How to Avoid Dressing Mistakes at Your Next Interview

How many chances do you get to make a good first impression? One. When it comes to making that first impression, you have a few seconds to give that "WOW!" factor. Someone usually gathers an impression of you in fewer than 20 seconds.

5 professionals in a line

As you begin preparing for your next job interview, you want to make sure you do everything you can to make an excellent first impression. While it is very important that you do your best during the interview, you also have to make an impression before the interview even starts. You have to look like you are showing up for an interview.

We want to help you make the best impression possible during your upcoming job interview. So to accomplish that, below are some dressing mistakes you should avoid:

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Hats

If you want to make a positive impression at a job interview, do not wear a hat. A hat does not give the professional look that you want to achieve. Even if you do not like the way your hair looks that day, do not place a hat on your head.

Hair

You want your hairstyle to give a professional vibe, but you also want your hairstyle to be trim and neat. Do not choose a hairstyle that will result in you constantly touching your hair. You do not have to use your hair to make an unbelievable impression. You want the person interviewing you to notice your skills and talents, not any outlandish hairstyle.

Business Suit or Dress Pants for men interviewing

Clothing for Men

You should avoid wearing a suit that has bright or bold colors, stripes, plaids, etc. If you are going to wear a suit jacket, you should make sure the jacket matches your pants. Do not wear jeans to your job interview.

It is important that you have your own interview attire because if you wear something that is too small or too big, it will be obvious that the clothing does not belong to you. Having the appropriate attire for a job interview is a priority, so be wise, and make this investment. It will be worth it.

professional female employee in suit pants and jacket

Clothing for Women

Avoid showing too much skin at your job interview. This means you should avoid showing too much of your arms, thighs, chest, stomach, etc.

If you walk into the interview with a very short skirt, you may not give the most professional impression. Make sure your skirt reaches the tops of your knees or goes below your knees. Choose tops and dresses that are neither low-cut nor sleeveless.

Makeup/Perfume

perfume amount for interviews

We understand you want to look and smell your best at an interview, but it is also important to know when too much is too much. Do not go overboard with the makeup. While we all like smelling our best, it is not wise to spray too much perfume on yourself. Many people are allergic to certain scents, and you do not want your interviewer to be overwhelmed by or have an allergic reaction to your perfume.

Jewelry (Men and Women)

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Avoid wearing jewelry that is too flashy or too big. When jewelry is oversized, it can make noises which may be distracting to both you and the interviewer. Both women and men should avoid wearing an excessive amount of jewelry. Men should limit themselves to wearing a watch and a maximum of two rings. 

When you are preparing for your next job interview, it is important that you keep these things in mind. Your next job interview can ultimately be the one that changes your life for the better. You want to dress for success and make an unforgettable impression at your next job interview. Are you ready?

For additional interview tips, check out other Brannon Professionals' blog posts related to interviewing. Simply visit www.brannonprofessionals.com.

 

How to Retain Employees and Increase Engagement - Part 2

To read Part 1 of this article, CLICK HERE.

After researching this topic of engagement and retention and reviewing the statistics, three avenues for resolving the issues stand out. They are the initial interview, the stay interview, and nontraditional benefits. When incorporated well into your hiring, benefit and retention methodologies, you should see improvements in both employee engagement and employee retention.

1) THE “INITIAL” HIRING INTERVIEW

Take a moment to consider the types of questions you ask employees before hiring them. Also ponder the questions you ask candidates' references, if you are in the habit of checking references. Finally, consider all the screening methods your business consistently practices when hiring a new employee.

Initial hiring interviews are extremely important, so I hope that you do conduct interviews and go through a proper screening process.

paperwork - person with pen in hand

However, along with the interview, there are a few additional methods of screening candidates which may or may not yet be a part of your company’s hiring process. They are processes which could directly affect your new employees’ engagement and retention rates.

The processes involve finding intelligent, energetic, and motivated people who are also individuals of integrity. Perhaps you agree and wonder, “Yes, but how do I do this?”

