3 TYPES OF EMPLOYEE BENEFITS TO LOOK FOR IN A NEW JOB

BRENDA’S STORY: DOING WHAT WE EACH DO BEST

Brenda had been conditionally promoted from her position as Compensation & Benefits Supervisor to Human Resources Manager for her 180-person IT company. After introducing herself to the Abel recruiter, Brenda explained that her success in having the position become finalized would rely heavily on how well she managed the recruiting side of human resources. Her predecessor, who had been hired away by a much larger corporation, had come up through the staffing side, making it doubly hard for her to convince the directors she could fill those shoes. A friend had recommended Abel Personnel as a referral.

“Well, we specialize in making Human Resource Managers look good,” the recruiter responded. Abel’s expertise in IT recruiting helped assure that boast. The recruiter then detailed how the recruitment process worked, how fees were calculated, and what warrantees were available. Brenda asked good questions but did not seem convinced by the recruiter’s answers. As the recruiter started asking Brenda about her company, it became clearer why Brenda was so hesitant: her company had never used a recruiting and staffing firm. Brenda could probably receive permission to use Abel as part of her firm’s commitment to innovation, but if this new approach did not work, it could well mean the loss of the promotion.

The recruiter was familiar with the situation. Rather than offer promises and platitudes, the recruiter shared a recent study by Career Builders who had surveyed hiring managers on their top 3 reasons for engaging a staffing firm:

  • Effectiveness in Finding Talent: The speed with which these firms identified qualified candidates was key. This was explained by the staffing firm continually seeking candidates for a certain opening that Brenda’s firm might only be looking to fill every few years.
  • Competitiveness in Hiring: The recruiting firm knows the market. Not only can they locate the right talent, but they know what it will take to attract the best candidates (and assure the candidates are not likely lured away before the start date). This comes from knowing the most critical aspects of the hiring company and how to best present these to the applicant.
  • Cost Savings: Overall, the saving of time for the hiring manager in screening resumes, not having to employ an in-house recruiter, and the quickness that the new hire is on board and becomes a contributor to the firm all exceed the fees earned by the recruiter.

“I would have thought that speed to hire would have been a factor,” Brenda suggested.

“There are so many uncontrollable factors that affect time from job posting to offer acceptance,” the Abel recruiter explained. “Not the least of which is how long the hiring company needs to make a decision!”

“I bet you drive that process,” Branda replied, laughing in recalling a job offer earlier in her career that arrived 6 weeks after her second interview… and two weeks since she had started a new job.

Using a more serious tone, the recruiter continued, “Recruiting is what we do, and we do it well. We handle more openings in three weeks than our largest clients handle in three years. We know the labor market. We know what candidates are seeking, which will vary depending on their generation. We’re the specialist when finding the right person will have the greatest impact on the achievements of your company for years to come. Not to mention your opportunity to directly affect the success of your company and confirm they made the right choice in offering you this chance!”

Brenda was convinced and obtained the concurrence of her director on releasing Abel to seek candidates for a position that her predecessor had been unable to fill in three months of trying. Within three days, the recruiter had the resumes of several well-qualified applicants. As Branda’s company narrowed in on a preferred candidate, the recruiter was able to guide Brenda on how to structure the interview and a facility tour that would both help her company better understand the applicant’s skills and experience, and the applicant to better appreciate the company’s culture and opportunities. The offer package was customized to respond to all the hopes and concerns of the applicant, even though, as the applicant later confided, it was not the highest salary offered. Acceptance occurred within 24 hours!

Brenda took the Abel recruiter out to lunch when the HR Manager promotion was confirmed. After that, Brenda and some of her senior management routinely referred to Abel as “our staffing department.” The recruiter had later opportunities to buy lunch for Brenda as their business relationship grew and as the IT company’s success built on its existing and new staff required still more personnel.

Sourced from Career Builders Webinar, “What Staffing Clients Want – 2022 Staffing Buyer Trends,” August 24, 2022.

