How to Have Your Best Interview Ever

A great interview is just like any other accomplishment; it won’t happen without some real planning and hard work. At Award Staffing we have highlighted some of the interview prep skills that can make the next interview the best.

Review the Job Posting.

This cannot be overstated: the company knows exactly what they are looking for, and they state it clearly on the job posting. Review the job post. List point by point every experience and skill they are seeking. Go over your own experiences and how they make you a great fit, so all of this is fresh in your mind when you walk in the door.

As Dana Leavey puts it, “try to remember what’s most relevant regarding specific clients you’ve worked with, types of projects you’ve worked on, similar companies you’ve worked for, and anything else that’s pertinent to the role.”

Research the Company.

Google is your friend, and so are social media sites like LinkedIn. Do your research before your interview. See what this company has done to get in the news. Find out what you can about the people who work there, what kind of background and skills they bring to the table. Look for points of similarity and points of difference and be ready to discuss them in the interview.

Take The Next Step Beyond Your Resume.

When they ask about information that is on your resume the last thing you want to do is just quote the resume.  Share specific examples that illustrate the information on your resume.  Be prepared to talk and give the interviewer the extra layer of knowledge they are seeking.

Listen to The Interviewer.

Don’t be so focused on what you have to say that you don’t hear what you’re asked. An interview is a first date. You need to pay attention, listen closely and ask follow up questions. This makes the interviewer see you as someone who is interested and gives you a chance to find out more about the position.

Don’t Ask for A Job; Offer to Help.

The company didn’t put up a job post because they were hoping to give someone a salary or a cool place to hang out from 9 to 5. They put up a job post because they need to hire a new person. Find out what they need and discuss the ways you can produce the work they require. This attitude can get you out of the interview on just the right note. As Lam Nguyen says, “it’s then up to you to make your final selling pitch by summarizing what the position is and what you bring to the table. Don’t forget to find out the next steps for the interviewing process. The follow-up item you want to leave in your interviewer’s mind is, “This is the right candidate. I’m ready to make an offer.”

If you’re looking to make your next interview your best one ever, contact Award Staffing. We will be able to help you find a new position that lets you take advantage of your abilities and prepare you to turn the interview into your dream offer.

5 Ways to Boost Your Resume

When you submit your resume to most companies, the first person who sees it is a recruiter who sees dozens of resumes a day. You have one chance to make the kind of first impression that gets you to the next step. Here are five ways to boost your resume past the first stage and move you on to more face to face interviews:

Make It Clean and Readable.

Want your resume to be read? Make it easy to read. No wall of text sections. Use short, punchy bullet points, clear, concise information and sufficient white space. This makes it easy for your resume to be scanned quickly.

Focus On Success.

You want to include your full toolbox of applicable skills and experiences. Don’t forget to show off these attributes as part of past accomplishments. Tie a skill with the way you used effectively and give specific results.

Use Relevant Keywords.

A good resume is like a good Google search: You get better results when you use the right keywords. Robin Ryan says you should “make a list of the “buzz words connected to perform your type of job. Look through employers’ job ads to uncover the major ones. Incorporate these keywords into the sentences describing your previous work experience.”

Tailor Your Resume for Each Application.

Every job post will clearly state what the company is looking for regarding skills and experiences. Make sure you include matching information using the same keywords as the job post every time you send out your resume. A short intro that has the exact info the recruiter is looking for is also a good idea.

Less Is More!

Remember your resume isn’t being read like a book, it’s being scanned like an outline. According to Nancy Collamer, “we all skim more than we read, so to reward that reading style. Also, add white space between paragraphs to provide “breathing room.”

Excessive words are just clutter. Check your word count when you write your resume and see if you can cut 20% of the words without losing any essential info. You will be surprised how much cleaner and more professional this makes your resume look.

If you’re ready to get your resume out in front of prospective employers, contact Award Staffing. We will be able to help you find a new position that lets you take advantage of your abilities to take the next step you in your career.

Maximizing Minnesota DEED and Other Resources for Your Hiring Needs

On Monday, June 12th, Award Staffing hosted Minnesota Deed’s Tim O’Neil for an afternoon session on how to use Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development online resources in your search for talent and understanding the current market trends. Although MN DEED’s website and Tim’s presentation provided us an exorbitant amount of information, here are some of the top highlights of things you should know.