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

emotional intelligence - thinking figure head
  • ASSESSING INTELLIGENCE: How do you find an intelligent employee? Do you request a copy of the candidate’s college transcript? Of course not! That’s not the type of intelligence to which I am referring.

Rather, it’s an emotional intelligence. According to TTI Success Insights' website, their emotional quotient assessment accurately measures one's "ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of overall emotional well-being to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity."

However, if you wish to assess intelligence by testing a candidate's aptitude for learning and problem-solving, Brannon Professionals utilizes a tool that I like to call the "How well do you think on your feet?" test. Contact us for more information on either of these assessments.

  • ASSESSING BEHAVIOR: A high-energy employee is often deemed as the most preferable. Sometimes we label people as introverted (with supposedly low energy) and extroverted individuals as high energy. If this is your habit of labeling, you may want to reconsider, because this is absolutely wrong thinking when it comes to hiring successful employees.

I know extreme introverts who have learned skills which have made them top salespeople. I have also seen extroverts with so much energy that they had a difficult time focusing on tasks requiring great detail, yet were exceptionally skilled in building relationships with customers.

Having candidates and employees complete a personality or behavioral assessment, such as the DISC hiring and management tool created by TTI Success Insights, can remove our biases and offer definitive insights about potential candidates on both sides of the equation so that the right candidate can be hired from the get-go.

TTI target
  • As to motivated individuals, hiring managers should not blindly go after the spunky, energetic candidates who seem to really want the job and be motivated by the job description. Go deeper by discovering the candidate’s natural motivators and asking employees to take the TTI Success Insights’ 12 Driving Forces or PIAV assessment. It will reveal a candidate’s true motivations in life and in the workplace. You want the candidate's motivators to align well with the actual job for which they are a consideration. If their motivations are a good match, then it may be time for a job offer.
ethics morals respect and similar words poster
  • Finally, there is the matter of finding employees with integrity. This is a topic previously covered in a Brannon blog post. Integrity ranks high on the list of most desirable traits in a job candidate. Honesty, accountability, transparency, humility, trustworthiness, and responsibility are all important aspects of this noble yet sometimes uncommon character trait. People who do what they say they are going to do and those who willingly provide a reasonable account of "why" when they can’t keep their word are such a valuable asset to an organization! A candidate who attaches importance to these respected principles for living and has a reputation for practicing them in previous jobs, s/he is someone to rank high on your potential candidate list.

2) THE “STAY” INTERVIEW

I have often wondered why new owners and managers do not re-interview their employees, at least in the most basic fashion, especially when there isn’t an overabundance of employees. The point of doing this would be, of course, to get to know your people, their interests, skills, motivations, and aspirations. You want to know why they stay with the company and also understand any reasons which might cause them to leave.

trust - 2 men shaking hands in place of "U"

With this idea in mind, what about having owners and department managers conduct stay interviews? These would be conducted with all employees, regardless of how long they have been employed. The interviews would simply be modeled and toned differently from the initial hiring interviews.

Try to conduct stay interviews every 1 to 1 ½ years. Questioning should be focused on conversations which create insights regarding employee satisfaction with his or her job, coworkers, salary, management, workload and the company itself.

Your choice of the following potential stay interview questions may be shared with employees ahead of time:

