Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.4 Percent

The Massachusetts unemployment dropped to 4.4 percent in March, down from 4.5 percent in February, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

 

According to the state, there are 155,800 unemployed residents in Massachusetts, out of a labor force of nearly 3.6 million Massachusetts residents.

 

The state added 6,900 jobs last month, with the largest gains occurring in the construction industry, according to preliminary job estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Nationally the unemployment rate is 5 percent.

Q1 2016: a look at the numbers

The first quarter of 2016 is behind us and we took a look at key data points from this period to illustrate the state of our jobs market.

 

We found that:

 

 

  • For the first time in eight years, the national unemployment rate fell below 5 percent. Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 6.05.56 PMThis is the lowest rate since 2008 and markedly improved from a high of 10 percent in 2009.

 

  • Although employers across the nation added 242,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in February, job growth in Massachusetts has slowed; revised numbers now show that job growth peaked in 2014 at 2.4 percent.

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  • After strong growth in 2015, the rate of wage increases has slowed so far in 2016 with a yearly growth in average hourly earnings at 2.2 percent, only slightly ahead of the inflation rate.

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  • The overall share of Americans in the labor force ticked up to 62.9 percent.

 

 

  • Temporary help employment showed little change from January to February (-0.3%), but it was 3.0% higher in February 2016 than in February 2015, according to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Year-to-year staffing job growth averaged 3.8% per month over the past 12 months.

Ask A Recruiter: What to Wear to a Job Interview

Anxiety over what to wear to a job interview is a common occurrence, especially if you’re switching industries or haven’t been on a job interview in awhile.

PSG recruiters have joined together to illustrate the difference between different attires and provide insight on which one is most appropriate for your next job interview.

In general, dress codes are similar across industries. For example, technology companies and startups, such as TripAdvisor, Google, etc., tend to dress Smart-Business Casual. Higher education institutions and medical industry organizations lean toward Business Casual, and law practices, financial institutions – like Wellington Management – and formal business environments dress in Business Professional Attire. You’ll see Creative dress at advertising and marketing firms, art galleries and graphic design firms. Remember, there are exceptions to every “rule” so it’s always a good idea to confirm the dress code with your recruiter and through research before the interview.

Here’s what we mean when we use these terms to describe an organization’s dress code:

Smart-business casual– This is likely seen in a tech environment and at startup companies, etc. This style of interview dress could be considered to be a blend of “business casual” and “creative.” You should still have a polished appearance, but should consider adding a unique and varied component to express your personality. This could include a printed, more unique tie or bowtie, a colorful necklace, or a printed blazer instead of conventional black.

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Business casual– This would typically be seen in higher education institutions, the medical field, and a number of other industries. Business casual refers to a professional look, but a full suit is not needed. You should feel comfortable wearing separates instead of a full suit. This could be a dress pant with a collared shirt and v-neck sweater for men, or a solid dress skirt with printed blouse and a solid cardigan for women. Please remember that “Business Casual” does not equal “casual.” Denim should not be worn to a business casual interview. For interview purposes, if you wear a skirt, you should also wear nylons, as they are considered more appropriate.

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Creative– Feel free to really express yourself! Incorporating prints, patterns, accessories, and fun are typically viewed favorably. Keep in mind that “creative” and “fun” still mean professional. You should therefor make sure you are not wearing anything ripped, too low cut, too short in length (skirts), etc. You still want to be viewed as a professional, but need to balance creativity with professionalism. Layers, prints, and accessories can be helpful in pulling together your look. Also remember to bring your professional portfolio of all of your creative work, as most firms in this space will ask to see it. You likely don’t need to wear a tie, but if you do, a bowtie or tie with a fun, bold, or colorful pattern will be best.

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Business Professional– This is considered to be a very formal business environment, and is often found within the legal and financial fields. For these environments, a full suit is required for the interview. Wearing a dark suit (grey, black, navy) is highly recommended, and will convey the most polished presentation. You should also make sure you wear nylons if you choose to wear a skirt suit, and will want to make sure makeup is minimal, hair is tidy, and accessories are simple. For men and women, wearing heavy cologne or perfume will not be well received in a highly professional environment. You will also want to bring a professional “padfolio” with you that contains your resumes and the questions you plan to ask during your interview.

 

 

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In addition to the basic guidelines highlighted above, it is important to take the following into consideration:

Department

Dress can vary extensively by department. For example, within a highly professional financial firm, the Client Services team may be required to wear a full suit at all times, whereas an IT team may have business casual dress. By doing research and learning more about the specific department you are interviewing with, you can tailor your interview “look.”

Level of role

Regardless of industry, you may want to wear a full suit if you are interviewing with a higher level individual. For example, although the day-to-day attire in a higher education institute might be “business casual,” if you are interviewing with the president of the college, you would want to wear a full suit and shift more towards “Business Professional” attire.

Culture of company

It can be valuable to learn about the culture of a firm prior to interviewing. Doing research on the firm through a variety of channels (LinkedIn, Google, Glassdoor) can help you learn more about the cultural norms at an organization. This can help shape what you wear to an interview. You may also find discussions on Glassdoor or other online forums about what others wore on their interviews with that specific company. This insight can help you make a strong first impression that also aligns culturally with the firm.