A question often asked from both the employer and employee is, “How is the job market doing?”  As of April 2017, there has been steady employment growth as the United States added 211,000 jobs and Minnesota added 34,715 jobs with unemployment rates now steady at 3.7%.  With wages up 7.5% over the year, we are seeing labor force participation rates at 69.7% and these rates haven’t been seen since 1981.  In the Twin Cities metro area, there is less than one person seeking employment for each employment opening.

With a tight labor market and the unemployment rate in Minnesota being lower than the national rate, some requirements may need to be reconsidered, including education level.  Almost 2/3 of all current job openings only require a high school diploma or less. Jobs that require a bachelors degree account for only 18% of the job openings available.

Trying to compete with the competition for talent? Are your wages where they should be? In 2014, the median wage  for employees with no education was $11.00.  The median wages for employees with a high school diploma was $13.01.  You may want to check out the Occupational Employment Statistics site (also known as the Minnesota Salary Survey), to find wage estimates for your area. This tool allows you to compare wages that you currently pay to other companies’ pay rates in your area that have similar opportunities.

Although requirements and wages are a couple reasons why employees select certain opportunities over others, employers should educate themselves on other possible influencers.  Influencers may include job vacancy, cost of living, unemployment, demographics and more. Below is a list of resources we find to be extremely helpful in understanding the labor market we are in today. Best of all, these resources are free to access.  Need help understanding the labor market? Want to know how partnering with Award Staffing can help? Contact us.

Top Employment Resources:

Hiring Responsible Night Shift Employees

If your company has a need for night shifts, you know how important it is to hire reputable employees. Often, night shift employees are one or some of the only employees at the location while everyone else is at home sleeping. This means that the employee will need to handle issues of safety, customer service, financial matters, and more. Here’s how to hire responsible night shift employees:

Have Recommendations

The easiest way to hire responsible night shift employees is to have a reputable staffing agency or people you trust recommend potential new hires. These recommendations can come from friends, family members, or other colleagues. Trusted recommendations increase your chances are that the potential employee is responsible and a good choice.

Ask Hypothetical Questions 

Those who are working the night shift often carry greater responsibility. In order to make sure you are hiring the individual or individuals who can successfully handle these tasks effectively, ask them hypothetical questions. This will allow you to assess the potential recruit’s ability to think on his or her feet and see whether you agree with their responses.

Check References

If a potential recruit has worked a night shift position before, always check their references. Their previous employers will be able to tell you how long they worked together, if there were ever any potential issues that arose, and why they left. The information you receive from these phone calls could easily steer you in one direction versus another in terms of making a hire.

Do a Supervised Test Run

Because there is so much at stake with putting all your trust in night shift employees, you should do a supervised probation period. This could be as simple as asking a current employee to spend the first few night shifts with the new employee. This not only allows you to see what it will be like with your new employee, but also to provide peace of mind for both of you in terms of duties and task completion before you make the actual hire.

If you are in need of hiring one or more night shift employees, contact Award Staffing. We can walk through the entire process with you to ensure that you make the most responsible hire possible for your business and other employees. It’s our job to make sure you feel safe and comfortable with your new employee; we will work with you until we achieve that goal together.

How to Find the Perfect Career for You

Whether you are new in the employment field or wanting to make a career change, choosing the best career path for you can often be a challenge. There are many factors to take into account before you decide. Following these tips will help ensure that your choice not only results in rewarding work, but also brings overall career well-being and happiness.

Determine Your Skillset.

Every person has a unique set of skills, with some skills stronger than other skills. In other words, “What are you good at?” In order to assess this, think about specific tasks or skills that come easily to you. What types of activities do your friends and family ask for your help? Though this might be hard to conceptualize at first, the more you think about it, the more you will be able to formulate some thoughts behind this.

Analyze Your Interests.

Often, what you’re good at and what you’re interested in are two very different things. You might be good at math and science, but you’re passionate about fashion and music. When you’re figuring out what your interests are, think about how you spend your time when you aren’t making money and when you don’t have anything else to do. Often, these reflect your true interests.

Brainstorm Ways Your Skillsets and Interests Intersect.

The perfect career for you lies at the intersection of your skillsets and your interests. It’s a good idea to make a side-by-side list of your skillsets and interests so you can start to compare and contrast them. When you see both of these next to each other, you will start generating more ideas of how they can be combined to help you transition into your perfect career option.

Make an Action Plan.

