantity? Is the work content or expectations the type that would require an employee to consistently choose between quantity or quality? Or is the balance somewhere in between? 8. Problem Solving/Challenges. What types of problems are typically addressed by this employee? Will the issues that come up tend to be unique or reoccurring requiring application of proven solutions? Will the employee be asked to think outside the box—to come up with something new or innovative, or are more tried and true solutions more valued? 9. Interpersonal Communications. Who and what type of people does this person interact with on a regular basis? How often?  Written? E-mail, etc.? Are there any special circumstances surrounding the people they will communicate with regularly? Styles they need to accommodate? 10. Influence. Persuasion. Negotiations. How often will they be required to influence, persuade or negotiate with others? Will those people tend to be bosses? Peers? Direct reports? THE WORK ENVIRONMENT 11. Decision Making/Autonomy. How many and what kind of decisions will this person make at the direction of others? How many and what kind of decisions are they expected to make on their own? 12. Change. Would you describe the work environment as organized, structured and stable, or in frequent flux, subject to change without a lot of notice or preparation? How are changes handled in the work environment? 13. Training/Mentorship Availability and Requirements. What level of training, mentorship or hands on instruction will be available to the candidate? How much of the work to be performed will require company-specific training? 14. Teamwork. Collaborations. How often will the employee be asked to collaborate with others on getting work done, to make decisions?  To put team goals ahead of personal goals? 15. Learning. To deliver the outcomes required, how often and in what ways will they be required to learn something new?  Are they required to do most of their learning on their own, or how is new knowledge introduced into your work environment? 16. Management Style. Goal Setting. How tightly will the employee be managed with respect to goals, expectations and performance tracking? How will goals and expectations be communicated? Measured? What are the consequences of below target performance? 17. Management Style.Feedback and Support. How often and in what ways will they be given feedback? How available is their supervisor to answer questions, provide support? KEY REQUIREMENTS 18. Required/Preferred Skills. To deliver the work products required, what skills will be required that can’t be acquired on the job, via training or instruction? What skills would be helpful, but not absolutely necessary? Will the required skills be needed at the entry, intermediate, or advanced levels? 19. Required/Preferred Knowledge. To deliver the work products required, what knowledge or subject matter expertise is needed? Preferred? What components of the knowledge required can be taught or learned on the job rather than via formal education/training? 20. Required/Preferred Work Experience. To deliver the work products required, how much actual on the job experience is required? Preferred? Is it possible that a fast tracker could have acquired the skills or knowledge needed with less work experience?  Are there some specific types of work experiences more valuable or relevant than others? 21. Required/Preferred Personal Qualities Important to Success. What are the key personal qualities that a candidate needs to have in order to be successful? How would you describe the qualities of previous candidates who have been successful in the role? How are those traits different from those who have been unsuccessful 22. Required Certifications/Education. What certifications or licenses are required in order to perform the required job functions? MOTIVATORS 23. Attraction Opportunities. What are some of the special opportunities that will be available to the employee who accepts this job?  Opportunities to learn new things? To advance their career? To make a noticeable contribution? In other words, why would someone want to take this job? Where in their career cycle would the preferred candidate likely be, entry level? Mid/aspirational level? Mastery level? 24. Attraction Elimination Issues. Are there any factors in work content that would eliminate candidates based on certain personal preferences or restrictions? Travel? Availability? Pay rate? Physical working conditions? 25. “Corporate Fit.” How would you describe the “selling features” your company typically uses to recruit and retain its employees? Opportunity for advancement? Pay/Benefits? Entrepreneurial environment? Industry leadership? For a copy of a one page RECRUITING PROFILE which will summarize all of the information needed to focus your search for the right candidate, contact us at infocenter@pacestaffing.com. You can also inquire about additional interviewing guides, tools and checklists that are a part of our HiringSmart Best Practices Series.

Engage Potential Candidates

by Jeanne Knutzen | July 23, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Build Candidate Engagement, Engage Potential Candidates, Engage Talented Applicants, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, staffing agencies seattle, Staffing In Seattle WA

You know that your job post provides potential candidates with their first—and sometimes only—contact with your company and your brand. And you know that a well written job post can mean the difference between a vast, highly talented candidate pool and a thin pool with a lower level of average ability. But beyond clarity, honesty, and striking the right tone, what steps can you take to get the best candidates to emotionally engage with this opportunity? Keep these considerations in mind. 1. Encourage daydreaming. If possible, get potential applicants to envision themselves in this position, literally sitting at this desk or working on this job site. The lives they lead in this vision should offer everything they want, whatever that may mean—including glamour, personal reward, new experiences, travel, or any other relevant form of personal satisfaction. 2. Know your target audience. Know what your ideal candidate wants, but more specifically, know what kind of person she’d like to be. Adjust your job post to reflect positively on this goal. 3. Put yourself in her shoes. Remember the last time you were on the job market. Remember the difference between finding a position you felt relatively sure you could tolerate and finding a job post that made your heart beat a little faster. People light up when they get a glimpse of something they truly want, not just something they feel like they should want. 4. Leverage your brand. Even if your company is small and not well known in the larger marketplace, use whatever small leverage you have to grab your candidate’s attention. If you can just inspire a talented candidate to make the two clicks it takes to visit your company’s website, you’re halfway home. (Of course, you’ll need to control what she sees when she visits your site or runs your name through a search engine.) 5. Be ready to draw her into the application process. When your ideal candidate submits a resume, she should get an instant message letting her know her application was received. From that moment forward, she should be treated with respect and kept informed of all relevant timelines throughout the selection process. Turn a great first impression (your job post) into a great second, third, and fourth impression. For more information on how to grab and hold the attention of highly talented potential applicants, reach out to the Seattle staffing experts at Pace.

