What You Need to Look for in an HR Leader & Partner

An HR Leader carries out some of the most critical functions in your company. They are entrusted with a lot of personal information and expected to navigate the company and its employees through difficult choices about benefits. Their ability to source new talent will define your company’s future. Knowing what to look for in an HR Leader is the first step towards hiring someone who can manage your programs and help you manage your next stage of growth.

A Great HR Leader is a Great Negotiator.

When you need new talent, HR has to deliver. Merely finding new talent isn’t enough; HR has to sign them and get them in the door. A great HR Leader can pitch your company and convince new hires to sign the dotted line.

Strong negotiation skills are also a key component of successful mediation when managing sensitive conflict resolution issues.

A Great HR Leader is a Great Coach.

Your HR Leader finds the new hires and signs them up, but it doesn’t stop there. They make sure they are integrated into the company so they can hit the ground running.

Joel Trammell recommends HR Leaders manage the full onboarding process. “Quality onboarding includes making the new hire aware of company history and general industry knowledge and having him, or her attend meetings with key executives, in addition to the obvious job-specific training.”

A Great HR Leader is a Great Teacher.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman write that “most employees in organizations are unaware of labor laws, hiring rules, benefits and compensation issues.” HR has to educate your staff and help them navigate the choices in front of them – from health insurance packages to retirement choices and more.

Great teaching ability can illuminate the issues and smooth out a lot of potential pitfalls.

A Great HR Leader is a Great Learner.

Change is the only real constant. Labor laws and regulations are constantly updated, health insurance plans get more complex each year, and new approaches to benefits, training, and hiring are always being touted by outside consultants.

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.

Protecting Your Company When You Hire a New Employee

When you hire a new employee you don’t just take on a new person, you take on the new risks that come with them. Preparing yourself for these issues before they come up can be the difference between failure and success. Here are some things you should do to protect your company when hiring:

Smaller Businesses That Are Expanding Need To Prepare 

If you have not hired before you have some real work to do to prepare yourself. Make sure you have a Federal Employer Identification Number. Set yourself up for payroll taxes, workman’s comp insurance, Unemployment and disability insurance, and EEOE protections before you interview. Businesses also have reporting and record keeping obligations. Make sure you have your tax withholding and records system in place, you are ready to verify work eligibility and citizenship or immigration status, and you know how to file reporting on new hires with state agencies.

Get Real About Pre-Employment Screening

Run background checks: drug screens, criminal background checks, credit checks, employment and education verification. Drug screens don’t just keep out drug users; they keep out all the baggage they bring with them, things like higher accident rates, higher missed time rates, higher medical problem rates, and risks from their associates.

You will occasionally hear the news about high-profile hires with fake resumes. Call schools and former employers to be sure of what you are getting. Also, as Martin E. Davis points out in Entrepreneur, “some of the biggest names in the industry (and in our federal government) have been embezzlers, involved in bankruptcies, accused of sexual misconduct and harassment, felons, and convicted of lesser crimes.” Always check; always verify.

Know The Law Before You Interview and Make an Offer

You need to know which questions you can and cannot ask during an interview and make sure every member of your staff who participates in the interview process is aware of these restrictions.

Topics like religion, sexual preference, age, disabilities, race, ancestry, pregnancy, marital status, children and prior arrests cannot be raised in interviews.

Find out whether an employee has signed a do not compete or other restrictive contract and how this can be enforced in your state before making an offer. Jason Tremblay of Inside Counsel advises that “the company should prepare, and the new employee should sign, an agreement representing that he or she is not a party to any agreements or other obligations restricting his or her ability to work with the company. “

Reasons to Get to Work Early

A lot of people are more focused on how many times they can get away with hitting the snooze button than how they can show up to work a little earlier to start the new day. There are real benefits from hitting the ground early that can make your day better and improve your overall performance. Consider these benefits of arriving early.

Showing Up Early Saves Time

This may sound counterintuitive but getting a head start can save you time. You miss the worst of the morning rush hour traffic for one thing. You are first in line for everything; no waiting for coffee, or to put your lunch in the break room refrigerator, or to get needed supplies from storage.