TEMP-TO-HIRE: THE BIG PICTURE

TEMP-TO-HIRE THE BIG PICTURE

TEMP-TO-HIRE: THE BIG PICTURE

James: Last time we talked, you were looking for a new job that would be a longer-term career step, right?
Job Seeker: Good memory! I was tired of jumping to a new firm every year or two to advance and earn better pay.
James: So, how’s the search?
Job Seeker: Good and bad. I’ve seen some interesting opportunities online, companies that would be great to work for. But those positions are all temp-to-hire. Pretty short term.
James: I think you are missing the bigger picture. Temp-to-hire often means they are looking for the type of long-term employee you want to be.
Job Seeker: So why don’t they just make it a direct hire from the start?
James: Fair question. There may be many reasons especially if they intend to start 5 to keep 3 new hires. If they all start out as temps, then the 2 they let go won’t affect their unemployment insurance rate.
Job Seeker: I get that. So, what’s the bigger picture?
James: If they hire you directly, they can still let you go anytime they want, especially during the so-called ‘probationary period.’ Everyone is an employee-at-will in Pennsylvania.
James: Focus instead on what the potential is for you in the job, and if you think it’s the right job, is a good fit, and that you’re likely to make it past any initial evaluation period, then go for it! Don’t worry about what label the job has when you start.
Job Seeker: But how do I know if they are sincere about converting the job to direct and not using that approach with every intention of laying me off once they’re past their ‘busy season?’
James: That’s why it makes sense to use a recruiting agency rather than just relying on the internet. The recruiter will know the hiring company’s intentions. They can’t afford to misguide applicants. Their reputation is at stake.
Job Seeker: Any recruiter you suggest?
James: Call Abel Personnel at 717-561-2222 or visit abelpersonnel.com. That’s how I found my job, that went from temp to direct and I’ve been here for 5 years.
Job seeker: Thanks!

BEYOND FILLING SEATS WITH WARM BODIES

The unusual nature of this request warranted a snap meeting among the recruiters at Abel Personnel. The recruiter who had received the job order for a multitude of customer service representatives (CSRs), a veteran of over 12 years at Abel, presented the opportunity that was both promising and tricky:

  • 50 CSRs Needed: The total need had been 90, but in this tight labor market, only 40 qualified hires had been secured to date. All needed to have full background checks.
  • Regular Business Hours: The call center was open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, onsite. In a labor market where schedule and location flexibility are often more important than hourly pay rate, this would be a tougher sell.
  • Temp-to-Hire: The new CSRs would start as temporary workers. This status would change to direct hire and pay would increase as the CSR’s performance improved. Potential applicants would need to be advised to look at the big picture and at the earning potential rather than some possible short-term discomfort about being a temp.
  • Information Only: These CSRs were only providing responses to potential and current customers’ questions about the products. No sales. No delivery tracking. No handling of complaints.

As the recruiters discussed these openings, a consensus developed that a special type of applicant was needed, someone who thrived on being helpful and did not need the rush of solving a problem or making a sale. The number of candidates needed was hardly unusual; Abel had successfully handled this quantity many times, sometimes with harder requirements. With a game plan in place, the recruiters started working their applicant databases to find the candidates who had shown just the right attitude in their online interviews with the Abel recruiters. The lead recruiter in this effort, meanwhile, presented the client with a number of questions and suggestions that her team had identified that would expedite the hiring process.

Within a few days, a stream of well-screened candidates’ resumes began flowing to this client. The client agreed that nearly all were a good fit for the position, and most received offers that were accepted. Start dates were assigned so that training could be done in cohorts with no more than 10 new CSRs starting any week.

Abel’s involvement, however, was hardly finished. There were several activities that still needed to be addressed:

  • Stay in Contact: The time required for some background checks and the wait until the staggered start dates offered the peril of the applicant finding a position that started sooner or seemed to offer more. Filling that time period with regular contacts from the Abel recruiter increased the likelihood that the new hires were excited about the position and did not “ghost” the new company on the first day by not appearing as scheduled, often without even a courtesy call.
  • Plan the Commute: The recruiters worked with each new hire to identify the best route to take each morning, and where to park if they were driving, so that they would be in the lobby no later than 7:55 AM. Many new hires were encouraged to do a “practice commute” during the morning rush hour the week before.
  • Become Acclimated: None of these new CSRs had ever been to the location during the interviewing and hiring process. Therefore, the lead recruiter had, with the client’s permission, compiled a series of photographs and a floor plan so that each new hire could visualize what the correct entry door looked like, as well as the lobby, the route to the call center, and the typical CSR desk. Also included were routes to the restroom and cafeteria.

