The One Sign You Hate Your Job

Posted in: staffing- Dec 05, 2014 Comments Off

By Brian de Haaff

I was a Nexium addict. I was popping those little purple pills fast — because the heartburn was killing me. And I hate drugs. My job was so rotten that it was destroying my insides, and once I even had to pull over to the side of the road because I thought I was having a heart attack. Nope. Just misery at work and a bout of panic.

Sound familiar?

All work can be difficult. And challenges in general can push us. This is natural and should be expected. Some stress is even good for us and pushes us to achieve more than we thought was possible. But the stress I’m talking about is different. It drags us low and ruins us.

Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations — whether they’re real or perceived.

Stress prepares your body for a fight-or-flight response — your blood pressure rises and muscles tighten. But studies show an abundance of chronic stress can lead to increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders, and to health-related absenteeism at work.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Our business at Aha! (visual product roadmap software for product managers) is growing really fast and the team is stretching to keep up with the demand. As the CEO, I want the highest performance from every person, but I also want everyone to be happy.

I have come to the conclusion that there is a difference between workplace stress and punch-in-the-gut misery. So, have you thought about whether your pain is coming from being strained or broken? Do you know what differentiates a temporary frustration from long-term disdain?

The one sign that you hate your job is that it causes you physical pain.

The following types of pain should be a warning sign to you that something is seriously wrong, and you may need to get out. Follow through with that fight-or-flight response, and make a plan.

Heartburn
That all-familiar burning sensation is caused by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus. And stress is a major cause.

Headaches
From migraines to tension headaches, these range from completely debilitating, to a dull, constant thorn in your side.

Back pain
More than just bad ergonomics, workplace stress can manifest in deep, inexplicable aches in your back, shoulders or neck that no MRI can find the cause of.

Fatigue
Constant lack of energy, weariness and tiredness can be linked to stressors and occupational pressures, but can be a more serious mental or physical problem.

If workplace angst is manifesting itself in forms of physical suffering, you despise what you do and likely who you do it with.

We all experience sleepless nights and days when we are lethargic. But the conditions above are different. And remember, I am not a doctor, so if you are experiencing any of the above, you may need medical assistance. Consider this a friendly reminder to take care of yourself — from someone who has experienced all of the above.

Listen to your body because it is speaking for your heart and mind — even when you are not listening.

Work should not cause physical pain and when it does — beware. It is the one trustworthy sign that you hate your job and it’s impacting your future. Even if your work is physical in nature, the type of pain I am describing is different; it’s stress-driven and impacting your health and happiness.

Do you agree? Have you ever suffered physically at work?

Article Source: Haaff, B. (2014). The one sign you hate your job. Linkedin. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141201161302-76592-the-one-sign-you-hate-your-job

How Successful People Build Exceptional Professional Relationships

Posted in: staffing- Dec 04, 2014 Comments Off

By Jeff Haden

Professional success is important to everyone, but still, success can and does (and definitely should) mean different things to different people.

But one fact is universal. Real success, the kind that exists on multiple levels, is impossible without building great relationships. Real success is impossible unless you treat other people with kindness, regard, and respect.

After all, you can be a rich jerk… but you will also be a lonely jerk.

Here’s how successful people build unusually successful business relationships:

1. They help without having to be asked.

It’s easy to help when you’re asked. And most people will. But some offer help before they have been asked, even though most of the time that is when a little help will make the greatest impact.

People who build great relationships pay close attention so they can tell when others are struggling. Then they offer to help… but not in a general, “Is there something I can do to help you?” way. Instead they come up with specific ways they can help.

That way they can push past the reflexive, “No, I’m okay…” objections and then roll up their sleeves to make a difference in another person’s life.

And they do it not because they want to build a better relationship — although that is certainly the result — but simply because they care.

2. They take the undeserved hit.

A customer gets mad. A vendor complains about poor service. A mutual friend feels slighted. Whatever the issue and regardless of who is actually at fault, occasionally someone steps forward to take the hit. She’s willing to accept the criticism or abuse because she knows she can handle it — and she knows that maybe, just maybe, the person who is really responsible cannot.

Few acts are more selfless than taking the undeserved hit. And few acts better cement a relationship.

3. They answer the question that was not asked.

Where relationships are concerned, face value is usually without value. Often people will ask a different question than the one they really want answered.

