How To Survive and Thrive in a Competitive Employment Market
We all know the saying, “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” While that saying applies really well to someone who is seeking their soul-mate, unfortunately it doesn’t apply to businesses looking to find quality employees. For a majority of Utah employers, the struggle to find talent is more real than ever. The job market in Utah has been so extremely competitive these last couple of years, I’ve started referring to is as a Feeding Frenzy!
Employers are jumping at any chance to grab any available employee that enters the job market. (My perspectives below reflect that of the staffing agency market and those hundred or more employers we service who are primarily trying to fill entry-level positions.)
Good News for Employees; Ugly Reality for Employers
As you can see in the chart below, we are going on 8 years of a steady decline in our unemployment rate. Sure, low employment can be a good thing for our local economy and is a sign of employment and financial stability for most Utahans but for Utah employers, it's not necessarily a pretty sight. Fewer employees looking for work means the employment market is getting more and more competitive to attract what little talent is available.
A Fishy Analogy
Employee = Bait: When an employee goes online to one of Utah’s many job boards and uploads their resume, it’s just like throwing a goldfish into a piranha-filled fish tank. The employer who acts quickest can usually grab the bait before anyone else. Although they may feel like they are a piece of bait with so many employers contacting them so quickly, the employee is in a unique position to be selective with who they will ultimately choose to interview with.
There is more than one kind of “bait” so here I’ll refer to them as “worms” and “bait fish.” Worms are the less appealing applicants without much experience or many skills. Bait fish have more experience and are more educated employees who are more appealing to higher-end employers.
Plenty of Fish in the Sea:
With so many employers in Utah all vying for the same small crop of available employees, we notice several factors that differentiate them:
Average Employers = Fish: These “fish employers” pay low wages, don’t have the most competitive benefits, aren’t well known for their culture or work environment. These employers are caught in the endless cycle of fighting for employees but end up getting the “worms” or even the scraps and leftovers from the employers listed below. This means they have to accept employees with poor work history who don’t have the ideal skillset for the job. The employees left behind have low engagement and commitment to their jobs. They jump from one employer to the next continually looking for a “better” job. News flash! It’s not the job that is causing turnover! It’s a combination of average employers who continually hire average employees.
Good Employers = A Marlin: A “marlin employer” has competitive wages, has a good reputation for how they treat their employees, have a culture their employees are proud to represent and they provide their employees with decent benefits. These employers are not part of the school of fish out for a feeding frenzy, they are selective and can pick and choose the best “bait fish” they want to bring onboard. You don’t have to be a BIG employer to have a BIG impact on the people you work with. Also, it doesn’t matter how big the pool of employees is, the “marlin employer” can be selective and has a better chance of catching the prize employee.
Best-In Class Employers = Shamu: These employers have such a good reputation that people everywhere watch in awe from the sidelines wondering how they are so successful. They do things for their employees that make other employers wonder, “How’d they do that?” or “Why didn’t we think of that?” Employees who have heard about their reputation apply directly with these employers and avoid the turbulent waters of the job-board-world caused by the average employers. These “Shamu employers” are practically fed the best “bait fish” on a silver platter by having a large resume reserve of employees who are all waiting eagerly to leave their average employer and join the winning team.
How Can Employers Survive and Thrive?
If you want to survive and even thrive in these feeding frenzy waters you can’t just be an average fish. Consider these few tips:
- Evaluate your company culture to ensure current staff members are satisfied which will ensure your good reputation spreads.
- Reconsider your advertising practices to ensure they are attracting talent. You don’t want to have to hunt for talent, you want talent coming to you. Be flashy.
- Revamp your interviewing and on-boarding practices. You only get one chance to make a good first impression so your new-hire process should be fun and engaging.
- You get what you pay for… Offering very competitive wages will ensure quality employees leave their current “average employers” and then stick with you for the long-term.
- Help your employees grow. Develop them. Recognize them. Help them achieve their aspirations, even if that means they out-grow your organization. True success is found in helping others succeed.
