16Jun

Agile Methodology – Lessons For Any Career Path

As a technology staffing company with many of our founders and leaders who have been in the technology industry for upwards of 20 and 30+ years, we have witnessed first-hand game-changing advancements among technologies, languages, and methodologies.

Agile Methodology was introduced in the early 2000s and REALLY started taking off around ten years ago.

Agile methodology is a project management strategy that uses short development cycle “sprints” to focus on continuous improvement in the development of a product or service. In a nutshell, Agile focuses on 12 fundamental principles and has drastically transformed how development teams operate, giving a stronger focus on the customer and becoming faster and more flexible!

After seeing Agile take the technology industry by storm and its central focus around better productivity and customer satisfaction, leaders across all segments and industries are trying to translate it into their own careers.
WE DON’T BLAME THEM!

Here are just a couple of those critical principles that we feel you should immediately translate into your “Career Methodology.”
ONE: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Every great company should have their clients/customers top-of-mind when making business decisions, and that should trickle down no differently to an individual contributor level. Agile gave a new level of attention and focus to customer satisfaction, which should easily translate into everyone’s daily focus, whether in technology, accounting, manual labor, etc. If your continuous delivery is not already centrally focused on the client/customer — CHANGE IT IMMEDIATELY.

TWO: Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

In technology, Agile has aligned business initiatives with technology delivery like never before! Thanks to integrating business focus and leaders into the design, product owners/business analysts began to play an even more integral role as the liaison within a successful Agile team. This business alignment or overall cross-team collaboration should be applied for any delivery model impacted by multiple parties. The more segmented you are from different business units that affect your delivery, the more subject you are to delays, gaps, and misunderstandings.

THREE: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

This principle is pretty self-explanatory when you consider using your motivated teammates/employees as a centerpiece to whatever you are trying to accomplish. However, this can have an impact in ways that are important to understand. If you are a leader in any segment, start building projects and initiatives around your most motivated employees. This leadership style gives them an extra sense of ownership and accountability for the delivery, and when communicated the right way — WATCH WHAT HAPPENS!

FOUR: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Paul J. Meyer once said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

I have to think that the creators of Agile Methodology took a page out of this iconic motivators book. This principle is crucial for Agile’s success and something everyone should follow while performing their daily tasks. People have heard for years, “Do it right the first time.” Set your goals high, and ALWAYS shoot for excellence!

FIVE: The team reflects on becoming more effective at regular intervals, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

As part of this Agile Methodology, you have something call CI/CD. I like to think the CI has two meanings, Continuous integration, and Continuous Improvement. Agile Methodology trains all parties involved to not wait until the final delivery to reflect on the success of the project/initiative. In this methodology, regular intervals are created to better gauge the current effectiveness of duties and tasks. This ideation provides an opportunity to be more nimble and make adjustments before advancing further into the project!

Take a daily step back and reflect on your success so you can continually compare your output and effectiveness to your overall goals. That way, you can adjust accordingly to help avoid getting off track in the long run!

For your benefit, we encourage you to look at the 12 Principals of Agile Methodology and choose which ones you can immediately translate into maximizing your daily delivery. Good luck on becoming MORE AGILE as we have in our business!!!
03Jun

Qualities Employers Dream About

When interviewing with a company, it is often difficult to pinpoint the qualities that the interviewer is looking for in an employee. Sometimes the interviewer has taken the time to quantify the specific qualities of what they’re looking for, or they just go by the old-school philosophy of “When I find them, I’ll know.” The problem is, this isn’t a dating show. It’s an interview, and this can make things a little challenging.
I found a great article explaining the qualities of a Remarkable Employee, and although I wouldn’t say that these will apply to all positions, I think it is a basic recipe that you might be able to adjust to make your own.
Are you struggling with answering questions like:

“What would your last manager say are your greatest qualities” or
“What characteristics make you the best fit for this role,”

If the above questions challenge you, perhaps start with what I took away from the top 4 examples mentioned in the article “8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees.”

Read on to learn what makes a great employee REMARKABLE.
ONE:
They ignore the job description:

One of the things that almost all employers will look for in a candidate is a team-first/customer-first mentality, in which you are always willing to do whatever it takes to get things accomplished. Sometimes these things are not on your job description, fall outside your comfort zone, or even something that no one would ever blame you if it did not get done.

However, being the type of person that looks to provide the most significant impact even beyond their given “job description” will always make you shine in an interview.

THREE:
They speak when others won’t:

In some of our earlier blogs, we have referenced on multiple occasions the importance of being a vocal contributor and the power of building open dialogue between your manager and colleagues. Some people would default to the excuse that “well, I have tried, but my manager/colleague keeps to themselves.” That okay. Don’t be pushy with the reciprocation. However, don’t let it stop you from using your voice. Speaking up with ideas, suggestions, or things that you want to change shows your investment in the success of the company.

A great way to explain this to an interviewer or a potential employer can be by providing an example of ideas you have generated that made a huge impact!

TWO:
They Publicly Praise:

Do you ever get a compliment from your coworker or boss that makes you go, “WOW… that really meant a lot to me?” Here’s the thing… if you genuinely want to win over your team and colleagues, I suggest you first look for opportunities where you can lift and openly praise your coworkers.

A great manager knows that giving praise is just as important for an employee’s self-esteem and developmental growth as providing constructive criticism. When you publicly praise your peers, it will build team unity, accountability, and a positive culture that can transform an organization.

So, when your interviewer asks for another quality or “How do you work in a team setting,” let them know that you are more than just a team player.

FOUR:
They like to prove others wrong:

Heather Mitts (Olympic Gold Medalist) once said, “Tell me I can’t, then watch me work twice as hard to prove you wrong.”

Whatever drives your motivation, make it clear that you believe in yourself and always give it your all. Potential employers love to hear about what motivates you, your triumphs, and overall perseverance stories. These are sometimes a key differentiator for you in an interview process because it’s YOUR STORY.

We can’t write the story of “the qualities that make you great” for you. Nor would we ever want to! My advice is to picture yourself in the role you are interviewing for and think of the five most remarkable qualities that you should possess to be an overachiever. That, combined with qualities and success stories that you have shown throughout your career and keeping the above suggestions in mind, should formulate some great attributes to highlight during your next interview!

Source

27May

Lack of Completed COVID Resolutions? That’s OK!

Many of us thought it would be just a few weeks and then back to regular routines when the pandemic was first upon us. As time continued to move on, with no insight into when this would happen, each of us had our realities to face. Whether it was home-schooling, working remotely, or, as many experienced, no work at all due to business closings. And, for so many, all of the above was coming at them from all directions.
In addition to the day-to-day changes and the increased computer time, we had all these learning options thrown at us. In-person events morphed into virtual conferences and meetings, and opportunities to learn everything from how to bake bread to learning a new language were everywhere. Those of us who were already overwhelmed felt compelled to jump on the merry-go-round and soak up what we could via webinars, online workshops and seminars, throughout the day.

And then came the COVID resolutions – not to be confused with the annual New Year’s resolutions – once we realized we would “be on our own” and away from others for an indefinite amount of time. For some, it was tackling those “honey-do” projects such as painting, cleaning out those cluttered closets or, getting in the best shape ever. For others, it was more of a spiritual time to slow down to reflect while taking time to catch up on their reading.

As time continued to move forward, some people accomplished all they set out to and more. And others started strong but then, with everything else that is going on, drifted back to old habits and lost their motivation.

The latter of the above scenarios is where we need to be careful in our thinking. As we turn to a healthier environment, thoughts of failure enter our minds and paralyze even the most optimistic person. You look out your window and see a neighbor running her silent marathon and getting better every day. Your best friend has mastered another language and still manages to tackle daily tasks.

When we put this type of stress on ourselves, it can cause us to retreat, and instead of making things better, we become complacent and more falls through the cracks. That’s OK. Between New Year’s and COVID resolutions, we pigeonhole ourselves by allowing resolutions to dictate our course of action. When we push ourselves when we’re not ready, we end up “failing” at what we’re trying to accomplish. For example, fitness centers sign up more new members in January and then fall off in February.

It’s all OK. When it’s the right time, and most importantly, don’t compare yourself to others.

Everyone has their time clock, and just because we’re headed into the new normal and back to in-person interactions, don’t beat yourself up.
Tomorrow will always come, and there is no right or wrong time to jumpstart whatever goal you are ready to undertake.