Should You Become a Healthcare Administrator?

by Jeanne Knutzen | July 2, 2013

0 Blog, Healthcare Staffing A Career In Health Administration, healthcare administration jobs in seattle, healthcare administration jobs seattle, healthcare administration jobs seattle wa, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, Staffing In Seattle

Healthcare Administrators, also sometimes called Health Administrators or Healthcare Managers, form the backbone of functional healthcare facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, and urgent care clinics. While doctors, RNs, and medical practitioners handle the clinical needs of patients and clients, healthcare administrators oversee the entire clinic and handle the hiring and scheduling of these practitioners. Administrators also manage the operational needs of the facility including vendor contracts, supplies, and budgeting. This is a position of high responsibility and high reward, and the outlook for this role is very promising. Healthcare administrators are in high demand right now, and this demand is expected to grow substantially over the next ten years. Should you pursue a career in this field? Here are few considerations that can help you decide.

  • The pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare administrators can expect to make an average of about 45,000 dollars at the entry level, and more experienced administrators can earn salaries between 50,000 and 110,000 per year. This rate varies slightly by geographic area.
  • The available opportunities. Healthcare administrators can pursue management positions in both large and small facilities in both the public and private sector. As a wave of baby boomers approach retirement age, the healthcare industry is expected to expand rapidly, and a parallel trend is occurring as facilities become increasingly specialized. Where people used to face only two choices when they needed treatment—hospitals and private clinics—they can now choose between a wide range of options from urgent care clinics to physical therapy centers.
  • The path. Those who choose to enter this field usually start by earning a four year degree in health administration, public policy, or business management. Some administrators then go on to obtain a Master’s degree, while others launch their careers with state or federal healthcare agencies working to shape the laws that impact public health.
  • The qualities necessary for success. Healthcare administrators who tend to thrive in this field usually possess qualities like a strong work ethic, organizational skills, and high levels of emotional and social energy. They often have excellent business sense and planning skill. Many of them enjoy the personal sense of reward that comes from helping those in need, and this role provides that reward without involving the hands-on clinical side of the healthcare industry.
If a future in healthcare administration seems like a match for your skills and interests; reach out to the Seattle healthcare staffing experts at Pace.

The Search for a Great Recruiter

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 28, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles job offer letters, job recruiters seattle, Qualities Of Great Recruiters, recruiters in seattle, recruiters seattle, recruiters seattle wa, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, Staffing In Seattle, The Search For a Great Recruiter, What To Look For In A Recruiter

A sharp, highly experienced recruiter can be an invaluable member of your hiring team. And establishing an ongoing relationship with a well-connected recruiting firm may be the best hiring move you ever make. But even as your recruiters head out into the world to represent your company and help you find the strongest candidates, you’ll still need to screen and select those recruiters based on your own specific staffing needs. So how can you identify the recruiters and firms that are likely to bring the best results? Here are a few signs to look for before you make a commitment. 1. Great recruiters are great listeners. Your positions come with very specific requirements and skill demands, and in order to understand these requirements, a recruiter has to possess a basic understanding of how your company works and how each position contributes to the larger picture. When you sit with your recruiter and explain a specific role, does he or she listen closely, ask the right questions and remember details accurately? 2. Great recruiters are well connected. They’re socially savvy, tech savvy, and have wide professional networks at their disposal, both online and off. They’re an active presence at industry events, they have long lists of contacts and vast online footprints, and they’re known and respected wherever they go. 3. Great recruiters are experienced. The best staffing and recruiting firms have been in the business for a few years and have had plenty of opportunities to get the lay of the land. They’re also staffed with seasoned recruiters who can share with each other what they’ve learned. A team of five recruiters with an average of ten years in the field should amount to a firm with fifty collective years of experience. 4. Great recruiters can tell the difference between “impressive” and “relevant” credentials. They know how to weigh technical skill sets against qualities like adaptability and resilience. They know that “fit” often matters more than any other quality, and they know how to spot red flags and investigate them further in order to protect their clients from expensive mistakes. 5. Great recruiters use proven methods. They rely on efficient phone screening techniques, first round interviewing models, skill testing, and background checks to separate the best candidates from the rest of the pack. 6. Most important, great recruiters are fast and accurate communicators. When employers need them, they’re there. They answer messages quickly, source and screen applicants on tight deadlines, and make the needs of their clients a top priority. If you’re looking for a top-notch Seattle staffing team, arrange a consultation with the experts at Pace. We can help you find the right people with the skills you need to move your company forward.