A colleague might ask you whether he should teach a class at a local college; what he really wants to talk about is how to take his life in a different direction. A partner might ask how you felt about the idea he presented during the last board meeting; what he really wants to talk about is his diminished role in the running of the company.

An employee might ask how you built a successful business; instead of kissing up he might be looking for some advice — and encouragement — to help him follow his own dreams.

Behind many simple questions is often a larger question that goes unasked. People who build great relationships listen carefully to discover what lies underneath so they can answer that question, too.

4. They truly think of others.

People who build great relationships don’t just think about other people. They act on those thoughts.

One easy way is to give unexpected praise. Everyone loves unexpected praise — it’s like getting flowers not because it’s Valentine’s Day, but “just because.” Praise helps others feel better about themselves and lets them know you’re thinking about them (which, if you think about it, is flattering in itself.)

Take a little time every day to do something nice for someone you know, not because you’re expected to but simply because you can. When you do, your relationships improve almost immeasurably.

5. They step up when they have acted poorly.

Most people apologize when their actions or words are called into question.

Very few people apologize before they are asked to — or even before anyone notices they should.

Responsibility is a key building block of a great relationship. People who take the blame, who say they are sorry and explain why they are sorry, who don’t try to push any of the blame back on the other person… those are people everyone wants in their lives, because they instantly turn a mistake into a bump in the road rather than a permanent roadblock.

6. They know when to dial it back.

Outgoing and charismatic people are usually a lot of fun… until they aren’t. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, still, some people can’t stop “expressing their individuality.” (Admit it: You know at least one person so in love with his personality he can never dial it back.)

People who build great relationships know when to have fun and when to be serious, when to be over the top and when to be invisible, and when to take charge and when to follow.

Great relationships are multifaceted and therefore require multifaceted people willing to adapt to the situation — and to the people in that situation.

7. They give consistently… and receive occasionally.

A great relationship is mutually beneficial. In business terms that means connecting with people who can be mentors, who can share information, who can help create other connections; in short, that means going into a relationship wanting something.

The person who builds great relationships doesn’t think about what she wants; she starts by thinking about what she can give. She sees giving as the best way to establish a real relationship and a lasting connection. She approaches building relationships as if it’s all about the other person and not about her, and in the process builds relationships with people who follow the same approach.

In time they make real connections. And in time they make real friends.

8. They value the message by always valuing the messenger.

When someone speaks from a position of position of power or authority or fame it’s tempting to place greater emphasis on their input, advice, and ideas.

We listen to Tony Hsieh. We listen to Malcolm Gladwell. We listen to Seth Godin.

The guy who mows our lawn? Maybe we don’t listen to him so much. (Although clearly we should.)

Smart people strip away the framing that comes with the source — whether positive or negative — and consider the information, advice, or idea based solely on its merits.

People who build great relationships never automatically discount the message simply because they discount the messenger. They know good advice is good advice, regardless of where it comes from.

And they know good people are good people, regardless of their perceived “status.”

9. They start small… and are sometimes happy to stay small.

I sometimes wear a Reading Football Club sweatshirt. The checkout clerk at the grocery store noticed it one day and said, “Oh, you’re a Reading supporter? My team is Manchester United.”

Since I’m pretty shy I normally would have just nodded and said something innocuous, but for some reason I said, “You think Man U can beat Real Madrid next week?”

He gave me a huge smile and said, “Oh yeah. We’ll crush them!” (Too bad he was wrong.)

Now whenever I see him he waves, often from across the store. I almost always walk over and chat a little about soccer. That’s as far as our relationship is likely to go, and that’s okay. For a couple of minutes we transcend the customer/employee relationship and become two people brightening each other’s day.

And that’s enough, because every relationship, however minor and possibly fleeting, has value.

People who build great relationships treat every one of their relationships that way. (That’s a lesson I need to take to heart.)

Article Source: Haden J. (2014). How successful people build exceptional professional relationships. Linkedin. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141201134528-20017018-how-successful-people-build-exceptional-professional-relationships

How NOT to Introduce Yourself

Posted in: staffing- Dec 03, 2014 Comments Off

By Bernard Marr

Networking is one of the most challenging skills you may have to learn in the world of business. It can be an awkward experience, having the attention of a group of strangers focused on you, and trying to make a good first impression.

It’s an important moment. The person opposite you might be someone who could make or break your career. If you make a good impression, he or she might be able to refer your next big client, or have the influence to help you land that next big contract.