man in suit and tie giving thumbs up
  • How would you rate your level of joy and satisfaction with the work related to your current position? With the relationships you have developed among your coworkers? With your supervisor(s)? With the company? (Note: Use a 1-10 rating scale.) When a low rating is noted, try to discover the basis for the low satisfaction. It may be something as simple as a bad odor or the temperature in the office or as complex as a moody coworker or being subjected to subtle biases.
  • Based on a definition of employee engagement, how would you rate your current level of engagement with the job?
  • What single aspect of your job brings you the most satisfaction?
stressed lady with head in hands at laptop
  • Bring up salary history and discuss possibilities for raises. Ask about needs and expectations, goals, and any pay increase limitations due to top-out pay, lack of education, etc.
  • Ask if the employee feels appreciated by his or her direct supervisor, the department manager and by the company?
  • If we could do one thing for you, what would it be?
  • What, if any, work-related task brings you the most stress after you leave the office?
  • Ask about a single challenge s/he is facing, and then discuss how management might help change the situation for the better. Occasionally, this might involve a delayed conversation.
  • Ask about the leadership role in which s/he is currently involved, if any. Are you satisfied with your current level of leadership opportunities? Are you hoping for advancement opportunities? If so, in what role? As a manager, be as prepared as you can be to discuss the possibilities, if any truly exist, and on what basis a potential promotion might occur. 
new skills - man at laptop learning - in training
  • Do you have any new skills, educational goals, or company related interests that you would like to discuss?
  • Ask for suggestions about the person’s job, the department, work flow, office relations, company, and anything else which might be on the interviewee’s mind. Write these suggestions down and study them as sincere recommendations. Work to implement any suggestion you deem wise. Follow up with the employee and keep him or her informed of developments regarding the suggestions.

3) THE ADDITION OF NONTRADITIONAL BENEFITS

cartoon man with gold bag - 401K

Hopefully, your company already offers the most basic, traditional benefits. These include medical, dental, vision, and 401K offerings. If you do not offer these, they should become your top priority. Make them available and just as affordable and beneficial as possible for your employees.

However, other nontraditional benefits can be very effective in persuading new hires to jump on board and be a part of your business. Benefits which provide flexibility, reimbursement, life assistance or even fun will go over best with your employees. The goal is to be certain that your employees know how much they are valued and personally appreciated for their contributions to the company’s overall success.

$1 bills

Here are a few suggestions regarding the offering of nontraditional benefits:

  • For new parents, what if you offered a little extra cash in the form of a gift card to help offset the costs associated with having a newborn in the house?
  • Freebies like once-a-month meals, special event tickets, company paid lunches, out-of-office freedom on birthdays, or yummy treats for your department tend to go over extremely well with employees.
  • People love their pets, so perhaps company-provided pet insurance would be a perk.
  • Recent graduates tend to appreciate employer assistance in paying off student loans, and it's one way to help retain employees.
  • Employees seeking to further their education could do so more easily with tuition reimbursement options.
  • Who doesn’t enjoy a fun, company-wide outing or party?
party room - convention hall - balloons on floor
  • Built-in gyms (or free gym memberships) and on-site daycare are also popular perks.
  • Food and retail discounts, even 10% off ones, can be very beneficial to the pocketbooks of hourly employees especially. Why not pursue these in the form of a company discount card and share?
  • Begin offering cancer or critical illness insurance options.
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  • Offer a limited but flexible amount of paid time off (PTO) to complete volunteer work in the local community or in areas devastated by natural disaster.
  • Offer 4-5 hours of flex time per month for employees to leave early and attend kids’ activities and events OR ½ day of flex time to leave early on Friday once per month to enjoy the afternoon or to manage doctor’s appointments, etc.
  • Offer the flexibility of telecommuting. This can benefit the person as well as the company.
  • Have an employee-of-the-month and provide them with free, on-site car detail service.
  • Allow employees to earn vacation time in incremental measurements rather than requiring them to work an entire year without vacation time.
stressed verbiage - man running against time / clock

In summary, what happens when a business or an individual doesn't really have all that is needed to survive? Stress increases for the employee as well as for the company leaders. Yet stress can be relieved.

Discovering and incorporating new ways of meeting your employees' most practical needs can be a powerful tool in increasing both employee engagement and retention. Why not explore these options today? 

Contact Brannon Professionals today to learn more about our customized and cutting edge hiring tools. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Retain Employees & Increase Engagement - Part 1

happy employee working on laptop at desk

Do your employees love what they do? Are they fully engaged? If not, as a business owner or manager, have you yet determined the best and most practical ways to build engagement among your staff?

Furthermore, is retention a problem for your company? Do employees come and go way more often than management would prefer? Do you understand why employees are leaving your place of employment after working mere months or a year, maybe two?