In Pursuit of Accountability

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 26, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Contract Employees, Fearless Leadership, Loretta Malandro, Managers, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Industry, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Temporary Employees

Despite the countless management and leadership books written about the virtue of accountability, according to most employees there are significant gaps between management’s knowing and doing when it comes to accountability. Most employees don’t rate their organizations highly in terms of their ability to hold individuals or teams accountable. While they believe they are personally accountable, they don’t always believe that others in their organization are held to the same “high” standards. Well intended managers can oftentimes fuel these perceptions. Excuses like “they’re new to the job,” or “I probably wasn’t clear in my directions,” can sound more like “permission” to underperform or the avoidance of a difficult conversation, than the commitment to fairness it might otherwise represent. The opposite track, an organization being too quick to act or terminate an employee whose results are off target (i.e. “John’s outcomes are awful. He needs to go,”) can often keep a team from looking at larger issues in market conditions or organizational performance that aren’t about John’s performance. Additionally, a manager who is slow to coach and fast to terminate can erode an organization’s commitment to its employees. Management 101 teaches us that by helping our employees to become more accountable, we make our teams more productive. The opposite is also true. When management drifts away from the habits of “accountability,” a culture of finger pointing, blame, and gossip often takes hold. Issues in productivity and outcomes, almost always follow. Unfortunately, individual managers—senior, middle, and entry level leadership roles—don’t always understand their personal role in an organization’s “accountability culture.” While most managers believe they do a good job of holding their team members accountable, it’s sometimes difficult to see how others are doing the same. When the going gets tough and results are off target, even high performing managers can look to “others”—a better resourced competitor, an underperforming colleague, an overly demanding customer, or an insensitive senior management—as the reason for their own subpar outcomes.  Anytime a manager takes their eyes off their own performance and looks for explanations of outcomes outside themselves, the organization’s “culture” of accountability suffers. In her book Fearless Leadership, Loretta Malandro, PhD., says that, for a business to create an accountability culture management accountability must be 100 %—each manager must become “personally accountable for their impact on people, even if others accept zero accountability.” Dr. Malandro is clearly stating the management challenge; it always has to start within. Managers also need to understand that the drift in an organization’s accountability culture typically happens slowly, then suddenly. While accountability is an intellectually simple concept, in reality it is both emotionally and behaviorally complex. For managers who take their mission to develop people seriously, they must find that just-right balance between holding people accountable and empowering them to make mistakes. Their goal is to help employees work from their strengths, while making sure their weaknesses don’t knock them over. Even a well thought out decision to terminate an underperforming but high impact employee, requires careful organizational planning that almost always involves others—which means that many accountability decisions can’t be made in a vacuum, outside the context of the team and its customers. This is a long way of saying that the balancing acts that in their aggregate reflect how you or your company is managing “accountability” are as easy and straight forward as others would like. It is my belief that a fully accountable culture represents an aspirational vision that is rarely fully achieved, but can produce a whole lot of small but “made a difference” successes along the way. So how do individual managers go about creating a culture of accountability? We have a handful of suggestions, starting with a good reflection of where you are now. Go through some of the checklists we’ve provided below and rate yourself on a scale of 1 -5—with 5 being the highest of the rankings and 1 the lowest. How are you managing your own team?

Self-Rating

1. CLEAR EXPECTATIONS. Does each team member know specifically what is being expected of them? How their work will be measured and/or evaluated?
2. ONGOING, HONEST FEEDBACK. Do team members regularly get all of the metrics and/or the feedback they need to evaluate their own work? Do they know at all times how I am viewing their work and outcomes?
3. ADDRESSING PERFORMANCE ISSUES. Do I follow up quickly to work more closely with team members whose results are off target? Do I listen carefully for obstacles, and coach them on ways to overcome them? Do I have clear processes in place to make sure that any potentially job threatening issues are escalated clearly and appropriately?
4. INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT. Do I manage each member of my team as an individual, setting individual performance goals and avoiding comparisons with other team members?
5. PLANNING AND FOLLOW UP. When my team and I are discussing options, do I follow up to make sure what work needs to be done and by whom? That my priorities are clear? Do I regularly follow up on promised deadlines or benchmarks so that I physically inspect work in progress to ensure that each team member is completing work as promised?

Total Score

  How are you conducting yourself as a company leader?

Self-Rating

1. PERSONAL ROLE MODELING. When things go wrong, do I walk the talk of personal accountability—avoid making excuses or blaming others over explaining myself? Do I personally model my own “empowerment; engaging my team in ways to overcome obstacles, solve problems,   and make progress?
2. COACHING. DEVELOPING OTHERS. Do I spend enough time coaching others to success, avoiding   getting disappointed or angry when a team member doesn’t “get it?” Do I look for ways for my employees to work from strengths, even if that means some adjustments in how work gets done?
3. TRANSPARENCY. Do I make sure I always work from a plan, making my personal contribution to company goals transparent to my boss and colleagues?
4. WORD CHOICES. Do my word choices set a tone with the team and others of “positive problem solving” around things we can control, rather than focusing too heavily on issues and obstacles we can’t?
5. TEAMMEMBER SUPPORT. Do I always communicate in ways that demonstrate my respect for others, my ability to find value in “different” people, talents and perspectives? Do I avoid conversations with team members or colleagues that are more about gossip than problem solving? Do I listen when issues are brought forward, but avoid lengthy discussions about another team member’s performance?

