Josephine's Personnel Services, Inc.

The History of Staffing Agencies

March 20th, 2013
Certified as Small Business and Minority Woman Owned since 1988

Certified as Small Business and Minority Woman Owned since 1988

Staffing agencies have been around for several years, but do you know the history behind how the staffing industry got started? Its inception may surprise you and the changes through the years have been many. Even though Josephine’s Professional Staffing opened its doors 25 years ago this year, the very first staffing agency was started here in California over a hundred years ago. Katherine Felton was born in Oakland, the daughter of prominent Oakland mayor and judge, Brooks Felton, whom the city of Felton, near Santa Cruz, was named after. Katherine created the first staffing agency to solve the problems and needs brought on by the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. Among many other hats, Katherine quickly became the head of the social service efforts to restore people’s way of life prior to the natural disaster.   Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your GPA Less Important Than Everything Else?

March 22nd, 2012

When you’re in college, your grade point average (GPA) can seem like the one and only measure of your success. But once you graduate, how important is it? Should you put it on your resume? Do employers really care what it was? Can a low GPA ruin your chances of getting hired? The answers may surprise you.

First of all, only new grads really need to worry about these issues. Once you have a few years of professional experience, your undergraduate years diminish in importance.

But when you’re starting out, what are the general rules of thumb?

  • Only put your GPA on your resume if it was 3.0 or higher.
  • If your total GPA was under 3.0, but the GPA in your major was higher, put THAT on your resume.
  • Relevant summer jobs or internships will strengthen your resume more than just your high GPA.

(and remember, employers can ask for copies of your transcripts, so be truthful about your GPA!)

Do Employers Really Care?
The answer to that question is good news for just about everybody. A recent Harris poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder asked 3,147 hiring managers and HR professionals, and:

  • 62% require no minimum GPA
  • 31% require a 3.0 or above
  • 11% require a 3.5 or above.

Bottom line: A high GPA is remarkable and should be emphasized on your resume. An average GPA isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just not noteworthy. And since your resume should summarize your most noteworthy accomplishments, leave out your average, if it’s average, and focus on your other qualifications.

The realities of the job market
There are other things that employers find equally, or more important than your grades. Here are 5 real-life skills that employers would like to see on your resume:

  1. Time management. Time management is a vital skill, which you will need in your professional life to meet deadlines, tackle to-do lists and get things done without burning yourself out.
  2. Relevant professional experience. Hopefully during college you worked at a job or internship, participated in a student organization or volunteered in your field. Relevant, hands-on work in your industry will be a much better indicator for your potential in a real job.
  3. The ability to give and receive feedback. As an employee and co-worker, you’ll have to give and receive praise and criticism. You’ll also need to know how to give both positive and negative feedback to others, when you collaborate with colleagues.
  4. Writing skills. Too many students leave college lacking solid writing ability. Which is u unfortunate, because it will matter in everything from reports to pitches to emails.
  5. Presentation skills. Being able to convey ideas clearly and speak confidently in front of others will be an important part of your professional life.

If you’re still unsure about how your qualifications stack up in the real world, contact Josephine’s Professional Staffing today. We help everyone from new grads to experienced employees find the right position.

 

What to Expect in 2012 – Top Career Predictions

January 5th, 2012

What’s going to happen in terms of job searching and employment in 2012?

In short, it’s going to be all about mobile, using social networking sites to job search, and going after a new job if you are unhappy in your current position.

Prediction #1:  You’ll need a strong online identity if you want employment success. Social networking is playing an increasingly important role in the employment process, so it’s important for job seekers to choose which networks they want to participate in and shape their online identities accordingly. 90% of recruiters check social networks before hiring a candidate, which means that your online persona should properly represent you and show that you’re the right person for the job.

Prediction #2: You’re going to want to be mobile. The explosion of mobile usage will continue to grow in 2012, causing a shift in the way people exchange information. With more and more people using smartphones, traditional means of networking like exchanging business cards are almost gone. Instead, people are connecting digitally. 77% of job seekers are already using mobile apps when searching, and this figure will rise in the coming year.