These are engagement and retention questions all hiring managers need to be asking themselves and then seeking appropriate solutions - if any level of maintenance is needed.

As you ponder upgrades to your current engagement and retention strategies, consider the following regarding employee satisfaction, salary and benefits:

When is the last time you did any of the following with your employees?

Any suggestions? Write to us
  • Conducted an employee satisfaction survey?
  • Reviewed employee benefits to see what might be done differently?
  • Increased the benefits budget for your employees - to offer more perks rather than simply maintaining the status quo?
  • Spoken with each of your employees, whether employed for one year or ten, to review their position, job duties, aspirations, and level of satisfaction within the organization?

Please note the following 2017 statistics regarding both traditional and nontraditional benefits:

According to ICIMS, a software company, 92% of full-time employees believe that companies (which) offer nontraditional benefits are more likely to recruit top-tier talent.

Aflac learned that 96% of employees who are satisfied with their benefits are (also) satisfied with their jobs.

A Barclays survey revealed that 87% of employees from Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Generation Y (millennials born between 1977 and 2000) feel that their current benefits package is not sufficiently flexible to meet their personal and financial needs.

statistics - hand holding magnifying glass over people

Workforce 2020 conducted a survey to learn which benefits would increase engagement and loyalty among employees, and here are the prioritized results:

  • 40% - compensation
  • 36% - better benefits
  • 34% - career advancement opportunities
  • 31% - training/education
  • 18% - coworkers they like
  • 18% - corporate culture

Moreover, a CareerBuilder study suggested the following as the best ways to boost employee retention:

salary - cash in hand
  • 70% - increasing salaries
  • 58% - better benefits

Either way, it is obvious that compensation and benefits are of great importance to a majority of employees and potential new hires. That said, what is an employer to do?

Well, there’s a little bit of supply and demand logic that can be applied to this situation. You have employees who desire higher wages and better benefits. Perhaps the company has the money and cash flow to oblige these demands (a.k.a. felt needs) – perhaps not. However . . . 

Are you willing to reconsider ways in which you might “supply” the “demands” of your employees? Do the research. Survey your staff for their preferences and most pressing needs and concerns. Then (re)prioritize your company's budget and the effort to increase sales and profits so that you can meet real needs and share “more” with your employees.

Check out Part 2 of this article on Thursday, August 9.

Here's a preview of the introduction . . . 

After researching this topic of engagement and retention and reviewing the statistics, three avenues for resolving the issues stand out. They are the initial interview, the stay interview, and the inclusion of nontraditional benefits. When incorporated well into your hiring, benefit and retention methodologies, you should see improvements in both employee engagement and employee retention.

 

How a Staffing Agency Can Help You Get Hired

"Job hunting is hard! Take it from me!"

- Katie H.

   Below is the story of one recent graduate's struggle to find a good, entry-level job . . .  

Below is the story of one recent graduate's struggle to find a good, entry-level job . . .  

I thought I did everything right. I completed my B.A. in four years, got a M.A. abroad, did multiple internships, and earned excellent references. Yet it still took me six months post-graduation to find a job.

Fortunately, a friend recommended that I apply with a local recruiting firm to see if they might have anything that I would be a good fit for. I did so, not quite understanding what I was signing up for, and they were able to help me find a job.

If you're having a difficult time catching employers’ attention by searching for a job using traditional methods, read on. Below are four reasons why you might want to give "recruiting firms in my area" a Google. 

1. Some recruitment firms will take the time to get to know you.

Many recruiters will take the time to really get acquainted with their job candidates. Unlike applying directly to an employer who will toss out your resume if they have any questions or hesitations about it, recruiters will want to explore your career goals and motivation, your employment history, and what valuable skills you might bring to the table.

interview figures - 2 sitting in chairs talking

Some staffing firms, including Brannon Professionals, may also ask you to take a personality or behavioral assessment. This will help the recruiters understand the kind of work environment in which you'll really thrive.

Remember, this is their business. It's as much to their benefit as yours for them to get to know you. You want them to be armed with as much insight about you as needed so they can effectively promote you to the companies and HR managers they serve.

