End-of-Year Performance Reviews

The traditional end-of-year performance review is getting a new look from employers.

In today’s jobs market where employers are working hard to keep employees engaged, the performance review is taking on new importance as a retention and communication vehicle. In this recent Fast Company article, PSG Manager Greg Menzone offers timely advice for preparing for end-of-year performance reviews.

“Being proactive and planning ahead is the best way to maximize the benefits of your yearly performance review.”



PSG Recognized in Banker & Tradesman’s BEST Issue

Banker & Tradesman, a weekly publication covering financial services and real estate in Massachusetts, has released the results of its eighth annual Banker & Tradesman readers’ poll in which readers cast their votes for the best providers of services and goods in the banking and real estate professions. PSG is honored to be named among the top three providers in the Temp Agency category.


More than 13,000 votes were cast in the annual survey. Results are published in the October 19 issue of Banker & Tradesman and online at www.bankerandtradesman.com. Recipients will also be honored at the B&T BEST cocktail reception, held October 21 at the Omni Parker House in Boston.



PSG Named Largest Boston-Based Temporary Staffing Firm in Massachusetts

Professional Staffing Group is among the largest temporary staffing firms in Massachusetts, according to the Boston Business Journal. Ranking #3 on the BBJ’s annual list of the area’s largest temporary staffing firms, PSG is the largest firm listed with headquarters in Massachusetts. The rankings are based on the average number of temporary workers supplied daily in Massachusetts. This is the 13th consecutive year that PSG has been named to the list.


PSG provides staffing services for clients in need of office support, technical, creative, finance, healthcare and human resources talent in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Unemployment Drops to 8-Year Low

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.6 percent in May, the lowest it’s been since December 2007, according to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Massachusetts employers added 7,400 jobs in May, the ninth consecutive month of job gains.


Construction experienced the largest uptick in hiring of about 3,500 jobs. Retail gained 1,500 jobs, manufacturing added 600 jobs and financial activities added 700 jobs, while transportation and warehousing lost 500 jobs.


Over the past year, the state unemployment rate has fallen 1.2 percentage points and is nearly half of the peak unemployment rate of 8.8 percent in September 2009. Education and health services, as well as professional, scientific, and business services have grown fastest in the past year.


Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.

Managing Your References

Employment references can be a critical element to your job search; the right reference can make the difference to a hiring manager who is on the fence. In this Dice.com article, PSG Director Kristen Coppins shares advice for managing your references to ensure a positive experience.

Kristen’s advice includes keeping your references aware of your job search process and keeping your contacts current. Read more advice on managing references from Kristen and Dice.com here.




PSG Sponsors NEHRA’s Annual Diversity & Inclusion Gala, Student Scholarships

PSG was once again proud to sponsor the annual Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) Diversity & Inclusion Gala. At the Gala, which was held last week, PSG awarded scholarships for Boston students.


The PSG Scholarship was awarded to Bill Zhou, a senior at Boston Latin School, who led students in calling on the Massachusetts Code of Conduct for student discipline that is more fair and more respectful of students’ diverse backgrounds.


PSG was also part of the selection committee that chose Juliana Pena as the Blue Beacon Scholarship Winner, which is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Juliana was honored for her community service work to integrate students with special needs, low incomes, and minority backgrounds.


In this short video, Bill Zhou inspires us with his work to identify opportunities and work for change: 


Hear Juliana Pena explain the motivation behind her long hours spent creating a more inclusive community: 

2015 College Grads are Entering Strongest Entry-Level Job Market Since Before the Recession

A recent study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. indicates that this year’s job market for recent college graduates is the best in the post-Recession era.

The study found that unemployment for recent grads is declining. The most recent report shows the unemployment rate of 20- to 24-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees is at 4.4 percent, down from 6.4 percent in 2014. At its peak in 2011, the unemployment rate for this demographic group was 8.5 percent.

Trends impacting the entry-level job market include a rise in the number of Baby Boomers who are retiring, as well as an increase in the number of employees who are quitting their jobs for new opportunities. Job churn from these events increases the number of job openings overall.

More good news for recent and soon-to-be college grads:

Survey results published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that one-third of organizations (35 percent) have already hired college students to begin working before or after their 2015 graduation. Of the almost two-thirds (65 percent) of employers that have not yet hired graduates, the majority (71 percent) plan to hire graduates, an 18 percent increase since 2013.

Another survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that companies plan to increase hiring of college graduates by 10 percent over last year’s pace.

More than 1.8 million college graduates will enter the job market this year.

Adapting to a Candidate-Driven Job Market

This post was originally published in NEHRA’s April e-newsletter. 


New England-area employers and hiring managers are experiencing first-hand a shift to a candidate-driven job market. They’re finding that it’s become more difficult to land top talent and that candidates are increasingly in the driver’s seat.


This shift is a result of several market conditions that drive demand for skilled workers, including:

  • 4.8 percent – Massachusetts’ unemployment rate in March 2015
  • 10,500 jobs were added to the Massachusetts economy in March, about double the monthly average job growth over the past year
  • 2 percent of the U.S.’ eligible workforce is participating in the labor market; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor participation rate in March was the highest it’s been since June 2010
  • There are now 5.1 million job openings in the U.S., an increase from 4.2 million in 2014 and a rise of more than 21 percent


This demand for highly skilled workers – across all industries – continues to rise and has become a central challenge for recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiters and hiring managers are becoming well aware that this candidate-driven market exists and they are responding.


