Best Practices: Interview Questions

, ,

For those of us who have been on the candidate side of an interview, it can be difficult to answer the question about, well, questions.

 

So what are interview question dos and don’ts? Read on for some suggestions on what to ask and not to ask in your next job interview.

 

The Dos:

 

The Basics

You probably came into your interview with some questions about hours, expectations of the job, reporting supervisor, etc. Asking questions they didn’t answer is the best place to start. It shows you have genuine interest in the job and what you’ll be doing at the company. Just make sure to focus on aspects that show you care about the right things, rather than how you can cut corners.

 

Business Structure

As you prepared for your interview, you probably spent some time online gathering information about the company. That’s a great start, but what didn’t you find out? Did their website tell you how many locations they have, but not when the company was founded? Ask how long they’ve been in business.

Did you find a detailed history of the company, but nothing about their current staff? Ask how many employees they have locally/regionally/nationally. Show an interest in the company you’re auditioning for and you’ll make a good impression.

 

Company Culture

No one likes to start a job and find out on the first day that everyone there works in shared office space as a team, when you prefer to work independently, away from distractions. It is important to know what culture you’re coming into. Teams who like each other tend to work better together, making everyone’s job a little easier.

Ask what kinds of team building activities they do as a company, but also ask about the business’ mission statement and if they have a set of Core Values. You’ll sound impressive to your interviewer and also get some inside info that other applicants probably didn’t think to ask.

The Don’ts

job interview

Monetary Gain

If this is your first interview at the company, don’t bring up salary or benefits unless the interviewer brings it up first. If they ask, it has opened up a door. But if they don’t, it probably isn’t their biggest concern and shouldn’t be yours either.

Don’t make it seem like you’re only in it for the money, vacation time, insurance or 401K match. Business owners want to see that their employees are engaged in the work and their goals more than their compensation.

 

People

Don’t ask about race, gender, marital status, age, religion, etc. of your interviewer or anyone else who works at that company. Just like you don’t want them to ask you about those things, it is inappropriate to ask that of them.

 

Lifestyle

Do I have to take a drug test? This question is a sure way to get rejected for a position. Even if the company doesn’t require drug testing, you have caused concern for your reliability and responsibility. Always be prepared to take a drug test for work, but never worry your interviewer about whether you’ll pass or not.

 

Overall, be prepared to ask two to three good questions and shy away from asking anything too personal or too specific. If you need help preparing, Priority Staffing Group provides interview coaching and resume writing help to our applicants. We want to see our applicants succeed. Call any of our offices to find out how we can help connect you to your next opportunity.

 

Marion, IL: (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL: (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN: (615) 295-2127

professional hiring

Myth Buster #3

, ,

Myth: Staffing agencies only have industrial jobs

 

Staffing agencies don’t do professional hiring, right?

Wrong.

 

It’s common to think that staffing agencies only have hard labor or industrial jobs, like warehouse and factory. And while we do hire for those types of jobs, they are not the only options we offer. The truth is, we provide opportunities for everything from entry-level to specialized technical and professional roles.

 

At Priority Group, we recruit for vocational positions like CNC machinists, welders, electricians and all sorts of mechanics and engineers. Many of our locations even offer banking, call center, IT, marketing, and a variety of clerical or customer service positions in addition to our clients who offer warehouse, factory and general labor work.

Apply for clerical jobs here!

 

For professional positions, we recommend applying through our Direct Hire Placement Service. Megan Jones, Priority Staffing’s Direct Hire Operations Manager, takes the extra time to place professionals in positions such as Accounting, Nursing and Upper Management. If your qualifications more closely identify to what we offer in this department, send your resume to get started.

 

If you know someone who is looking for a new opportunity, no matter what walk of life they’re in, send them to us! Priority Staffing Group is here to help.

 

You can get submitted for multiple positions with one interview here, making it easier to find a job you’ll love. Read why your odds are better through a staffing agency here.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers

, ,

LinkedIn

If you are looking for a new career opportunity, your social media presence, especially your LinkedIn profile, can play a very important role in your success.

In Illinois it is actually illegal for employers to use social media in determining whether or not to hire someone. Employers can, however, use sites like LinkedIn to find qualified applicants and notify them of career opportunities. For this reason, you want to make sure your profile depicts you in an accurate and professional manner.

If you’ve created your profile, but are not getting any attention, think about making a few changes. It could be that your profile does not portray a professional look. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is almost all business. Your profile, posts and comments should keep with that fact. For those of you struggling to gain traction on LinkedIn, here are some simple tips that you can implement today.