Total Score

  Are you avoiding the assumptions that can erode the habits of accountability?

Self-Rating

1. Good team members always understand what’s expected of them. Am I mindful that clarifying expectations is an ongoing process?
2. Good team members will automatically self-correct. When a mistake is made or a ball dropped, do I help others determine what they will do differently next   time?
3. Everyone knows what I do/what I’m accountable for. Do I demonstrate daily the transparency in my own work that I want from others?
4. Everyone knows what changes need to be made now. How often am I communicating about change, and what we need to be doing differently?   How clear am I about my team’s priorities?

Total Score

  Accountability is an important element in the work we do to help our clients find and place the right employee for each request we fill—either for a job candidate to be hired by our client directly, a short term temporary or contract assignment, or a complex project level assignment involving full team engagement. We always want to know what each of our employees is accountable to produce—what outcome our client needs them to achieve. One of the important side benefits of “temporary” workers is that their accountabilities can generally be defined in simple terms, “achieve this result in this way, ” but the degree to which our customers can spell out these simple statements, the greater the probability that our employee will perform as expected. Our client’s chances for a successful temporary or contract assignment are directly impacted by the quality of information they can provide to all of their employees up front about their business (the context) and their expectations (the deliverable). NancyWe also encourage our clients to provide their temporary and contract employees with timely feedback relative to those expectations—as early in the assignment as possible and as ongoing as is needed. Many issues in employee performance, particularly in temporary or contract roles, stems from the employees not clearly understanding the client’s expectations. Keep in mind many temporary and contract employees go from assignment to assignment with their client’s expectations changing at each assignment. Early course corrections to clarify your expectations can make a huge difference. If you’d like to discuss any of these editorial comments, feel free to contact me at nancys@pacestaffing.com. I’m Nancy Swanson, Vice President of Partnership Development for the PACE Staffing Network.      

Qualifications for Your Financial Team

by Jeanne Knutzen | June 21, 2013

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles Financial Qualifications You Need, financial staffing seattle, Hiring Financial Staff, Hiring Your Financial Team, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, Staffing In Seattle WA

As your business expands and your market footprint begins to grow, the size of your staff will need to keep pace. Hiring demands will pick up across all aspects of your company from production to customer outreach, and your financial department will be no exception. While you may have handled most of your accounting needs on your own during the early chapters, this just isn’t realistic beyond a certain stage. You’ll eventually need a CPA to manage to your tax responsibilities, a book keeper to monitor your revenue streams and cost centers, and eventually a controller to make sure your shareholders understand what’s happening behind the scenes. What kinds of traits and skills should you be looking for as you move forward with your financial hiring process? Keep these considerations in mind. Chief Financial Officer A CFO manages and oversees all aspects of your company’s financial operations. From keeping costs under control, to improving efficiency in processing, to monitoring all financial reporting, the CFO holds final accountability for this aspect of your company. There are no specific qualifications or licensing requirements for CFOs, but this should be a person you trust as a money manager and also as a leader. He or she should hold a four year degree in business management or finance—at the very least—and should possess exceptional leadership and communication skill. Certified Public Accountant Your CPA is the person who will ensure that your company functions in accordance with state and federal regulations, which include tax payment and filing issues. Since CPAs interact directly with the government and the legal system, they’re required to abide by strict licensing and certification requirements that vary by state. Before you consider any candidate for a CPA position, make sure he or she holds these credentials and ideally has some experience with your specific type of business (LLC, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc). Controller Your controller will handle all your company’s issues related to financial reporting. These will include shareholder communications, long term business forecasting, and budgeting. A controller should possess an MBA or a four year degree in finance or accounting. Advanced CFA, CMA or CPA certification suggest an additional measure of competence. In addition to the positions listed here, you’ll also benefit from the skills of an advanced accounting staff and at least one book keeper, an entry level employee who keeps track of sales figures, invoices, and operating expenses. For specific guidance as you begin the recruiting process for each of these roles, reach out to the financial staffing experts at Pace.

Avoid These Financial Resume Mistakes

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 21, 2013

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles Avoid These Financial Resume Mistakes, Avoid These Resume Blunders, financial jobs seattle, Financial Resume Mistakes, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, Staffing In Seattle

Mistakes like the ones listed below can spell trouble for any resume, regardless of your industry or the specific position you’re looking for. But in the financial world, these are especially common and can cause disproportionate damage to your candidacy.  Before you attach your resume to your introductory message and click send, make sure you aren’t guilty of any of these blunders.

1. No reference to your target company’s primary product or financial instrument

If you’re looking for a position in financial advisory services, your employers will want assurance that you understand how their specific market works. Whether they deal in futures, equity funds, securities or ETFs, your record will need to show some experience in this core area. If you don’t have this experience, you’ll have to emphasize your other credentials. But if you do, make sure this information comes through clearly.