If your organization is feeling like “a fish out of water” in this “feeding frenzy” employment market and would like help elevating your employment stature, give Your Employment Solutions a call. With over 20 years of experience, we’ve worked with hundreds of organizations, from the “Average Fish” to the “Shamu Employers” in this Utah market.
We’ve seen first-hand what works and know well what doesn’t.
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Tips on Presenting Your Best Self in a Job Interview
It is important to always make a great first impression in an interview because the way you dress will be the first thing an interviewer will notice when you arrive. We know and understand that we all go through very hard times, but in most cases, you don’t want to show that in your interview.
People always say never judge a book by its cover, but in reality, we all do it unconsciously. When a person first walks into a room the first thing they notice is your appearance, so it is important to dress the way you want to represent yourself to others.
There is time where life can be unpredictable before an appointment or just before work. We've all had things go wrong in the worst moment. When unpredictable things happen before an interview and you do not feel your best, always keep calm and poised. Try and keep a positive attitude and be confident with every answer you provide to the interviewer. Don’t go into too much detail about what happened, because it can come across an excuse or make it seem like you do not deal with stress very well.
Showing signs of being stressed out and overwhelmed with a difficult situation can come across as weakness and some positions require you to handle stressful situations and multi-tasking which could lead to you not doing well in the interview. In turn, this could give a bad impression to the interviewer and make it seem like you may not be a good fit for the job.
Dress to Impress Do’s
You want to be casual and clean cut, you don’t necessarily have to wear anything fancy. The general idea is to make sure you bathe, wear deodorant, make sure your teeth are clean and your breath is fresh. You don’t want to give the interviewer the impression that you have bad hygiene.
You want to look as professional as possible.
Men: Wear a nice clean dress shirt with a tie and nice set of khakis. Clean dress shoes. Make sure that you shaved or trimmed the beard. Remove earrings and any other visible piercings.
Ladies: When wearing dresses or skirts make sure they are no more than 4 fingers above your knees. If wearing a button up shirt make sure that you are not missing any buttons. Wear make-up that would look natural, if painting nails wear neutral colors. For jewelry just keep it plain and simple.
Dress to Impress Dont’s
Please do not (and I repeat do not) wear the following:
- Sweats pants
- Ripped clothes
- Too much perfume/cologne
Make sure there aren’t any stains on your clothes or any missing buttons. Do not wear revealing outfits. No shorts or skirts that are too short. It is unprofessional and it would send the wrong message to the interviewer. Remember that too much jewelry and make-up, plus visible tattoos as well as piercings look unprofessional.
First Impressions Matter
Remember the first impression is something that matters the most. Just keep it nice and simple. Make sure that you’re clean from head to toe. Even if it’s an entry-level job you want to dress nice because the ultimate goal is to impress the interviewer. Dressing up for an interview is just as important as having a strong resume. Both are reflections of you. Having both and being prepared will show how great of a candidate you will be for the position.
Account Manager | Ogden, Utah Staffing Office
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Is JOB-HOPPING GOOD or BAD for STAFFING? Yes, both.
There is a significant discrepancy in the perception of job-hopping depending on who you talk with. Most millennials don’t seem to have concerns, and instead focus on the possible benefits. On the other hand, most hiring managers and supervisors tend to focus on the challenges it would cause them and their employer.
There is possibility this perception could change as millennials begin to step into roles and begin making hiring decisions but, for now, there are pros and cons as discussed below:
An employee that has worked with multiple companies will be aware of different policies and procedures and how to implement those in a new setting. While specific SOPs for production may not be transferable, departments like Safety, IT, Warehouse, Continuous Improvement, Management, etc can benefit significantly from best practices from other companies/industries.
A candidate that has held multiple positions will often be more comfortable and open to change and more likely to be actively involved in Continuous Improvement efforts. Experience in multiple companies or industries also makes someone with a diverse background a valuable resource for their ability to network with individuals and companies with whom they already have a relationship, not to mention the skills, certifications, or experience gained.