If you scroll through social media and notice that others accomplish what seems like a lot, don’t feel defeated. And better yet, refrain from visiting those platforms. This unprecedented time in history was unexpected, and there are no right/wrong behaviors when it comes to expanding your horizons. Take a step back and feel alive, and don’t judge yourself or others. If asked what you did during your time off in COVID, simply say, I learned a lot about myself and so happy to be alive.

In summary, create your own time for resolutions and set REALISTIC goals to give you a better chance of success.

If you slip up, no worries, start again. Better yet, find a buddy with the same interests and do it together. Healthy competition is good, and when you encourage each other, especially if you trip, it makes all the difference.
Do what makes YOU happy! Now, what would you like to accomplish?
19May

The Power of Thinking Positively

I watched a movie over the weekend that was a breath of fresh air and a good reminder of THE POWER OF THINKING POSITIVELY. “The Secret: Dare to Dream” is a feel-good movie based on a best-selling book, “The Secret,” which focuses on the power of positivity and how one’s mindset can almost always impact the outcome. If you haven’t seen this movie, I encourage you to watch it!
Without giving anything away, the movie portrays a family that has been stricken with years of pain and repeated terrible luck. The family has come to accept those bad things will always happen to them and, even before things happen, assume that it will end badly.
Many of you have come to realize my love/hate relationship with golf. It is physically challenging but MENTALLY PARALYZING at times.
Today, I want to share some of the positive lessons from this movie, hoping that you can apply them to your interviewing and everyday mindset.
There is an old saying that goes, “if you think in your head that you will miss the putt, then you have already missed it.” Interviews, especially when not currently employed, can seem like that too.

Mentally paralyzing!

“The more you think about something, the more you draw it to you.”

In the movie, they compare this lesson to a magnet that can attract an object to a power that cannot be seen. Have you ever gone into an interview thinking you were not qualified for a role or nervous about the interviewer asking specific questions?

Then they do…
Thinking about the wrong things going into an interview or during an interview can sometimes attract those things into the conversation. Maybe it’s the fact that we try so hard to avoid talking about something that we don’t realize that the interviewer picks up on it or something else. Either way, focus on thinking about things that make you shine.

This positive thinking will draw the interviewer to the points that make you unique and a potential asset for their company.

“You have to be careful because we get what we expect.” And “When I think about what I want, instead of what I don’t want, my life seems better.”

When we jump back to my golf analogy and the two lessons that hit home so well, you begin to think about the things you want. Now envision it happening and focus on positive outcomes. When you practice this positive thinking every day, you will be happier and more confident. And those around you will take notice!

If I expect that I will miss the putt or expect that I will not get the job, I might as well accept the fact that I have already committed to proving myself right. Our mindset and attitude can instantly impact our confidence, and often, those three items are some of the critical attributes that interviewers are trying to gauge.

I’m not saying the Rolling Stones were wrong when they said, “You can’t always get what you want.” However, I bet there were plenty of people who told the Rolling Stones early on they would fail.
They didn’t listen because they were a little too busy thinking about becoming the greatest Rock Bands ever to play.
“I’m open to the possibility that everything that happens, even the bad stuff, can lead to better things.”
As I said, the Rolling Stones were not wrong. “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you find… You get what you need.” After all, the power of positivity boils down to two things.
Your mindset going in
Your mindset moving forward
Interviewing is not easy. If it were, then employers would stop doing it and just start drawing names from a hat.

At the end of the day, though, YOU must commit in your heart and your mind that YOU CAN!

So, even when something doesn’t work out the way you thought it should… you have the faith that better things lie ahead.
12May

Humor in the Workplace

The workplace environment can be similar to a rollercoaster, especially if there are tight deadlines, multiple personalities working together, or just a team that is overwhelmed in their personal lives.
It is well-known that laughter is indeed the best medicine. Not only can it help to reduce stress, but there are many other benefits.
When you bring humor into the workplace, it can:
  • reduce job stress
  • boost morale
  • bring people closer
  • ward off burnout

On the other side of the coin, it could backfire and lend itself to a more hostile work environment. Many lawsuits stem from irresponsible “fun,” which, in the end, creates more stress, especially if it’s offensive.

For example, have you been in a situation where you witnessed a co-worker teasing another co-worker? The “teaser” may very well be doing it in fun, but if it’s about a sensitive topic no one is aware of, the person “being teased” could be affected emotionally.

There are also situations where workplace humor is the go-to for someone trying to de-stress and may not even realize the damage caused once the words leave their mouth.

Some sensitive topics are about:
  • age
  • personal hygiene
  • scars
  • sexual orientation
  • weight

It’s up to the company leadership to squash this type of humor, so it doesn’t reduce morale and productivity. And, if taken too far, it can lead to lawsuits as it can become a liability.

How do you define the balance between real humor that relieves stress or laughter that is offensive and could have damaging effects?

To follow are some guidelines to take into account BEFORE attempting to apply playful humor:
What is the Message You Want to Relay?
When you tell a joke, think about whether you would say the punchline if there weren’t a joke attached.
Is the Subject Controversial?

There is so much in the news with many different points of view. Have you found yourself in the position of openly commenting on a report that relates to a provocative topic, and once it leaves your mouth, you realize you just seriously offended someone in the room?

Avoid issues that talk about:
  • death
  • disabilities
  • physical appearance
  • sexual harassment
  • race in general
Say No to Engaging in Political Banter

The beauty of our country is that we are free to have many different opinions. However, if you make a political joke that is offensive to how a co-worker believes about a subject, this could lead to a nasty debate or, even worse, hurt feelings that will run deep.

When in Doubt, Leave it Out

If you’re on the fence about whether something will be offensive, follow your gut and don’t move forward with the comment or joke. If you’re not 100% sure, then most likely, someone will feel uncomfortable.

The most important consideration is ensuring you respect others, so talk about neutral topics.

The TV show “The Office” was entertaining because they behaved the opposite way of how they should. It’s not real life, and even mimicking one of the actors is condoning negative behavior.

Stand Strong When Around Negative Behavior
If you’re not the one delivering the humor, be the leader, no matter your role, and change the subject to a safer topic. Your co-workers will welcome that as everyone thrives in a more friendly work environment.
Humor is great and is still the go-to when you want to reduce stress, and as long as your mindful of the feelings of others, have fun with your co-workers and enjoy going to work!
06May

Candidates: Connect With Your Interviewer

Interviews can be a tricky thing when balancing the right amount of formal and informal conversation. However, every candidate would agree that there is a bit extra sense of accomplishment when you walk away from an interview feeling like you CONNECTED with the interviewer in some way, shape, or form.
Before we start sharing some simple tips that can help you break that barrier to connecting with the interviewer, please note that two of our recommendations will never change.
ALWAYS BE YOURSELF
When we provide some tips to help you throughout the interview process, we want to make sure that you always know that we never recommend not being yourself. “Fake it till you make it” is a disastrous plan when it comes to interviewing because it gets in the way of knowing if you will indeed be happy or a good fit for the company and role.
READ THE ROOM/INTERVIEWER

You never want to force small-talk or conversation, and it is important to read the room. It is usually best to take your cues from the interviewer on what type of interview this will be (formal and to the point vs. more relaxed with room for small talk). This strategy is sometimes tricky because a person’s personality/mood can easily affect the type of interview it will be, which is why you can never go into ANY interview with a hard-lined plan of what to do, say, or answer.

In most interviews, the interviewer will want to get to know you beyond just functional/technical skills and experience. In this case, here are some pointers we want you to remember when trying to build that connection.

1. Balancing Small-Talk

In most interviews, there is usually a natural opportunity initially and in the end for small-talk to occur. However, depending on the interview style, opportunities may come up throughout based on where topics progress. During this time, the best thing you can do is not to fear asking the interviewer(s) questions related to their role or insight into the company. This proactive approach shows that you value their opinion and opens a two-way dialogue for other interview areas.

Small-talk allows both of your personalities to shine and takes a little of the edge off of the interview formality.
So here is where the balance really comes in…

Remember, this is still an interview, and you do not want to push small-talk when the interviewer doesn’t show interest in it or interfere with the productivity of the interview with too much of it. You can still let the natural progression of the discussion and interviewer guide the show and still insert a little small-talk along the way.

2. Two-Way Dialogue

As briefly mentioned in the previous point, engaging in two-way dialogue with the interviewer can make a big difference. This type of exchange is probably the most critical point in allowing an Interview to feel like a conversation. Learning about the interviewer and their experience working with the company can often give you a leg up on the competition. In addition, some of the things that you learn through this two-way dialogue can come in handy when writing your “Thank you” notes afterward.