Prediction #3: If you don’t like your current job, you can start looking for another. In recent years, many people took positions that weren’t necessarily ideal, simply because they needed a job. As the economy improves and unemployment rates decrease, more people will look to change jobs that make them happier. Just be sure to make the most of your current job while looking for a new position, since it’s easier to get a job when you have a job.

Prediction #4:  Things will finally start looking up—for everyone. There is cautious optimism that the economy — and the job market — will improve in 2012. The recently released National Employment Report from ADP, a private staffing and business services firm, showed private employers added 206,000 jobs in November 2011. University of Michigan economists are predicting a brighter 2012; according to a recent study, the jobless rate should continue to drop to 8.8 percent by the end of 2012.

And some industries are already seeing growth — so much so that some can’t fill their positions fast enough.

If you’re a job seeker, here are nine occupations that are expected to grow in 2012:

1. Biomedical engineer
2. Computer software engineer
3. Customer service representative
4. Home health aide
5. Management analyst
6. Medical assistant
7. Network systems and data communications analyst
8. Registered nurse
9. Retail salesperson

If you have any questions about the job market or your job search in 2012, don’t hesitate to contact us. We predict great success for you if you do!

Does Your Company Culture Stand Out from the Pack? How to Attract “Top Dog” Candidates

November 23rd, 2011

How can you keep your organization competitive in the drive for top employees? It can be hard for organizations to really stand out from their competitors. But with company culture becoming an important factor in career decisions, it’s time to look at your organization and see how yours compares.

Why do companies as disparate as Google, Southwest Airlines and Zappo’s get such great reviews from their employees? Why do they attract so many candidates, and so many good ones? Easy. They’ve developed company cultures that epitomize strong values, a modern work ethic that includes fun and service to both their customers and their communities.

These top companies know what good employees are looking for, and they make sure to publicize what sets them apart from the competition.

If you want to appeal to the top-drawer candidates that apply to these popular companies in droves, it’s time to think about what your company can offer. Has your company defined its core values? Created a distinct corporate culture? Have you expressed these values on your web site or in your job listings, where candidates can see them?

For example, Google promotes its “all for one and one for all” corporate mentality on its website, by mentioning how “at lunchtime, almost everyone eats in the office café, sitting at whatever table has an opening and enjoying conversations with Googlers from different teams.” This includes the founders and other upper-level executives. They also create an open work environment, with very few solo offices and a generous supply of laptops to allow for mobile coding, anytime email and note taking. They offer plenty of opportunities for exercise and comfort: providing bicycles or scooters to help staffers travel between meetings, massage chairs, large inflatable balls, game rooms and gyms. They even encourage socializing by sponsoring employee groups for different interests, such as meditation, movies, wine tasting and salsa dancing.

Southwest Airlines has long understood how employee satisfaction and environmental awareness go hand in hand. They also know that their employees like to feel like contributing members of society, especially in their home community. That’s why they promote their Charitable Giving and Community Outreach programs. They started Community Giving Boards that have been trained to evaluate charitable giving requests from their local community. The Boards are made up of local employees from various work groups who evaluate the donation requests and donate complimentary, round trip tickets to approved organizations for fundraising or transportation purposes. They also sustain a relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities so they can aid in the transportation needs of families facing serious illnesses and administers their own Medical Transportation Grant Program in conjunction with hospitals and organizations that assist individuals who must travel to receive medical care.

Last but far from least is Zappo’s, a company that makes sure you know they’re about much more than shoes.  They have an entire page on their site devoted to their Family Core values. These include:

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  4. Pursue Growth and Learning
  5. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  6. Do More With Less
  7. Be Passionate and Determined

They make it very clear that they expect employees to be innovative, to go above and beyond, to embrace teamwork and to have fun while doing so. They are proud of their unique corporate culture and openly share it through their web site, blogging, videos and more.