First In – First Served

Bosses normally show up a little early and making it in before the crowd means you have a chance for a little face time with them. This is a chance to build a relationship with a person who has a tremendous impact on your chances for a promotion, and it also gives you a chance to get a jump on new projects.

Impressing the boss isn’t the only chance you’ll have to get ahead by being early. New client calls are all yours, and you can get early e-mails to people before their inbox gets clogged with the day’s usual stampede. Peter G McDermott says, “when you get an early start on follow-ups and general inquiry e-mails, you are putting yourself ahead of messages that will come later throughout the day.”

You Have a Chance to Improve Your Workflow

The morning can be the most productive time of the day. You have a chance to get in and get set while others are still trying to make their first cup of coffee. You can make a plan that gives you a roadmap for being productive all day. And you can work without distractions. As Hilary White of Popsugar points out, “coming to work when the office is empty is a great way to buckle down, focus, and get a good chunk of work completed without anything to distract you.”

If you’re in a position that doesn’t currently reward your drive to get started early, contact Award Staffing. We will be able to help you find a new position that lets you benefit from your work ethic and productivity.

Comparable Salaries. When Should You Compete?

Deciding how much salary to pay and which employees to pay are two of the toughest questions you have to answer in both hiring and retention. Here are tips on whether or not you should offer your employees a comparable salary to your competitors.

What Is a Comparable Salary?

Most employers want to pay competitive salaries but defining that can be a chore. According to Denise Rand of HR Daily Adviser, “being competitive means paying, on average, +/- 10 percent from the market-average pay for a job or a group of jobs.”

Using a salary comparison tool can at least get you the ballpark figure, but the real question is about the value you get by trying to keep up with the Jones’s when it comes to salary amounts.

Employee Turnover Costs Money

Every part of a turnover costs money. When old employees leave, you lose productivity. A job search is expensive and time-consuming. Training a new hire is also expensive and time-consuming. You lose additional productivity while the new employee is learning on the job and from other employees trying to teach them. Paying a competitive salary is your best defense against employee loss and associated costs.

Better Pay Means Better Employees

According to Scott Shane of Case Western Reserve University, “while it might seem counterintuitive, paying “efficiency wages” – the term economists use for higher-than-market wages – can boost productivity and enhance profits.” Employees who work harder, are more positive with clients and are less likely to quit over salary are a tremendous asset to any business.

If you’ve decided that you do want to be more selective in your next hire, contact Award Staffing. We regularly work and interface with high-value individuals who are seeking out a new job or career path. We will be able to present you with several candidates and help you put together the right offer package for the candidate you believe is the best fit.

Conquering Your First Day of Work 

The first day on a new job can be nerve-wracking. You have to figure everything out from the commute to the coffee situation to safe navigation of office politics. On top of that, you need to step off on the right foot with the coworkers and bosses who will define your success at this career stop and help you move on to the next promotion. Here’s how you can conquer your first day of work:


Prepare to Sound Intelligent with Everyone You Meet


Jacquelyn Smith of Business Insider recommends you “get ready to give a 30-second explanation of who you are, where you were before, and what you’ll be doing in this new position.” You should also be familiar enough with your new company to discuss it intelligently with anyone you meet, particularly new bosses.


Be Engaged at All Times


Make sure to learn at least one thing about everyone you meet. Keep your body language positive. And turn your cell phone off in the parking lot. Don’t let anything distract you from making a great first impression.


Show Up Ready to Learn


John Coleman of Harvard Business Review advises “don’t “fake it until you make it” by trying to appear more knowledgeable than you are. People will expect you to face a steep learning curve on a new job and most will be willing to help you settle in. Take advantage of this time to ask questions and learn things.


If you are looking for a place to land on your feet the first day, contact Award Staffing. We are experts at matching people who are prepared to succeed with the best companies.


Temping: Good – or Bad – Career Move?