Remember, just because this is an interview doesn’t mean that you should treat your two-way dialogue differently from your standard “conversation engagement” tips. Things like not interrupting, being a “one-upper,” or showing a lack of engagement would be devastating to the interview. Although, I hope that would go without needing to be said.
A successful interview is similar to a good ping pong volley where each player can respond to the ball when it’s their turn to play.
3. Relax and show some personality!

If your idea of showing some personality means that you have a list of dad-jokes ready to go, please allow me to remind you that you NEED to read the room first.

As a big fan of Dad-jokes, I recognize that 8 out of 9 people usually DO NOT find them funny. However, if that 1 out of 9 is interviewing me… JUST KIDDING… This example is not what I mean by “show some personality.”

Showing personality is not about resorting to corny jokes or even pre-rehearsed topics. It is about not being afraid to laugh, smile, or show appropriate emotion when the occasion calls for it. Often, candidates want to show that they are serious about the job and position, and that seriousness spills over to overshadowing their personality. If you’re going to show you are serious, then demonstrate it through the research you did and the steps you took to rock the interview.

Positive gestures like smiling, laughing, or even making a funny comment about something related to the topic within the interview can instantly create rapport.
LS3 has provided a great deal of content that goes above and beyond, like “Quiet Your Interview Nerves,” “Seal the Deal: Final Interview” and other interview tips. We encourage you to check them out to get a complete picture of how to succeed through the interview processes.
28Apr

Money Isn’t the Only Motivator for Employees

The landscape for finding the right employee continues to get more competitive while potential candidates are in search of the greenest grass to continue their careers. Many employers think decisions are made purely on the paycheck you are offering.
Yes, $$$ is a critical part of the decision-making process, but did you know that it’s not the deciding factor for many? In actuality, many other factors play a role in determining where a quality employee will place their stake and motivate them to excel in their role.
So what drives today’s employees?

Money is important, especially when goals are attached to the possible dollars they can earn. But does that help engage employees and ignite the enthusiasm it takes to shine no matter their role? Many of the answers don’t affect your bottom line as far as the actual dollars you need to spend but will be reflected in your profits when you have a high-producing team.

We use a paycheck to pay bills and work towards future goals, but the things that truly motivate us are usually simple gestures that make us feel noticed.

Some examples are:
Give Them a Path to Evolve Within the Company
When you provide a path for growth, this healthy motivation driver helps as the employee now has a track to follow to get to the next level.

But, you may ask, what happens if there aren’t any available positions at a higher level? Get creative and work within the boundaries already in existence. For instance, what if someone has the title of manager and the next level up would be “Director,” and there’s already someone successful in that role? An idea is to promote the manager to “executive manager” or “associate director.”

And of course, this promotion should come with a competitive increase. Many times, the title and recognition are much more valuable to the employee than money.

Career Development
Professional growth is right up there with moving forward in the company. The two also go hand-in-hand as when you increase the skill set of your employees, they will bring the experience back to benefit your company.

You don’t necessarily have to send the person back to school, but there could be ongoing seminars or classes focused on a course that will help them in their current or future role within your business. Other options are to bring in outside help where you can carve out a convenient amount of time for more personalized coaching that could involve multiple team members. And remember, a virtual class/course makes it even easier so the employee remains on site.

Get Creative with Rewards

As an alternative to a pay increase, to follow are opportunities to compensate with other options that don’t break the bank but significantly impact.

For Small Milestones

Accomplishments, no matter how small, are still vital to the growth of the company. And sometimes, it’s nice to “out of the blue” give the employee an unexpected perk to show you noticed. Some examples are:

  • Handwritten thank-you note
  • Two movie tickets
  • An additional day off
  • And even better, a simple “thank you” in front of the rest of the employees. This public acknowledgment goes a long way and doesn’t cost you a cent, but it’s priceless in the eyes of the employee!
For Larger Milestones

Some accomplishments are significant to the company but don’t necessarily warrant a promotion. After all, you want your team to do a great job without expecting a raise or change in their title for each successful deed. However, there are ways to keep them motivated, especially if they bring a lot of value to the company. Some options are:

  • Company cell phone
  • Special parking spot for the month
  • Gift certificate to their favorite hobby place or restaurant
  • Gas card to cover a month of driving
  • Company car – for those superstar producers
For future employees, the first two suggestions of “Give Them a Path to Evolve Within the Company” and “Career Development” should be included in your discussions once you’ve decided on the final hire. It’s amazing how great these motivators are in the eyes of a true professional. For the “Rewards” we talked about, you can discuss those if there are clear goals to reach that result in a reward (i.e., company car or cell phone).

The other forms of “thank yous” should be spontaneous and geared more to the culture you have created, focusing on employee retention.

Money is motivating, but we are all human. When you further engage in ways that positively impact the employee in ways other than their wallet, those “no brainer” perks become an integral part of how you and other company leaders interact daily.

When you take the time to foster an atmosphere of respect and appreciation, you will see the benefit to your company and embrace the positive attitude of your team.
21Apr

Seal the Deal: Final Interview Strategy

The final interview during any onboarding process can be stressful. I have mentored countless candidates going through the final round (some confident and some skeptical), but almost all are going in without a strategy to seal the deal.
This article is for professionals who want to feel more confident in a final interview and walk away with a better sense of accomplishment and understanding.
For information on “Interview Tips,” “The Best Way to Work with a Recruiter,” or “How LS3 Works with You,” please follow the hyperlinks to other relevant and helpful content.
HOW TO SEAL THE DEAL

Sealing the Deal in the final interview is not a one-size-fits-all because every last interview is different. There are different stakeholders, different itineraries, and undoubtedly different expectations depending on the position and company.

However, everything the interviewer does is with the hope of knowing they left it all on the table, differentiated their value, and got the job.

YOU CAN’T DO TOO MUCH RESEARCH

By this point, you should have researched the company (History, aspirations, clients, products, etc.) and the position (how it’s evolving, how it fits into the organization, etc.) every step of the way.

Interviewers will make two major mistakes when it comes to performing their upfront research.
ONE:
Candidates don’t do enough quality research. This lack of preparation tells the interviewers that you aren’t interested enough in the company or position actually to learn about it.
TWO:
Candidates don’t continue their research throughout the interview process. If you haven’t learned anything new between the first and final interviews, interviewers will pick up on that.

For the final interview, pull out all the stops. You will be asked generic questions like “Why do you want this job” or “Why are you leaving your current company.”

This is an excellent opportunity to WOW your interviewers by responding based on the data and facts from your research. It will help you sound intelligent, thorough, and confident in your capabilities and experience.

QUANTIFY YOUR VALUE THROUGH SOLUTIONS
LS3 has already coached you on how to discuss your capabilities and experience in terms of “solutions” rather than “skillsets.” This mindset tells the interviewers that you understand the impact of your work, can look at the bigger picture, and allows the interviewer to quantify your value more easily by equating it directly to business impact.

The most significant difference in quantifying your value through solutions in the final interview is that you should have learned enough about the company and the role that you are interviewing.

You should NOW be able to OFFER SOLUTIONS THAT YOU WILL BRING TO THIS SPECIFIC POSITION AND SHOW THAT YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IT WILL DIRECTLY IMPACT THE INTERVIEWER’S BUSINESS.

This can be a very timely reminder for the interviewer and make it much easier to hire in the final interview. LS3 has candidates follow this process. Interviewers come back HAPPILY SURPRISED because they did not realize some of the business impact and value that the candidate would bring to the table. Show the interviewer that you want to be part of the bigger picture and are ready to help the company and team!
UNCOVER AND HANDLE OBJECTIONS

During the final interview, we want you to feel as calm and confident as possible. However, potential employers will likely have concerns or objections because it is still a risk to hire someone. The interviewer will rarely come out and disclose those objections, though, so let’s rephrase the (“Do you have any concerns with my ability to perform this job?”) to where it doesn’t install doubt.

“Is there any other desired experience for this position that you would like to ask me about that we haven’t discussed? In case there are aspects about the position that we have not touched on yet, I want to make sure that there aren’t any concerns on whether I can succeed in every area of the position.”