Once the new hires completed their training and started learning on the job, Abel still had one more task: Make sure that each person achieved proficiency and dependability to move from temp to hire. This entailed staying in regular contact with each new employee, resourcing them to work out concerns about company expectations or any kinks in their commute or working those hours.

Soon after the positions had all been filled, the lead Abel recruiter was delighted to receive a thank you email from her client extolling Abel’s performance with the acclimation, “Love your integrity!” The email continued with admitting that there was a concern that there might have been a temptation to simply fill those seats with warm bodies as quickly as possible and hope for the best. Clearly, the Abel recruiters had taken their time in finding the right candidates to fit the position, and then to assure that they all arrived as scheduled and on time the first day, and ultimately became direct hires. The client’s email described this as an “extra special effort.” When the recruiter shared the email with her colleagues, one replied back, “Nothing special here. That’s just SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) at Abel Personnel.”

Is your resume holding you back

5 TIPS FOR FINDING QUALITY JOBS IN HARRISBURG

In preparing your resume, consider the resume as your brochure. It is a marketing tool to present you to a potential employer, and you always want to make a great first impression. Act as if your career depends on it (it does!). Need feedback on your resume? Contact an Abel Personnel recruiter today!

THE BASICS

  • Use a single, easily read font; no smaller than 10 pt.
  • Delineate sections with bold headers.
  • Adjust margins to fit resume in 1-2 pages.
  • Have a separate line for each company where you worked, including if the company was acquired or changed its name.

THE STORY

  • List the role(s) held at each company in bold with a brief description to top accomplishments in each role.
  • Use action verbs that best describe achievements in the role you mention.
  • Tailor your accomplishments to align with the job you are apply for.

THE DETAILS

  • Provide a simple reason for any employment gaps.
  • Don’t list any employment that was less than three months unless it was a plus to the employment story, such as an internship.

THE REVIEW

  • Check your grammar usage by utilizing tools such as Grammarly.
  • Go through the dates-does the timeline of your work history make sense?
  • Have a friend review your resume and provide feedback.

Receptionist for back to the office

It is always great to hear from a client after two years of “no job orders anticipated for a while.” The pandemic had hit Marla’s company especially hard. The decision was made in March 2020 for all staff to move to entirely from-home operations and may have required some layoffs had it not been for the PPP Loans. While some companies had found new opportunities as the economy pivoted from services to products, Marla’s operations could not quickly realign their business model.

“But we’re back,” Marla reported to her Abel Personnel recruiter. “We were able to find new services for existing clients, enough to keep us in business. Now we are ready to return to the office, resuming our original offerings along with the new ones. Our immediate need is for a full-time receptionist; we had to let go of the one we employed as soon as we retreated to our homes.”

The recruiter was happy for Marla and her company and thrilled to have a client back who averaged 8 placements per year. However, the recruiter first needed to update Marla on the changes in recruiting that tracked the other shifts due to the pandemic and its aftermath.

“The last receptionist we placed with you was on an 8:00 to 5:00 schedule. Is that what you had in mind again? Is there any flexibility?” were the first questions the recruiter posed?

Marla’s surprise was palpable over the phone. “What do you mean by flexibility?” she inquired.

The recruiter then advised Marla that with so many employers offering hybrid working conditions, and the labor market still tight, there was an added challenge in finding someone who wanted to be in the office full time. “In fact, we are seeing fewer calls to replace laid-off receptionists, as most companies are seeing less foot traffic as more clients and vendors have discovered it is more efficient, and now more acceptable, to do most business over the phone or in a video conference,” the recruiter explained.

Marla paused and then started chuckling. “I had to rethink my whole business due to the pandemic; what made me think I wouldn’t need to rethink my whole business again post-pandemic?” she shared.

They briefly discussed how the receptionist position might be split between two people who could be half-time in the office and then half-time at home performing other administrative functions. The recruiter also related how one company had replaced the receptionist function with a video kiosk, as 80% of all arrivals really did not need to speak with a receptionist. Those that did need to interact with a person could do so on the video screen, much like the model many banks were now pursuing.