There has long been a hesitation for most companies (outside of staffing) to hire individuals with multiple employers in a short time span. This hesitation is particularly prominent in positions that require a high level of education or significant amounts of training before a new employee can be productive without direct supervision (Healthcare, Consulting, Accounting, Management).
If an employer is forced to reduce their workforce, the newest employee is most likely to be laid off. While experience in multiple industries and companies can be a huge benefit, if the employee didn’t end on good terms, give notice or burned bridges when leaving previous employers not only do they lack contacts, they will also lack any endorsements or references. A pattern of short employment could also indicate a prospects loyalty is determined only by wage.
Job-Hopping in Staffing
In the staffing world job hopping is both essential and infuriating.
The staffing industry works with a demographic that exhibits a higher than average turnover. The difficulty this poses to companies, both financially and logistically, is a significant motivator to use staffing agencies. For us, it then becomes a frustrating source of job security . . .
If candidates were not “job-hopping” they would not be available to be our employees or fill any of our positions, and without people to fill positions we would very quickly lose clients. While it is our mission at Your Employment Solutions to “deliver the right person on time the first time,” there is the distinct possibility it takes a few attempts before they find the right company or shift or coworkers or situation where they feel comfortable and have the desire to excel.
On-Site HR Manager – Ogden, UT
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Making a Difference vs. Saving the World
I have been working in the staffing industry going on 13 years. It definitely wasn’t my dream or lifelong goal to work in the staffing industry. I had no intention in doing it as long as I have, but somewhere along the way I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s where I belong.
The staffing industry has so many ups and downs, sometimes you are busy and sometimes you are not. Sometimes you change someone’s life and sometimes you don’t and you walk away feeling totally defeated. I have definitely grown a ton in the last 13 years. I went from thinking I want to help everyone and make a difference but then came to the realization that I can only help the people that are willing to help themselves, the ones that want to change their lives and make it better. There are a ton of stories and experiences I remember. Some good and some not so good. But there has always been one story that made a huge impact and reminds me why I’m still here.
Once Upon a Time in Staffing…
About ten years ago there was a young kid that walked through the door of my previous employer. He was of smaller stature but acted like he was ten feet tall and very confident. I started his interview like I do all the others. Not too far into the interview that I found out he was in a halfway house. This was nothing new. We were known for being the staffing agency of second chances. Still, I had to wonder if this kid was serious about getting a job or if he was just there because he had to be.
Going through all the interview questions and getting to know him for that short time I realized what a great kid he was. He was very eager to work and to get out of the situation he was currently in. For the next week I kept him in mind for any jobs that came in that he qualified for. Needless to say he made an impression and I believed in him.
I finally found him a job, a very decent job for that matter, one that he could be proud of and with hard work and dedication could very well lead to growth in the company. He was so happy and grateful. After feeling accomplished in what I had done to help him, it faded away just like anything else. I had thought about him and how he was doing from time to time, but hadn’t heard from him for quite a while.
Then one day I received a card at work specifically addressed to me. When I opened it, there was a big “Thank You” on the front of the card. I was very curious, so I opened it. Inside, in very tiny writing the entire card was filled up. It was from this employee, thanking me for what I had done for him. He wanted to let me know how big of an impact I had made on him, treating him like a person, and not judging him for the mistakes he had made. He told me that because I believed in him he was now out of the halfway house and had been hired on at the company I had sent him to.
It's the Little Things
I learned so much that day. Knowing never to judge a book by its cover and also that I didn’t have to save the world, I just needed to make a difference. It was then that I knew I was here for a reason. Stories like this are why I am still in the staffing industry today.
Ogden Staffing Branch Manager
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Resume Tips to Help You Get Started With Your Job Search
First, what is the purpose of a resume?
The purpose of a resume is to provide a summary of your skills, abilities and accomplishments. It is a quick advertisement of whom you are and what you have to offer a potential employer.
Your resume acts as a marketing document. Its purpose is to introduce you to a potential employer. It promotes what you have to offer and entice them into wanting to know more.
If your resume does what its supposed to do you should get called in for an interview. If you are not getting any interviews then the problem probably lies within your resume.
