Time Keeping: Grafton’s “On The Clock” Solution

By Greg Dabbs – Business Development Manager at Grafton Staffing

Grafton is more than just a staffing company. We’re always looking to find solutions that will help our clients with their day-to-day processes. Finding helpful solutions to problems, or making improvements, is part of what helps Grafton be a partner and not just a vendor.

Time Keeping

Grafton Staffing: On The ClockFor example, time keeping is something that every company would like to do as efficiently and accurately as possible. Wouldn’t you like to simplify that process as much as possible to focus on other things?

Grafton offers a product that is free to our clients that helps make time keeping much more efficient. It’s a web based time management system that improves accuracy. And we’ve heard from our clients that it makes the process of collecting, correcting, and monitoring employees time and submitting hours much easier.

We recently had another client begin using our “On The Clock” time keeping system and they love it. It saves them time collecting paper time cards and tracking employees down for last minute corrections or questions. Since the system is web based, they can manage time entries from any place where they have internet access.

Our On The Clock system punches employees’ time to the minute.

Our client’s employees can no longer fill out their time cards as being there from 8am to 5pm when they’re 15 minutes late. Monitoring this daily from their office allows them to address tardiness and other issues quickly so those issues don’t go unnoticed.

There are a couple options to have the employees punch in and out daily.

Some clients choose to set up a dedicated On The Clock computer at their office for employees to use to record their time in and out. Others can have a group punch station.

Our client opted to have a group punch so we installed an iPad on the break room wall. The employees come in daily and use the iPad to punch in and out. That information is stored for that employee for the approving manager to see and then approve for payroll. This option is great for warehouses and companies with departments in different buildings.

Our client reviews employee time entries every pay period and makes any corrections on their computer before approving and submitting electronically to Grafton.

We’re always looking for good partners. Let us know how we can help you!

References: Why They Are Worthless

By Cheryl Mayfield – Grafton Staffing

If you’ve ever applied for a job, a school, a loan, or even just an apartment lease, then chances are very good that you’ve been asked to provide a list of references that can speak to your outstanding character. Organizations will typically ask for these references because it makes them feel at ease granting you whatever it is that you’re applying for. In theory, references are a great idea because they add something that feels like “tangible proof” that you’re a qualified/deserving applicant.

However, references can be very misleading, costly, and a general waste of time.

Fake ReferencesFor example, if I’m applying for a job that I want, then of course I’m going to paint a picture of how qualified I am… even if that means stretching the truth a little bit.

Now, if you’re an employer considering me for employment, you’ll probably want to run a personal reference check to make sure that your new applicant is as wonderful as they claim. The issue with the personal reference is that I can simply ask a friend to give me a good review when the company calls. I can ask them to back up whatever wonderful qualifications I made up.

Reference checks are easy to fake. Just look at the reference scandal that is currently in the news with Lori Loughlin, faking her daughter’s college admission records.

You may be thinking that you’ll just check the person’s profile on LinkedIn to ensure that they worked at the same company. And while it’s a good idea to verify people on LinkedIn, chances are very good that they made some kind of friend when they were with this company and are using them to bolster their reputation or skill set. You have now been wrongfully misled by a reference check.

Some jobs require applicants to list their supervisors as references to make it a little more difficult to dupe the system.

Supervisors are harder to reach since their schedules are typically more demanding. You may be waiting days to a full week before you hear back from them on a reference check. Even once you do hear back, there is no guarantee as to what kind of information they’ll be able to provide on your candidate. They may have only worked with them in passing and in some cases, companies are not allowed to comment on a worker’s performance, positive or negative, for fear of law suits.

You’ve now wasted valuable time in the hiring process. This might cost you your candidate as the job market is hot and offers are being made quickly.

Essentially, a reference check is rarley going to get you concrete information or insight on your candidate, but may cost you lot of time getting the feedback. Instead, I would recommend asking thorough questions that will help to identify whether or not a candidate is qualified, while they are sitting in front of you during the interview!

Give Them a Break (Room)!

By Cheryl Mayfield – Grafton Staffing

Break RoomA break gives you time to recharge and refresh both your mind and your body to make certain that you don’t hit a plateau in the middle of the day. I’m sure you know how big a difference it can make to step away from the whirlwind of what is going on at your desk and get a cup of coffee. You come back feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle another project!

In fact, studies have shown that taking a break is so important. If you work for more than 8 continuous hours, you hit a plateau. And the effectiveness of the work you’re doing goes down. Which is why it’s so important to take breaks during your work day to ensure maximum efficiency.