“Any good news in this new normal?” Marla wanted to know.

The recruiter offered the following:

  • Inflation pressure in wages was being somewhat offset by new employees willing to accept lower salaries on remote and hybrid positions due to cost savings from commuting (gas prices) plus not losing free time to daily travel.
  • Those who chose early retirement rather than continue working in the pandemic environment are beginning to indicate an interest in returning full-time or at reduced hours. Many are seeking schedule flexibility to allow them to care for grandchildren. Their hiring is often with the understanding that they need to stay current on technology skills.
  • Many companies are planning to call most employees back to the office after Labor Day; this may result in an opportunity for companies willing to offer openings for hybrid or at-home positions to benefit from the backlist those back-to-the-office mandates are expected to cause.

Finally, the recruiter was pleased to notify Marla that Abel Personnel had also evolved its offerings over the pandemic, with new recruiting services for accounting and IT professionals jobs.

QUIETLY QUITTING

“Now that we’re hopefully passed ‘The Great Resignation,’ what is this ‘Quietly Quitting’ phenomenon I now need to worry about?”

The client on the phone with her Abel Personnel recruiter wasn’t a big fan of small talk, and would typically start a phone call posing such a question without even a “hello, is this a good time to talk?” The recruiter had become accustomed to this style, knowing that personal updates were usually shared only after they had concluded the business portion of their phone call.

“Besides the cute alliteration, I think we’ve experienced this behavior forever. It has been rebranded by some managers to explain workplace situations they do want to own,” replied the recruiter. She added, “It’s unfair to blame this on Gen Z’s laziness and lack of professionalism, or think it’s just about job dissatisfaction.”

The two women then began to unpack this latest personnel management trend. The typical elements are:

  • Mentally checking out of work, meetings, and correspondence
  • Feeling exhausted from work volume or putting in more (typically unpaid) hours than might be called “occasional overtime”
  • A disengaged employee with a lack of enthusiasm for work
  • Reluctance or refusal to take additional tasks or extra projects than is expected from their “pay grade”
  • Learning the bare minimum effort to make at work, then making that effort

“But aren’t they interested in getting ahead, taking on more responsibility?” the client wanted to know.

“Yes and no,” was the short reply. The longer reply identified these factors:

  • Mentally checking out of work, meetings, and correspondence
  • Feeling exhausted from work volume or putting in more (typically unpaid) hours than might be called “occasional overtime”
  • A disengaged employee with a lack of enthusiasm for work
  • Reluctance or refusal to take additional tasks or extra projects than is expected from their “pay grade”
  • Learning the bare minimum effort to make at work, then making that effort

Empathizing, Gabi then reported on a large EV battery manufacturing client who had addressed all the supply chain issues with building materials, equipment, and raw materials but had not identified a source of labor with the skill training and experience. This oversight was requiring a plant redesign to increase automation for lack of personnel, at a greater cost.

Using Alexa’s notes application on her smartphone, the friends identified the following opportunities to address talent supply chain issues through partnering with a Staffing Firm:

  • Work-Life Balance: Some employees are just not interested in advancing, maybe not now or maybe never, so taking on extra responsibilities and hours upsets their vision of work-life balance. Unlike their parents, they are willing, for now, to accept less pay and opportunities in return for less stress and more time on evenings and weekends to pursue nonwork interests. This was also a root cause of “The Great Resignation.”
  • Management Practices: Others have legitimate complaints that they are hired at junior level pay to do senior level work as a ploy to cut staff expenses in return for the opportunity to learn higher skills. Or, they feel gaslighted into feeling they are lucky to have this job in the face of an upcoming recession. The classic case is the unpaid internship that had been previously a paid position.
  • Misaligned Expectations: The hiring manager has not fully explained the requirements of the job, perhaps even downplaying the amount of overtime needed or trial-by-fire and on-the-job training required to entice the applicant to accept the offer. The applicant may have overstated their willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. They aspire for higher positions to demonstrate assertiveness and dependability to attract the offer.

Rather than feeling comfortable or safe bringing these concerns to their management, these employees stay quiet and curb their efforts until they quit to take a position that addresses these factors.

They agreed that the third factor was likely the other they could most likely influence together. But how?