On the other hand, if you act like a doofus, you might alienate someone who might have been an otherwise important connection and relationship.

If you’d like to avoid looking like a berk, avoid being this guy when introducing yourself:

  • Name dropper. This person introduces themselves by saying who they know, who they’ve worked with, etc. I might not remember their name, but I’ll remember that they once got Tony Robbins a glass of water.
  • Drive-by carder. A card is not an introduction. Just throwing your business card at a person, or worse, at as many people as possible at a networking event, is just about the worst kind of introduction you can make. If you hand one to me, I’m going to hand it to the nearest rubbish bin.
  • Double-carder. Handing someone two copies of your business card to encourage the other person to send you a referral. It’s presumptuous unless they ask for an extra card.
  • Rambling man (or woman). As soon as you get to talk, you get over excited and start telling your life story. Or the story of how you got to the meeting. Or how you met your spouse. And forget to tell me, you know, who you are.
  • TMI. If I’m just meeting you, I don’t need to know the entire history of your business or career, all of your degrees and accolades, and your dog’s maiden name. Stick to the basics.
  • Limp fish. It may be old fashioned, but I think a weak handshake is a turn-off when introducing yourself. Practice a firm (but not crushing) handshake to convey confidence.
  • The Cannonball. Probably the opposite of the limp fish is the cannonball — the guy who is so overly confident that he’ll barrel his way into any situation or conversation without being invited. If you want to join an ongoing conversation, wait to be acknowledged before you jump right in.
  • Digital Zombie. If you’re going to a networking event, or a business function of some kind, don’t be so absorbed in yourself and your cell phone that you’re not paying attention.

How to introduce yourself in one simple step:

Instead of leading with what you do, lead with who you help. As in, “Hi, my name is Bernard, and I help companies identify and make the best use of their key performance indicators and big data.”

Done. You know who I am, what I do, and more importantly, whether or not I can help you or someone you know.

Article Source: Marr, B. (2014). How to not introduce yourself. Linkedin. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141201071701-64875646-how-not-to-introduce-yourself

Thanks for Nothing? What to Say When You Don’t Get the Job

Posted in: staffing- Dec 02, 2014 Comments Off

By Paul Freiberger

If you’ve applied for a job and haven’t made the cut, you’re in exceptional company. So don’t let a job rejection stop you in your tracks. Let’s identify some lessons from and responses to career setbacks that make sense when you consider:

  • Madonna’s first effort was declined by a major producer who should have known better.
  • Andy Warhol’s “Shoe,” a drawing of – of all things – a shoe, was rejected by New York’s Museum of Modern Art even though he was offering it as a gift.
  • RSO Records rejected U2 as “not suitable” in a single paragraph, though they did wish the band luck.
  • The Atlantic Monthly had no interest in Kurt Vonnegut, whose manuscripts were returned as part of “the usual summer house-cleaning.”
  • Rand McNally declined the first “Tarzan” book, only to watch Edgar Rice Burroughs squeeze 25 sequels out of the ape man’s jungle exploits.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Almost all of us have been relegated to the also-rans at one time or another, and almost all of us have wondered how and why it happened.

Employers don’t like to give reasons for their decisions, and that’s nothing new. Even the earliest rejection letters kept it awfully vague. Your efforts don’t fit with our plans. You’re not ready yet. Your work is not quite compelling enough.

And always, we wish you the best and thank you for your interest.

Surely, that closing must have greatly softened the blow.

In reality, of course, this is all enormously frustrating for those applicants. You’ve put yourself out there. You’ve sweated over this application and given it your all. You deserve some feedback, but you get none, not even the courtesy of a personal explanation, just “NO.”

It’s maddening.

You’re absolutely right. You DO deserve feedback. U.S. New & World Report, which publishes reams of career advice, agrees and thinks you should ask for it.

It’s your turn to say “No,” as this is just plain wrong, and it’s wrong in the worst possible way. A demand for feedback can actually do more harm than good.