Break Rooms in the Workplace

It doesn’t matter if you work in dining, construction, recreation, or an office job – every type of work environment should offer some place for employees to rest up and recharge.

Employees come back from breaks feeling better and are more likely to perform better in terms of quality of work. Papers get filed faster, concrete gets poured faster, plates of food get cooked faster. So, it only makes sense to offer a “rest area” or break room for your employees – after all, they’re your most valuable asset.

A rest area can be as simple as a few chairs placed around a water fountain or as extreme as a full room with a stocked fridge, couches, and a flat screen television. No matter how big or small the area is, it should be stocked with water. Studies have shown that dehydration slows production by 12%. There needs to be a place to sit down, and if possible, it should be located apart from the normal bustle of the daily work flow.

A break room not only shows that you’re aware of maximizing efficiency, it also proves that you care about the health and well-being of your employees.

Employees are more likely to work hard and be loyal if they’re appreciated and taken care of by their employers.

In the recruiting world, we’ve seen a lot of candidates that are hesitate to leave a workplace that offers a good break room or “takes care of employees” even if the job offers better pay. They like that their current employer is making the feel valued.

A tired employee can be a dangerous employee.

Think about it, if you have a nurse working a 12-hour shift that hasn’t had a chance to take a 15-minute break, do you really want that nurse poking you with a needle? They need a chance to sit down, hydrate, and turn their minds off of “high-alert” mode. It’s important not only for the well-being of your company but also for the safety of your employees to ensure that breaks are taken and that proper break rooms are available.

So… if you want loyal, hard working employees who make fewer mistakes, set up an adequate break area and ensure that your team uses it!

7 Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers

Cheryl MayfieldPost written by Cheryl Mayfield

Unemployment is at an all-time low. With more jobs than workers, it’s definitely a candidate’s market.

Because of those factors, hiring managers have to adjust to the new status quo as most candidates have other options on the table.

With that in mind, here are some tips that will help make sure you, as a hiring manager, have successful and meaningful interviews.

Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers

1. Interview Flexibility is Key

The first step is to have flexible interview timeframes for candidates. With so many companies hiring, you don’t want to lose a great candidate simply because you couldn’t conduct the interview in a timely fashion.

To maximize your chances of getting the top players, reach out to applicants within 48 hours of receiving their resumes and schedule an interview within 72 hours.

2. Research Your Candidates Before the Interview

Before going to the interview, do research on your candidates. Look them up on LinkedIn and check out their experiences and interests. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with their resume. Why? Because nothing looks quite so bad as a manager reading the resume in front of the candidate as though it’s the first time they’ve ever seen it.

3. Get Your Questions Ready and Take Notes

number 7Come prepared with a few questions written down to ask candidates and take notes so you have them when you’re comparing candidates.

Questions should be relevant to the job at hand and should also include a couple of brain scratchers that give candidates the chance to actually speak to their skillsets.

For example, instead of asking a candidate “Are you good at time management?” ask them how they manage their time efficiently on a busy day.

This way you get more than a Yes/No answer and it will be easier to determine if the candidate has the skillsets you’re looking for.

4. Limit Personality Assessment Questions

While personality definitely plays into the culture of any team environment, it will be hard to get a good gauge on a candidate’s personality through just one meeting.

People can be nervous and are usually on their “best behavior” during a job interview. To save time and have a productive interview, limit personality assessments to one or two questions.

5. Allow Time for the Candidate Questions

During an interview it is easy to get caught up asking the candidate so many questions that you end up running out of time before the candidate has time to voice any of the questions they might have about the company/position.

Allow at least 10-15-minutes toward the end of the interview for the candidate to ask questions about the position, company, culture, etc.

This is also a great time to throw in some interesting facts or “hooks” about the role that will entice the candidate to want the position even more. For instance, let them know that you offer a quarterly bonus, just unveiled great new software, etc.

6. Let Candidates Know You’re Interested

If the interview goes well and you’re very interested in the candidate, don’t be afraid to let them know. Candidates are more likely to hold out for a company if they know that they’re wanted and feel good about the opportunity and the interview process.

7. Make Sure Candidates Know Next Steps

While it’s fine to want to interview several different candidates, realistically you might interview the best candidate first and lose them by the time you actually make a hiring decision.

The market is moving fast and you should too. You don’t want to lose a great candidate by dragging your feet during the hiring process. You should ideally end each interview by letting candidates know when they can expect to hear from you…and then be sure to follow up at that time or before!

I hope these tips were helpful. What other tips do you have from your hiring experiences that might benefit our audience? Leave a comment below!