“I recommend we start with the job descriptions,” the recruiter offered. She suggested that this is both a means to set expectations and hold the employer and employee accountable for those expectations. If overtime is likely, set a range or a weekly average, whether paid or unpaid. If greater responsibilities are occasionally required, state that. There may be times when this position must pitch in to help with tasks below their level. The more information, the better, without presenting too many requirements that it no longer appears to be a 40-hour-per-week job.

“I see how my one-paragraph job descriptions may not be cutting it, “ the client admitted.

“That’s why part of my services to my clients is to help them refine their job descriptions, which in some ways are like their resume. It helps me hone in on the right fit for the position, and improves the likelihood that the match works based on well-understood expectations upfront. However, there are three other considerations,” the recruiter then suggested:

  • Legacy Job Descriptions: Often the job description provided, perhaps in great detail, was the description used for the last hire five years ago. Positions evolve, and duties change. From observing the performance of the previous person in this position, what are the expectations of the next person to be more successful? Sometimes a new job description presents what activities the last high-achieving person in that position performed, perhaps setting unreasonable expectations and subjecting the new hire to constant comparison to her better experienced and fully trained predecessor.
  • Fulfill Opportunity Promises: The best applicants will want the job in part to develop skills and have experiences they feel they need to advance their careers. Including such opportunities in the job description may suggest a commitment that their employer needs to fill. If the job description identifies meeting with clients and visiting field installations, that should happen; don’t assume that is a requirement the new employee was hoping to forgo.
  • Work-Life Flexibility: If the candidate is a serious contender for the position, have a frank discussion about what work-life balance they are looking to achieve, without asking any EEOE questions. What are the boundaries? An employer’s flexibility to support an employee’s desired balance may be rewarded by the employee’s greater flexibility to support the employer’s needs. In one case, an applicant’s weekend responsibilities made it difficult to work then, but he was able to work overtime on short notice weeknights.

The phone call concluded with the client committing to reviewing and likely rewriting the job descriptions within the next week. Abel Personnel recruiter then promised a quick turnaround in a review of these updated job descriptions. They also agreed that better job descriptions would not solve “quietly quitting,” but may decrease this phenomenon when it was based mainly on miscommunication.

Sourced from Career Contessa, “What is Quietly Quitting?” Caileen Kehayas Holden, August 18, 2022

5 TIPS FOR FINDING QUALITY JOBS IN HARRISBURG

5 TIPS FOR FINDING QUALITY JOBS IN HARRISBURG

Do Your Homework
Find out as much as possible about the company before you apply, or certainly before your interview. Besides looking at their website and Facebook page, check out sites like Glassdoor. You knowledge about them will impress the company and you can be better prepared to ask the tough questions to be sure is a good fit.

Seek a Resume Expert
You may be an expert at your job position, but that doesn’t mean you are an expert in telling your story on a resume. There is help online, there are resume writers for hire. Make sure that the resume gives the best first impression possible, and has all the keywords that will place it on the to-be-interviewed pile.

Get Over the River
Be open to interviewing for a job on the other side of the Susquehanna River from where you live. Quite possibly the job may be remote, hybrid, or actually located on “your side of the river.” Besides, there may be less competition from whose who worry that seven bridges offer too little access.

Find an Inhouse Ally
Ask around to find someone who works in the company with the job posting that sounds perfect for you. Maybe a friend-of-a-friend, someone who is not in the position to make a decision about hiring you that may be willing to tell you about the company, hear about qualifications and ambitions, and then put in a good word.

Entrust a Professional
Use a staffing firm with a long history in this area, who has local knowledge of the best companies to work for which have the company culture you will love… and which to avoid, and is focused on your career rather than filling a slot. And who has a proven record of getting applicants in front of hiring managers. May we suggest Abel Personnel?

FLIP-FLOP JOB ACCEPTANCES

Elyse was 12 years into her IT career when she received a promotion to her first supervisory position. This professional journey led her through the doors of several firms as she advanced. Sometimes she was promoted within a company, and other times Elyse left a company for a better position elsewhere. Once, she got laid off after the company she had worked for was sold. That company moved its IT positions to its headquarters in Milwaukee. Elyse’s promotion to software applications supervisor would be her first opportunity to get involved on the hiring side of staffing. Her company had a two-decade relationship with Abel Personnel, so when there was an opening in her department, Elyse was immediately in touch with the Abel recruiter.

