Our Blog

January 17th, 2017

Job Hopping 101

Last week we laid the groundwork for job-hopping – a discussion of the pros and cons. But now that you have a good understanding of why and why not, how does that apply specifically to you? Maybe you don’t feel in sync anymore – the excitement has fizzled, your voice isn’t being heard, and your future outlook isn’t all that rosy. It’s time for the tough questions. Before you start, commit yourself to being honest with your answers.

1. Why do you want to move – what are your specific reason for switching jobs?
• Are you in conflict with your co-workers or boss?
• Have you lost interest in your tasks?
• Have you reached the top level for this position in this company?
• Do you need more challenge?
• Are you ready to make a career change, rather than the same job in a different company?
• Are you seeking a different culture?

2. Knowing why you want to change is important. Now that you have established the why, would changing make the right difference?
• Is the conflict rooted in my attitude? What part am I playing? Moving to a different job with the same personal issues won’t change anything except location.
• Why have you lost interest? Is it time for additional training or new certification or are there underlying physical issues that need your focus?
• Have you reached the top level at this company or in your field? Again, is it time to consider additional training and education?
• Is it time to take your experience and skills and turn them another direction?

3. What are your long-term career goals?

• Will a new job be a positive step forward in the long-term prognosis?
• What type of change would be best?
• Have I gained the skills and experience I need to move upward?
• Can I reach these goals best by leaving or by staying, but making changes in my present position and responsibilities?

4. What are the current hiring and opportunity trends in my industry?
• What direction is the best choice for my present experience/skills, as well as my future goals?
• What positions are “hot” and will stay in-demand?
• Am I ready to market myself?
• Does my resume reflect what companies are seeking?
• What changes are needed? How and when should I make them?

Choosing to do the job-hop dance is a personal decision – a big decision. Taking the time to sort through the issues, instead of rashly leaving will pay off in the end. Once you make the decision to move on, however, don’t waver in the wind. Don’t be paralyzed by indecision, fear, etc. Go for it. Tackle your resume. Research your markets. Be strong and confident in your interviews. You get the picture.

Connecting with a quality staffing firm like Springborn Staffing will help you be a winner. Here at Springborn, our consultants will help you make those important career decisions. We’ll help you discover when it’s time to move on and what position is ideal for your skills, experience, lifestyle, interests, etc. We specialize in making those perfect matches between talent and companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine. Contact us today.

Job Hopping 101

January 10th, 2017

Gone are the days of staying with a company for 30-40 years. In fact, many would say staying with a company for life is a sign of lethargy, rather than a sign of loyalty. But is the constant hop a better career builder? Many potential employers consider too many hops on your resume a red flag. So where is the line? When does moving around help your career to move forward? How do you know it’s time to hop? When should you ride the wave?

For clarity, let’s begin with the pros and cons of job-hopping

Pros

Self-discovery: Walking away from college with a degree in hand is rarely an indication that you know exactly what you want to do. There are usually multiple directions to take said degree. Working in various positions not only gains skills and experience, but it also helps you decipher what defines the best job for you.

Experience Builder: Job-hopping can often be a surefire route to expand your repertoire of experience.

Increased Responsibility/Authority: Job-hopping often results in increased responsibilities and positions of authority.

Financial gain: Most job-hopping includes a higher salary and who can complain about that.

Variety: The spice of life. Not only in responsibilities but your understanding of industries/businesses.

Wider Networking: The truth is, you meet more people, and increase your connections – which could be very beneficial in the future.

Cons

Self- discovery: Sometimes job-hopping hinders your opportunity to fully experience and position and learn what makes you tick, leaving you in that situation where you know what you want – after you left it behind.

Shallow Experience: A wide variety of experience can be beneficial, but when you hop too much, your experience is shallow. Face it; some skills take time to master. In those cases, less is more and employers know that.