Here are 4 resume tips that should help you perfect your resume and get started on finding the job you want.
Begin With the Basics
The first thing on your resume should be your name (bold and larger font than the rest) followed by your contact information such as your address, email address, and phone number. Make sure this information is accurate and up to date. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to call on a resume and the contact information was wrong.
Target Your Resume
Tailor your resume and cover letter for each position. Many applicants create a generic resume and send it out for every job of interest. Most often this is just a waste of time. You should take the time to review in detail the job advertisement and the required qualifications.
Craft your resume and work experience to support what the employer is looking for. Address each point in enough detail that the employer can easily find the information on your resume and cover letter and understand your depth of experience. One resume does not fill all.
Proofread Your Work
This cannot be emphasized enough! One small typo and your chances of getting an interview may be gone. Proofread your document several times. Walk away and come back to it later and proofread again.
Only Include What Matters
You don’t need to list all your work experiences. If you have job experiences that you are not proud of, or that isn’t relevant to the current opportunity, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you land that executive position.
I hope these resume tips helped give you a better idea on how you can improve your resume. Thank you for taking your time to read this post.
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Job Fair Tips for a Positive Impact
In the world of job seekers, there are many avenues to finding work. Whether you're unemployed, looking for your first job, or wanting to move forward in your career path, job fairs can be a monumental step in the right direction. Because I have attended many of these events, I have seen both the good and the bad and have a bit of insight from a recruiter's perspective on what the hiring company is looking for in a prospective employee.
Often employers seek out basic skills that can be determined just in the quick moments at a job fair, including communication skills, social skills, attitude, and motivation. These job fair tips will help give you an advantage over other job seekers and allow you to make a lasting impression and lead to your next great job opportunity.
Before the Job Fair
- Clarify your goals and determine exactly what you are looking for. This doesn't mean you have to have it all figured out! While many people know exactly what they want, right down to the nitty gritty details, some people come to job fairs to learn about new careers or branch out just to “see what's out there.” If you fit in this category, you know what you are looking for! Coming with a perspective in mind can help focus your efforts while at the fair and make the most out of your time and the employers you speak with.
- Prepare a resume. This one is a bit of a given, and is something most people assume. But you'd be surprised by how many people neglect this important step. A resume is the perfect way to display your skills and expertise to your potential employers. Try to focus the resume on your key skills, keep it to about a page, and have someone else proofread it before you deem it employer-ready. Also, be sure to bring multiple copies.
- Think of questions you would like to ask the prospective employers. This shows both that you are interested in the company, as well as the fact you are actively excited about work. This engagement helps display your professionalism – just don't forget that the conversation is a two-way street! After you ask a question, be sure to pause and listen to the employer's response.
At the Job Fair
- Be sure to look professional and well put-together. While not all career paths require you to dress up in a suit and tie, it's best to use the rule of thumb of dressing “one level up” from where your future job is. Employers want to see that you can clean up well but that you are adaptable to their environment as well.
- Greet people with a smile and exhibit your good attitude and eagerness to work. A smile is warm and welcoming and will grab a recruiter's attention more than someone who is stone-faced or unfriendly. Remember not to act as if you are complaining – Employers would like to see someone with a good attitude, as a poor one can imply bad work ethic.
- Approach employers with confidence. This is an important one! Employers love job seekers who step forward, shake their hand, and are able to carry themselves with confidence. However, be careful not to be cocky! That can turn employers off quickly to wanting to continue their conversation with you.
- Show enthusiasm and interest by asking pertinent questions. Going back to your job fair preparation, be sure to use the questions you have thought of to engage employers in conversation. Whether or not you are interested in the company, be polite and courteous and thank the recruiter for the time they spent speaking with you.
Follow Up with Employers
- Don't forget to grab a business card! Hopefully, the employer will be contacting you, however you don't want to be in the dark either. Always grab a business card and take initiative to follow up with the company in the near future.
What do you think? Have you ever found a job through a career fair or other similar event? Share your job fair stories (both the good and the bad) in the comments below!
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