2. Emphasizing “impressive” credentials over relevant ones

If you need to organize your work history section according to relevance rather than chronology, that’s fine. If you decide to stick with a chronological layout, that’s fine too. But remove irrelevant positions from the line up if they stand in your way or confuse the issue. This will clear away the clutter and allow the important parts of your background to shine.

3. Excessive or inappropriate use of buzzwords and jargon

The financial field is loaded with insider terminology and acronyms, which are perfectly acceptable when they’re necessary. But unfortunately, this field is also crowded with buzzwords, empty terms, and business-sounding nonsense. And this latter category can spell death for a resume, especially at the entry level. Get to the point, be clear, and if you find yourself using empty self-descriptive terms like “change-driver” or “success-driven”, stop and rethink. Be specific. Say things about yourself that don’t also apply to everyone else in the world.

4. Any attempt at spin, smoke throwing, or exaggerations

Any attempts to hide or cover up previous job losses by manipulating employment dates are a bad move. So are exaggerations, especially those referencing the number of people you managed, the revenue your brought in for previous employers, or the projects that you may or may not have completed single-handedly.  Experienced employers can factor your age and other telling details into a realistic assessment of what you’ve actually done. Stick to the facts and you’ll be fine.

5. Sloppy or weak command of the language

Communication skills are vital in the finance industry, so an articulate resume with smooth transitions from one thought and point to the next will earn respect. Choppy, confused statements and clumsy phrasing will do the opposite.

For more specific guidance and editing help with your financial services or accounting resume, reach out to the Seattle staffing and job search experts at Pace.

A Day in the Life: Healthcare Administration

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 14, 2013

0 Blog, Healthcare Staffing A Career In Healthcare Administration, Entering Healthcare Administration, Healthcare Administrator, healthcare administrator jobs in Seattle, Healthcare Administrators, Healthcare Staffing In Seattle, Seattle Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing Agencies, Seattle WA Staffing Agency, Staffing In Seattle, Temporary Staffing In Seattle

While physicians, RNs, surgeons, and orderlies are darting around a busy hospital focused on caring for their patients, how do they know who’s responsible for what? Who takes care of the work schedules, management issues, orders, billing, financial matters and policy decisions that allow the hospital to function? Who handles the hiring, firing, budget allocations and business transactions that support the financial health of the clinic and the actual health of its patients? This responsibility falls to the healthcare administrator, a hardworking, well respected member of the industry. This person directs everything that takes place within the clinic or healthcare facility, and she usually holds a master’s degree and several years of experience in a management setting. This position is perfect for those who would like to play a key role in healthcare but aren’t necessarily looking for hands-on treatment responsibilities in clinical environments. If healthcare administration sounds like an ideal career for you, enter the field by making the following moves. Entering Healthcare Administration: Four Steps

1. Learn as much as you can about the field. For starters, it may be useful to know that this profession is in very high demand, and the number of available positions is expected to grow to about 100,000 by 2016. Inquire into your social network to find out who can connect you to an experienced healthcare administer (or administrators).  Once you have a list of names, set up informational interviews with these people to ask for guidance and advice.

2. Earn an undergraduate bachelor’s degree from a reputable, accredited university. Choose a major related to health policy, public health administration, business administration, biology, biochemistry, or any of the life sciences.

3. Pursue a graduate education. While some entry level healthcare admin fields don’t require more than a four year degree, most employers expect candidates to hold at least a master’s degree in public health administration or health policy. To gain access to a reputable graduate program, you’ll need to make sure your coursework, GRE scores, and recommendations are strong.

4. Survive graduate school without burning out. And while you’re working hard and gaining the support your need to pass your exams, make sure you’re also establishing a professional network. Earn the respect of your colleagues and professors, actively seek exposure to professional settings through part-time work and internships, and make contact with anyone in the field who may be able to help you when you’re ready to graduate and start looking for work.

When it’s time to step onto the job market, gather all the resources you need to hit the ground running. A professional staffing agency can be a great place to start. If you are looking for healthcare administrator jobs in Seattle, reach out to the employment experts at Pace for the connections, tools and job search tips you’ll need to get ahead.

Technical Interviews: Make the Most of the Process

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 7, 2013

0 Blog, IT Staffing IT development jobs seattle, Make The Most Of Technical Interviews, Respond To Technical Interview Questions, Seattle IT Staffing, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle WA Staffing, Technical Interviews

Technical interviews are a common part of the job selection process within fields that demand programming skill. While no responsible hiring manager bases an entire hiring decision on technical questions alone, they nevertheless provide employers with a few key insights into a candidate’s readiness, insights that can’t be drawn from a resume, a cover letter, a work sample or a set of questions dealing with personality and behavior. Technical interview questions may begin with a candidate being handed a marker and a whiteboard and asked to solve an algorithm problem. Candidates might be asked to write the binary search algorithm or write code that will rotate an array in place without requiring additional memory. Sometimes candidates will be asked to find the longest palindrome in a string, or solve troubleshooting problems. The First Rule of Technical Interviews: Keep a Cool Head The entire concept of a technical interview often upsets, intimidates, or makes candidates feel a little resentful. After all, most experienced code writers and programmers know that when these problems arise on the job, the answers can easily be looked up. Even the most talented and experienced employees don’t usually carry these solutions and algorithms around in their heads. But when employers ask these questions, they aren’t just looking for straightforward answers. In fact, simply pulling the solution out by rote or from memory won’t really do anything to win them over. Instead, interviewers are presenting these questions in order to expose a candidate to a real world problem and observe the steps she takes to break the problem down and find a solution on her own. So the best way to prepare for this kind of interview won’t come from memorizing every possible answer to every coding problem imaginable. Instead, candidates should keep a cool head and call upon their experience, basic logical ability, and reasoning skills. Prepare for your interview by practicing with a friend, preferably a friend with some relevant technical experience. And remember that even if your potential employers put you on the spot by presenting you with real-time coding problems, they’ll balance your response to these questions with the details of your entire profile. If you looking for IT development positions in the Seattle area, contact the staffing experts at PACE today!