Here’s how that happens, and, because your real goal is to keep doors open, how to manage the situation properly:

  • Keep negative emotions in check. A rejection may leave you feeling bitter, angry, defeated or even vindictive, but this is not the time to give those negative emotions, legitimate though they may be, on public display.
  • Do get back in touch. Send a simple note of thanks, expressing your gratitude for being considered and your understanding of how difficult it is to hire the right person. Not every candidate will do this, but it’s the mark of a of a grown-up, someone to keep in mind for future reference.
  • Don’t put them on the spot. A note that asks for an explanation of the decision is going to feel like a demand for answers, and that won’t endear you to a hiring manager.
  • They won’t tell you anyway. Even if the recipient responds, you’ll never know if you’re hearing the truth – if they know the truth to begin with. You can’t rely on this information, and you certainly can’t put it to use.
  • They can’t tell you anyway. In part, employers are tight-lipped because explanations can cause problems, up to and including litigation. In an unsurprising excess of caution, companies withhold even the most innocuous replies.
  • Don’t bombard them. Your note of thanks doesn’t need to go to everyone involved. Write to the person who seemed most involved in the process or, failing that, to the hiring manager.
  • Keep it simple. Two short paragraphs should be enough: the first to express your thanks for the opportunity and an acknowledgement of the difficult job they had to do; the second to indicate your willingness to discuss opportunities in the future should your willingness be genuine.
  • Be specific. While keeping it simple, mention of something company-specific. Don’t give the impression that you’re sending so many of these notes that you qualify for bulk mail rates.

Consider one exception. If an interview included discussion of a knotty problem facing the company or industry, and the interviewer showed great interest in the issue, you can follow up on that subject if you come across something on point. Be sure, though, that the interest was genuine and that what you’ve found is not just relevant but compelling.

  • Above all, burn no bridges. You never know what will happen. Perhaps the person hired doesn’t work out, and you get a second chance. Perhaps there’s another opening for which you’d be considered if you left a great impression. Perhaps another company is looking for someone just like you, and your name might be passed along for that position. Neither venting nor demanding an explanation will help.

Rejection can be hardest to take when you get to the very end without getting the job. Your resume passed muster. You thought your interview was great. When you’re rejected in the early rounds, you can blame the decision on flawed automation or the incompetence of a novice screener. The sting is less personal.

As difficult as it is, there’s a benefit to getting as far as you did. You now know that small changes can make a very big difference, and you don’t have to start from scratch. You didn’t accomplish your goal, but you know what needs work.

Seen in that light, there’s reason to send them your thanks – even if “grateful” is last on the list of what you’re feeling when you get the news.

Article Source: Freiberger, P. (2014). Thanks for nothing? What to say when you don’t get the job. Linkedin. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141129043730-9555828-thanks-for-nothing-what-to-say-when-you-don-t-get-the-job?trk=tod-home-art-list-small_1

Is Job Hunting During the Holidays a Waste of Time?

Posted in: staffing- Dec 01, 2014 Comments Off

By Susan P. Joyce

In a word, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo!

Many, if not most, job seekers take the end of the year “off” from their job hunting. There are a lot more fun things to do than job hunt, and it just “feels like” no one is hiring over the holidays. So, why not relax, and then hit the ground running on January 1 or 2 or whenever the bowl games are over?

Two Excellent Reasons NOT to Stop Job Hunting at Year End!

There are many reasons not to stop your job hunt during the last months and weeks of the year! But these two definitely stand out:

1. Employers ARE hiring at year’s end.

And, not just for “holiday jobs.”

Usually, more people are hired in November and December than are hired in January. Here’s the most recent data for the USA from the U.S. Department of Labor’s JOLTS reports:

  • 4,529,000 hires – November, 2013
  • 4,578,000 hires – December, 2013
  • 4,535,000 hires – January, 2014

Notice that January hires were only 6,000 greater than November hires, and more than 40,000 less that December hires!

Isn’t that interesting!

Regardless of the time of the year, employers have work that needs to be done. Certainly, in the USA, many employers, particularly in retail, need more people during the holidays, but that spike is usually covered by hiring in September and October.

In addition:

  • Many employers want to be “ramped up” for the new year, with the staffing levels at 100%.
  • In many organizations, budget dollars that aren’t used before the end of the fiscal year (often December 31) are not available for the new fiscal year. So they want to fill those jobs before the budgets evaporate.

The year-end holiday period is the calm before the storm that is the January job market.

2. You have LESS competition at year’s end!

Because so many job seekers slack off during the end of the year, for the holidays or just because they have more to do in their personal lives, fewer job seekers go after every job. Which means less competition for most jobs. And that should translate into less competition for you and the jobs you want, even in normally highly competitive fields.

So, don’t wait for the January tsunami of job seekers to hit the job market. Continue your job search now!