2. You will have an advocate. 

How many times during your job search have you heard from a well-meaning aunt and or a fellow disenchanted job-seeker the words, "Well, it's all in who you know!" when it comes to finding your perfect position? I heard it a million times. And unfortunately, they’re not wrong. Having someone put in a good word for you makes you exponentially more likely to get hired. 

hired - happy woman with arms raised in joy

With a recruiting firm, you're making free connections with people who can go to bat for you. The recruiters want to place you in a job that's a good fit for both you and the company. So, when you and your skills are a match for an open position, they're going to do all they can to help the company understand why hiring you is the right choice. 

3. You might be considered for multiple jobs at once. 

2 figures discussing options

The whole point of a recruiting firm is that they're staffing for more than one job at a time, which is a huge benefit to you. If you're looking for a job as an administrative assistant and the firm has three admin positions that they're trying to fill, it's possible that they will promote you to all three companies. This means that your resume will be seen by more hiring managers. You will have more options AND a greater chance of success than if you were going it alone.  

4. You'll benefit from free coaching & advice. 

The goal for recruiters is to help their clients find the right person for the job. If you are a skilled and professional candidate, the recruiters will want to promote you to the companies for which they're staffing. Moreover, if they think your resume could use some brushing up or that you might benefit from some tips on making a good first impression during the interview process, they'll be more than happy to coach you if you're open to it (just ask). This is especially helpful for recent graduates or for those who don't have a lot of interviewing experience. Even if you don't get hired through the recruiting firm, you can hold onto this advice and use it in the future. Plus, it's completely free to you!

coaching trainer mentor diagram

We all know how tough it is for people to find work. With more qualified candidates than ever flooding the job market, you've really got to work to make yourself stand out. If you know you are a great candidate, but you're just having a hard time getting that edge, try working through a recruitment firm. They can help you find your perfect fit!

contact us by phone or email for questions

Contact Brannon Professionals today at 662-349-9194 or check out our available jobs at www.brannonprofessionals.com. You can also email a copy of your resume to staff@brannonprofessionals.com. We look forward to working with you and wish you the very best in your job search.

 

 

How to Hire People Who Will Match Your Organizational Values & Enhance the Workplace Culture

The Candidates We Love

positive candidate or employee - thumb's up

I have a friend who has been a part of my life for decades now. She is incredibly smart, innovative, bold, entertaining, supportive, and often extends kindness to some of the most mean-spirited people in her circle of influence. We get along great, but there are several jobs for which I would never hire her, primarily because she likes (even prefers and needs) to color outside the lines.

We like who we like and often want to hire these individuals. However, neither our preferences nor our biases should be the standard for hiring a candidate. Our sincere feelings about a person shouldn’t be the rule of thumb either although many times one's gut instinct is accurate. So, what is our best course of action for choosing a candidate who will be successful not only in the job but also within the ranks of the company itself?

Candidate Values Versus Organizational Values

employee standing in middle of positive values list

Yes, employers today must look for the best of humanity, the brightest individuals with the strongest work ethic and highest degree of integrity, while also embracing gender equality and racial diversity. However, in selecting the right person for a job, there remains something else of paramount importance: organizational values. Hiring managers need to be acutely aware of the values which are priorities for the company, its owner(s) and its managers, and they need to know how to screen candidates for these values.

Organizational values may be written down as policy, touted as part of the company’s branding, or merely perceived. Yet these values are directly connected to the organization’s daily action plan and its perspective regarding many issues. Company values are all about defining the culture of the workplace and the core beliefs underpinning its standard systems of operation.