Lack of Promotion: Promotions are awarded to people who have earned them. Hopping may give you an increase of responsibility, but a climb to the next level usually requires being there long enough to earn it.

Loss of long-term financial advantage: While hopping may result in a pay raise, it takes staying with a company to build a 401K. When employers are adding to employee funds, it usually takes several years to become vested. Hence, a hop before then means losing out on what the employer gave to your 401K.

Losing Opportunities: Employers seek commitment in upper-level positions. If you have too many hops on your resume, you may get passed over for an opportunity for which you are well-qualified. The potential employer may recognize your qualifications, but they don’t want to invest in hiring someone who will move on in a couple of years, leaving them needing to begin the extensive and expensive hiring process all over again.

Lack of relationships: A variety of jobs can widen your network, but leave little opportunity to deepen it. Building relationships within your network is an essential. Often it’s not the number of people you know, but rather how well you know them, that makes a difference.

Balancing the pros and cons begins with understanding and evaluating them regarding your career climb. Once you have a clear understanding, you are ready to make a wiser decision on leaving or staying. You are ready to ask all the right questions.

What are those questions? Check in with us next week for part II.

Springborn Staffing is here to help you make those important career decisions. We’ll help you discover when it’s time to move on and what position is ideal for your skills, experience, lifestyle, interests, etc. We specialize in making those perfect matches between talent and companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine. Contact us today.

Do your Critical Thinking Muscles Get a Daily Workout?

January 4th, 2017

Keeping your critical thinking muscle in prime condition may take diligence and consistent effort, but it’s time well spent – reaping a high ROI for your career.

So what exactly defines critical thinking?
Critical thinking goes beyond learning new information. It’s how you learn it and what you do with it. Remember, just because someone wrote it or said it – even if they are considered the expert – doesn’t automatically earn it a “real, truthful, objective” stamp. Being a critical thinker means you dig deeper, asking questions as you go. In other words:
• Learn to question things – withholding your judgment until you have evaluated the validity of a theory, proposition, course of action, etc.
• Listen to differing points of view – consider multiple perspectives, the reasoning behind each one, and the probable implications or consequences that will result when a particular viewpoint is applied to a situation.
• Ask questions that inspire more than a yes or no answer – dig for the Who? What? When? Why? How? and What if?
• Allow enough time to comprehend the information – defined by reasonable evidence – and make an educated conclusion.
• Examine the current situation, of course, but also consider the “big picture.” How will each option or point of view align with what’s practical and effective?

How can you develop your critical thinking muscles?
• Spend “brain time” each day. Consider a problem. It can be something from your own work or simply an issue from a local organization, your community, the government, etc. is facing. Look at it from different angles. Determine what you would view as viable options. Try to discern which options you would choose and why.
• Consider your “go to” perspectives on life issues. Do you need to redefine some areas? Do you need to reshape your intellectual standards? Who and what are influencing your life philosophies? (Note – these influences may be persuading your decision making) Keep a journal of your thoughts.
• Lose your ego. The greatest critical thinkers are focused on discerning truth, discovering effective solutions, resolving situations efficiently, rather than always being right. If someone has a better answer, they embrace it and learn.

Building strong critical thinking muscles empowers your career. Springborn Staffing recognizes the value of critical thinking. It’s one of the traits we watch for in candidates. If you’re looking for a new position that utilizes your critical thinking skills, contact us today. We will connect you with a Bangor or Portland, Maine company that values your talent – a place where you can grow professionally.

Going Out with a Bang!

December 27th, 2016

Is 2017 the Year You Retire? Are you ready? Many people, blue collar and white collar alike, have diligently built a financial plan for retirement, but now that the time is near, money isn’t the focus of their thoughts. Instead, they wonder what they are going to do with the extra time? Will they enjoy retirement or be bored, depressed, and frustrated? What if they actually hate it?

The truth is, we need to prepare for more than the financial aspect of retirement. We need to evaluate where we are at and where we want to be – and then, set goals. Here are some steps to help you ensure that retirement is just as fulfilling – if not more – than your career.