So, whether the concerns directly come out or whether you must uncover them, YOU SHOULD NOT ONLY HAVE AN IDEA OF HOW TO ADDRESS THEM BUT ALSO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON’T BRUSH THEM OFF. Now is the easy part! Do these two things…

ONE:
Show the interviewer that you understand why they might have this concern and why it is essential to this position (Maybe it never came up, or maybe you can just better address it than you had previously).
TWO:
This is a GREAT opportunity to ask more clarifying questions around details of that specific need to make sure you understand it fully. Once you feel you are on the same page, you can now fully relate your experience to address the concern thoroughly.
PERSONALIZE YOUR CONNECTIONS

LS3’s strategy is to help you (the candidate) feel as comfortable, confident and prepared for the interview so that it can become as conversational as possible. HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? Simple, the more comfortable you feel in situations, the more capable you are of making the interview flow like a conversation.

We want every step of the interview process to be comfortable enough to connect personally or at least learn something about the interviewer. (For a more detailed article on building an emotional connection with your interviewer, stay tuned or reach out today to discuss further).

This is the final interview, so your interview will likely be with someone of significant influence in the decision-making process. Within some of the research that we had discussed previously, make sure that you take time to get to know the interviewers. This isn’t just small talk that serves no purpose; this is LIQUID GOLD that the interviewers are giving you!

Imagine this…

You are in the final interview and are meeting with Emily, the VP or C-level of the department (your potential boss’ boss). You have already met with Janet (your potential boss) in the 1st interview and Frank and Rosie (your potential peers) in the second interview.

Emily asks, “Who have you met with?” or “What have you learned throughout the interview process?” or “What do you think about the team?”
To follow is the secret to making a solid impression…
In your response, briefly mention some key points that you learned about the position, the company, AND SOMETHING YOU RELATED TO ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, WITH INDIVIDUALS YOU INTERVIEWED WITH PREVIOUSLY. Imagine Emily’s surprise when she realizes that you showed a legitimate interest in building relationships with your potential teammates and manager BEFORE YOU EVEN STARTED! WOW!

Personalizing your connection to the company and the people might end up being your biggest differentiator in securing the position.

Don’t miss your opportunity to IMPRESS on the final interview. Following the steps we discussed (combined with all of the other interview tips and tricks that Lone Star Staffing Solutions has discussed in previous articles), YOU ARE SURE TO CRUSH IT!
For more information or a personalized CAREER CADDIE session with a member of the LS3 team, reach out to us today!
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!!!
QUANTIFY YOUR SOLUTION VALUE INTO THEIR GOALS
UNCOVER AND HANDLE OBJECTIONS
PERSONALIZE YOUR CONNECTIONS
14Apr

Job Seekers – Be Upfront With Your Recruiter

If you’re seeking to take the next step in your career, working with a good recruiter can help you get there. Once you’ve made that decision, you’re probably excited about the next chapter, but don’t let that excitement cloud your judgment when it comes to what you tell your recruiter.
An experienced recruiter has heard every fabrication, dissected over-embellished resumes, and after spending time with you, knows when you’re just not being honest.

A good recruiter will help you put your best foot forward but not at the sacrifice of their reputation. If you’ve partnered with a staffing firm, one of the reasons you selected them is likely because of the trust they have with reputable companies. But, to gain that trust, the decision-makers for those companies know they will not put a “fake” in front of them.

Think of your recruiter as someone who has your best interests at heart, but they also have the same respect for the companies they serve. This combination is a win-win as the match is much more successful for both the candidate and company. This successful result can only happen if you’re open and honest.

To follow are some of the most common mistruths a job seeker shares with their staffing partner.
I Haven’t Started Interviewing

If initiating the conversation with a recruiter is your first step, this wouldn’t apply to you. If you’re already interviewing with employers, that’s fine, but be HONEST with your recruiter. If you’re a qualified, sought-after candidate, then, of course, you’ll have interviews. But if we coordinate an interview with one of the employers and it went well. The challenge is that they’re dragging their feet, usually because they’re busy, and you move on to accept an opportunity from another company.

Keep us in the loop, and again be honest, so we can let our clients know they have some competition. This knowledge could be what it takes to advance them to the next step.

This information is especially relevant if that’s the company you want to join. It looks much better for you not to blindside either company at the offer stage.

Use your recruiter as a sounding board, even if it’s not about the company they’re representing.

Even if you go for the other company, you never know when your career shifts, and you need an excellent recruiting firm to work hard for you.

Provide REAL Reference Information

Supplying a list of references, especially from previous employers, is a part of the job search. There are many reasons someone may not want to give the information for your last direct manager.

  • Your manager was not your “friend” and is the reason you left.
  • The person who manages you were new to the company and didn’t have the opportunity to get to know you.
  • You have a feeling you won’t receive a good report.

There are many reasons, but no matter how many hesitations you have, don’t give the recruiter the information for a colleague who was a friend in the workplace and never manager you. Or, even worse, a friend who doesn’t even work at the company.

Just inform the recruiter. He/she will figure it out, and the good ones won’t work with a candidate they don’t trust.

And, if you’re honest, they’ll work with you to figure out a solution to allow you to be honest.

You Have Some Quirks

Everyone has their list of deal-breakers that prevent them from accepting a job offer. Or, they’ll take the position so they’re employed and will continue the search.

The stipulations you would like to ask for could be a compromise if you have the skills and experience the employer is seeking.
For example:

You are a productive employee, but you have responsibilities at home and cannot make an 8 am start time. Talk to your recruiter to see if perhaps it could be moved to 9 am. If what you do isn’t time-sensitive to that earlier start, they may be able to accommodate this request for the right person.

A good recruiter will know that you’re human, and if you’re honest with them, they will work hard to get you firmly planted in the position of your dreams.
07Apr

Just Getting Warmed Up

Q1 of 2021 felt like it came and went in a flash. Maybe it was the fact that 2020 felt like we were all “stuck,” and anything feels faster than that. Then along came 2021, a sign of hope and reason that we were somewhat turning a page and would be able to accomplish so much of what we hadn’t in 2020.
Now here we are… 25% of the year is gone in a blink of an eye! How do you feel? Are you on pace to accomplish everything you hoped? Or do you already feel behind?

If you feel behind, THAT’S OKAY! The best news is that you still have 75% of 2021 to kick butt! So here are some pointers on how to get back on track with your goals!

Remind yourself of your goals and motivation.

Do you remember what those goals were? Please tell me they’re not lost somewhere on a sticky note or a cocktail napkin. Take a look back at those goals and if they still apply, remind yourself WHY! What motivates you? Who motivates you? Why is these goals so important to you?
There it is! It’s all comin’ back now!

Don’t beat yourself up.

Now is not the time to beat yourself up for getting a little off track. Instead, get yourself pumped to get ready for THE COMEBACK! Pat yourself on the back for what you have already accomplished, and then bring on the internal pep-talk to how you CAN and WILL do better.

After all, you could be having this conversation with yourself in Q3, BUT you will do something about it now!

Identify the roadblocks you encountered.

We all run into roadblocks. After all, if goals didn’t have roadblocks, then what would be the fun in that? Once you have identified your roadblocks, create a plan of action to get through them head-on or around them if necessary. Too often, we run into a roadblock and immediately talk ourselves out of the destination. BUT NOT TODAY! Today, we press on.

Update your plan of action.
You have 75% of the year left, and now is the time to figure out how to streamline your plan or adjust it accordingly. Then map it out! What do you do first? Then what? Then what!? GOT IT?
Just because you’re not as far along as you thought you would have been, the key here is to realize that you haven’t lost your chance to accomplish A LOT in 2021. It’s time to figure out what happened in Q1 and learn from it!

Remember… “It’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish!” -Michael Phelps

 

31Mar

Employers – Reap the Benefits When Honest With Your Recruiter

Part of a recruiter’s responsibility is to manage their candidate’s expectations and provide the employer with the best fit. These factors include the right experience, skillset, and mindset to match the company’s culture.
The following blog is to help employers better understand how we can best work together for the absolute best outcome.
The candidate sent to you just wasn’t your cup of tea. Should you give your recruiter the reason(s)?
YES! A top-notch recruiter will rarely be off-the-mark when they send you their candidate’s shortlist.

Both the recruiter and candidate have traveled an intense path to get to this point; explaining why it’s a “no” in further detail will go a long way to help both the recruiter and candidate to have more success in the future.

If the candidate was late, appeared frumpled, or didn’t smell fresh, was rude or unprepared, those are legitimate reasons, and if working with an experienced recruiter, it should RARELY happen.