If you want to attract great candidates, you have to be a great company to work for. Not every company can be just like Google, Southwest or Zappo’s, but you can certainly take tips from them on how to create a corporate environment that excellent people will want to work in.

Find Good Help for the Holidays: How Can Temporary Staffing Help Keep You Running Smoothly This Season?

November 17th, 2011

If you didn’t include holiday hiring plans in your yearly projections, it’s not too late! While there tends to be a mad rush to begin seasonal hiring once the leaves start to change, many employers are still recruiting for candidates deep into the snowy underbrush of the winter holiday season:

  • Thirty-three percent of employers who are hiring seasonal staff reported they are still trying to fill open positions in November.
  • Eleven percent said they may still be looking as late as December.

There are various functional areas where companies need help the most during the holiday rush. Across all industries, popular areas for recruitment this holiday season include:

  • Customer Service – 30 percent
  • Administrative/Clerical support – 16 percent
  • Shipping/Delivery – 15 percent
  • Technology – 12 percent
  • Inventory management – 10 percent
  • Non-retail sales – 9 percent
  • Accounting/Finance – 8 percent
  • Marketing – 8 percent

Have you given any thought to how many people you’ll need, and where?

Think specifically about your recruiting and hiring needs. How flexible will these temporary employees need to be? Will they have regular shifts, or will they need to be available on an as-needed basis?  Be sure to mention this in your job description or any other communications you send out, so potential seasonal employees will know what you expect. Students, homemakers, retirees and other people who are often drawn to seasonal help positions will appreciate knowing what they can fit into their schedules.

Where Can You Find the People You Need?

The fastest and easiest way is to use a qualified temporary staffing agency. If you don’t already have a strong relationship with a staffing agency in your area, contact colleagues and other professionals with whom you network to get references or recommendations. Try to find an agency that specializes in your industry. They can quickly provide prescreened candidates with the experience and flexibility that you need. Make sure you ask questions about their ability to meet your employment needs. If you need to hire a large number of employees for seasonal employment, for example, ensure the agency has the necessary resources and expertise to fulfill your order.

The staffing agency can also weed out the undesirable candidates who aren’t worth your time and money, even on a temporary basis. These would include:

  • Someone who is unwilling to work certain hours
  • Someone who isn’t enthusiastic
  • Someone who knows nothing about your company/products

Your agency will send you people who are knowledgeable about your expectations, your needs, your company, and what you do.

Finally, if you are one of the 30 percent of employers who often transition some seasonal workers into full-time, permanent staff, this is a great way to evaluate potential employees. The assignment has a finite end, so if you don’t think the person would work out full time, it’s easy to shake hands at the end of the assignment and wish them well. If you do want to hire one of your seasonal employees, you may have gotten their new year off to a great start with your offer!

Crank It Up, Grads! How Recent Graduates Can Rev Up Their Job Search and Finally Find Employment

November 10th, 2011

Despite the high unemployment rate, college grads can find jobs in this job market — after all, business is still going on. Opportunities do exist, but today’s college graduates may have to take a different approach to accommodate the drastic changes in the job market, like a longer hiring process and greater competition.

Getting a post-college job in this economy requires a new way of thinking about the job search and looking for work. Here are a half dozen ways to get yourself ready and get a job.