If you are truly serious about finding the perfect career for you, it’s time to make an action plan. This can be as simple as writing down a list of ideas or goals that you would like to accomplish or as complicated as signing up for an educational program. Whatever you decide to, make sure that you neatly organize your goals, and then stick to them in order to achieve the best possible results.

If you want to make the switch to find your next opportunity, contact Award Staffing. We can help you assess your unique skillset and interests in order to help you figure out the career path of your choice. Once you decide on that career path, we will be able to match you up with relevant employers who can help you fulfill those goals.

3 Steps You Should Take After an Interview

Having a job interview for a company you are interested in can be a life-changing event. You are being given the chance to prove yourself as an employee and discuss what skills you can bring to the company. After you have completed your job interview, there are three steps you should take in order to increase your chances of being hired:

Send a Thank You Card.

The most important step to take after an interview is to send a thank you card. This will let the interviewer know you appreciated their time and were interested in learning about the position. The interviewer will be impressed by your manners as well as your thoughtfulness and respect.

Follow Up in One Week.

If you are really interested about the job, but haven’t heard back from your interviewer within a week, it’s time for you to follow up. This can be done via e-mail or over the phone and can be phrased in the following way: “Hi, I’m still very interested in the position I interviewed for with you last Friday. I was wondering when I could expect to hear from you.”

This will remind the interviewer that you are still very interested in the job and let him or her know that you’re persistent and motivated. Plus, you will stand out compared to other interviewees who don’t take the time to follow up and just let the job slip away.

Mentally Prepare Yourself.

After your interview, it’s very important to mentally prepare yourself for all factors that surround this particular job. Are you ready for this kind of commitment? What steps will you need to take to get ready if you are hired quickly? Will you need to speak to your family about the job? Whatever factors you’re dealing with, make sure to sort through them after the interview so you are prepared to give a clear “yes” or “no” answer when your interviewer contacts you.

If you want to be interviewed by great companies for various jobs, contact Award Staffing. We will set you up with interviews for companies that are well suited to your needs. When you are finished interviewing, keep these tips in mind to increase your chances for success.

How to Keep Your Team Meetings Productive

Most companies hold meetings to make sure everybody is informed and performing efficiently. Following these guidelines will help prevent distractions and maximize your meeting’s productivity.

Have an Agenda.

It’s very important to have an agenda during a team meeting in order to stay focused and remain on topic. Too often during team meetings, people can supplement the topic with personal anecdotes or separate stories. By creating an agenda, you’re letting everyone know what ground needs to be covered and you’re ensuring that no important topics are left out of the conversation.

Take Minutes of the Meeting.

If it’s possible, designate a person to take minutes of the meeting. This will ensure that the purpose of the meeting isn’t lost in the midst of discussion and conversing.  You will be able to go back and look at any major decisions or discussions that were talked about during the meeting.

Allow for Questions and Comments at the End.

If you want to keep your team meeting productive, designate a time for questions and comments at the end of the meeting. This will allow your meeting to have a natural flow without interruption. Furthermore, the questions and comments at the end of the meeting will be more focused and to the point.

Cover Employee Well-Being/Safety.

Getting sidetracked with internal issues can quickly disintegrate a meeting. At the beginning of each meeting, address employee safety and well-being. When employees fell valued and listened to, they will focus on the correct agenda.

Team meetings are a great way to reconnect, get feedback, and improve as a company. In order to make sure you accomplish your order of business, they need to be as productive as possible. If you want more employees to add to your team meetings, contact Award Staffing and they will help you find employees that are a great match for your company.

How to Make a Great Impression on Your First Day

If you are starting at a new job, it is important to make a good impression on your first day and to create a seamless transition into the company. Follow these simple, but important keys.

Come Early.

One of the easiest ways to make a great impression on your first day is to arrive early. When you arrive early, you are letting your superiors know that you respect company time and take the job seriously. You will be seen as responsible, trustworthy, and diligent. Plus, your superiors won’t have to worry about reminding you of important dates and times.


It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you don’t know your new company’s dress code, it’s a good idea to overdress so being underdressed doesn’t embarrass you. For example, if you are hired for a light industrial job, denim and a nice clean T might be acceptable, but show up on your first day in clean and pressed slacks and a shirt with a  collar – button down or polo style. If your first day reveals that less is ok, then you can adapt. Going beyond on the first day shows that you respect the company and respect your job

Ask Questions.