Need Holiday Job Search Tips?

Check out this Kindle ebook on Amazon.com, New Year, New Job! 101 Top Tips from the Job-Hunt Experts for Your Holiday Job Search. Compiled by me and my co-editor Meg Guiseppi and contributed by 26 of Job-Hunt.org’s Experts, the price is $0.99 (ninety nine cents) on Amazon.com.

Anne Fisher, long-time career columnist for FORTUNE, has reviewed the book and likes it a great deal. See her Thanksgiving week column: Why the Holidays Are the Best Time to Find a New Job.

These tips will help you all year long, but they will definitely help you leverage the holiday season for your job search with advice on things like answering tough (or annoying) questions at holiday parties, smart holiday party preparation, reaching employers during the holiday, using the holidays to expand your network, and much MUCH more.

To see more articles like this please visit Transfac.com

Article Source: Joyce, S. P. (2014). Is job hunting during the holidays a waste of time? Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-p-joyce/is-job-hunting-during-the_b_6058494.html

Tablets put customers, retail staff on the same side of the screen

Posted in: staffing- Nov 28, 2014 Comments Off

Part of the charm of Black Friday shopping is the lines of bundled-up souls waiting outside a Toys R Us or braced to hustle for the deals at a Target. Without them, far less adrenaline would be in the air — and no good video of the craziness for everyone to shake their heads over.

But beyond generating excitement, the lines can be the enemy of sales.

The 2014 holiday season may see the shortest lines ever, if technology delivers on its promise. Growing numbers of stores have been handing out tablets to their staff to take orders anywhere on the sales floor, while customers are using their own smartphones to make purchases.

Speeding up checkout isn’t necessarily the main opportunity in adding handheld sales devices to stores said Greg Buzek, president of Nashville-based retail analysis company IHL Group, but it might be what shoppers notice over the holidays.

“You’re only going to see it as a line-busting device,” he said.

Yet handing a tablet to the sales staff has the potential to do so much more — from catching frustrated customers and helping them find what they want rather than heading off to someone else’s store, to serving up information on what a particular customer has been researching online and his recent store purchases.

Used properly, a tablet also can have a powerful impact on the relationship between associates and customers, Mr. Buzek said. Putting them both on the same side of the screen makes them feel like friends, rather than adversaries, and that can mean larger sales.

Different types of merchants use the technology differently, some more successfully than others. But there’s little doubt that many are getting more comfortable with the systems, and investments are picking up speed.

Mr. Buzek predicted department stores and specialty retailers will be among the most enthusiastic adopters. “You’re going to see a massive transformation over the next two years there,” he said.

Saving the sale

It’s already underway. J.C. Penney’s CFO Edward J. Record described in an earnings call with analysts this summer how important it is to have what shoppers want when they want it, and how the retailer’s point-of-sale technology plays a role when a store doesn’t have the exact right item.

“Our associates know how to save the sale by helping customers find more sizes, styles or colors on jcp.com, and the associates can place the order right at the POS on their handheld device,” he said.

It’s not just retail stores that are embracing the speed and efficiency that can be had with the right mobile point-of-sale system.

“The quicker you turn the tables over, the more business you’re going to get, the more you’re going to make,” said Dan Hadley, co-owner of Dad’s Pub & Grub in Monroeville.

The restaurant and bar — which sells 10-ounce burgers, a Yinzer hot dog and keeps 40 beers available on draft — began using a new point-of-sale system from Georgia-based sales transaction company NCR Corp. in August that allows the use of handheld devices.

The 72-seat restaurant had added a outdoor patio with more than 30 seats. Now the waiting staff can easily take orders from a table of 10 on the patio, send the food and drink details inside, and even process the credit card payment all with an iPad tablet hooked into the Dad’s Pub checkout system.

Mr. Hadley is hopeful the technology will come in handy the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when he expects crowds. Apparently, people either don’t want to cook dinner before the holiday or they want to celebrate a bit with family and friends in from out of town.

Having the tablet system means Dad’s Pub should be able to start a tab for those who get a drink while waiting for a table. It also mitigates waiting staff lining up at the register to check out their customers.

Adaptable systems

Kevin Kelly stood inside a food truck selling things such as a $5 sweet sausage dawg in the Strip District a couple of weeks ago, ready to check out customers on a tablet set prominently in the service window. The truck, owned by the Uncle Charley’s Sausage company in Vandergrift, was being run by Regent Square’s Square Cafe.