Evaluate You
• What brought you the most satisfaction in your career?
• Was it the people or the tasks? The time alone or working side-by-side with a team?
• What were the most annoying aspects of your work? What did you promise yourself that you will never do again?

Dream
• What special projects have you been putting off until retirement?
• What new skills do you want to develop? For example, photography, hothouse gardening, golf, artistic ventures, etc.?
• What charitable activities, ministries, civic organizations, etc. need someone with your skills and experience?
• What trips have you always wanted to take?

Make a Plan
• Setting goals isn’t just for your “working” years.
• Prioritize your “dreams” list and then make a one-yr., three-yr., five-yr. plan.
• Will you need to take a class?
• What are the financial demands that come with your dreams? Do you have enough set-aside or do you need to work part-time for “play money?”

Consider Finances
• Learn the ropes of Social Security and pension plans – including supplemental health insurance.
• Build up your emergency fund.
• Create a cash pocket for basic needs until everything falls into place.
• Create a new “budget.” You might not need as extensive of wardrobe, but you might want more “fun” money.

Ease into Retirement
• Take your retirement in steps.
• Consider reducing your hours for a while before totally quitting.
• Organize a project before your final day, so you’re ready to tackle it before you feel lonely, bored, etc.
• If retirement includes a change of living quarters, work out the details ahead of time.

Don’t be intimidated by the unknowns – make your retirement years, your best years. And if you’re looking for that in-between position to help you ease into your retirement, come to Springborn Staffing. We care about you, your career, and your retirement. Contact us today – we have a match for you.

Holiday Tidbits from Springborn Staffing

December 20th, 2016

Poinsettia Beauties – for Brightening your Decor
Poinsettias have been making Maine beautiful for the holidays since the mid1800s. An exotic plant native to Central America, it was brought into the states by Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, America’s first ambassador to Mexico and the founder of the national science and art institute, which became the Smithsonian Institution. Originally called the painted leaf or Mexican fire plant, it was named the Poinsettia in honor of Dr. Poinsett in 1836. The poinsettia’s bright red and white colors quickly made it a popular choice for the Christmas holidays. Following these tips for their care will keep them blooming for the entire season and longer.
Temperature:
• 65 – 70 degrees F during daylight hours
• 60 degrees F during the night
Light:
• Natural light is essential
• Display your poinsettia in front of a sunny window
• Keep some space between the plant and the window pane
Water:
• Allow soil to become dry to touch before watering
• Use room temperature water and water until soil feels moist
• Don’t allow the plant to sit in dish of water

Soul Beauties – for Brightening your Spirits
In the rush of shopping, baking, decorating, parties, and last minute work deadlines, we can often feel overwhelmed and stressed out at Christmas. Not to mention the typical family tensions that may arise. Following these tips will help you enjoy the holidays before they overrun your emotional health.
Gratefulness:
• Take time each day to express gratefulness – for anything from a hot breakfast to a child’s laughter or discovering the perfect gift
• Take time to say thank you – to someone for something you tend to take for granted
Take care of you:
• Say yes to less – better to enjoy a few activities than be stressed out over many.
• Balance those extra sweets with protein and veggies; guard your rest and do little things for exercise, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Take time for “Christmas”:
• Pause and absorb the beauty of holiday decorations
• Inhale the “smells” of Christmas
• Sing those once-a-year holiday songs

Foodie Beauties – for Blessing Friends and Family
Simple ideas for making your favorite people feel a little more special.
Hot Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese
• Place a 3oz. square of cream cheese on a holiday plate.
• Pour hot pepper jelly (or any jelly that tickles your palate)
• Serve with crackers.
Peppermint Twist
• Serve candy canes as stirrers with hot chocolate or coffee.
• It adds a zest of perk-you-up peppermint.
Cheesy Ham Roll-ups
• Roll out a tube of crescent rolls – push seems together.
• Place shave ham slices over dough
• Sprinkle with your favorite shredded cheese.
• Roll up, cut in slices, and lay on cookie sheet.
• Bake according to package directions for a quick and easy snack.