  1. Organize Yourself If your parents are your main source of job hunt guidance, consider how much job searching conventions have changed significantly in the last decade. Unless your parents have also had to find new employment in the past few years, you’ll want to seek more current advice.
  2. Sell Yourself Make sure your resume doesn’t look like a student’s.  Instead of submitting a resume where the first half of the page is taken up by education, notes on coursework, and honors, play up work experience—internships, volunteer work, and so forth. When a hiring manager makes an initial scan of your resume, you want her to see skills and experience she can use, not a list of college courses.
  3. Think Broadly Don’t limit your job search into too narrow a slot. If you’re interested in a particular field, think of all the jobs related or even vaguely related to that field. Do a brainstorming session with friends and family, and search the Internet for even more ideas. This might double, triple, even quadruple your job prospects and your internship possibilities — and may even change the way you were thinking about your future career.
  4. Act Globally If you can’t find a job in the United States, consider working abroad. First, it shows initiative, a willingness to learn and adaptability and desire for personal growth. It also will give you a breadth of experience and an edge that other grads won’t have. In today’s world of increasingly globalized activities, being cognizant of other cultural differences and proving that you can operate efficiently in them is a major plus. If you have language and managerial skills that go across countries, you can only help those businesses looking to expand markets in other countries, as most businesses are doing today.
  5. Be Productive  If you can’t get a paying gig, take an unpaid internship or volunteer. It’s important to show employers that you know how to use time productively. You don’t want to give employers the image of a college grad hanging out at home or doing odd jobs. You should strive to appear to be progressing and challenging yourself at all times, even if it’s not in a conventional position of employment.
  6. Get Help  Use your college’s career office. You may think campus resources are only for current students, but many campuses’ career offices cater specifically to grads. Ask them to connect you with alumni who work in the field you’re interested in.

 

Avoid the Job Hoppers! Don’t Waste Your Time Hiring Someone Who Will Quit in Months

November 3rd, 2011

One of the most daunting prospects in this marketplace is trying to determine which candidates really want to work for your organization and which candidates are just looking for any job they can find until this recession blows over. Most applicants are savvy enough to give you all the right answers during an interview, to make you think you’ve found the right fit for your company. Employers and recruiters have to be diligent when it comes to ensuring the candidates actions will match their words.

So, what’s the definition of a job hopper?

It’s kind of like that famous saying about art, “you know it when you see it.”  If a candidate is 30 and has had 6 jobs since college, he’s probably a job hopper. Job hoppers don’t have staying power.  They’re in it more for themselves and their immediate needs, rather than for a career or for your company.  Quitting 1-2 jobs early when you’re young is acceptable.  At that age, people are exploring life and work options.  But 6 times is a pattern. Job hoppers might perform well while they’re there, but in the end they’re just not likely to stick around.

Consider implementing the following tips during the interview process to help filter out potential job hoppers.

  1. Ask Them to Talk About Future Goals One of the best interviewing tactics to identify candidates that might be “settling” for a position is to ask for details about their future goals. By learning more about what a candidate hopes to accomplish one, three or even five years down the line, you’ll be able to get a grasp on whether their desires are realistic at your company or in the role they’ve applied for.
  2. Ask Them For Letters Of Recommendation By asking for multiple letters of recommendation and by requesting that those letters address “why this is a good potential job for the candidate,” you might gather some more data. If the letters aren’t consistent with the candidate’s own statements, you might have spotted someone who is “settling.”
  3. Consider Running Credit/Financial Checks While there is some debate in the HR community about whether credit checks are helpful or an invasion of privacy, you can see whether the candidate is under significant financial stress and may be taking your job just for the money, or has a spotty history of paying bills. Someone with a strong, stable work history shouldn’t have a poor credit record.

The recession has caused a lot of great employees to lose their jobs, so there are a lot of highly qualified people who will be thrilled to be a productive employee at your company. By taking the necessary steps to separate these high quality candidates from the ones that are looking for “any offer,” you can ensure that your company avoids future job hoppers and comes out of this recovery stronger than before.

Appropriate, Creative Costume Ideas for Your Office Halloween Party

October 27th, 2011

Halloween isn’t just about kids and candy anymore. More employers are embracing holiday parties, including Halloween dress-up events, as a way to promote employee morale, teamwork, and interdepartmental cooperation. However, the costume you’d wear to a friend’s Halloween party or a bash at a bar may be different than what you should wear to the office.

Employers should lay down ground rules beforehand when it comes to costumes, said Michael D. Karpeles, head of the labor and employment group at Goldberg Kohn, a Chicago-based law firm.

“It’s OK to allow people to dress up, but I think that companies should let their employees know that certain types of costumes are not appropriate — if they’re especially revealing, for example,” he said.