The idea is to test whether there’s a market for the mobile food operation, which launched this fall, said Mr. Kelly.

The truck is also serving as a test of another NCR system meant to make mobile ordering and checkout systems that work for restaurants. So far, Mr. Kelly said the new system been a vast improvement on a different handheld system the restaurant tried two years ago.

The earlier one was heavy and clunky and not a hit. This one can be turned to face customers, 90 percent of whom pay with credit cards.

Mr. Kelly was pretty impressed at the Pittsburgh Pierogie Fest in October, when thousands of people showed up and plenty of them stopped at his food truck.

“We were faster, I think, than anyone,” he said.

Technology improvements are making the systems more useful for more types of merchants, as well as adding layers to the kinds of uses the devices can be put to. As with anything, there are basic systems and more sophisticated ones.

Mr. Buzek estimated 50 percent to 60 percent of small retailers that have opened in the past couple of years have gone with mobile checkout systems.

That makes sense when a traditional point-of-sale system can cost $6,000. And he recently saw a mobile system offered for $39 a month including hardware and software.

Such systems generally don’t offer the detailed information and capabilities that a chain with 50 or more stores would get by investing in mobile capabilities that would sync up with an established point-of-sale system.

Major retailers such as Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch or Wet Seal, he said, may have point-of-sale systems that do things like bring up weather reports so they can change the ambiance of a store or shift the mix of products to adapt.

The issue of saving the sale comes up again and again. Mr. Buzek said studies have shown one of every three customers who go into a consumer electronics store prepared to buy something leaves empty handed. In some cases, because a store might not have an item although an online inventory check indicated it was there.

“The mobile allows you to save that sale,” he said, noting that a well-trained staff can order the item and promise to have it delivered to the customer’s home. Even if that adds shipping costs, it may build customer loyalty.

Dealing with the downside

Like any other technology, mobile isn’t going to solve every problem, and it even causes some new ones, Mr. Buzek said.

Some waiters feel the device forces them to look at it rather than at customers and hurts tips. He said there’ve been cases when the waiting staff stashes the tablet by the cash register and pulls out the old notepad.

Tablets also can turn store associates into mesmerized teens, he said, spending more time looking at the device than interacting with customers. Some stores have decided to take the tablets back out after that happened too often.

Tablets also aren’t as rugged as the cash registers that lasted years, so retailers can expect to buy new ones regularly.

The good thing about that is it might help the merchant keep up with the newest, cool devices. Having an old iPad won’t impress many customers.

To see more articles like this please visit Transfac.com

Article Source: Lindeman, T.F. (2014). Tablets put customers, retail staff on the same side of the screen. Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/business/tech-news/2014/11/23/Behind-the-Sale-Tablets-let-retailers-close-the-deal-on-the-sales-floor/stories/201411230065

Does your mall Santa have a dark secret?

Posted in: staffing- Nov 28, 2014 Comments Off

Every mall and festival across the country has a Santa ready to listen to kids wish lists.

But how do you know if the man behind the beard is someone who should be near your children?

One look at Lance McLean and his white beard lets you know what he does every November and December.

“I started out being Santa when friends asked me to dress up for church functions,” McLean said.

Now McLean is for hire and as a member of Lone Star Santas group. In order to do so, he has to meet two very important requirements – he must have a background check and insurance.

McLean says he makes sure anyone looking to hire him knows his background and insurance information are readily available.

“Typically when I talk to a client I will give the information out first, and I will let them know that I am a Christian, real bearded Santa,” McLean said.

The Houston Galleria is owned by the Simon Property Group, one of the largest retail ownership groups in the world. When it hires a Santa, it gets them from a contractor in Colorado that requires background checks for anyone wearing the red suit.

But there are still dozens of other places your kids might encounter St. Nick. Two years ago, a Santa in Cleveland, Texas was found to be on the state’s sex offender list. The crime happened when the man was 12, and no one knew until a parent did some digging.

In that case, the Santa was a volunteer for the city, and because of that, he did not have to undergo a background check. Cleveland has since changed its policy.

Jeff Moore with Top Gun Security says parents should call the stores they plan to visit to see if the place requires background checks on Santa. He also suggests calling any place a class field trip might go to see St. Nick.

“If you are looking at protecting your kids, you deserve to ask on their behalf, ‘have they had a background check?'” Moore said.