1. Add a Professional Headshot

With LinkedIn, it’s all about being professional. Therefore, your photo should depict a professional image, not an inappropriate, blank or casual one. Most phones now have a camera with high enough resolution to capture a good photo – so no excuses! Remember, your photo could be the first impression an employer has of you, so dress accordingly.

2. Use Keywords in your Headline

Your headline should contain keywords that relate to the position you are seeking. Think about some of the most likely terms or phrases a potential employer looking to hire candidates might search for and add them to your profile. It will make you more visible to searchers.

3. Create a Results-Driven Summary

Given that it’s the first section people read after your header and headline, be sure to include any key achievements, career milestones, awards, endorsements and success stories. Instead of focusing on tasks you completed, focus on the results your actions yielded.

4. Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations can help readers understand the types of problems you solve, how you make decisions and how you handle tough situations. Ask supervisors from past jobs and others you have done business with to leave you a recommendation outlining your skills and achievements.

5. Make Regular Updates

Being “top of mind” with potential employers can be very beneficial. Aside from staying in front of them, sharing insights about your career field will show that you are serious about your profession and work to stay current in your field.

6. Become Active in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups are a great place to connect with potential employers while demonstrating your knowledge on a particular topic. You should search out groups specific to your profession and actively engage in those groups. You may be unknowingly demonstrating your expertise to a future employer.

7. Turn off LinkedIn Activity Broadcasts

Turn off your account’s activity broadcasts if you don’t want potential employers to know that you are updating your profile. If you are reading this and have just realized your entire profile needs an overhaul, you may want to turn off updates to stay off the radar of potential employers until your profile is ready for action.

While the tips above are pretty simple, making sure your profile is professional, up to date and demonstrates your expertise is more than worthwhile when you are looking to change careers. Take a few moments today to make sure your profile is making the first impression you want it to.

 

If you are looking for professional career opportunities, be sure to apply for positions you are interested in and call any of our offices to schedule an interview.

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

Happy Holidays!

,

From everyone at Priority Staffing Group, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season!

 

Please note that we will have varied hours for the week of Christmas so that we may spend the holiday with our families.

For questions regarding our open hours, please call any of our offices.

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

resume writing

Resume Writing: The Beginner’s Guide

, ,

Resume writing can be difficult, but, trust us, it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a little time and attention to detail. Follow these tips and soon you’ll be on your way to the job of your dreams!

 

Make a List

Oftentimes, recruiters receive resumes that are pages long. While you should have a list of all your past jobs, you should never send that list to a prospective employer. Start by writing down every job you’ve had and the major responsibilities from each one. This doesn’t need any special formatting since it’s simply a guide to use while creating your tailored resume. While you’re making the list, it helps to name your supervisors and anyone you worked with who you could use as a reference later.

 

 

Choose a Format

Once you have the information you’re going to include on your resume, you should choose a format. If you don’t already know how to format a resume, you can find templates in Microsoft Word or by searching the internet for resume templates. Find something that looks clean and professional.

Your name and contact information should always be at the top of the page. Experience should be next, followed by education and special skills.

 

Include Relevant Details

One you start to write your resume, you’ll want to think about the job you’re applying for, the description of that job and what experience you have that lines up with it. If you worked as an assistant on a construction site, that should be included if you’re applying for a construction job; however, that experience probably isn’t relevant when applying to an administrative or customer service position. The included experience should be tailored to fit each job you apply for. Some exceptions include management positions of any kind or if you don’t have very much job history.

Unless you have 20 years of relevant experience, your resume should be one page only. Cut down on irrelevant job duties. For example, if you worked as the manager of a retail store, you don’t need to include that you know how to operate a cash register. Recruiters will be more interested on whether you know how to make schedules, train employees, and control inventory. Give the big picture with the most important details only.

 

Sell Yourself

 

So, what details should you include? You should tell the things that make you stand out. Remember, the reviewer is receiving several other resumes. Tell them why they should call you before anyone else. Did you increase sales by 20% at your last store? Did you cut down on packing time in the warehouse? Do you know how to use a special computer program? Let the recruiter know what is unique about you!

Make sure to sell yourself and the skills you know, but don’t ever lie. If you only used Adobe Photoshop once in your high school yearbook class, don’t put Expert at Adobe Photoshop on your resume. When you’re asked to prove your skills, you don’t want to embarrass yourself (not to mention, waste your time and the recruiter’s time). Just be honest about what you know and sell those attributes. It will likely land you a job you’re happy with and well-suited for.