How to Choose a Work-Appropriate Costume

Some things to consider when choosing a costume to wear to work are:

  • Comfort If you’re going to be wearing it for 8+ hours, you definitely want your costume to be comfortable. Will it be too hot or too cool to wear all day? Can you sit at your desk with the costume on?
  • Makeup or Mask? Experiment with makeup beforehand if you’re planning to wear it. Some costume makeup can get irritating after a few hours. If you plan to wear a mask while working, make sure you can see — and breathe!
  • Effect Avoid disturbing, horror costumes or those with religious themes that might be offensive to your coworkers. And remember, sexual harassment policies are still in effect at work events.

There’s not much time left ‘til Halloween, so here are a few quick and easy costumes that you can probably create with what you already have on hand. One trip to a costume shop can complete your ensemble if necessary:

  • Housewife Wear a nightgown, bathrobe and big slippers, and curlers in your hair while toting a stereotypical item like a box of bon-bons or a dustmop. You can even wear white or green make-up to simulate cold cream or a facial.
  • Gypsy or Fortune Teller Wear any flowing skirt, a bright non-matching shirt, a dozen brightly covered bangle bracelets and a scarf or two. Carry a crystal ball or  a magic 8-ball.
  • Chef/cook If you’ve got an apron, a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon, just add a wig or a few accessories to become your favorite TV chef.
  • Biker A leather jacket, black jeans, boots and a bandana are all that’s really needed for this look. A plaid shirt with the sleeves ripped off and/or a Harley-Davidson T-shirt can add authenticity.

If your workplace is casual and allows for more creativity, you might try:

  • Brain Donor: Wear a hospital gown or bathrobe, draw black circles under your eyes and wrap your head in gauze. Fill a clear jar with a small amount of water and some cauliflower. On the front of the jar or the front of your gown put a big label that says “Brain Donor.”
  • Nudist on Strike: Probably the easiest costume to put together on short notice. Wear whatever you want and carry a picket sign that says, “Nudist on Strike.”
  • Attack Dog Trainer: Take a stuffed dog and sew it to the arm of a long-sleeved shirt so it looks like it is biting you. Wear a name tag (“Jim’s Attack Dog School). Add fake blood for fun!
  • Chick Magnet: Attach Barbie dolls or other inexpensive dolls (dressed, please!) all over yourself.

Group costumes can be a fun way to bring a department together. Try getting everyone to dress as characters from a popular TV show, like Mad Men, or movie, like Harry Potter. If your usual dress code is business casual, it might be fun to dress in dark suits and accessorize with sunglasses, a la the Blues Brothers or the Men in Black, or add badges or earpieces to be FBI or Secret Service agents.

 

“My boss is such a #$%^!” How to Deal With a Difficult Boss

October 14th, 2011

There’s a reason movies like Horrible Bosses get made: just about everyone can relate! Most people at some point in their lives have had a difficult boss. Maybe it was a personality clash, maybe you felt like they had it out for you, or maybe they just didn’t respect you or your hard work.

Survey after survey has shown that the number one reason employees leave a company is because of a bad boss. But maybe quitting isn’t an option, or your job is great otherwise. Here are 6 ways to deal with a difficult boss.