Full Time Employees or Outside Consultants? The Benefits and Drawbacks of Each

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 30, 2013

0 Blog, What's New in Staffing? Full Time Employees Or Outside Consultants, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle WA Staffing, staffing agencies in seattle, Staffing And Hiring Decisions, Temporary Staffing In Seattle, The Benefits Of Outside Consultants

Non-standard working arrangements between employees and the companies that hire them are on the rise. At this point, data suggests that about 30 percent of employer-employee working arrangements in the U.S. fall outside the traditional 1099 model defined by details like eight hour days, onsite task completion, taxes directly withdrawn from paychecks, and employer-provided health insurance. And this number appears to be growing rapidly. As you staff your open positions and search for the most efficient ways to pair workers with vital tasks, how can you decide between traditional employment contracts or consulting agreements with independent providers? Here’s a quick list of pros and cons that can help you move forward. Salary Costs You’ll usually need to pay your outside consultants more per job/hour/project than you would pay a full time employee. But there are several benefits you’ll receive in return for this increase. For example, consultants don’t need to be paid between jobs or kept on board during lulls in your business cycle. They typically show up, provide the skills sets needed, and then move along to the next job when company demand scales back. And they don’t require standard benefits like health insurance and retirement savings plans. In the long run, the amount you save on HR costs, benefits, hiring expenses and the stability that shelters an employee from market highs and lows will equal the extra amount you pay the consultant for his or her services. Skill Sets Consultants can usually offer a higher level of a specific required skill than you may find among your full-time employee pool. So they’re usually called upon to tackle work that’s time critical, skill specific, or too complex for companies to complete themselves. Because they make a living this way, consultants are wise to continually and aggressively build new skill sets, unlike employees who may be less motivated to personally investigate new corners of the industry. But at the same time, employees offer years of experience within their own areas, and they possess intangible institutional knowledge that consultants don’t have. Tax Complications Employers are responsible for deducting all applicable taxes from the paychecks of their traditional employees, which may include federal taxes, unemployment insurance, social security, and state and local taxes. This can add bureaucratic hassle to the full-time staffing process, while outside consultants don’t require this service, since they typically handle tax issues on their own. But again, the more labor and energy the consultant puts into a specific job, the higher the rate he or she can charge an independent employer. And employers will still need to collect W9 forms from consultants and report their earnings to the IRS. This list of pros and cons is by no means comprehensive, but the choice between traditional vs. non-traditional hiring contracts can mean the difference between success and failure for companies with narrow margins. So don’t face these challenges alone. Hiring a full-time or temporary employee can be beneficial to your business. Before you make your decision, reach out to the Seattle staffing and employment experts at PACE. We have the resources and network to help you manage your staff and draw in new talent.

Your 1099 Employees – Avoiding the High Costs of Misclassifications

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 24, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles, What's New in Staffing? 1099, 1099 workforce, Independent Contractors, PACE Staffing Network, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Temporary Staffing, Workers Compensation

While companies who have effectively used independent contractors to provide quick and easy access to specialized talent or consulting expertise are often considered amongst our most nimble, some of these same companies have recently found themselves facing hefty bills for back taxes, or complicated law suits stemming from workplace accidents or injuries involving a member of their 1099 workforce. Here’s the deal, if the IRS determines that a worker originally considered “independent” was actually an employee, companies can find themselves liable for unpaid Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment taxes. The IRS couldn’t be clearer, they see “employee misclassification” as a source of hidden revenue, and has budgeted several billion dollars to “identify and prosecute” employee misclassification issues. But unpaid taxes aren’t the only risk associated with the 1099 workforce. Additional issues have developed around workplace accidents where, because a worker was classified as an independent contractor and not covered under the employer’s Workers Compensation policies, the employer was not protected from the limited liability provisions of Workers Compensation and found themselves sued for double and triple damages. A nuance in Washington State law is that employers who use Independent Contractors are required to pay the Workers Compensation insurance and the state’s SUTA tax on hours and dollars paid to their 1099 workers. Not all states have this provision, nor do all employers in the State of Washington abide by this little known component of our state law. Bottom line, employers are at risk of incurring serious damage costs from a workplace injury by an “independent contractor.” One of the confusions we have seen employers make regarding their use of “independent contractors” stems from the mistaken notion that if the “contractor” is legal, meaning they have a business license or legitimate UBI (tax ID)  number, then they automatically pass the “test”, and can be considered “independent”.  The IRS, on the other hand, makes it clear that the “legality” of the claim of independent contractor status lies with the nature of the work to be performed and the degree of control the employer has over how and when it is performed.   The IRS offers several tests an employer can use to determine a worker's status:

  • The degree of control over the worker’s behavior, which addresses the extent to which an employer controls the work performed. The more control an employer has over how a worker performs the work—specifying where, when, and how the work is done—the less likely the worker will be considered “independent.” Employers who place their independent contractors on work teams with required hours of work, mandatory attendance at meetings, required collaborations around work products, etc., often put an independent contractor at risk of being re-classified as an employee, subject to all the provisions and benefits available to an employee.
  • The degree of control over a worker's financial opportunity, which relates to how a worker gets paid for the work performed or reimbursed for the costs they incur in performing the work. The more control an employer has over a workers total source of income, the less likely that worker will be considered “independent.” An agreement to pay a regular wage/salary for example, can be just as suspect as is an agreement to pay a worker hourly, but with an estimated work schedule of 40 hours each week. Work agreements that tie a worker to an employer who then becomes their sole source of income, suggests a less than “independent” relationship with that employer. A related financial consideration is how much personal investment the worker has in the tools they use.  Are they using their own tools/equipment or the company’s tools/equipment?
  • The type of relationship that is formed between worker and company, oftentimes construed as the exclusivity of the relationship, or the duration of the work commitment. Case law around the permanency of a relationship suggests that work assignments intended to last six months or longer better support the notion that a worker is an employee, compared to shorter term work arrangements. A related factor is whether or not the worker is free to pursue other business opportunities during the term of their agreement to provide their personal services to a company. If an employer is asking or assuming someone will work 40 hours/week on their behalf, it is hard to make the argument that they are free to pursue business opportunities elsewhere.
Unfortunately, case law on the use of these IRS tests to determine employee or independent status is riddled with inconsistent outcomes, making it hard for businesses to make quick, definitive classification decisions. An employer who wants to fully protect themselves can file IRS Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. The downside, it often takes several months to get a response on a particular request. In light of the growing number of state or federally generated tax audits, we are seeing more and more companies who have historically relied on independent contractors for specialized work in the IT, engineering, or other professional services areas now looking differently at that staffing solution. Some companies have elected to hire these workers directly; others have elected to end long term relationships with 1099 contractors, sometimes leaving significant expertise holes in their organizations. A third option involves a new category of staffing service that allows an employer to continue to utilize their highly valued but flexible 1099 workforce, while avoiding the legal or financial risks being created by the revitalized audit efforts of state and federal agencies. The PACE Staffing Network now offers a full range of  Employer of Record services that can quickly and cost-effectively convert a client’s current 1099 workforce into a “legally compliant” W2 workforce without adding the additional costs normally attributed to a core workforce. The PACE Staffing Network regularly provides Employer of Record services to customers who are looking to optimize workforce flexibility, while avoiding the risk of unforeseen liabilities. For a complimentary discussion about how your company currently uses 1099 contractors and the options you have to mitigate the risk of misclassification, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com.

What Financial Managers Should Look For In a New Hire

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 19, 2013

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles, Human Resource Roles financial staffing seattle, financial staffing services seattle, Hire Talented Financial Employees, Hiring Financial Employees, Jobs In Seattle WA, Screening Financial Employees, Seattle Staffing, Seattle WA Financial Jobs, Staffing In Seattle WA, Temporary Staffing Seattle, What Financial Managers Should Look For

As you factor in the state of the financial job market, the unique needs of your company, and your available position, what kinds of traits should you consider valuable in a potential candidate? Which qualities should you consider red flags? When you see signs that seem promising, should you act fast and make a decision? Or should you consider the depth of your candidate pool and hold out for more? Keep these considerations in mind as you move through the selection process.

1. First, review the hiring successes and failures of the past. Gather a few profiles for careful examination, including those of the best candidates hired in the past five years and the worst (those who stayed for only a month, were difficult to get along with, or were dismissed after expensive mistakes). What made the great ones stand out? Why did the weak ones fail? And were there any signs of either success or failure that were visible before the candidates were brought on board?

2. Second, separate cultural considerations from technical knowledge and skill. A great candidate means a great “fit”, and fit includes a combination of both attitude and aptitude. Technically skilled candidates won’t thrive if they resist the culture, and likeable candidates will only prosper if they can master the job without excessive stress.

3. Choose candidates who will stay. This may mean letting go of the highly qualified or overqualified superstars, and turning instead to slightly less trained or less experienced applicants. These applicants can be hired at a premium, trained while on the job, and end up just as skilled and a little more grateful and loyal than their superstar counterparts. No matter who you hire, superstar or not, be sure to implement retention strategies to keep your valuable employees.

4. Choose candidates that are flexible and ethical. New regulations affect the financial industry on a regular basis. Are your candidates ready to let go of old models and embrace new ones quickly and fluidly? Are they interested in doing what’s right and going the extra mile to stay aboveboard? Or are they entrenched, entitled, sullen about change, and reluctant to break old habits and patterns?