Above all, best wishes to all our clients, candidates, and associates. Merry Christmas from the staff at Maine’s leading staffing firm – Springborn Staffing.

Emotional Intelligence and You – the Candidate

December 13th, 2016

(Emotional Intelligence – Part III; Read Part I and Part II)
“Emotions need to be taken seriously,” says Sigal Barsade, professor of management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. “They can provide a company with information [about] what people really feel and can help predict what kind of decisions will be made, what kind of behavior will occur, and what types of relationships will be formed.”
In fact, say Travis Bradberry and John Antonakis, “The average person has more than 400 emotional experiences every day. The problem is that our brains are hard-wired to give emotions an upper hand over logic and rational thought. Our instinctual emotional reactivity can serve us well in extreme or dangerous situations—such as when a vehicle pulls out in front of us —but not nearly so well when someone verbally attacks us in a public setting or even just says something that conflicts with our judgment.

The truth is, an understanding of what emotional intelligence (EI) is (capacity to identify, evaluate, and manage emotions in ones’ self as well as in other people) and how it impacts people and relationships (helping you steer through the complex social aspects work or school, as well as empowering as a leader and influencer) can most certainly impact your workplace success. It can assist you in the day-to-day on the job or help you land a new position. In fact, many employers place as high of a priority on a candidate’s emotional intelligence as they do on their education, skills, and experience. That’s because People with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time.

If a job interview is in your future, be prepared for questions that reach beyond the traditional “What are your skills, work experience, and training?” More and more employers are taking the time to consider and evaluate the emotional side of job applicants as they ask questions to gauge emotional intelligence. For example:
• What is a common perception people have of you?
• Can you describe a time when you experienced a work-related setback?
• What are the top factors you attribute to your success?
• What drives and inspires your life? Your passion for work?
• Tell me about the most rewarding work-related accomplishment you’ve experienced. What made this event the “most rewarding”?

In general, prepare to be stretched, to have your emotional side probed, prodded and uncovered. If you can respond well to these types of questions, as well as maintaining a strong presence in skills and experience, you will certainly excel in your career.

At Springborn Staffing we place a high value on strong candidates – talent that excels in skills and experience, yes, but also is defined by a high level of EI. We match these candidates with best-fit positions in top companies. Contact us today and give your career a boost.

How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence (EI – Part II)

December 6th, 2016

Last week in part one, we covered the why emotional intelligence (EI) is a valued commodity in candidates. Today we will share key tips for building a team of individuals with EI – the do’s and the don’ts – the right questions to ask – the clues to watch.

First, here’s a look at what doesn’t work in assessing EI.

Personality tests
This approach fails to give adequate answers for two reasons. 1) Personality and emotional intelligence are not one in the same and 2) The specific competencies of IE – namely positive outlook, achievement orientation, empathy, or inspirational leadership – are not addressed in a personality test.

Self-report tests
Again, this tactic is flawed for a number of reasons. A person who does not possess self-awareness will not be able to judge his/her level of self-awareness. Plain and simple. On the other hand, a person who is adept in the area of self-awareness will have the ability to cover up weak areas and possibly even fudge the truth to try to land the job.

So, what does work in uncovering emotional intelligence in the interview?

Create a warm, conversational interview atmosphere.

When you make an applicant feel comfortable by creating a more casual, informal setting, you encourage the applicant to open up to you. To break the ice, begin with the expected, “normal” questions about the person’s education, background and work experience. The more the applicant “settles in,” the more forthcoming he/she will be, thereby revealing more of his/her inner qualities.

Then ask questions that demand a thoughtful answer.

