Monthly Archives: November 2018

Talking About Your Experience in an Interview

So, tell me a bit about your experience.

“Tell me about yourself.” “Could you speak about your previous work experience and how it’s shaped you as an employee?” “Oh, this job on your resume sounds interesting. Could you tell me more about it?”

These phrases are all essentially alternate ways of asking you about your experience, which eventually comes up in every interview.

However, interviewers aren’t looking for your life story. They want to know specifics on how your individual experience makes you the ideal candidate for the job. (more…)

College Isn’t for Everyone; So, Consider These Options As Well

College is expensive. According to U.S. News, the average tuition and fees at an in-state public college comes out to $9,716, compared with $35,676 for private colleges per year. Public, out-of-state schools cost about $21,629 on average per year.

Despite these high sticker prices, survey results from Movin’ On Up, the Express Employment Professionals blog for job seekers, and Refresh Leadership Express’ blog for business leaders, found that parents are still pushing their children to attend college.

Interestingly, 33 percent of business leaders and 33 percent of job seekers (coincidentally the same percentage) said that their parent/guardian encouraged them to achieve a four-year college degree or higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 66.7 percent of high school graduates ages 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities in October 2017. These relatively high college attendance rates resulted in soaring student loan debt. As noted in Forbes, according to Make Lemonade, more than 44 million U.S. borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Global News notes that Canadian students collectively owe over $28 billion in student loans.

Although college can be the perfect choice for many students, it isn’t right for everyone. At the very least, high school graduates should be aware that educational opportunities other than college exist. These include attending career technical or trade schools, and getting into the skilled trades, among other options.

Why opt for Career Technical Education (CTE)?

  1. CTE-trained workers are in demand.
  2. CTE leads to high-paying jobs.
  3. CTE is affordable.
  4. CTE keeps the country competitive.

In a recent article, the BLS outlines several blue-collar jobs and their associated median annual wage, many of which are comparable to those received by some college students. These include:

  • Electricians: $54,110
  • First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers: $64,070
  • Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters: $52,590
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants (except legal, medical, and executive): $35,590
  • First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers: $55,060
  • First-line supervisors of production and operating workers: $58,870
  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers: $40,240
  • Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products): $56,970
  • Insurance sales agents: $49,710
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers: $69,620
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers: $61,050

Blue collar workers are happy. A recent study conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals found that 86 percent of blue collar workers are satisfied with their job, with 85 percent believing their life is heading “in the right direction.”

Encouraging your children to attend college may be the right choice for your child, but it’s more than worth it to let them know about other available opportunities. College isn’t for everyone, and other good-paying options exist.

Staffing Companies Can Help

If you’re a graduating senior trying to figure out if college is right for you, or a parent looking to help their child along their career path, contact Express Employment Professionals. We work with clients every day and know exactly what they’re providing for employees. And we never charge a fee to applicants.

We also provide Job Genius, an educational program designed to teach young adults how to successfully enter the workforce.  Take a look at our video about hot jobs with high school diplomas and apprenticeships.

After that, contact a local Express office, register online or check out our app today to get started.

 

Why the Job Search is Like a Turkey

Yup, you read that right.

Today is Thanksgiving. A day to eat, spend time with friends, eat more, be thankful for life’s blessings, and, finally, eat again.

In summary, there’s a lot of food. And the main course on practically everyone’s table? Turkey.

But what is a turkey? As defined by Merriam-Webster, the top three turkey definitions are:

  1. “A large North American gallinaceous bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is domesticated in most parts of the world.
  2. Failure, flop, especially: a theatrical production that has failed.
  3. Three successive strikes in bowling.”

Interestingly, each one of these definitions applies to the job search. Don’t believe us? Stop packing on the pounds with pumpkin pie and read on.

You’re One Turkey Among Many

Turkey: A large North American gallinaceous bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is domesticated in most parts of the world.

Courtesy of Merriam-Webster, “gallinaceous” means: “Of or relating to an order (Galliformes) of heavy-bodied largely terrestrial birds including the pheasants, turkeys, grouse, and the common domestic chicken.”

So basically, gangly birds that travel in packs.

When you’re a job seeker, you’re just one applicant among many. One turkey among hundreds. You keep hoping to find something great, but it can seem like you’re just wasting your time.

Don’t lose faith! While it’s true that most chickens and turkeys end up on a dinner plate, your career doesn’t have to. Drumstick with it, do your research, prepare, and you’ll be soaring high (like an eagle, not a turkey) in no time.

You Gotta Break a Few (Turkey) Eggs to Make an Omelet

Turkey: Failure, flop, especially: a theatrical production that has failed.

The job search doesn’t always go well. Some searches result in filling out applications for jobs you don’t even like. Other times you just don’t make it to the interview stage. In other words, they turn out to be turkeys: complete failures.