The recruiter spends hours working with the candidate to get a true sense of their demeanor as their reputation depends on your satisfaction.

There are also instances where it may not be about the candidate’s skills or experience but something that rubbed you the wrong way. We’ve heard it all:
  • Did the candidate show up far too early and caused a mild interruption while your staff tried to make them comfortable ahead of schedule?
  • Did the candidate abbreviate or mispronounce your name?
  • Did they appear nervous and repeatedly use “um” in between words?
  • Were you having a bad day, and the time you thought you had for the interview was interrupted by a client emergency?

We all have our pet peeves, but the employer is the leader, and your opinion is valued. If one of the above, or similar, went “wrong,” we highly encourage you to be open to what the candidates’ skills and experience can bring to your company.

With open communication, something the recruiter can tackle on your behalf, you can overcome the more minor pet peeves.

Whether it’s something minor or even more severe, we urge you to be honest with the recruiter about your decision. It will help both the recruiter and candidate for future interviews.

There are current trends with other employers that you’re not ready to embrace right now.

Many companies are offering remote opportunities, and it may happen in the future for you, but you’re just not there yet. Be honest about that, and if you can offer a safe environment, we will know that’s a deal-breaker if we have a candidate that is only seeking to work from home.

Let us know if the door is slightly open for that scenario should we find the perfect fit to decide based on the individual.

If you are looking for someone who doesn’t have one foot out the door at 5 pm, please let us know that. We may have the perfect candidate, but he/she may have personal obligations that require them to be home at a specific time. There are many ways to compromise so that it’s a win-win.

The more we know upfront, the better we can serve your needs. An experienced recruiter with years of experience under their belt can be a sounding board to walk through some of the unknowns.

There may be something holding you back simply because you “don’t know what you don’t know.” Be open, as a recruiter’s goal should always be to find you the best long-term fit.

Exclusive Relationship, or Not?
Recruiters will tell you the exclusive relationship is the best scenario, and they’re right. However, if they are inexperienced or not proactive, it’s a lousy situation for the employer. A qualified recruiter will request an exclusive agreement because they will invest what is needed to:
  • Reach out to the candidates who they know would fit the bill.
  • Make those calls to the passive job seekers with who they’ve developed a confidential relationship. These are the most difficult to reach because they are not openly looking as they are interested in a change but currently in a position.
  • Once they identify the candidates, they will go through all the vetting stages to ensure only those who indeed would be a good fit for your company make the “hot” list.
It’s not to say they wouldn’t implement the above steps if you did not agree on an exclusive relationship. Still, it’s easier to bring one of their highly-qualified and currently employed applicant to the surface if it’s a more exclusive nature.
24Mar

What If?

What if…?
Our 3-year-old granddaughter’s favorite question to ask is “What if.”
“What if this accidentally gets broken? What would you do?”
“What if the dog ate this? What would happen?”
“What if a lion got in the house? What would you do?”

I’m sure many of you can remember your kids or grandkids going through this same phase of “what ifs” and “whys.” It’s funny because to an adult, 90% of the “What ifs” they ask, make no sense at all UNLESS, you are an unbelievably curious 3-year-old. Lol.

As a young child’s mind is developing, they seem to be flooded with this overwhelming curiosity and desire to understand the world around them.

This got me thinking… At what point did we stop using “What If” as a key for growth and started using it as a question we ask ourselves to pertain to negative outcomes that might occur?

“What if I get fired?”
“What if I fail?”
“What if things never get back to normal.”

Nina Amir (the Inspiration-to-Creation Coach), believes “The more often you say “what if” and follow it with words that describe a negative scenario, the more often you focus your attention on a potentially negative future. And where your focus goes, energy flows. Said another way, you create what you focus on.”

So how do we move forward from this? How do we restore our child-like curiosity and desire for knowledge, while kicking the negative “What ifs” to the curb? We can start asking questions like…

“What if I reach this goal.”
“What if I get back into shape.”
“What if I have a great day.”
“What if I CAN do it.”

Most importantly, WHAT IF our kids and grandkids started hearing us ask ourselves these types of questions? WHAT IF we end up teaching the next generation that you never have to outgrow the “WHAT IFs.”

WHAT IF we replace that negative fear and teach ourselves and our future generations the most important “What if”?

What if “I can be anything I want to be, do anything I set out to accomplish if I hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.” –Abraham Lincoln

What positive “What if” questions have you tried successfully?

 

17Mar

The Value of a Great Job Description

When ready to hire for a critical role in your company, do you clearly understand what you require when filling the position?

Before you begin, take a step back and determine what the role will entail, and start drafting one of the most important aspects – a clear job description.

Unfortunately, many hiring managers understand what they’re looking for but haven’t properly put it in writing to share with the person, or recruiting firm, who will assist with the job search.

This part of the process is essential. It could be the difference between employing the right person for the position or someone who, on the surface, looks like a proper fit but, without a clear description of their duties, does not possess the skills and mindset to be the right candidate.

Writing the job description is one of the most critical aspects of the hiring process. Poor hiring decisions can quickly impact your company’s long-term health, which is why it’s necessary to set your job search up for success from the beginning.

Elements of a Good Job Description

In addition to the daily duties, you want to include what you expect the right candidate to accomplish, so they have a proper understanding of that position’s goals. To be competitive, you will need to perform the research to have accurate job details and attract qualified candidates.

If the ability to write a good job description is not your forte, take advantage of a qualified staffing solutions firm’s services as they understand market trends and what makes sense to skilled candidates.
Your job description should include the following specifics to help weed out unqualified candidates:
  • Job Title
  • Description to include daily activities and responsibilities
  • Desired skillset
  • Required level of experience and education
  • The physical location of the position and if it’s remote, include details such as what that would look like (i.e., fully remote or a combination of physical/remote)
  • The expected amount of time needed to dedicate to the position. Is it full-time, part-time, or flexible as long as the work is complete and up to company standards?
  • The description of the overall company culture (i.e., more structured or more casual based on the type of work involved
  • The salary range and any benefits
  • Summary of your ideal candidate. This step further narrows down the applicants as it provides insight into your company.
Accuracy is Essential

If your job description is inaccurate or too vague, this could cost you time and money and leave you frustrated, especially when you need to fill the position swiftly.

On that note, expediting the process too quickly could negatively affect the process as the adage “Hire slow, fire fast” is a huge factor in getting it right the first time.

You will also be inundated with unqualified applicants if your details are not precise. The application process is already overwhelming as you need to comb through resumes and cover letters, which can be highly time-consuming.

If you’re like most, with a busy schedule, this may be the time you consider working with a staffing solutions firm that will remove all of the upfront legwork from your plate.

Help a Recruiter to Better Serve You

If you work with a staffing solutions firm, a poor job description can considerably slow down the process. A qualified firm will have the goal of making the hiring process much less stressful. Allow them to manage all of the upfront details.

They will provide you with only qualified applicants who meet the qualifications you require and who will complement your company’s culture.

As mentioned earlier, the right recruiting firm will help take your job description to the next level as they understand the terminology and what best attracts the right people for the position.

Valuable Tip to Help Lay the Road Map

Do you have someone in your company who fits the profile of your next desired hire? We encourage you to talk about this with your recruiter as he/she will be able to draw from that description and incorporate it into a good job description.

In summary, the goal is to lay the foundation of your search with a job description that will clearly define your next hire’s expectations. Simultaneously, it should provide enough information to attract the best person to add to your growing team and help your company succeed.

 

10Mar

Pushing Through Zoom Fatigue

For the past year, Zoom software has undoubtedly provided us with a functioning alternative to in-person meetings and conferences. While no one can deny that Zoom has practically kept the corporate world alive through the pandemic, we can likely all agree that we’ve grown weary of hours of virtual meetings.

You’re not alone. In fact, a new term has been coined for this—“Zoom fatigue.”

A recent study at Stanford University identified the causes of zoom fatigue and offered some suggestions for combatting it.

Keep reading to find out what Lone Star Staffing Solutions has learned about remedying videoconferencing exhaustion!
The Causes of Zoom Fatigue

The author of the Stanford study pinpointed four main issues that cause individuals to tire of using Zoom. These problems include:

  • Lack of Mobility
  • Extra Effort for Nonverbal Cues
  • Viewing Yourself During the Call
  • Too Much Close Up Eye Contact
The Solutions

If you’re participating in back-to-back Zoom meetings all day, you need to schedule breaks for yourself. You need to be able to turn off your video, walk around, stretch your legs, and perhaps get some fresh air in the sunshine. You can opt for shorter meetings as a buffer, too.