If no one can tell you if a character has been background checked, find out the person’s name and enter the information into the state’s sex offender registry yourself.

Moore adds that it is also a good idea to check the state’s sex offender list if you are hiring your own Santa.

To see more articles like this please visit Transfac.com

Article Source: Ehling, J. (2014). Does your mall Santa have a dark secret? abc13.com. Retrieved from http://abc13.com/news/does-your-mall-santa-have-a-dark-secret/405198/

Job Interview: The 5 Questions YOU Must Ask

Posted in: staffing- Nov 27, 2014 Comments Off

By Bernard Marr

“So, what questions do you have for us?”

It’s the inevitable question that comes at the end of nearly every job interview — and yet it’s the one question job seekers rarely have prepared an answer to. And when people do think to prepare for this part of the interview, they often ask bland stock questions that aren’t truly important to their job hunt.

People get so hung up on preparing for the question they might get asked that they often forget to answer important questions they should have and need answers to.

Unfortunately, in a down economy, job hunters tend to adopt a scarcity mindset. If you need work, you may not be able to afford to be picky about which offer you accept, but that doesn’t mean you have to approach the interview from that frame of mind.

Rather, if you ask questions as though you are weighing the offer of this job against other offers (whether you are or not) you’ll be in a better position to know if the job is a good fit for you and how you can best succeed with the company.

Remember: The power in these situations is with the listener, so you can end on a powerful note by asking thoughtful, insightful questions that not only make the interviewer think, but give you answers you need to make a choice about whether or not to accept the job.

Here are my top five:

  • Which of my skills do you see as most important for the challenges that come with the position? You want a job that leverages your key strengths. Answering this question help you understand whether the company is interested in you because of they key skills you have and want to grow, or maybe for other skills you see as less important to focus on and grow. It also helps you to check whether the challenges they see for the position you are applying for are the same you were expecting.
  • How will the company help me develop? You don’t want to simply apply your skills, you also want to improve and learn new things. Make sure there is a plan or a support system to ensure this happens before you accept the job. This can come in form of support for continuous professional development or other support such as coaching or mentoring schemes. Asking this question also shows the interviewer that you’re interested in self-improvement and growing with the company.
  • Can you tell me a little about the team I’ll be working with? This is an excellent question to address the culture of the company — without actually asking about the “culture” of the company. You might find you get a very different answer than what’s printed in the company’s mission statement or on their website. It will help you to understand how well you fit in with the company, and psychologically it’s a great question to ask because it gently assumes you’ll be getting the position.
  • What constitutes success with this position and company? This is a great way to demonstrate that you’re interested in succeeding (not just punching a time clock) but it also gives you key insights into the expectations of the position and the culture of the company.
  • Do you see any gaps in my skills or qualifications that I need to fill? This is a bold, gutsy question. Not everyone is going to be confident enough to ask it, which is going to set you apart from the competition. To the interviewer, it shows that you’re a bold thinker and demonstrates that you’re willing to fill any gaps that might exist. For you, the worst-case scenario is that there are gaps that will preclude you from getting the job, but that’s valuable information to take into your next interview. In the best case, the interviewer won’t have any answer, and hopefully you’ll be shortlisted for the position!

Some interviewers may consider this portion of the interview a “throwaway,” answering easy questions about salary, benefits, time off, etc. But for the applicant, it’s an excellent opportunity to stand out, get important answers you need to know if you’re a good fit for the job, and demonstrate that you’re an individual, not just a resume in a pile.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until the end to ask your questions. In fact, it is much better (and much more natural) if you cover these questions during the interview.

To see more articles like this please visit Transfac.com

Article Source: Marr, B. (2014). Job Interview: The 5 questions you must ask. Linkedin. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141124074017-64875646-job-interview-the-5-questions-you-must-ask?trk=tod-home-art-list-large_0

Seasonal hires cashing in on bonuses

Posted in: staffing- Nov 26, 2014 Comments Off

By Joe Arnold

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) – As the holiday shopping season ramps up, so does seasonal hiring from retailers to grocery stores. In the greater Louisville area, Ecommerce jobs are especially booming.

UPS is hiring about 2,900 seasonal workers this year, which is up from 2000 last year. Kelly Services is hiring about 1,500 people for work at Fanatics. Integrity Staffing is hiring about 5,000 for jobs at Amazon’s Jeffersonville warehouse.