The recruiter had provided Elyse with five highly qualified resumes. After two rounds of interviews, Elyse and the company’s HR manager authorized the Abel recruiter to make an offer to a candidate. The offer was instantly accepted… and then it was not! The recruiter immediately scheduled a teleconference to explain what happened and identify the next steps.

“This rarely happens to me,” the recruiter started. “I usually can sense from my experience whether a candidate is truly committed to a job. I’ve even asked certain applicants to consider the offer for 24 hours before deciding, rather than have them accept one day and then cancel the next day. From my contacts in the industry, I hear this kind of flip-flop is happening more and more, especially in IT.”

“Given the high demand for IT Staffing, I guess this is always a risk,“ Elyse responded. “Our candidate probably got a better offer right after accepting ours. Probably just as well to find out about the low-level commitment now rather than six months after hiring.”

“I’ve seen that a lot,” the Abel recruiter explained. “Their resume is still out there even after they accepted a job and gave notice. Sometimes rather than rescinding their acceptance, they may try to renegotiate the compensation package they’ve already accepted! They love your job but now also want the salary similar to the less advanced or conveniently located job offers.”

“So, how do you keep that from happening?” Elyse wanted to know.

“Oh, I am in touch with my candidates from the day they accept the job to 60 days after their start date. That way, I can sense if they are wavering or recruited by another company and nip it in the bud before they make a decision that will ruin their credibility with my client.”

Elyse was impressed. She had not realized that offer-and-acceptance wasn’t always straightforward, and she was grateful to have a professional on hand to verify the deal stayed sealed. After they determined to now make an offer to Elyse’s second choice candidate, Elyse’s mood shifted as she shared an experience earlier in her career:

“I was at my first post-college job for almost two years when I saw there would be little chance for advancement. I began responding to job postings online, had a few interviews, received a great offer, accepted it, gave notice, and thought about how I might use the salary increase to upgrade the furniture in my first just-me apartment. A week later, I received an apologetic call from the hiring company’s HR manager, informing me there was now a hiring freeze. They had already hired someone to replace me, and I wondered how I would pay the bills as I was not eligible for unemployment compensation because I quit. I checked around and found I held no real recourse against the firm that flip-flopped on me. I also found that this company had a history of regular hiring freezes and layoffs.”

The Abel recruiter nodded at this. “We have thoroughly looked into potential client companies as much as we do our applicants. I know plenty of companies whose history of rescinding offers makes us leery of working with them. We have a duty to our applicants to do our due diligence that the company is a good fit for them and their careers, not just the other way around. I never want to see an applicant end up unemployed or so miserable they want to jump to another company within six months. The company, the applicant, and my firm all lose that way. By the way, we expect more of these flip-flop offers now that the economy looks to be taking a downturn.”

This time it was Elyse who was nodding. “I never looked at this process from those perspectives. Now I understand better why my company works with a recruiting firm like Abel Personnel.”

Would You Hire You?

WOULD YOU HIRE YOU?

Through your resume, interview, and follow-up, you need to tell a consistent story about yourself that results in a job offer.
How can you help the prospective employer reach the right answer to the following questions?

How can this person’s work history increase my company’s capabilities and potential?

  • How does your work history relate to the position you want?
  • What were your accomplishment that this company may want you to repeat for them?
  • What special skills do you have or do you need to acquire?

How well will this person present to our clients and others, even if that’s not a regular part of the job?

  • Are you consistently well dressed and well groomed that you always appear to be professional?
  • Are you comfortable with handling the technology and limitations of video conferencing?
  • Are your resume, cover letter and emails polished enough that your prospective employer would be comfortable having you interact directly with those outside the company?

Will this person be assertive, proactive, a team player, and show initiative

  • Does your resume identify accomplishments that required those soft skills?
  • Do you have stories ready to relate as an example of how you employed those skills?

Will this person be dependable in the attendance, work hour, and doing what they said they were going to do?

  • Who would you recommend the prospective employer contact for a reference to your having these qualities?
  • Is there anything in your work history you’ll need to explain that may suggest you don’t have those good attributes?