5 Ways Employers Are Adapting to the Highly Competitive Employee Market

Jeff Hagen

Jeff Hagen

Post written by Jeff HagenStaffing Exec ◉ Educator ◉ Award Winning BBQ’r ◉ DIY Hack ◉ Rotarian

It’s been interesting to reflect back and see how many of our clients have been able to adapt their hiring processes to fit the needs of a highly competitive employee market.

It’s now very common for technical candidates to receive a job offer every 7-10 days!

The faster we move candidates through the process without sacrificing quality standards, the better chance the employer has at landing the top candidates.

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Direct Experience Isn’t Always Necessary

When appropriate, we’ve seen employers look past direct experience. Let’s face it, not every position in a company requires previous experience doing the same thing.

2. Softened Educational Requirements

We’ve seen many employers review the educational requirements for positions. Instead of a Bachelor’s Degree, candidates have been qualified with an Associate’s Degree and 2+ years of experience.

In fact, we’ve been able to document that certain positions where we’ve hired people with a Bachelor’s Degree end up having a higher turnover and error rate than those we hire without a Bachelor’s Degree for the same position.

fiveNow is a great time to review educational requirements since many higher education institutions are offering certificate programs based on specific job positions.

For example, the KU Edwards campus now offers a coding boot camp where students graduate with a certificate to be a full-stack web developer.

3. Adjust Your Pre-Employment Screening Timelines

Please review your pre-employment screening policies and make sure they’re appropriate. We work with many clients who require extensive background checks.

These people may work in a regulated industry or around controlled substances. If they’ve been in the industry, they’ve been through the process and expect that it doesn’t happen overnight.

However, if your company isn’t in one of these industries and the process is taking over a week, the bottom line is that it’s likely costing you quality candidates.

We’ve seen companies with a typical pre-screening process takes 4-6 weeks for an entry-level job. Meanwhile, their competitors’ processes take 3-5 days for the same type of position.

4. Centralized Hiring Process

A couple of clients have centralized their hiring process through HR. This has helped keep managers, HR and staffing suppliers on the same page throughout the process. Not only do we all know where we are in the hiring process, but we also have checks and balances on hiring approvals and budgets.

5. Provide Interview Schedule Times

In the last six months, a couple of clients have given us the interview schedule times each week. Now when we’re on the phone with candidates, we can schedule them for an interview right then instead of going back to the client for interview times. This simple step could save a day or two on the process.

This also ensures that the interviewer will be around that week. Several times a year we will work a position only to find out that the interviewer will be on vacation or out of the office.

There’s no time like the present to be smarter and more efficient with your hiring process. Take the ideas mentioned about and apply them to your process today.

What other changes have you and your company made to adjust to the highly competitive employee market?

It’s a Candidate Market: 8 Things Employers Need to Know

Greg DabbsPost written by Greg Dabbs, Business Development Manager

The unemployment rate in the U.S. is at an all-time low.

This has led to a tight candidate market and has left companies scrambling to find good employees. Every company I speak to sings the same tune…”It’s hard to find the good ones right now.

Companies of all sizes are having to be more resourceful and keep their options open to other methods of finding good help.

Many employers are using our services and expertise to find top talent.  With that in mind, here are eight things that will help you stay on track to position your company to secure the best candidates in the market.

  1. 24-to-48 hour turnaround time on interviews.

Once you identify candidate resumes you’re interested in, contact them right away.  Every hour and every day that goes by decreases your chances of getting in front of those candidates.

  1. Timely feedback and decision making on candidates.

You have to decide quickly in this market on hiring candidates you interview. Candidates have options right now and it’s likely that most are interviewing with multiple companies who are just as eager to find good people. The longer you take to decide on hiring good candidates (even if it’s just 1-2 days after the interview), the more likely they will slip through your fingers.

  1. Be more flexible on your interview schedule.

eight Most of the good candidates in this market are currently working somewhere else and may be actively or passively looking for a change.  Be willing to interview in the evenings or on the weekends. It will help you increase your volume of quality interviews if you open your interview window.

  1. Re-evaluate your current compensation.

Pay rates over the last four years have been steadily increasing. You don’t want to be left behind by ABC company down the street who just bumped their pay rates by $2-$3 per hour. Staying competitive with your pay in this market is critical to attracting better talent.

  1. The good candidates read reviews on your company before interviewing.

Remember that the good candidates are interviewing your company as well. Give a good overview of the job and answer their questions thoroughly. Sell your company to the candidate and be honest about the job and the company culture.

  1. Candidates care more than ever about company culture. 

Highlight the unique things about your company that set yours apart from others. For example fitness programs, fun upcoming events, corporate movie night, themed office lunches etc.