Another suggestion includes hiding your view during calls to not always focus on your perspective during a virtual session.

The Stanford study author insightfully likened watching yourself on the screen to being followed around an office all day with a mirror. Yikes- we can see why that would be stressful!

In a statement made by Zoom to USA Today, the technology company noted: “While for some the transition has been seamless, for others it has been challenging.

We’re all learning this new way of communicating and adjusting to the blurred lines between work and personal interactions.”

Hopefully, you’re able to take some of these “Zoom fatigue” suggestions and put them to good use.
Hang in there- we’re all in this together!
03Mar

Build a Solid Relationship with Your Recruiter

Are you ready to begin your job search but not sure where to start? Your colleague is pushing you to reach out to a recruiter, but you’re hesitant as you don’t know what to expect.

Let’s talk about what you can do in ADVANCE of talking to a potential recruiter.

Your Career Brochure – Your RESUME
While a good recruiter will help you polish your resume, it’s essential to begin with a good foundation. You need to:
  • Perform an automated spell and grammar check combined with a manual review. Better yet, ask a friend (who is detailed oriented) to give it their once-over as well.
  • Is it easy to read and appealing to the eye? Does it capture your attention in under 10 seconds?
  • Did you place all of your contact information in one location so the reader can easily reach out if they’re interested? You should include your cell number, email address, physical address (not a P.O. Box), and a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Get Your Resume Out There
Job Banks can be an excellent place to get noticed by an experienced recruiter. We suggest that you post your information confidentially, especially if you’re currently employed, while permitting recruiters to view it. If your credentials stand out, recruiters will contact you directly.
LinkedIn is a Great Resource for Recruiters. Are you there?

This platform is there to support professionals and corporations. You need to be on there, and your information must be up-to-date, or you are doing yourself a disservice.

If your information and resume don’t accurately reflect your career history, you may miss out on your dream employment opportunity.

One of the LinkedIn advantages is that you can highlight all of your experience, special skills, and achievements you’ve made. All WITHOUT openly stating that you’re seeking work.

Connecting with a Recruiter

Multiple recruiters have contacted you, and you have a decision to make. You’re asking yourself:

  • How do I know if this is the firm that will help take your career to the next level?
  • Are they going to guide me through the process and make me feel at ease?
  • Will they be completely honest with me regarding possible positions and the culture I can expect with each company I consider?
There are many ways to vet a recruiter properly. Please check out our “Working With a Professional to Secure the Right Position” blog.
Exclusive Relationship

Once you choose a qualified staffing solutions firm, let the recruiter know you will work with them exclusively over an agreed-upon amount of time (i.e., six months). This arrangement benefits both of you, especially if you allow them to truly understand what motivates you and what your “must-haves” are for future positions. You want them to go all-in on your behalf, and an exclusive arrangement gives them the incentive to do just that.

Before making these decisions, make sure the recruiter you’ve selected is clear about what you can expect regarding response time with phone calls and emails. Establishing this ahead of time will save both of you a lot of unnecessary stress and miscommunication.

During this time, we recommend removing your resume from job boards, so you are presented as the best-kept secret versus potentially appearing too anxious. The right recruiter will use this to make you shine in front of the right companies.

Give Your Recruiter Breathing Room

A good recruiter belongs to the right organizations and knows how to branch out to their established network. The clout they hold in the arena will get your resume much further up the ladder than if you were to submit it traditionally. Also, they are privy to opportunities that are not yet public as they’ll have relationships with decision-makers who test the waters first before openly posting a position.

The same goes in reverse. If you see a job posting or mention of a firm you’re interested in that is expanding, talk to your recruiter about it.

They know how to maneuver past the gatekeeper or already have experience with that particular company.

Collaboration is Crucial

You now have a motivated recruiter who is willing to dedicate the time needed to help you put your best foot forward. Now is the time when you need to keep your ears open to their advice and listen. After all, they have the experience and know-how to take you to the next level in your career.

A good recruiter will become a part of your professional family as you continue to navigate your career path.
24Feb

Secret Value Behind Reference Check Questions

Finally! You made it past the interview stages and jumped through all the hoops!

You are feeling great about the opportunity and eagerly awaiting that next phone call or email that starts with, “We have decided to make you an offer.”

Suddenly, you read an email from your hopeful “future employer” that says that they will be contacting your references.

Reference checks carry a strong opinion within companies, hiring managers, and employees everywhere.

What if I told you that there is a great deal of value from the type of questions presented during reference checks when YOU ask them during your time as an employee?

A good reference check consists of 5-7 open-ended questions that allow the reference (usually a former manager) to take a moment and think through interactions, situations, and accomplishments that the two of you shared during your time working together. Honestly, with every employee juggling all of their responsibilities, this reference check may be the first moment the manager has had the opportunity to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and more.

Why not change that? Why not use the same “reference check” philosophy and open-ended questions to create an open line of communication with your manager to help you in your career?

So, here are five (5) of the most asked “Reference Check” questions that you should know the answers to before providing a manager as a reference.
QUESTION #1
What significant accomplishments did (insert your name here) have, and how did it impact the organization?

Gaining your manager’s opinion on what they feel your major accomplishments have been can often reveal what you specifically have done that has made their life easier. If your manager is having trouble thinking of something, then this should be a clue that you need to either seek out more opportunities to make an impact or give you a chance to discuss some of the things you feel might have made a big difference.

QUESTION #2
What are (insert your name here)’s greatest strengths?

Will your answers align with your manager’s? Some examples of strengths might include: CREATIVITY, DEDICATION, DETERMINATION, DISCIPLINE, ENTHUSIASM, PATIENCE, RESPECTFULNESS

QUESTION #3
What are (insert your name here)’s areas for improvement?

This question will often and NEED TO go hand in hand with number 2. If a person is open to praise, then they need to also welcome criticism. Questions number 1 and 2 are crucial to creating an open line of communication with your manager and show that you welcome areas for growth. Understanding where your manager feels that you could improve while you are still reporting to them, can be a power move for your career.

QUESTION #4
How would you rate (insert your name here)’s work?

This question is about as open-ended as you can get and not the easiest to present to a manager. However, in a world that is turning more agile and deliverables are due daily, this question is a great chance to gauge your work quality with your manager. Life is moving fast, and often deliverables are accepted, or they are not. Asking this simple question can help your good become great, and your great to become “exceeding expectations.”

QUESTION #5
If an opportunity for growth had been available for (insert your name here), would they have been considered? If not, why?

In my opinion, this question is one of the most valuable questions asked in a reference check. It is also one of the most valuable questions that you can ask your manager.

Here’s the most important part though, DO NOT WAIT for a growth opportunity to open up before you ask this question.

This question will reveal your growth intention to your manager and allow them to start proactively considering you in that light. So, if growth is important to you… then incorporate this question into an open line of communication with your manager.

Love them or hate them, there is power in the knowledge of a good reference check. Don’t wait until you are interviewing with your hopeful “future employer” to find out the answers to these questions.

 

17Feb

Shining Some Light Into the Cloud

We live in the age of information, and it comes down to how we utilize that knowledge. When misused, it can cause a negative impact; however, when we use it correctly, it can mean the difference between success and failure.

As we continue to gain more knowledge, we are also developing new ways to share this information.

When cloud technology was introduced, it completely changed our way of thinking.

Most commonly referred to as “The Cloud,” cloud computing is how we can store and share information.

We no longer require a physical method to transfer data from one device to another and then deliver it to another person.

With the Cloud, you’re able to share directly from devices such as your computer, tablet, or phone for the purpose of storage with the ability to permit another person to download to their device of choice.

The Mysterious Cloud

In laymen’s terms, The Cloud is merely a virtual storage space on the internet. It is most commonly used to store digital resources, including applications, files, and anything you would typically share via a flash drive or disk.

The Cloud is not the internet, although the internet, many times powered by satellite networks, is the vehicle that allows people to share information without the restriction of a second device or requirement of a specific physical location.

How Does the Cloud Help Me?

People refer to the “The Cloud” in the same way they reference “Google” as an actual term. There are many advantages to using virtual space, and we’ve outlined some of the most popular benefits below:

Better Storage

Storage solutions previously used had capacity limitations that required constant upgrades, memory increases, or dividing data over multiple devices. It could be frustrating, primarily if you frequently work with large files.