Make sure to ask many questions on your first day. This will show your new colleagues and superiors that you are engaged and ready to learn. It also shows them that you are interested in your new position and want to know as much as you can to be able to succeed. Of course, choose your questions wisely, take time to listen to the answer, and apply the knowledge.

Be Friendly.

The most important way to make a great impression on your first day is to simply be friendly. If you walk into the job with a positive attitude and a smile on your face, your colleagues are going to remember you and enjoy your company from day one. When you’re building your career, colleague relationships and networking are one of the most important aspects of helping you achieve your professional goals.

If you feel like you can embody these tips on your first day of work but you’re having a hard time finding somewhere to work, contact Award Staffing. They will match you up with several different work options so that you’re interviewing and starting your first day as soon as possible.

How to Write a Resumé

If you have started applying for jobs, you may have noticed that most companies will ask for your resume. As a potential employee, having a well-organized resume increases your chances of being hired. Here are some tips regarding how to write a resume:

Define Your Objective.

Before you start writing your resume, you need to define your objective. Is this resume for a specific job, or is this resume a generalized job-searching tool? Once you are clear with the objective, you will be able to more specifically tailor the content you place on your resume to fit your exact needs.


Education should be at the top of your resume. The highest level of education you have completed should be listed first, and any subsequent education experiences should be listed underneath that.

Recent Job Experiences:

When you’re detailing your most recent job experiences, they should be listed in chronological order. In general, it’s a good idea to include job experiences that are related to the field for which you are applying. This will show recruiters that you are a good fit for that specific position.

Job-Relevant Skills:

If you have any specific skills such as woodworking or you being able to type quickly, you want to make sure you list those skills on your resume. Your skills are what set different candidates apart, so you want to list as many relevant skills as possible.

Soft Skills:

List your soft skills also, and include examples of how your used those skills in previous jobs. Examples of soft skills include a strong work ethic, positive attitude, good communication skills, time management abilities, problem-solving skills, acting as a team player, self-confidence, ability to accept and learn from criticism, flexibility, and working well under pressure. If your interviewer is trying to decide between two candidates and you have more soft skills than the other candidate does, you will always have an advantage.

Format it Correctly.

A resume should be no longer than one – two pages. Margins should be a minimum of one inch on each side. Include your name, address, and phone number on your resume so your interviewer can call you back for a second interview or a job offer.

Once you have your completed resume, you can use it as a tool to help you find the right job for you. If you want to expedite the process, contact Award Staffing; tell them you recently completed your resume and are looking for a job. They will work quickly to match you up with a reputable company well suited for you needs.

What You Should Know About a Candidate in the Final Interview

Hiring a new candidate for your company is no easy feat. You need to make sure the candidate fits in with the company and that you’re helping advance the candidate’s career goals. Initially, you were determining whether the candidate is well qualified and capable of the job, but in the final interview, you are assessing if this particular candidate is a smart hire for your company. There are several key factors you should know about a candidate to ensure you are making the best hire for your company:

If He/She Has Interviewed Other Places

If the candidate has been interviewing at other places and still seems very interested in your job, you can rest assured that your candidate is a serious contender. If your candidate hasn’t interviewed at too many other places, however, this might indicate that your candidate still has some work and exploration to do in terms of company size, goals, and culture.

Minimum Salary/Wage Expectations

If your maximum salary cap isn’t in line with the candidate’s minimum salary expectations, there isn’t a successful match. If the candidate feels like you aren’t offering a solid base pay, he/she is always going to be looking elsewhere for a higher-paying job. Be honest and upfront about what you are willing to pay, and hopefully you will meet at a number that is comfortable for both you and the candidate.

Commute Issue

If you’re looking to make a long-term hire, commuting is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. Some candidates might assure you that a long commute is no problem. That might be true initially, but a long commute can drain a good employee’s energy really quickly. Your employee will either have reduced productivity at work or will always be searching for a job that is closer to home.

Know The Candidate’s Goals

As an employer, it’s your job to know the candidate’s professional goals and be honest regarding whether or not you can help those goals to be achieved. If your candidate’s goals can realistically be fulfilled within the position, discuss the ways and means of making it happen if they are hired. Smooth communication on these types of issues is a strong indicator of an excellent potential hire.

If you want to hire a high-quality candidate but need some extra help, contact Award Staffing. We will conduct interviews and match you up with an employee that will further your company goals and be a smart long-term investment.