5. Choose candidates who show respect—Not just for the company, but also for its business model, its customers, its clients, its stakeholders, and the larger community. Look for candidates who consider the big picture and are interested in how the entire company works, including revenue generation.

Reach out the Seattle staffing experts at Pace for more information on screening, hiring and retaining only the most talented financial employees.

Tips for a Competitive Recruiting Strategy

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 26, 2013

0 Blog, Human Resource Roles Competitive Recruiting Tips, Keys To Successful Recruiting, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Seattle WA Staffing, Staffing In Seattle WA, Temporary Staffing In Seattle, Tips For A Competitive Recruiting Strategy

Recruiting is a tricky business with a definition of “success” that varies widely from one open position to the next. Sometimes a position needs to be filled fast, above all else, and candidate credentials are flexible. Sometimes only one credential matters, and the identification of a candidate with this unique skill set can be considered a home run, even if the process takes six months. Sometimes strong recruiting requires a sharp eye for red flags, sometimes it takes a wide network, and sometimes it takes the ability to pitch a company and position to a star candidate buried in competing options. And of course, sometimes excellent recruiting requires all of these things and more. Here are a few recruiting tips that help you leverage your advantages and overcome the obstacles that stand between you and the candidates you need.

1. Set clear goals.

Before you set off on a sourcing mission, make sure the requirements of the position are crystal clear. Maintain open communication channels with the client if you’re an outside contractor, and if you’re recruiting in-house, stay in touch with HR, the position manager, the department head, and even the financial pros who set the budget for this specific salary. Know what you want—and what you can afford—before you start looking.

2. Lean hard on your network

Don’t leave any stone unturned, and don’t leave any option unexplored. You may start by running a keyword search through your current resume database, but don’t stop there. Attend networking and industry events, visit job fairs, and collect resumes from any likely candidate through any available source.

3. Don’t waste time.

If excellent, top tier candidates have special requirements (like salary adjustments, moving allowances, or the ability to work remotely) then go ahead and negotiate. Present them to the client anyway and be clear about the terms. But if a candidate is a marginal match and comes with a list of deal breakers, just move on.  The right match is out there, and the longer you wait to find her, the more likely she is to land another position first.

4. Most important, when you find your star, move fast.

Don’t lose your top choice to a competing offer after you've made up your mind. Put the HR wheels in motion, cut through the red tape, and get the offer in to her hands before she’s lured away.  During the entire process, treat the candidate with respect and keep her updated whenever your timeline changes.

For more information on competitive recruiting strategies, or for a consultation on how to turn your contingent staffing strategies into a competitive advantage, contact infodesk@pacestaffing.com.

Top Skills Accounting Managers Will Need In 2013

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 20, 2013

0 Blog, Finance/Accounting Roles accountant staffing seattle, Accounting Management Skills, Management Skills for 2013, Seattle Staffing, Seattle Staffing Agencies, Seattle Staffing Agency, Seattle Temporary Staffing, Staffing In Seattle WA, Temporary Staffing In Seattle, Top Skills For Accounting Managers, Value Managerial Skill Sets

You’re no longer just an accountant or an employee; you’re a manager now. And it’s no longer 1995; this is 2013. Before you leap into the year ahead thinking your technical job skills and basic, outdated management approach will carry you to easy victory, think again. Make sure you work hard to actively build each of these core competencies into your career toolkit. Mast Valued Managerial Skill Sets for 2013 1. An entrepreneurial approach It’s no longer enough to simply execute the tasks handed to you by your boss. Recognize that your company is a work in progress, a growing entity that depends on your ideas and energy, not just your willingness to follow orders. Keep the big picture in focus—not just sometimes, but all the time. 2. Coaching ability The world of effective management has evolved, and it’s no longer enough to simply tell employee what to do and expect them to clamor for your approval. Teach, don’t dictate. And coach; don’t just expect employees to pursue new information, new regulations, new software language, and new skill sets on their own. 3. Emotional intelligence Human capital is the most valuable capital your company owns. It’s also the most expensive and the most complex. If you’re not using every part of your brain to understand your employees and help them do their jobs—including your intuition, your experience, and your emotional intelligence—fix this. That includes your ability to read between the lines of human interaction. 4. Replace cost cutting with ROI Build your company’s investments with the future in mind. Don’t just look for ways to save nickels and dimes at the expense of global initiatives and long-term goals. 5. Situation awareness Before you can develop a plan of action and make a move, you need to fully understand all of the current factors at play. This takes a sharp understanding of your business model and target market. It also takes a willingness to listen before you speak, stay awake to nuance, make complex connections quickly, and think before you act. 6. Social media skills The internet is now an established way of life and a permanent presence in the global marketplace. And while individual social media utilities may come and go, your ability to master new ones and understand their general impact on your business will be crucial in the years ahead. 7. A focus on personal development Great managers are always growing, on both a professional and personal level. If you never rest, never become self-satisfied, and keep embracing change and staying flexible, you’ll be poised to thrive no matter what comes your way. Turn to the Seattle staffing and business management pros at Pace for more information on how to get ahead of the curve and stay ahead, whatever the future may bring.