And that’s okay. You’re not right for every job. You’re allowed to fail. That’s how we all improve and get better. The important thing is to not get discouraged. There’s a perfect job for you out there. You just have to find it.

3 Strikes Makes a Turkey!

Turkey: Three successive strikes in bowling.

The goal of a job search? To line up all those turkey failures and use them to set things up for a series of awesome interviews and job offers; three success job search strikes. A bowling turkey!

All of that time and effort spent researching online, applying, and interviewing is worth it when you get an awesome job offer. And you’ll often find that success begets success. You’ll get a few job offers at once, or within close proximity to each other. It’s all worth it in the end!

Don’t Be a Turkey (Or Do, Depending on the Definition); Call Express Employment Professionals!

The job search is hard, just like Aunt Emma’s fruitcake. You can spend hours doing all the right things, and still not land an interview. Want to boost your job search game? After you’re done stuffing yourself and celebrating all things Thanksgiving, give your nearest Express office a call, or apply online. You can also download the ExpressJobs app via the App Store or Google Play.

We never charge a fee, and won’t eat the last slice of pecan pie.

How is your job search like a turkey? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Nervous in an Interview? Get Rid of the Butterflies with These Three Tips

Job interview anxiety got you down? We’re here to help.

Being nervous isn’t a bad thing. It’s your body’s fight-or-flight response trying to protect you. But sometimes that normal response can be overpowering, causing you to doubt yourself and flub questions.

Luckily, it’s possible to reduce those nervous feelings with a few techniques.

Prepare

The best way to reduce interview question-related anxiety is to already know the answers to any questions your interviewer could ask. Although you might not be able to figure out every single topic they could quiz you on, a quick online search can teach you quite a bit about your potential employer.

Research everything you can about the company. Know a bit of the company’s history, the company culture, and see if you can find any information about your interviewer.

Next, find out where you fit with this company. What is it that you can do in this position that nobody else can do? Come in with specific statistics if you can (for instance, increased page views by ___%, reduced customer service call time by ___%, increased product turnover time by ___$, improved your safety rating to ___ level, etc.).

Prepare answers to the most frequently asked interview questions, like “where do you see yourself in five years?

For company-specific questions, check out Glassdoor. Users upload questions for their interviews so you can be sure to impress.

Practice

Great, now you’re prepared! The next step? Putting all that hard work into practice.

If you haven’t been to many interviews (or haven’t interviewed in several years), you might not be comfortable with the process. Being alone in a room with some person you’ve never met quizzing you on your life and experience can be awkward.

That’s where practice comes in! Grab a friend or family member and go over questions and answers together. Practice your handshake (it should be firm but not threatening), your eyeline (look them in the eye but don’t stare at them the whole time), and your timing. Make sure your responses don’t go on for longer than 60 seconds or so, unless you’ve got stories that can really capture attention.

The more you go through the interview process, the more comfortable you’ll become with yourself and your answers. And that’s the version of yourself interviewers want to see!

Calm Yourself

Obviously, this is easier said than done. On the day of the interview, you have a billion thoughts swirling in your head. Will they like me? Am I even good enough for this position? What was my name again?

Psychology Today has several techniques to cut down on these thoughts.

These include breathing (“try breathing for a count of 4, hold for 2, and breathe out for a count of 4”), sighing (“take a breath and let it out like a sigh. You’ll probably feel your shoulders relax”), self-compassion (“focus on these words: Wisdom. Strength. Warmth. Nonjudgement), and, interestingly, getting outside of yourself.

What does that last one mean? Caring about others. Anxiety makes you think about yourself and how your own personal world is going to end for one reason or another. That’s why Psychology Today recommends you “make a point of focusing on others and being empathetic.” Talk to people about their day and how they’re feeling, from the receptionist to your interviewer to texting friends and family. Realize you’re not alone out there!

You’re Ready!

That’s it. You’ve done everything you can do to get rid of that pesky interview anxiety. Odds are, there’s still a little bit nagging at you under the surface. But you’re the one in control. You’ve prepared your answers and interview style, know the company, and are as calm as you can be. Get in there and show them why you’re the best person for the job!

Have you ever been nervous in an interview? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Answering the Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Ideal responses for one of the trickiest interview questions.

This one is right up there with “tell me your top five strengths and weaknesses.” In an ideal world, prospective employers would only ask about your workplace experiences (teamwork, job responsibilities, how you handled projects, etc.) and draw their own conclusions about you as an employee from there.

But that doesn’t always happen. Some companies have set questions they ask potential employees to weed out undesirable candidates from the rest of the applicants. Asking where you see yourself  in five years is one of those questions.

Your answer can tell them something about your drive, your desire to keep working at their company, and where you think this position fits into your career and overall life.

Here are our tips on how to best answer.

Focus on Upward Movement

Most employers want an employee that plans on improving over time. They don’t want you to be content with the same responsibilities year after year. The expectation is that you’ll come to master some of your responsibilities, and be able to handle more work (whether that means just more duties or an outright promotion).