  1. Keep an open mind to candidates you may not have considered if it wasn’t such a tight candidate market.

Don’t let some job hopping scare you these days. Many candidates might be in a different place in their lives as they’ve dealt with the changing economy. What you’re offering may be exactly what they’ve been searching for in a career. Be open to candidates that might not have the exact skill set but who are eager to learn and possess those intangibles that can’t be taught.

  1. Be careful of the “perfection” mindset.

Don’t be stuck on finding the “perfect 10”.  Always be evaluating the skill sets that are “must haves” and the things that might not be as important (and can be trained).  Always be mindful of the top four or five things on a job description that are most important.

Please let me know if this helps give you some insight on this market! Good luck on your quest for the best!

The 3 Most Common Resume/Candidate Assumptions

Matt DelairPost written by Matt Delair, Recruiting Operations Manager | Avid Hunter & Fisher | Netflix Junkie | Rarely Serious | Work Hard to Play Hard

Making assumptions is human nature.

It could be assuming someone’s personality based on their tone of voice. Or assuming someone is boring/buttoned up outside of work based on their tidiness and organization in the workplace. The list goes on and on.

Unfortunately, we all tend to assume things to save us time, effort, money, etc.

Anyone who has worked in the staffing industry, or even people who have given a resume to an internal hiring manager as a referral, have heard assumptions about candidates based solely on their resumes. Here are the three we hear most often:

1. “He/She is overqualified and will leave for a higher paying position.”

When I hear “He/She is overqualified” I feel like saying “You’re welcome for finding an overqualified and knowledgeable person to fill your opening!” But it’s the last part of the statement that gets me…“…will leave for a higher paying position.”

Any good recruiter anticipates this type of thinking and addresses it before presenting the “overqualified” candidate.

assumptionsYou never know where a candidate is in their life. Maybe they have flexibility on their salary, hours, etc. Asking good questions helps overcome inaccurate client assumptions.

2. “This candidate’s job history is too choppy.”

Sometimes that can be true. One year here, two years there, and the person has held every type of position under the sun.

That said, some job seekers have jumped contract to contract and haven’t been offered a full-time position. Or maybe they haven’t found the right full-time position for their situation.

Again, these are answers you can uncover before presenting these “job hoppers” to clients.

Once you have those answers, it minimizes the opportunity for a hiring manager to make incorrect/inaccurate assumptions.

3. “He/She doesn’t have enough experience.”

Obviously, if the client is looking for a certain amount of years of experience, and the candidate presented doesn’t meet that requirement, then you have to keep searching. If the candidate does meet that requirement, then asking detailed questions about their experience will help overcome any assumptions the hiring manager may make.

Clients like to hear questions about the exact piece of equipment this person will be operating or what exact formulas are used most of the time in a specific program, etc.  It shows you know what they do and that you know what they’re looking for.

Assumptions made off a person’s resume before even speaking to them just doesn’t make much sense, especially in a competitive job market. At Grafton, we work hard to really get to know our candidates so that we can overcome any incorrect assumptions hiring managers might have.

In the end, asking great questions is the key to it all.

We Believe That Transparency Is Everything

Rich Lewis

Rich Lewis

Post written by Richard Lewis, Vice President, Staffing Services 

What is transparency and what does it mean to clients and candidates in the Staffing/Recruiting Industry?

Is transparency just another staffing industry buzzword for blogs, coffee mugs and other staffing swag?

I have 20+ years in the industry working for the big national companies, start-ups and mid-sized firms in my career and I’ve learned a great deal at each.

What Does Transparency Mean?

To me, transparency means people (clients/candidates) trust you to share information that may/will impact them either positively or negatively. Transparency instills trust, openness and sharing, and fosters an effective communication structure.

Transparency starts with the organization you work for. If everyone isn’t onboard with the culture, there will be challenges. Unfortunately, this is where the staffing and recruiting industry has been for too long and has been slow to change.

At Grafton, transparency, as it relates to our clients, is that our motives are clear, easily perceived and that we don’t have any hidden agendas.  We exhibit this through our actions and our service rather than our marketing materials.

A model of transparency and partnership benefits Grafton’s clients because they know what to expect day in and day out.

For the contractor/temporary candidates we place, transparency enhances job security, promotes a higher quality of work and limits typical staffing challenges/misconduct because they’re aware of the motivations behind decisions and policies. They understand the “why”.