If you ask only questions that allow for vague, generic answers, don’t expect to get much useful information. The same goes for questions that are answered easily with a memorized response. Instead ask specific questions that demand detailed answers, preferably ones that must use real-life scenarios and hands-on experience as examples.

You want to present pondering type inquiries that will make the applicant think, such as these shared by Carolyn Sun:

• If you were starting a company tomorrow, what would be its top three values?
• Did you build lasting friendships while working at another job?
• What skill or expertise do you feel like you’re still missing?

Watch for signs of these traits or characteristics that point to a healthy emotional intelligence.

• Body language that matches verbal interaction
• A difficult-to-contain passion about one’s work
• The ability to focus on the interviewer(s)
• A demonstrated ability to interact well with others
• A “cup half full” attitude
• An eagerness to learn and explore new things
• The ability to listen attentively and not dominate the conversation
• A nature that is not averse to change
• Values that give top priority to honesty and integrity
• A demonstrated respect for others
• A realistic view of his/her own qualifications and skills

After the interview – talk to references

Insist on a personal conversation with the candidate’s references rather than a letter or, even worse, a generic form. An actual conversation allows for specific and pointed questions and the exchange of multiple examples and details. What the person tries not to convey may be as telling as what he/she does share.

A workforce, which is adept at dealing with change. An office of individuals who understand and can motivate others. Staff, who can manage both their own and others’ positive and negative emotions. Those are the type of people you want to fill your employee rosters.

And that’s where Springborn Staffing can assist you. As Maine’s leading staffing company, our experts can direct you to the best candidates – those who have not only the skills and experience but also have a high level of emotional intelligence – to meet your specific staffing needs. Contact our team today.

Emotional Intelligence: Part I

November 29th, 2016

Why It Matters

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. That’s an alarming statistic for the company’s bottom line.

That’s why many companies are changing their hiring methods and shifting the focus from a candidate’s depth of education or technical skills and certifications to their emotional intelligence. They’re looking for an approach with the potential for better, longer-lasting results.

It’s a valid shift. There’s much to be learned from examining the various components that make up “emotional intelligence” (EI or EQ). Characteristics of emotional intelligence – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and a variety of other “social skills – are now recognized for the crucial role they play in job success. In fact, the top five reasons why employers are placing value on emotional intelligence are because candidates with a high EI:

• Usually remain calm under pressure
• Resolve conflict effectively
• Are empathetic to colleagues, and act accordingly
• Lead by example
• Typically put more consideration into business decisions

These valuable traits have a huge impact on a person’s ability to work well with others, deal with change, be an effective leader and/or team player, and in general, attain a satisfying level of success in the workplace.

According to Laszlo Bock, head of people operations for Google, “When someone is just “book smart,” they may not necessarily have emotional intelligence and therefore have a harder time learning from their mistakes.”

Emotional Intelligence isn’t just a buzz word – it makes a powerful difference for your company. Successful companies have learned to look beyond IQ, work experience, specific training and skills during the hiring process. Yes, of course, they matter, but assessing emotional intelligence is every bit as important. That’s why it’s more than worthwhile to learn how to tune-in to these valuable attributes as you sort through job applicants.

So, what clues indicate a candidate’s EI? What interview style and questions help you measure EI levels? What doesn’t work? We’ll share the answers to these questions in next week’s blog, “Emotional Intelligence – Part II – How to Hire for It.”

The Springborn blog with key information and insight is just one way we serve our valued clients. Your mission is our mission. Your goals are our goals. We are here every day to meet your employment needs. From temp, temp to hire, direct placement, contingent, and executive search to HR consulting, and self-service, we supply top talent with high EI for Banking, Finance, Insurance, Legal Support, Accounting, Management, and Administrative Support. Contact us today and let Springborn Staffing help move your company forward.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2016

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Since 1963, when President Lincoln declared it a national holiday (thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale), family and friends have been celebrating the day with overladen tables, fun and games, and – of course – football. Inevitably, someone starts a round of “What I am thankful for . . .” or some version of giving thanks.