So when they ask where you see yourself in five years, don’t say the same position. Aim for a management position, just not the position your possible manager has (you don’t want to seem like you’re gunning for their job). Find a specific position if you can (___supervisor, ___manager, etc.), not just “a management position.” Note that you hope to use all of the experience and responsibilities you will pick up in this position in your future career.

Show Your Passion for Learning

Employers love employees that love to learn. If you’re constantly improving yourself, you’re continually making yourself a more talented and desirable employee.

In five years, you want to still be learning, still honing your skills. Whether that means obtaining a certain metric (___ number of customer services calls an hour, ____ increase in page views on a website, ___% increase in product production time, etc.), taking continual online training courses, obtaining a certification, or earning a degree, tell your interviewer about it. Make sure to associate all of that learning with the position you’re interviewing for, and how it will help the company as a whole.

Illustrate Your Desire to Stay At the Company

General turnover is higher now than in previous years. The current economy is a job seeker’s market. That means employers are looking for people who are in it for the long haul. When they ask you about where you want to be in five years, tell them you plan to be at ___ company. Mention a project you’ve read about online that’s coming up in the future you’d like to be a part of, or a future product you want to help create.

Research the company’s upcoming plans (news releases are great for this). Is there anything that looks like it will be launching within the next five years or so? Mention you want to be involved in that, and you’ll show that you really know the company.

And that’s how to answer the question!

Show you’re a stellar employee with real goals who truly wants the position. That’s what they’re asking for, anyway. “Do you really want this job? Will you work hard at this job?  Are you in this for the long haul? Okay, then prove it.”

And now you’re ready to do just that.

Have you ever had to answer this question? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Poll Results: The Most Popular Employee Training Programs

Is your company offering the training you want?

Getting to know the ins and outs of a new company can be complicated. You’re juggling learning about the company history and culture with remembering your new co-workers’ names and getting familiar with the responsibilities specific to your position.

That’s where employee training comes in. A great onboarding program can help reduce your stress load and provide a path to follow.

But different employees prefer different types of training. To determine which was most popular, we polled you, our dedicated readers and here’s what you had to say!

The Results

The top option was a “formal employee training program,” with just under 20% of the vote, followed by “mentorship” and “access to online training classes and resources,” both at just over 15% of the vote.

“Supervisors/managers train employees” came next with 15% of the vote, followed by “reimbursement for college/career tech training and certification fees” at 11%. “Apprenticeship,” “self-guided training,” and “internships” rounded out the pack at 10%, 8%, and 5%, respectively.

Many others also submitted “hands-on training” as an “other” option.

What does this mean?

Self-guided training is fairly unpopular, given that it can be difficult for a new employee to wrap their head around every facet of the company all on their own.

And most new employees want structure; a dedicated, formal training plan that outlines their responsibilities and how they should handle them. Employees don’t want to go through piles of training materials on their own; they want a manager or dedicated training person to guide them through the process. Periodic training check-ins are also a great idea.

Did the results surprise you? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Job Spotlight: Plant/Manufacturing Supervisor

Supersize your career with a plant supervisor position

Despite already having experience with several jobs, many working adults are unable to answer that age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Our Job Spotlight monthly blog series is designed to help you answer that question. In this series, we review all the basics of specific jobs, from salary and duties to why people do the jobs they do.

Plant/Manufacturing Supervisor

For this month’s Job Spotlight, we put together information about Plant/Manufacturing Supervisors. Manufacturing isn’t going away any time soon, and every plant needs supervisors. This makes job stability quite high.

Responsibilities include leading a team and managing production goals.

Required Education

Usually a high school diploma or equivalent, although there can be exceptions.

Pay

Although it varies depending on a variety of factors (e.g. experience, industry, geographic area, etc.), Plant/Manufacturing Supervisors can make $58,754 a year, on average.

What Plant/Manufacturing Supervisors Do

Plant/Manufacturing Supervisors handle a variety of responsibilities, which may include:

  • Lead and coordinate a team in creating a wide range of goods
  • Take the lead on safety reporting and tracking
  • Act as an internal resource on production demands
  • Record and monitor delivery logistics
  • Keep track of quality goals
  • Handle employee training

What Companies Look for in Plant/Manufacturing Supervisors

Every Plant/Manufacturing Supervisor position is different, but many need the following skills and attributes:

  • Lean manufacturing work experience
  • Willingness to gain industry training and skills
  • Extrusion industry experience (Example: Manufacturing)
  • Leadership skills to foster a growing team

Not sure where to find a position like this?

We can help.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S and Canada. If you have any questions about Plant/Manufacturing Supervisors in your area or job search in general, feel free to contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

For More in Our Job Spotlight Series:

Are you a Plant/Manufacturing Supervisor? What else should people know about your job? Let us know in the comments below!