Ability to Scale Up or Down

Your company may have varying bandwidth demands. CIOs call this “operational agility” and appreciate this flexibility based on the business needs at a particular time (i.e., some companies experience “seasons” in an industry where they are busier at a specific time of year).

Seamless Collaboration with Remote Users

With the increased amount of people working in a remote environment, using The Cloud as a tool allows team members to share digital resources from anywhere around the globe easily.

The ability to easily access the necessary files from multiple devices is what keeps companies moving forward.

It Won’t Break the Bank

Since you do not need the additional hardware to store and share information, you can reduce company expenses.

The ability to scale as required will allow you to budget appropriately.

Many businesses use the savings to continue to research other technologies that help lead to success. For smaller companies, hardware can become expensive, and they appreciate the pay-as-you-go opportunity while receiving the benefits of virtual storage.

Backup and Recovery Peace of Mind

Many businesses have protocols to protect data in the event of a disaster. In the “old days,” this could be extremely expensive. However, with The Cloud, you can perform systematic back-ups and have recovery solutions in place to easily retrieve information that may have normally been lost.

In summary, The Cloud may still be a bit of a mystery but think of it as a cost-effective tool that will make your life easier while allowing collaboration with your team, clients, and others who rely on sharing data.

 

 

10Feb

Career Caddie

Even the greatest golfers in the world find themselves staring down a Par 3 that is surrounded by water, with the match on the line and thinking,

“Please God, don’t let me mess this up.” In that moment, a voice of reason leans over and says, “It’s an easy 7 iron.

Pick your target, commit to that line, and trust your swing.”

What many don’t see behind those simple, yet impactful words, were the years that each individual spent maturing their craft and then the countless hours the caddie and player spent building trust. In the end, the caddie has developed a level of knowledge of the golfer that, when combined with their own wisdom and understanding of the course and the elements, is a powerful partnership.

“I don’t think anywhere is there a symbiotic relationship between caddie and player like there is in golf.” -Johnny Miller

Navigating through the uncertainty and challenges of your career can feel a lot like golf.

You continuously develop your skills, study your industry/field, and strive towards getting better every day.

Combining all of this with the right recruitment partner can be the career caddie you have been seeking.

So, how do you differentiate a recruiter from a Career Caddie? Let’s break it down…
Knowledge and Experience:

A successful player-caddie relationship must start with their knowledge and passion in the game of golf. You should expect the same for your career caddie.

As you get to know the recruiter, you should also observe the level of his/her knowledge in your industry, line of work, and success with similar folks.

Don’t expect him/her to have enough experience to do your job (after all, you are still the golfer), but a caddie with course knowledge, similar success, and passion is a great place to begin.

A GENUINE desire to understand YOU:

A great caddie has to know the player’s golf game almost better than the player himself/herself. That’s a tall task to expect from a recruiter, but I CAN tell you that an exceptional Career Caddie will always show a strong desire to really get to know you. When speaking to a recruiter, it should never feel like he/she is interviewing you based on whether you check the box on a pre-determined set of questions.

A career caddie will dive deep to understand your journey, strengths, goals, and more.

You can work with the greatest caddie in the world, but until the caddie knows your golf game, he/she is only as good as his/her knowledge of the course.

Similarly, in a recruiter’s case, he/she is only as good as his/her knowledge in the positions he/she is trying to fill at that moment.

Accountability and Consistency:

The partnership formed between a golfer and the caddie doesn’t start and stop as the tournaments are played.

So, when you invest in a true Career Caddie partnership, you want to know that this person genuinely cares about seeing you succeed whether you are actively looking for a job or not.

Just like in golf, though, that responsibility falls on you and the recruiter to keep a healthy and beneficial partnership alive. Whether there is a check-in once a week or once every six months, that ongoing accountability for you and the recruiter to reconnect and align is a valuable piece to the partnership’s longevity.

With technological advancements, the job market and industries are changing rapidly, and a reliable Career Caddie will offer a great deal of insight and perspective that can help you stay on top of your game.

At Lone Star Staffing Solutions, we aim to be more than your staffing resource. We aim to be YOUR Career Caddie and someone that you can trust to know your game.

Our leadership has been blessed to have 30+ years of industry experience and a team of highly passionate and knowledgeable Career Caddies ready to help.

“Make friends with your caddie, and the game will make friends with you.”- Stephen Potter
27Jan

Consistency Starts Now

The past year has been incredibly inconsistent for us all, affecting us personally and professionally. While much is out of our collective control, we can take steps as professionals to establish consistency for this year.

Why consistency, you ask?

In the words of Dwayne Johnson, “Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

Consistency for 2021 and beyond starts NOW! Check out our simple suggestions below for a consistent and successful year!
Establish a Goal

Mentally prepare yourself by identifying a goal you would like to achieve this year. Ensure that your goal is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. We recommend writing your plan down on paper and placing it where you can see it regularly!

Make a Plan

Once your goal is determined, you’ll need to decide what needs to be done to accomplish that goal. Your “to-do list” may be lofty, but remember that you do not have to do everything at once.

Prioritize the order in which your tasks need to be finished, and make a schedule or timeline to keep you on track.

Establish Habits and Routines

Build daily habits that will help you accomplish your goal. Start simple—you cannot change everything in one day. As time goes on, you can evolve and build upon your existing habits.

Stay consistent! We find that habits stick more easily when they are performed at the same time and place each day.

Maintain Your Focus

For your daily habits to be effective, you must eliminate unnecessary distractions when possible.

This can be difficult, but remind yourself that you will not make excuses.

Hold yourself accountable for the tasks you need to complete. After all, we become what we do daily.

Remember to focus on the short term with the long term in mind. Success and instant gratification do not often go hand-in-hand. Stay the course, and success is sure to follow.

 

20Jan

Your Career Toolbox

Are you currently in a career position that makes you happy, provides the challenges you need, and a clear growth path? Or, are you comfortable and Ok-ish when it comes to being happy, fulfilled, and not sure if there’s a current path for you to move to the next level?

For either of the above scenarios, you may not have given a second thought to what it would take to consider exploring other opportunities.

Even if you love where you are currently or not, being prepared for the unexpected is always a good idea.

We’re not trying to scare you, but you never know when things will change, whether you want them to or not.

To follow are some items to tackle and add to your toolbox so that you’re ready, whether it’s voluntary or beyond your control.

This way, you’re positioned for future opportunities on the fly, with a better outcome.
Meet New People and Expand Your Network
It’s incredible how many people found their current job by knowing the right person or attending that networking event where they made that life-changing connection.

Interacting with others is a great way to learn more about opportunities or find out what path others took to get them where they are today. We’re operating in a virtual world right now, but don’t let that hold you back. And of course, if you’re currently employed, it’s never a good idea to talk to strangers about your dreams of changing companies.

Listen, listen, listen, and your world may open up with options you didn’t know existed.

Don’t Lose Touch

Does this sound familiar? You’ve met these wonderful people whom you had inspiring conversations, with promises to keep in touch soon. Once you leave the conversation, it’s out-of-site out-of-mind.

Fast forward a couple of years, and you’ve made the decision to begin a job search, and you remember that guy who works for a company you would love to explore. But it’s been years, and you didn’t keep your promise to connect.

What do you think the odds are of him remembering you, let alone want to help as you didn’t keep your initial commitment.

Lessons learned and a reminder to keep in touch with others, even if it’s an invitation to share a virtual coffee or email him a funny meme. He’ll have a good laugh, and boom, he’s reminded of you.

Build On Your Existing Skills and Add New Ones
You may be an ace at what you do, but there’s always someone ahead of you. Continue to grow and develop by:
  • participating in seminars for your industry
  • take classes to add more certifications under your belt

When doing this, make sure there’s a plan so that you’re not taking classes only for the sake of adding more fluff. It needs to be relevant and have substance, so it adds tangible value to your resume.

Be Flexible to a New Direction

Have you always been interested in something outside of your current field? The perfect way to see if it’s for you is to try doing it in bite-size chunks versus altogether abandoning your current career. For instance, if you’re interested in marketing, choose a charity that relies on volunteers and join the committee responsible for that role.

You’ll learn from others and gain experience at the same time.