This is all good and wonderful, and it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it, but what about the remaining 364 days a year?

May we suggest that the giving of thanks, all year long, is the finest form of true thanksgiving.

Like any other accomplishment, developing an attitude of gratefulness is a decision, a conscious choice, a habit formed by focused purpose. You get the picture – make a plan.

Here’s a tip to get you started.

Choose a time each day
– we’re talking 5 minutes – to give thanks for five things. (or three, or one if that’s where you need to start). Give thanks for family, friends, health, shelter, and food, but also give thanks for:

Things you usually take for granted – like heat when you turn up the thermostat, mail delivery, stocked shelves when you stop at the store.
Things of intrinsic beauty – fluffy white clouds against an azure sky, a baby’s smile, a single rose with dew drops still on it,
Special moments – when your child crossed the finish line in first place. When he/she crossed in last place with a smile on his/her face, and you know that he/she is still a winner.
For big deeds done – when the team went beyond themselves, completing a highly successful project ahead of the deadline.
For small deeds done
– when a coworker grabbed a coffee for you too while getting his/hers.
For life that goes on – bringing the tiniest bits of hope – even when your pain is deep, your path is dark, and the storm rages.

The list is endless. So, don’t make it difficult – just give thanks. Keeping a notebook to jot them down in will give you a reminder on those days when you are in a rut and giving thanks is the last thing you want to do. The more you give thanks, the more you will want to – the truth is, those who make a habit of being thankful bring happiness to others, of course, but they also are happier themselves.

So here’s to a year of giving thanks. At Springborn Staffing, we begin our round of thanks by saying how we appreciate every staff member, candidate/employee, and client. You make a difference for us, and our goal is to make a difference for you. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy “giving of thanks” to you all.

Leadership Don’ts

November 15th, 2016

“If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
Benjamin Franklin

Characteristically, Leaders have too many responsibilities on their schedule. Why? Because they not only have the ability to evaluate the list, prioritize it, delegate, and then act; they also have the courage and motivation to follow through and do it. In other words, they execute.

If you want to leadership recognition:

Don’t wait for “perfect” opportunities. Accept the fact that life – both personally and professionally is often messy. Remember the adage that bravery isn’t the absence of fear, it’s facing your fears and moving forward? Leadership isn’t perfectly lined up responsibilities in ideal situations; it’s facing the muck, evaluating the options, making your best guess and going with it.

Quit complaining.
It’s a time waster and doesn’t change anything. Leaders expect negatives, problems, and less-than-ideal situations to arise. They consider them part of the challenge.

Don’t jump in without prioritizing: What must be done? What requires your expertise and/or authority? What can be delegated? What can wait? What causes more problems by waiting? These are the questions leaders ask – and answer.

Stop worrying about failure.
Failure happens. Leaders make wrong decisions. The key is that something happens; decisions were made. When the resulting action turns out wrong, leaders take responsibility, evaluate the situation, make the necessary changes, and move forward better equipped and prepared for the next decision. Letting the fear of failure stop you in your tracks not only prevents you from being a leader, but it also keeps you from being a good follower.

Throw away the word lazy. Leaders are self-disciplined and active. They don’t wait for someone to fire the gun – they evaluate the track ahead and start running.

Forget mediocracy.
Do and give the best you can do and give. Take time to learn and grow. Look for challenges that take you out of your comfort zone. Read. Participate in online discussions in your areas of expertise – and in new areas that will expand your knowledge, skills, and capabilities.

Building your leadership muscles take motivation and consistent effort, but you can do it. Know that Springborn Staffing is behind your efforts. Why? Because we are always on the lookout for true leaders. Our clients depend on us to provide candidates with strong leadership skills. Whether you’re a strong leader, or someone focused on building your leadership skills, contact us today. We are the experts at finding positions in Bangor and Portland, Maine’s leading companies.