TransparencyTransparency Tips for Clients

  1. Agreements: Contracts/Agreements are necessary for both the client and the agency as both parties need to cover their bases. Look for soft costs (mark up on drug/background checks) and recruiting practices of the agency relative to their signed clients.(Example: Grafton recently retained a client who had used a specific agency for most of their recruiting efforts. However, they lost a couple of solid employees they’d hired Contract-to-Hire. In one of the exit interviews, they learned that their staffing partner had recruited the person out of the company. The client yelled FOUL!  When the client asked the agency why they were recruiting directly from them (their client) they said it was in the contract that agency had the right to recruit the person one year after placement.  This transparency issue has become more evident as the unemployment rate has dropped below 3% locally.)
  2. Process/Screening: Most quality staffing agencies market that they have a detailed screening and interviewing process. They tell clients that they interview the candidates in their office prior to submitting them for consideration.How do you know this actually happens? We tell our clients to ask Grafton candidates and candidates from other agencies what their experience has been like working with the “Agency”.When/where did they interview, etc.?You want to avoid agencies that simply send the resume, wait to see which candidates the clients are interested in and then bring them in to interview. Are you getting a return on your investment?
  3. Pricing: As a client, you want to know what the agency is paying the contractor. You don’t want them overpaid as you might have difficulties converting to your payroll. You don’t want them paid less. We’ve even heard that some agencies sell a 40% markup but then take $1-$2 from the candidate’s pay to increase their margin.

Transparency Tips for Candidates

  1. If an agency offers you a position but tells you that you need to walk out of your current job without giving professional notice, you should be VERY skeptical. Why would any professional agency or client organization ask you to burn bridges with your current employer by walking out without providing notice?  Always ask yourself: Is this in my best interest or the agency’s best interest?
  2. Let’s say you’re considering a job change and are an established core employee or contractor making $17/hr. If an agency calls you about a Contract-to-Hire opportunity and tells you it’s $21/hr., what do you do? If you proceed to interview with the client, it’s within your right to ask the interviewer the specifics of the position. For example, is this a temporary or contract-to-hire position? What are the duties? If the agency offers you a contract-to-hire opportunity, ask for it in writing. If they refuse, you should decline the offer. Don’t give up a good job currently for a temporary job! Always get an email or written documentation.
  3. If, after your interview, the agency calls and offers you the job, ask for the offer in writing either in an email from the recruiter you’re working with or a written letter. You have every right to confirm the pay you’re being offered. In fact, we often hear from candidates who say they were promised a certain hourly rate but when it came to payday, they were making $2-3/hr. less than they were originally offered over the phone. When they called the agency to dispute the rate, the temporary employee was told that the pay-rate they were offered doesn’t kick in until they convert to the client’s payroll. OUCH! Always cover your bases and ask for documentation.

In closing, we believe that transparency is everything. It requires us to be accountable, ethical and foster strong partnerships with clients and candidates. At Grafton, transparency is built into everything we do. We’ll never have it any other way.

5 Tips for Choosing a Staffing Firm

Ideally, you want to choose a staffing firm you can trust. After all, you’ll be partnering with them to help manage your most important asset – your employees. Here are a few ideas to help you make the right choice.

1. Trust your first impression
Is the firm professional? Does it seem to match your company’s culture?

2. Learn about the firm’s history
Has it been around long enough to know the market and your industry? Are past clients happy with the results? And how long has the current leadership team been in place? Management churn can affect quality.

3. Understand how they recruit and retain workers
Their workforce will be your workforce. Get details. What type of pay and benefits do they offer? What’s their turnover rate?

4. Look for a good match
Seek a staffing partner that understands your company, your industry and the competition for staff in your field.

5. Find out about the firm’s strengths
Does it focus on filling short- or long-term vacancies? How does its experience match your needs?

These five tips will give you a solid start for choosing a staffing firm that meets your needs. We welcome you to ask us these questions and more.

Why Use a Staffing Firm?

Why use a staffing firmStaffing firms can help you in two primary ways: creating workforce flexibility and helping you access qualified talent.

Workforce Flexibility and Fluidity

You’ve just landed a large project, and now you need to staff it. You are short on time. And you may not know how long you’ll need the new workers.

When you partner with Grafton, we’ll work with you to fill today’s open position while preparing for future growth, staffing turnover and project ebbs and flows.

First-Class Talent

Three out of four staffing service firm customers rank the quality of the employees they get from staffing firms as good as or better than their own employees. Grafton has a history of using the highest quality employees and ensuring they meet or exceed our clients’ needs.

Less Paperwork

We take care of background checks, employment screenings and paychecks. No more lost time, energy and money on employees who don’t work out.

If you’re looking for staffing flexibility or need access to a bigger, better talent pool, give us a call.