Categories of Company Values

Interestingly, organizational values can take on myriad beliefs, practices, and virtues such as those listed below:

Category 1: Values Related to Virtues & Ideals

morals values ethics poster

Strong Work Ethic - Fairness - Courage Honesty - Integrity - Respect - Dignity Unselfishness - Listening - Caring - Serving Doing the Right Thing - Diligence - Trust Generosity - Excellence - Believing in People - Humility - Goodwill

Category 2: Values Requiring Relationship

Partnerships - Open Communication - Healthy Competition - Dedication to Others - Teamwork - Authenticity - Connections - Collaboration - Diversity - Customer / Client / Coworker Relationships - Community

    Category 3: Values Regarding Personal Effort

    Accountability - Self-Discipline - Self-Improvement - Engagement - Responsibility - Empathy - Follow Through - Restoration - Flexibility - Balance - Giving - Learning - Empowerment - Passion - Optimism - Leadership - Creating Opportunity - Discovery of Truth - Bold Approach

    Category 4: Goals & Values Reflecting Achievement

    results achieved

    Innovation - Results - The Bottom Line - Excellence - Continuous Improvement - Optimization - Impact - Product Quality & Reliability - Safety & Compliance - Job Satisfaction - Impact - Exceeding Expectations - Creating Lasting Value - Being the Change - Growing with Purpose - Dreaming Big

    I love making lists, and this one fascinates me. Did you find yourself immediately labeling your own goals, virtues and values as well as the company’s as you read through the various descriptors? If so, that’s because we know ourselves and the companies we work for rather well. In our minds we know and understand core values, whether the organizational values have been voiced aloud and promoted or not.

    However, companies are made up of employees with diverse backgrounds and opinions, and not everyone is looking out for the company’s best interests. Hopefully, as a hiring manager, you are an exception to that unfortunate reality.

    Hiring for the SPECIFIC Values Which Enhance YOUR Company Culture

    man completing assessment form

    If you want to build a stronger company culture, one that respects organizational values, start making wiser hiring decisions. Using assessments, we recommend that you evaluate your top job candidates' personal values to determine which individual would be the best fit with the organization's own values. Then, based on the results and all other important screening factors, try to hire those candidates who will fit naturally with the core values and principles of the company. Many times, certain managers may want to hire their own people, their own way, but as a matter of policy, insist that all future candidates be assessed and their values weighed carefully before moving forward with a job offer.

    Consider these words from the FastCompany.com article, "How To Find A Job That Aligns With Your Values". It is from the candidate's perspective but insightful nonetheless. 

    " . . . one of the keys to feeling engaged at work is aligning your own idiosyncratic values with those of your organization, your team, and your direct manager – when you’re all working together towards something you believe in. That makes for a virtuous circle: When people pick jobs that fulfill basic psychological needs, motives, and values, they immerse themselves more in their work, experience higher levels of job satisfaction, and their productivity rises."

    Suggested Method for Evaluation of Candidates’ Values

    At Brannon Professionals, we utilize the TTI Success Insights® assessments, one of which is the Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values assessment. It is effective in measuring the WHY behind an individual’s actions. The assessment will rank an individual’s interests, attitudes and values into 6 categories of motivation:

    motivation of the heart
    • Theoretically-motivated – refers to those who thrive on gaining knowledge and information
    • Utilitarian-motivated – these individuals strive to maximize both their time and resources
    • Aesthetically-motivated – people focused on seeking balance, harmony and personal development
    • Socially-motivated – people who love to help others and their causes
    • Individualistic – motivated by a desire to obtain authority and power
    • Traditional – individuals with this mindset are seeking a system for living

    The Value & Insight Assessments Provide

    We do business with a client who prefers to hire primarily those individuals whose traditional values rank first, second or third. Why? In part, it is because they have learned from experience that employees with traditional values tend to work well in an environment where tried and true approaches are commonly practiced and highly valued. This is directly related to a person respecting and valuing an established system versus someone who is flexible and inconsistent in their approach to decision making.  

    smiling customer service rep

    Another client works in the tourism industry. When they hire administrative and customer-service staff, the preferred candidates will typically be socially-motivated. Because these jobs / trips can be so exhausting, those who are naturally inclined to help meet the needs of others and find their satisfaction in doing so are the best types of people to hire - as long as they also meet the other qualifications which the job itself requires.

    If you would like our assistance in gaining access to these assessments and subsequent reports, please visit our website or contact us directly at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622.