Leslie Fulwiler, a Louisville resident, said, “Think about all the people online for the holidays. I do most of my shopping online because it’s cheaper.”

Leslie Fulwiler is one of the more than 15,000–and climbing–seasonal workers in Kentuckiana this year. She plans to quit her job as a convenience store cashier and cash in on seasonal work, just in time for her own Christmas shopping.

It pays up to $13 an hour and has bonuses such as sign on bonuses of $200, attendance bonuses of $100 per week, and now a referral bonus of $200.

With the unemployment rate dropping and the economy rebounding, the companies are competing for reliable workers. York companies offers a $10 pizza just for applying. Kelly Services increased base bay at Fanatics from $9 an hour to $10.50. On top of $10 to start positions, UPS is offering a $150 per week bonus if seasonal workers stay through the end of the year.

While none of the companies can guarantee the seasonal job will lead to something long-term, the applicants said that opportunity is the most attractive bonus.

To see more articles like this please visit Transfac.com

Retrieved from: Arnold, J. (2014). Seasonal hires cashing in on bonuses. whas11.com. Retrieved from http://www.whas11.com/story/money/business/2014/11/21/seasonal-hires-cashing-in-on-bonuses/19356581/

 

Want To Be More Creative? Don’t Sleep

Posted in: staffing- Nov 25, 2014 Comments Off

By Paul Petrone

Wednesday, famed sportswriter Bill Simmons released a podcast where he interviewed Lorne Michaels, the man who created and still runs Saturday Night Live. In the interview, Michaels said something particularly interesting about the creative process.

Simmons asked him about the grueling nature of SNL, where Michaels and his staff have been putting on a live hour of television each week for the past 40 years. Specifically, Simmons asked if that sort of schedule was too difficult, if there would be a benefit to cutting back.

Michaels’ answer: no.

“There’s a mantra that I have, which is fatigue is your friend,” Michaels said. “There’s a point at which, in anything artistic, at least from my perspective, the critical faculty can overwhelm the creative faculty… When you’re tired, you just write it, and all sorts of different kinds of work comes out.”

Michaels, who developed talent like Will Ferrell, Chris Farley, Eddie Murphy and hundreds of others, went on to say that when creative types are tired, they lose their filter. And then, “someone takes a chance that they would never, if they were cautious or they were smart, would have ever attempted.”

“And those kinds of things are what you remember now as hits,” he continued.

Simmons, who has built himself into one of the world’s most-famous sportswriters and an ESPN “heavyweight” thanks to his own creativity, agreed.

“That’s so funny you talk about that because that’s how I usually write my column,” Simmons told Michaels. “I either do it early in the morning or late at night because I don’t want to be fully awake. As weird as that sounds, I take more chances when I’m groggy.”

Does this phenomenon make any sense? Well, believe it or not, science says yes.

What The Science Says

There have been several scientific studies into the exact issue Simmons and Michaels talked about. And while there are some splits in the findings, the majority say that, indeed, sleep deprivation can actually increase creativity.

One study by Mareike Wieth at Albion College probed into this issue by giving people problems to answer at their non-optimal time of the day; i.e. times when they were tired (morning people were given problems in the evening and evening people were given problems in the morning).

What Wieth found was that people answered math questions better when they were well-rested. However, for problems that required more creative thinking, the people who were more tired did better.

“The findings indicate that tasks involving creativity might benefit from a non-optimal time of day,” Wieth wrote in her study.

Additionally, Italian researcher Marcello Massimini found that the brain becomes more sensitive throughout the day, as it continues to form new synapses for as long as you stay awake. When you finally sleep, those synapses are pruned down.

Therefore, it makes sense that basic math problems become more difficult to solve when you’re tired, because you are, quite literally, more scatterbrained. But it also means that the longer you stay awake, the more unique connections begin to form in your brain – a recipe for creative thinking.

Takeaway

By no means should you adopt a lifestyle of little-to-no sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to higher blood pressure, obesity and an increased chance of stroke, among other things.

Engineers or scientists wouldn’t benefit from sleep deprivation either, as it essentially inhibits logical thinking. But, for the creative type who needs to get something out, an all-nighter might just do the trick.

To see more articles like this please visit Transfac.com

Article Source: Petrone, P. (2014). Want To Be More Creative? Don’t Sleep. Linkedin. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141120184251-283620963-want-to-be-more-creative-don-t-sleep?trk=tod-home-art-list-large_0