Another option is to talk to a trustworthy staffing solutions partner.
The right firm will offer advice to see if what you already know can be parlayed into your dream role or provide suggestions about what you can do to get closer to meeting those requirements.
Don’t Go It Alone

If you’re on the fence about pursuing a job search and concerned about your current employer finding out, which can be dangerous, reach out to a reputable staffing solutions firm.

They will be able to:
  • review your resume and provide suggestions to highlight your critical skills
  • recognize your value and show you how to put your best foot forward
  • talk to you about your goals, even if you’re not 100% clear about what they are or what they should be
  • be a sounding board for when you’re ready to test your interview skills
  • put your mind at ease by respecting your privacy and never disclosing your name until you are prepared to accept that perfect role (remember, legitimate firms have access to jobs that aren’t available to the public)
Employed or not employed, it’s never too early, or too late, to get your career toolbox in order. Now start building!

 

 

 

 

 

 

13Jan

2020: Finding the Silver Lining

Without a doubt, 2020 was a year of some serious challenges. We all experienced unexpected difficulties and were forced to make adjustments in the face of adversity. As we reflect on this past year, we acknowledge the hardships; however, we also recognize the good.

We encourage you to join us in a meaningful reflection of the past year as we search for some positivity in one of the most unusual times yet.

Thank Those Who Helped You

During 2020, did anyone lend you a hand? Perhaps a friend, family member, or colleague?

If someone helped you personally or professionally, make a focused effort to thank that person and show your appreciation!

Make a personal phone call, send a handwritten thank-you note, or give that special person a token of your thanks.
Find 10 Things for Which You are Grateful

While this may seem like a cliche task, it is one that is sure to redirect your thinking. Take a moment to sift through this past year’s problems, annoyances, and adjustments you made so you can identify reasons to be grateful.

Identify What Helped Build Your Resilience- and Carry that into 2021
What helped you get through this unprecedented year?

Sometimes we discover strengths through our adversities, and continuing to apply those strengths moving forward will build our resiliency.

How did 2020 push you to be a better person? Spouse? Colleague? Friend? What will you do to improve your experiences in 2021?
06Jan

Move Over 2020 –
We’re Ready to Roll Into 2021

If you’re like many of us, as we come out of an “interesting” year, you may feel guilty for not accomplishing some or all of the goals you made for yourself in 2020. It’s time to change the way you think!

Look at it as an opportunity to evolve your ideas and implement them in 2021, and if needed, beyond that.

This blog will discuss some ideas to create daily habits to make yourself feel good while making the world a better place.
Put Others First

It’s incredible how many times we say to ourselves, “I need to make time to support a specific charity or help in my community,” but you never take that first step.

It’s not that difficult to reach out but when you do, make sure it’s an organization where you share a passion.

Are you an animal lover? Volunteer at a shelter. Do you get upset knowing there are families out there who don’t have enough food to eat? Join a group within a food bank (or have them assign one to you) that warehouses and distributes food for those in need.

You will be helping others, and you’ll meet others who love helping too.
Think About List Making as a Time-Saving Task

Do you lose sleep thinking about what you need to do the next day, afraid you’ll forget to complete an important task?

At the end of each day, make a list of your “to-do” items and list them in priority order. You’ll be ready for the next day, which will help set your mind at ease.

There are many project management systems out there, and if they work for you, great. If you prefer a physical list, print it, and keep it close by. It’s very satisfying to check off those tasks as you move through them manually. If you don’t finish the list, and unless it’s time-sensitive, add it to your plan for the next day.

Make sure you make time for breaks and, if possible, time to meditate and clear your brain. This best practice allows you to think clearly, which is proven to reduce errors.

Turn a Negative Into a What-If
Mistakes are bound to happen, and it’s easy to beat yourself up. There are a couple of things to remember when you make an error or blunder:
  1. Learn from it and remember what happened and why. If needed, make a “do not do again” list to remind yourself of the proper way to manage a situation or perform a critical task. Especially if it’s something, you don’t do every day.
  2. Don’t blame others for your mistake, even if you weren’t the only person involved. It’s up to that person to take the heat with you, and if they don’t, you know you’re the better person in that situation. This philosophy is critical if you’re a manager in the company as you’re ultimately responsible for your team’s actions.
Sunshine on Your Shoulders

Do you spend a lot of time at your desk, or do you have a phone glued to your ear all day?

We know that work can be stressful, but we also realize that all work and zero play can be detrimental for you both physically and mentally.

If your location is conducive to it, make time for a walk during a break and take in your surroundings. Near a park? Many parks are filled with nature, which changes every day. You will learn that taking this time for yourself or with a friend can change your perspective when you’re back at work.
If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

Have you been in a group conversation that turns gossipy and escalates as everyone chimes in with their take on a particular person? Don’t fall into the trap of participating, as remember, the tables could turn, and you could be the brunt of the discussion. Break free of the drama, and you’ll feel better about yourself and gain respect from everyone around you.

Make New Friends and Be Present

These are different times, and in-person connections are rare for most, but keeping the bonds with friends, family, and colleagues alive is essential.

When you spend time with friends, family, or community members, PUT THAT PHONE AWAY, maintain eye contact, and ignore email during that time.

You want to be the person who listens – they will most certainly remember you for it. This rule of thumb applies to both your personal and professional interactions.

When you’re with others, don’t forget to compliment those around you. Did your colleague show up with a new pair of glasses? Tell her how great they look on her. A new haircut?

Do the same thing. It’s incredible how amazing you will feel simply by making someone else feel great about themselves.

If you can conquer even one or two of these habits into your day-to-day life, you will find it becomes second nature. The more natural it becomes for you, the happier you will feel. You can then pick the next habit to incorporate, and by the end of the year, you will notice a big difference in how others treat you.
By living life as a genuinely considerate person, you’ll find that success will follow.
30Dec

Maximizing Your Virtual Conference Experience

This year, the format of professional conferences changed considerably. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a notable shift from in-person meetings and conferences to virtual gatherings.

Many of us are accustomed to in-person conferences and prefer them. After all, a zoom meeting isn’t a superior alternative to a face-to-face meeting that allows you to shake hands with a client, colleague, or supervisor.

We get it—at LS3, we prefer in-person, too! Virtual conferences will not be going away anytime soon, so you may as well make the most of them! When we arrive at post-pandemic, the new norm will include a combination of in-person and virtual opportunities. We have a few pointers to help you maximize your virtual conference experiences.
Prepare Before the Conference

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

Before the conference, block off your calendar so you can attend without distractions and interruptions. You don’t want to miss valuable information because you’re simultaneously answering work emails.

We also recommend reviewing the conference schedule beforehand so that you can select sessions that will be most valuable to you. This way, you can jump right into the appropriate zoom sessions on time, and you won’t miss anything important! Note: most virtual conferences include breaks to grab something to eat or return those critical emails or calls.
Be Attentive & Network

If you attended a conference in person, you’d likely be attentive and take notes. You should do the same during a virtual conference! Have a notebook handy, and write down important information as you learn! Alternatively, you could tweet key points during the conference and review them later.

Network virtually? Yes, it’s possible—and it’s important! Be an interactive conference participant, and your chances of connecting with people are sure to be higher.

Post photos and/or share your experience on social media using the conference’s hashtag, and search for others doing the same. Utilize conference chat features if possible, or start your own conversation thread.

You can even have some fun with a virtual happy hour or coffee break! If the conference does not already offer one of these, start it yourself and invite attendees using the conference app or your preferred social media site!

Before the conference, make sure to have prepared a clear blurb about your company, including your name, phone number, website, and email address. You will notice that other attendees are posting similar information in the chat. Your blurb should contain (briefly) what solution your company brings to a potential customer/client (i.e., what pain does it solve?)

Follow-Up

Just as you would follow-up after an in-person conference, you should do the same for a virtual one.

Review the notes you took so that you can follow up with your team by sharing your key takeaways. Follow-up with conference speakers you enjoyed and ask them further questions or simply thank them for their sessions!

Finally and most importantly, reach out to people you met at the conference!

Remember that networking is not about merely collecting contacts; instead, networking is about building and cultivating relationships. Send that email or make that phone call and include something you remember about that person, so he/she knows you were paying attention. Do this sooner than later!

Though undoubtedly different from in-person conferences, virtual conferences still have a lot to offer and can definitely be worth your time. Challenge yourself and consider attending one in the new year!
We’ve included a link below to upcoming conferences, shows, and IT expos (most of which are virtual). Good luck!

SHOWS | EXPOS | CONFERENCES

 

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