Interview: What is Your Greatest Weakness?

Interview_Weakness_April2014This is one of the most frequently asked and most dreaded questions in an interview. Although it’s nerve-racking, your answer can make or break your interview. When a hiring manager asks about your greatest weakness, it’s a time for them to learn about your character and a great opportunity for you to use the question to your advantage.

Jacquelyn Smith, a writer for Forbes shares, “It’s not a trick question and there’s no ‘right’ answer—but interviewers are looking for something specific in your response to this challenging question.” Here are some tips in conveying your greatest weakness while keeping your composure in a job interview.

Identify Your Weakness
First things first, what is your weakness? Be honest with yourself and identify what you’re not the best at ahead of time. If you’re not great with finances or if you’re not super organized, don’t be afraid to say it, but whatever you do, avoid mentioning a weakness that can crush your chances of landing the job. If you’re not exactly sure what the job entails, review the job description to see what the employer is looking for.

Be sure to formulate an answer that’s not generic. Hiring managers know that people aren’t perfect and they make mistakes. People have weaknesses; hiring managers just want to know how those weaknesses have been handled.

Turn a Negative into a Positive
While you’re sharing about your weakness in an interview, you can easily turn the attention to a great strength you have. A Forbes article shares, “Be prepared to give an example of a previous failure or weakness that you’ve successfully turned into a strength. Do not discuss areas of opportunity that you are still working on and have not yet fixed.” After talking about the way you’ve conquered a weakness in life, keep the focus of the conversation positive, so you can leave a lasting impression.

Strictly Business
Talking about your weaknesses and strengths allows you to open up and share about yourself, but be careful to not over share. Throughout your interview process, remember to keep your responses work-related. Do your best to stay centered on the topic and avoid personal drama. “Sure, everyone has got some, but companies want to ensure this won’t affect your job if you get hired. Besides, it’s considered completely inappropriate to bring personal drama into the business world,” says Smith.

What are some ways you’ve shared your greatest weakness in an interview? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

3 Myths About Staffing Companies

3myths_April2014Are you looking for a job? Have you tried applying for work through a staffing company? According to the American Staffing Association, more than 90% of companies in the U.S. use staffing firms, and 40% of the people looking for their first job or re-entering the workforce have done so by working with a staffing company.

Some staffing companies specialize in one industry, like accounting and medical. While Express Employment Professionals offers a broad range of opportunities in administrative, commercial, and professional jobs.

Beyond a job opportunity, staffing companies offer great ways to gain skills and valuable experience. But there’s more to it than gaining skills; you could also find a job that leads to a lifelong career. Why don’t more people consider taking advantage of this great employment opportunity?  There are some misconceptions when it comes to staffing companies and temporary work. We want to expose those myths and shed light on the truth to help you find success in your career.

Myth: Staffing companies charge you to apply for a job

One of the misconceptions people have about staffing companies is that they charge people to apply for a job.
Truth: Most staffing companies do not charge you a fee to apply. That means you don’t pay anything out of your pocket. It’s completely free! And you don’t owe them anything after you get hired either.

Myth: Staffing companies only have temporary jobs

Another misconception about getting a job through a staffing company is that you’ll be stuck in a position without advancement opportunities.

Truth: There are numerous jobs available through staffing agencies. And those jobs can potentially lead to full-time employment. Think of it this way; the skills you learn during your time as a temporary worker can help shape you to become a great candidate when the time comes for that position to be opened up as a full-time job. According to the ASA, 80% of staffing clients say staffing firms offer a good way to find people who can become full-time employees. Regardless of where you are in your job search or career, remember your actions will determine if that opportunity will get you to the next level – so stay positive!

Myth: Being a temporary employee for any amount of time looks bad on a resume

Don’t be fooled by this myth. If you’re unemployed, working in a temporary position allows you to build and strengthen your resume while looking for something more long-term.

Truth: Showing how you’ve gained and developed skills can only strengthen and build your resume. Keep in mind that many employers see staffing jobs as regular work experience.

There are several benefits to working with a staffing agency that will look good on a resume as long as you can show how your experience can help potential employers.

Temporary jobs allow you many benefits and opportunities in various stages of your life from a flexible schedule to learning opportunities. Make sure you investigate different temp agencies and the benefits they offer, as some may not offer as much as others. Click here to view the benefits of Express Employment Professionals.