 

Proofread

Most importantly, don’t forget to use proper grammar and spelling throughout your resume. Then, read it over again to make sure it’s all correct. If spelling and grammar aren’t your strongest skills, ask someone else to look at it for you.

Finally, Priority Staffing Group is here to help you. Our website has a resume builder that helps you get started. And when you apply with us, we’ll look at your resume and make suggestions for you too. All you have to do is ask! Make an appointment today so that we can get you on your way to a new job!

 

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

holiday hiring

Hiring Holiday Help

,

As the busy season comes around, we know how difficult it can be to hire holiday help for your company.

Read on to find out how to get the right help for your business this year, or call any of our offices to ask about seasonal workers.

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

 

Hire Quickly

One of the biggest mistakes we see companies make around the holidays is not hiring quickly enough. It can seem tempting to hold off until right before the holiday rush, but unless you have already experienced staff, you have to train these new employees. Seasonal workers need to be able to handle the day to day tasks of your business during the most stressful season. It takes time to hire and train workers to that level of comfort, so don’t delay!

 

 

Ask Questions

Make sure to ask the right questions when interviewing holiday workers.

Ask about their availability. It’s important to know if they have plans to be out of town for certain days or can’t work weekends when you’re the busiest.

Find out how they handle stress by asking them to tell you a time when a shopper was angry at their last job. You need to know they can handle the heat of the holidays, including the frustration many customers can express.

 

Be Clear

Part of finding the right people for the job means advertising clearly. Don’t advertise for a full time, permanent position if you only need workers from November to January. Misleading your applicants will cause wasted time for them and for you when it turns out they don’t have the schedule or skills to perform your job duties. Be clear and be honest.

 

Persuade them

While being honest is important, being persuasive will go a long way too. It’s crucial to explain both the stressers of the job AND the benefits. Do you offer a 30% discount even to your seasonal workers? Tell them! Do you give holiday pay for Christmas Day? Don’t leave that out! You know why your company is such a great place to work – make it clear to the candidate too.

 

 

Call Us!

When hiring for the holidays becomes too stressful, or you need to focus on all the other aspects of running your business, call us! Priority Staffing Group has a database of high-quality candidates we want to share with you.

Many of our applicants would love to work during the holidays for extra money or as a test run for permanent employment. Temp-to-hire contracts are a wonderful way to get extra hands during the holiday season and then keep the best workers all year.

Call any of our locations to speak to an account manager about seasonal workers.

Marion, IL – (618) 969-8800 | Vandalia, IL – (618) 283-9533 | Murfreesboro, TN – (615) 295-2127

thanksgiving contest winner

Thanksgiving Contest Winners

, ,

Priority Staffing Group held a contest for our current employees the week before Thanksgiving.

Any current employee who left a review for us on Google was entered into a drawing to win a $50 Kroger gift card and a food basket to help with Thanksgiving.

 

OUR WINNERS

Congratulations to Jess (Marion, IL), Melissa (Murfreesboro, TN), and Kenny (Vandalia, IL) on winning our Thanksgiving contest prizes!

 

 

Make sure to follow us on Facebook to stay updated on future contests!

Southern Illinois FB – Central Illinois FB – Tennessee FB

thanksgiving

Season of Thanksgiving

,

Every year, as the holiday season begins, we think about the many things we’re thankful for.

Priority Staffing Group gathered our employees to share with you what we are thankful for most in life.

 

We’re thankful for our families…

“I am thankful for my beautiful, healthy family.” – Leah Tinault

“Thankful for Family, Friends and Work.” – Megan Jones

“I’m thankful for Faith and Family.” – Chris Nichols

“I am thankful for my daughter.” – Brandy Clarida

“I am thankful that God blessed me with my husband and two healthy boys.” – Celesta Bowers

 

 

– Kara Metzger

 

We are thankful for our pets…

“I am thankful for my hard-working husband, my fur-babies, my family’s good health and my awesome job!” – Priscilla Lasswell

“I am thankful for my husband and fur child.” – Julie Simpson

“I am thankful for my family and dog.” – Ally Farlow

“About 3 weeks ago I almost lost my dog, Lilly, to Parvo.  The week she spent in the hospital receiving treatment felt like an eternity.  She pulled through and I am thankful for her and her strong will to survive.” – Robyn Sprowls

 

We are thankful for our jobs…

“I’m thankful we were able to help 1,800 people find jobs this year.” – Heather Goines-Evans

“I am thankful for Priority Staffing Group!” – Angela Tessone

“I’m thankful for all the different personalities on our team that come together to do great work.” – Liz Sawyer

 

And we are thankful for everything else!