With job mobility at an all-time high and job security seemingly at an all-time low, more people are taking temp jobs than ever. Taking a temp job feels like a short-term decision, but you have to factor every step you take into your longer term goals. Here are some impacts temp jobs can have on your career goals:

Short Term Financial Goals.
Obviously, money is a critical factor in any job search. Temp jobs can help you maintain a steady income stream while you continue working on long-term plans. Temping isn’t just a way to pay this month’s bills. Temping can improve your career prospects while keeping your job history and income steady through life’s little twists and turns.

How Will Temping Impact Me?
So many people work temp jobs at least once in their career! Prospective employers won’t bat an eyelash at short term contracts on a resume. You can even turn them into a strength by detailing valuable skills and training you picked up at each stop.

Will Long Term Employment Be Affected?

You can still apply for other jobs while temping. Most companies take applications online and start the interview process through introductory e-mails and phone calls. They will respect that you have current work to schedule around and rarely make that an issue.

Can Temping Be a Launchpad?

A lot of companies prefer hiring temps and transitioning them to full time after they have proved their worth. Temping is also a great way to improve your network in your field or to learn new skills and gain new knowledge.

If you’re looking for a new job, contact Award Staffing. We can help place you in a job that is a good fit for your career goals and matches up what you’re currently seeking.

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:

Star Tribune names Award Staffing a 2017 Top 150 Workplace

Bloomington, MN June 26th, 2017

Award Staffing has been named one of the Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota by the Star Tribune. A complete list of those selected is available at StarTribune.com/topworkplaces2017 and will also be published in the Star Tribune Top Workplaces special section on Sunday, June 25.

Produced by the same team that compiles the 26-year-old Star Tribune 100 report of the best-performing public companies in Minnesota, Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction.  The analysis included responses from over 69,000 employees at Minnesota public, private and nonprofit organizations.

The rankings in the Star Tribune Top 150 Workplaces are based on survey information collected by WorkplaceDynamics, an independent company specializing in employee engagement and retention.

Award Staffing was ranked #57 on the small company list.

Star Tribune Publisher Michael J. Klingensmith said, “The companies in the
Star Tribune Top 150 Workplaces deserve high praise for creating the very best work environments in the state of Minnesota. My congratulations to each of these exceptional companies.”

Award Staffing has been proudly serving Minnesota companies and employees for nearly 30 years. Award is a staffing, recruiting and employment leader in Minnesota and takes pride in being a top workplace.   To learn more about Award Staffing, visit www.awardstaffing.com.



To qualify for the Star Tribune Top Workplaces, a company must have more than 50 employees in Minnesota. Over 2,000 companies were invited to participate. Rankings were composite scores calculated purely on the basis of employee responses.

The 5 Best Ways to Stand Out to a Prospective Employer

Getting a job interview is a big deal in a crowded job market, but you have to take the next step to seal the deal. You need to stand out to a prospective employer to get the job offer you deserve.

Here are 5 ways to help take you move from applicant to employee:

1) Make a Great First Impression. 

You don’t want to be hot sweaty and breathing hard from running across a parking lot during the interview. Get there with enough time to look relaxed and happy to be there when you meet. It should go without saying that you want to be dressed well and have your grooming spot on for the interview.

2) Know Your Company.

Research them online. You can check traditional sources like their website or Wikipedia (for larger firms) but use the search features on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn to get more up to date and insider type info. Knowing a lot about the company can make all the difference when it comes time to answer questions in an interview.

3) No Distractions!

A prospective employer won’t be impressed with your new ringtone. Turn the phone off and keep it in your pocket or purse, or better yet in the car. Same with gum, candy, or a drink.

Looking more interested in your texts than what a prospective employer has to say is not the right way to stand out!

4) Know What a Prospective Employer Wants!

Companies will tell you what they are looking for in their job post. Read it carefully. Make sure you understand every sentence on it regarding what they want from a new employee. Be prepared to demonstrate that you have all the skills and experience they are seeking. Showing a prospective employer how well you fit the bill with specific examples is a great way to stand out in an interview.

5) Follow Up.

An e-mail thanking them for their time and making yourself available for any follow-up questions can make all the difference.