What benefits has temporary employment offered you, or why do you choose to work on temporary assignments? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Be the Captain of Cool

Captn_OF_Cool_April2014We all have stress in our lives. Stress with relationships, finances, and work. According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is far and away the major stress for American adults. 46% report that their workload causes stress while only 28% report relationship issues as a main source of stress.

Workplace-related stress has escalated progressively over the past few years and is the number one cause of stress for adults. The third annual Work Stress survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 83% of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. A 10% increase over the previous study.

In order to grow in your career, it’s important to face and deal with stress the right way. Stress is inevitable and having an effective coping strategy could make a positive difference the next time you’re faced with stress.

Top Performers Know How to Manage Stress
Remaining calm under pressure has a direct link to performance according to Forbes magazine. Talentsmart study found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress. Those top performers have well-planned strategies to use in stressful circumstances. Having a plan to help you “keep cool” under stress can lower your stress level regardless of what’s going on around you.

Why Managing Your Stress is Important to Productivity
Managing stress helps you stay focused on the task at hand, keeping you on track to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

New studies show that moderate stress can actually lead to cell growth in the brain’s learning center i.e. it can actually help you learn. To achieve this benefit from stress, it’s important to keep your stress levels manageable.

How You Can Manage Your Stress

Stay Positive. There are lots of ways to help manage stress from listening to music, to taking a break now and then, but one of the biggest ways you can control your stress levels is by finding things to be positive about. In a study from the University of California, people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for example experienced improved moods and energy. And that can have a big impact on reducing your stress hormone levels. Staying positive also means staying positive about stress.

Change Your Perception of Stress.
Instead of fearing stress, let it motivate you. The feelings that come with stress are often part of your body’s flight of fight response. Try to change your perception that stress is a bad thing and instead use it to push you forward. In one study where participants were asked to view videos that contained messages that stress could be helpful, had a better work performance than those that watched videos about stress being harmful.

As you continue to grow and develop in your career, you’ll take on more responsibilities, and as we all know, that can mean more stress too. So it’s important to learn how to manage that stress now to be successful in the future.

Did You Know?
Prolonged stress can cause serious physical harm. And can result in an increased risk of heart disease, depression, obesity, and decrease your cognitive performance.

There are many things that can cause stress at work, but there are just as many ways you can counter that stress. Maybe your desk is messy and that causes a trigger for stress. Perhaps scheduling your tasks or “to-do” list is causing stress. Whatever the culprit, there is a good chance your physical environment is affecting your stress level. Take time to organize your work space and schedule and see if that helps relieve some stress.

What are some successful ways you handle stress? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d also like to know what your biggest triggers of stress are at your workplace, so let your voice be heard by voting in our poll.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Creating an Organic Resume

organic_Resume_April2014In regards to food, when something is labeled organic, it simply means there are no added ingredients, artificial chemicals, or hormones. Just like organic products don’t have any additives, neither should your resume. With the average resume review time at a mere 6 seconds, it’s important to make sure your resume has exactly what the hiring manager is looking for and nothing more. Here are some recipes to help make your resume more organic.

Cut the Additives
If you’re working on rewriting your resume or if you’re starting from scratch, keep in mind that less is more when it comes to your resume – it needs to be to the point, honest, and informative. An article in the Daily Muse shares that “size matters,” and hiring managers don’t have a lot of time to spend reviewing resumes. In this article, writer, Elizabeth Lowman states, “The average resume is chock-full of sorely outdated, essentially meaningless phrases that take up valuable space on the page. Eliminate them, and you’ll come off as a better, more substantial candidate.” Include relevant job experience and don’t forget to get rid of unnecessary information like the job experiences you had during high school.

Let a Few Pure Ingredients Shine Through
As stated in a Forbes article, “Every word—yes, every word—on that page should be working hard to highlight your talents and skills. If it’s not, it shouldn’t be on there.” When preparing your resume, use simple yet meaningful power words to help convey your experience and skills. Including numbers in your resume is also important and allows you to present your abilities in a way that demonstrates the value you would add to a team and can help you stand out as the best candidate for the job.

Presentation Matters
Since most resumes are only viewed for a few seconds, choosing the right format could help get your resume more attention.