Highly skilled workers have many job openings to choose from, and are ultimately receiving multiple job offers during a typical job search. Skills and experience in IT, professional services and healthcare continue to be among the highest sought after. For example, temporary contractors with IT skills and experience are seeing multiple offers for future projects or permanent positions before wrapping up projects they’re currently on.


Not only are skilled candidates seeing multiple opportunities and then fielding several offers, but compensation and benefits are also affected. Salaries across the U.S. have remained mostly stagnant, but for highly skilled IT, Project Management, and niche financial and healthcare professionals, it’s a completely different story. One banking client of ours in Boston hires several experienced consultants to facilitate cyclical financial reporting projects. According to him, “Recently, there are just fewer immediately available candidates with the specific skills [he] needs to hammer through these reports, and they are able to demand higher hourly rates simply because of supply and demand.”


Our clients are faced with a critical decision over how much budget to allocate for each new hire. If they allocate too little, they will lose candidates to other offers. Large tech companies like Google and Facebook are setting new standards for both compensation and benefits, forcing other companies to follow suit. A large social media and tech company just outside Boston recently offered select highly skilled software engineers salaries at three to five times the market average, and is increasing company-provided lunch from three days per week to five days per week starting in July this year. Employers are trying to be flexible and think creatively about how they attract talent.


Companies in the Boston and New England area have been forced to rethink how they go about getting work done, the type of candidates they end up hiring, and the process through which they hire. It seems obvious, but I’ll elaborate a bit. In today’s economic climate, where demand for skilled workers has steadily increased, companies going through organizational change, merger or acquisition, implementations, upgrades, growth or decline will face difficulty finding available talent that meets their exact need. The more prerequisites or more specific the skill-set is, the harder it is to find the perfect match.


Hiring managers feel the pressure of time to meet deadlines and manage through change, and more frequently than ever before, they are utilizing temporary or contingent workers to fulfill those needs. According to the BLS and Staffing Industry Analysts, temporary workers as a percentage of total employment is at an all-time high and trending upward. Some firms find that it is faster and more affordable to utilize a staffing firm to hire a temporary consultant than to post a job and find the perfect full-time employee.


Hiring managers who hire quickly win. With a talent pool on the decline and demand on the rise, those who shorten the time it takes to find and onboard candidates are winning the best available talent when they need it most. Many of our clients have elected to trust our screening and interviewing process, asking us to send our best available candidates, rather than requesting to see and screen resumes and then interview themselves. This can mean the difference between getting the best available candidate or the second or third round, and it saves our clients money and time toward deadlines and goals.


On another note, clients who are generally more flexible with required skills and experience are finding access to alternative talent pools more efficient and successful than waiting for the perfect candidate to turn up. Intertwined in our screening and interview process is a detailed and rigorous extraction of skills and experience not appearing on resumes. Another way to speed the vetting and hiring process up a bit is simply by using technology – like Skype or other video conferencing tools – to ease requirements for meeting in-person.


At PSG, we rely heavily on our ability to build strong relationships with clients where this process is a true collaboration, and we commonly coach and advise clients on effective search techniques. In today’s tight market, shortening identification and onboarding time, being more flexible with prerequisites and offering competitive wages and benefits are keeping our clients at a competitive advantage in this new candidate-driven market.


If you or your company would like to discuss hiring in a candidate-driven market, please feel free to reach me at nbrown@psgstaffing.com or 617-250-1000.


Nicholas Brown is  Director – IT, Finance & Accounting, Creative and HR Staffing Solutions at Professional Staffing Group





PSG President Participates in ‘Sharktank’-like Event for Boston Startups

PSG President Aaron Green recently participated in a panel of expert judges at Boston’s “Pitch in the City,”  a competition in which seven local startups vied to win prizes.


Pitch in the City was organized by Banner Media and sponsored by Northeastern University. The winning startup, Tech Connection, is a staffing firm that connects minority workers in the tech market with companies that are looking for talent. Tech Connection founder Melissa James was once an employee at PSG!


“Boston is certainly a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship and ‘Pitch in the City’ showcased some talented, rising stars in our business community,” says Aaron Green, founder and CEO of Professional Staffing Group. “It was an honor to get to know each of the startups in the competition and we’re especially proud to support Melissa James and her company, Tech Connection, in her goal of spreading diversity among Boston’s tech community.”


Read more about Pitch in the City: http://baystatebanner.com/news/2015/apr/01/tech-connection-makes-best-pitch/?page=1



PSG Workshop Offers Interview Practice and Tips 

PSG recently held another workshop for job candidates. PSG managers Nicole Cassista, Katie Chisolm, Kristen Coppins, Brian Donovan and Rachel Frisbee presented tips and best practices for successful interviews and conducted mock interviews with each candidate.


Among the tips that managers shared were these Do’s and Dont’s:


Do: Prepare, prepare, prepare

Do: Conduct research

Do: Role play/practice

Do: Be honest/humble

Do: Stay positive

Do: Provide specific examples

Do: Be concise

Don’t: Focus on growth

Don’t: Discuss compensation

Don’t: Inflate skills (ie. Excel “expert”)

Don’t: Only ask questions about the company



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