  1. Work Hard: First and foremost, continue to work hard and be on time. If you and your boss have an uneasy relationship, you don’t want to give him any ammunition against you. Furthermore, try and schedule a time to sit down with your boss and go over the specifics of what he expects from you. Leave no room for misunderstandings when it comes to your responsibilities. Once you have the list, document it, and then follow it to the letter.
  2. Document Your Boss’ Behavior: Try your hardest to get along, but document everything that happens that you feel is troublesome. Keep a journal (but keep it at home!) of questionable situations that have transpired between you and your boss, complete with dates, times and full descriptions. Also keep a file with any supporting documentation, memos, emails, etc. Why? When you’re ready to take action, or if your boss tries to fire you, you will have documented, detailed proof of her mistreatment of you to present to HR or a lawyer, if necessary.
  3. Document Your Work: Do you often have to stay late at work without collecting overtime? Have you taken the lead on a project that wasn’t in your job description? Made a sale that brought in a sizable check to the company? Make sure to write down all such achievements, including any positive overall effect your work had on the company. Why? If your boss tries to terminate you, you will be able to show that you’re a valuable and competent employee. This will help you make your case if your boss attempts to fire you for being “incompetent”, “not doing your job”, or a host of other reasons, when you know it’s simply personal.
  4. Hold Your Tongue: If your boss says something that upsets you, don’t respond in anger – even if she was completely rude or out of line. Your boss may be trying to trap you into saying something she can terminate you for, or use it as documentation that you don’t work well with the team. Furthermore, if the matter is brought before a higher-up, it will be obvious who is the problem. Also, be careful with whom you share your issues within the office. It’s best to keep these matters to yourself.
  5. Only Confront with Evidence: If and when you’re finally ready to say something to your boss, be nonconfrontational and try your best not to make it personal. Use specific examples of situations you’ve documented to bolster your position and ask for tangible changes that will help you feel more respected and appreciated. Don’t go to his manager until you’ve tried talking to your boss and had no success; only go up the chain of command as a last resort. If you do, talk about the specific issues you have (not your boss’ personality), come with evidence and try to stay as positive as possible.
  6. Always Have a Plan B: Most people are nervous about confronting their bosses because they fear blowback or getting fired. Before you talk to your boss, have a plan B in case things don’t work out: the best alternative would probably be a job offer from another employer. By not having a back-up plan, you have given your boss leverage over you because he’ll know you have nowhere else to go. Having a plan B empowers you with the ability to walk away at any time should the negotiation not go right.

 

Stop Hiring Losers! The Top 5 Warning Signs of a Poor Candidate

October 6th, 2011

In the war for talent, you might find yourself feeling pressured to make a hiring decision, then come to regret it later. Given the total cost of a hiring error, keep an eye out for red flags like the following when interviewing candidates:

  1. The candidate uses great adjectives but can’t back them up. For example, you ask, “What’s your greatest strength?” and the candidate says, “I’m dependable and hard-working.” Ask him to explain this. Ask him if he works harder than his peers. Listen to the way he forms his answer—you want to hear details of how he gets more done in a day than others do, not just that he stays late at the office night after night. Does he have concrete proof of results: early rollouts of software, fewer bug reports, or lower support call rates?
  2. Your questions take the candidate by surprise. You ask the candidate what sets her apart from the other applicants, and she looks at you blankly. A well-prepared candidate should anticipate most of your questions and should know how to describe her unique strengths, with specific examples of how she uses those qualities to excel in her current job.
  3. The candidate can’t answer the standard question about his strengths and weaknesses. Be wary of the candidate who says something like, “I’m a perfectionist. I keep all my skills at top level all the time” and the one who takes this opportunity as confession time and says, “You know, I’m really messy and disorganized. Every year I resolve to be better, but this year, I really mean it.” Look for candidates who are willing to admit “flaws”—but who are actively working to correct them.
  4. The candidate says his present company “doesn’t offer enough room for growth.” This is often a euphemism for “I want to make more money, and they won’t give me a raise.” Ask the candidate to define precisely what kind of growth opportunities he’s looking for.
  5. The candidate “really wants to work for your company” but can’t give you a good reason. It’s inexcusable for a candidate to show up without knowing anything about your company. She should be able to identify the major players in your industry and what sets you apart from them. And a good answer to, “Why do you want to work here?” will focus on those differences. If the candidate hasn’t bothered to research your company or is incapable of conveying that research, she doesn’t really want to work for you. She wants to work because she has bills to pay.

Hiring managers can’t catch every red flag, but if you’re about to make someone an offer, you want to make sure you have the right someone. If you learn to listen to what the candidate says—and doesn’t say—and how she says it, you’ll have a better chance of making hires that work out.