To highlight extensive work history and to show off your attributes that make you a great candidate for the job, use the Chronological format. If you have a limited work history, you could use a functional format to showcase your abilities while de-emphasizing your chronological work history. Functional format is used most often by those changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history. A Combination resume draws more attention to your abilities instead of poor work history, and the Targeted format specifically highlights your experiences and skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

After you choose your resume format, remember to tailor your resume to be applicable for each job you apply for. Knowing this, do your best to keep your resume to one page. If your resume takes up more than a page, be sure to include your name and contact information on both pages and try early on in the resume to make sure the recruiter or hiring manager will want to read more!

In today’s job market, it’s important to have the best possible resume. So, look over your resume carefully and make the changes you need for the best presentation possible.

By applying simple organic concepts to your resume, you can make a difference in your job search.

What resume refining tips can you share? We want to hear about your experience in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Poll: What are Your Biggest Triggers of Stress at Work?

A recent study by CareerBuilder.com shows that more than half of the people in the workforce carry a great deal of stress. Since April 1 marks the beginning of Stress Awareness Month, we want to know your biggest triggers of workplace stress. Let us know by voting in our poll.

See the results from the poll here.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

The Results Are In: The Impact a Higher Minimum Wage Would Have on Jobs?

In a recent poll, we asked what you thought the impact on jobs would be if the minimum wage was raised. Overall, Movin’ On Up readers don’t feel raising the minimum wage will have a positive impact on jobs. The results show 35% of respondents think a result would be less full-time jobs and more part-time jobs. Coming in at second, 32% of voters think there will be a decrease in jobs all together. While slightly more than 16% of respondents are hopeful and feel that raising the minimum wage would result in better job opportunities, 8% of our respondents are hoping to see more jobs altogether.

Slightly more than 8% of our respondents chose the “other” option and offered their own responses to what they think the impact of a higher minimum wage would have on jobs, including:

  • Increase in cost of living
  • Off-shore jobs
  • Lower turnover rates

In case you haven’t heard, the debate over raising the minimum wage has become a big issue. And it’s very obvious that people have a wide range of opinions on this topic.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Last month the CBO released its own nonpartisan report which found that the proposed minimum wage increase to $10.10 would result in 500,000 fewer jobs. Opponents argue that raising the minimum wage to 10.10 would be a job killer.

Movin’ On Up readers aren’t encouraged by the thought of raising minimum wage and employers aren’t either.  Check out this recent press release from Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest privately held staffing firm, titled, New Survey of Employers Shows 38% of Those Who Pay Minimum Wage will Lay Off Workers if Wage is Hiked.

Based on the CBO report, proponents think the result of a higher minimum wage would bring an increase to the weekly earnings of the estimated 16.5 million low-wage workers. It is also believed to result in helping people rise about the poverty line.

What Do You Think?

If you didn’t get a chance to let your voice be heard in our most recent poll, share your thoughts in the comments section below. We want to know what you think.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Prepare Before You Perspire: Seasonal Landscaping Safety

landscaping_March2014Now that spring has arrived, landscaping jobs are likely to increase in demand. With that in mind, now is the time to review landscaping safety before the season kicks into high gear.

Check the Location
The first thing to do when reaching a worksite is to look over the area for hazards. Rocks, cables, broken tree limbs, uneven ground, exposed roots, and anything of concern should be noted and shared with everyone at the site before work begins. If a hazard can be removed, that should be the first job of the day.

The next consideration should be equipment. Is the right equipment available for the job?  Are the tools in good condition, and are safety guards required by the manufacturer in place? Also, any chutes to help direct debris should be in place. These chutes help prevent injuries and property damage from flying objects.

Stay Hydrated
After checking the environment and equipment, it’s time to focus a little more closely on yourself. Staying hydrated is important when working outdoors, so you should drink water before you reach the site. Even at moderate temperatures, we need more water to get through a day of hard work. Once you feel thirsty, you are already becoming dehydrated.  Begin the habit of drinking plenty of water early in the season and throughout the day.

Protect Yourself
Personal protective equipment is an important step for any manual labor jobs. Safety glasses will protect against both small and large debris, while ear protection can keep your hearing intact while running noisy landscaping equipment. Proper footwear will help prevent cuts and scratches, give good support, and protect you if you do come in contact with a moving part of a machine. And, don’t forget gloves, which will help protect against cuts, scrapes, and burns.

Remember; check the environment, equipment, and yourself before starting work at each landscaping site and you will have a safer, more productive and enjoyable day.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.