“Thankful for all the blessings in my life, great and small.” – Emily Melvin

“I am thankful for my life every day.  For all of the family and friends that stand by me and for all the people I work with. Life has a way of challenging us; we need to count our blessing in the ability to make the right decisions.” – Gail Lannom

“I am thankful for each day that the Lord gives a me and the time that I get to spend with my family and friends.” – Lindzey Barger

dhs

Active Shooter Preparation

, ,

dhsWhile no one wants to think about the possibility that an active shooter could enter your workplace, it is always better to look ahead and be prepared. Kara Metzger, Director of Operations and Business Development at our Vandalia office, attended an active shooter class in Effingham, Illinois on November 7th.

 

The Effingham Chamber of Commerce sponsored this class, taught by Michael Mobley, a retired ISP officer. The tips below were given during the informational session and come directly from Homeland Security. The full guide to have on hand at your office or facility can be seen and downloaded here.

 

TRAINING YOUR STAFF FOR AN ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION:

To best prepare your staff for an active shooter situation, create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), and conduct training exercises. Together, the EAP and training exercises will prepare your staff to effectively respond and help minimize loss of life.

 

Components of an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

Create the EAP with input from several stakeholders including your human resources department, your training department (if one exists), facility owners/ operators, your property manager, and local law enforcement and/or emergency responders. An effective EAP includes:

  • A preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies
  • An evacuation policy and procedure
  • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments (i.e., floor plans, safe areas)
  • Contact information for, and responsibilities of, individuals to be contacted under the EAP
  • Information concerning local area hospitals (i.e., name, telephone number, and distance from your location)
  • An emergency notification system to alert various parties of an emergency including:
  • Individuals at remote locations within premises
  • Local law enforcement
  • Local area hospitals

 

Components of Training Exercises

The most effective way to train your staff to respond to an active shooter situation is to conduct mock active shooter training exercises. Local law enforcement is an excellent resource in designing training exercises.

  • Recognizing the sound of gunshots
  • Reacting quickly when gunshots are heard and/or when a shooting is witnessed
  • Calling 911
  • Reacting when law enforcement arrives
  • Adopting the survival mind set during times of crisis

 

Prepare For and Prevent an Active Shooter Situation

 

Preparedness

  • Ensure that your facility has at least two evacuation routes
  • Post evacuation routes in conspicuous locations throughout your facility
  • Include local law enforcement and first responders during training exercises
  • Encourage law enforcement, emergency responders, SWAT teams, and bomb squads to train for an active shooter scenario at your location

Prevention

  • Foster a respectful workplace
  • Be aware of indications of workplace violence and take remedial actions accordingly

 

HOW TO RESPOND WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY

 

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.

1. RUN

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.

Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

2. HIDE

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

 

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

 

 If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm
  • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

3. FIGHT

 

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

 

CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!

 

HOW TO RESPOND WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES

Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.

  • Officers usually arrive in teams of four (4)
  • Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns
  • Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation
  • Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safety

How to react when law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling

***Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises

 

Information to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:

  • Location of the active shooter
  • Number of shooters, if more than one
  • Physical description of shooter/s
  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter/s
  • Number of potential victims at the location

The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.

Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.

chili cook off

Chili Cook Off

, , ,

The 9th Annual Southern Illinois Chili Cook Off was held at the Marion Elks on November 4th. The outdoor event raised money for several local charities.

 

chili cook off

Gail Lannom, Priority Group CEO, along with Megan Jones, Professional Group COO, and Lindzey Barger, Business Development, were on the planning committee for the event.

 

Nearly 800 people attended and 32 competitors participated in the Chili Cook Off and Bloody Mary competitions, which had a Game Show theme.

 

 

The GLITS girls represented Priority Staffing Group for the 9th year in the competition. They won Best Team Theme with Wheel of Fortune.

chili cook off 

Other activities included a silent auction, raffles, and a bags tournament, all raising money for the selected charities.

chili cook off

Megan Jones, Professional Group COO

Up from last year’s $23,000 raised, the event surpassed the $25,000 goal for 2017. The money benefited The Fowler Bonan Foundation Clothes for KidsThe Night’s Shield Children’s ShelterThe Lighthouse Shelter, and the Williamson County Heartland Rotary iPad project for children with learning disabilities.

Priority Group is excited to have a part in our community’s events. If you have an event you’re interested in partnering with us in, call (618) 969-8800 to speak to one of our office representatives.

 

To view more photos of the event, visit the official Facebook page for the Southern Illinois Chili Cook Off.