PSG Receives Best of Staffing® Diamond Award for Seventh Year in a Row

Professional Staffing Group has earned Inavero’s 2016 Best of Staffing® Client Diamond Award after winning the Best of Staffing Client Award seven years in a row for providing superior service to its clients.

 

Presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, Inavero’s Best of Staffing Client Diamond winners have proven to be industry leaders in service quality based completely on the ratings given to them by their clients. On average, clients of winning agencies are nearly three times more likely to be completely satisfied with the services provided compared to those working with non-winning agencies.

 

Focused on helping Boston-area companies find the right people for their job openings, PSG received satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 out of 10 from 79 percent of its clients, significantly higher than the industry’s average of 27 percent. With fewer than 2 percent of all staffing agencies in U.S. and Canada earning the Best of Staffing Award, just 22 percent of the 2016 Best of Staffing winners earned the Diamond Award distinction. The winners of this award truly stand out for exceeding client expectations.

 

“As the labor market continues to tighten and job requirements become more specific, companies are turning to staffing firms to help them attract and hire top talent,” said PSG’s President Aaron Green. “The Best of Staffing distinction is another way for PSG to show clients our commitment to service excellence.”

 

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4 Tips for a Successful Relationship with your Recruiting Firm

Even if you’ve worked with a recruiting firm before, there are several considerations for getting the most out of your relationship. PSG President Aaron Green shares his tips for choosing and managing a recruiting firm:

 

Tip #1: Consider the Fit – It’s important to find a partner that can accommodate your needs and has the right industry experience and a successful track record with other firms of your size and organization type. A recruiting firm that sells a broad range of services will be able to offer a broad range of solutions for your needs.

 

Tip #2: Look for accessibility to their recruiting base – We all have become accustomed to on-demand services and the recruiting industry is adapting to this same trend.  Successful recruiting firms make themselves accessible to their candidates. For example, PSG responds to new candidate inquiries within five minutes of receiving a qualified resume on weekdays between 8am-9pm.

 

Tip #3: Ask how the firm adapts to the needs of the market – Not only do recruiters need to understand when to engage candidates, they must understand how to engage them. Many candidates expect instant access and answers. Recruiters that leverage technology, including online chat and mobile apps, for communicating will have an edge. Interview your potential recruiting partner to explain how they use technology to engage with candidates.

 

Tip #4: Remember that a relationship is a two-way street — Consider how you can make yourself attractive to a recruiter — many of whom are turning away business in this tight employment market. This may mean partnering with your recruiter to provide quicker, detailed feedback or taking other actions that make you a more attractive client without spending a dime more.

 

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PSG’s Aaron Green Talks to NEHRA About Female Leadership in HR

PSG President Aaron Green spoke with NEHRA President Tracy Burns recently about women’s roles in the HR industry. For an industry that’s dominated by females, recent studies have pointed out that the top roles in HR are still held primarily by men.

Green and Burns discussed ways organizations can develop the careers of their female staff and prepare them for leadership roles. At PSG, Green says they’ve taken an individualized approach: “We’re still a relatively small company where I am personally involved in individual staff development and advancement to senior leadership.  While an individualized approach can work for small companies, larger organizations have a different challenge.  One of the keys to success for large organizations is to look beyond the overall number of gender diverse employees and examine the roles that are being filled by female employees to make sure those roles lead to management and leadership positions.”

Millennials are also influencing the way employers look at flexibility – a factor for keeping women in the workplace. Green believes that “People in general [regardless of age or gender] need flexibility” and wanting to keep your employees is the most motivating factor for creating a flexible and adaptable workplace.

 

See the full podcast here:

 

 

U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls Below 5 Percent

For the first time in eight years, the national unemployment rate fell below 5 percent.

 

In January, jobless claims fell to 4.9 percent, the lowest rate since 2008 and markedly improved from a high of 10 percent in 2009.

 

Although job growth is slowing, growth in wages is starting to pick up momentum. Average hourly earnings increased 2.5 percent in January compared to a year ago.

 

Locally, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts is 4.7 percent.

Ask A Recruiter: Staying Organized During Your Job Search

 

Q: What are some tips for staying organized during my job search?

 

A: Recruiters love this question because the more organized you are, the more effective your job search will be!

 

Tracking your activity will help you see what actions are most effective. It will also help you avoid being caught off guard and making mistakes. (There’s really nothing more awkward than an employer or recruiter calling a candidate who doesn’t remember applying for their job.)

 

To start getting organized, I recommend these steps:

 

Create an organized workspace – While it may seem great that you can apply for jobs on your phone while walking to work, it’s really not an organized way to do so. I recommend identifying a physical place where you can be productive in your job search. This place could be a home office, a place in the library, or a spot on the counter in your kitchen. It should have access to the basics, like a computer with Internet access, a printer to print your resume, a calendar or schedule, and a folder or file to keep important documents.

 

Make a commitment – Dedicate time each day or each week to your job search and stick to it. Many successful job seekers treat looking for a job as if it’s their job.

 

Set goals – It can be hard to stay motivated if you’re facing rejection or a slow search process. Setting and reaching goals can help you feel a sense of achievement and keep your momentum going. Achievable goals include scheduling in-person networking opportunities, researching new companies, submitting applications, etc.

 

Be strategic – Identify the top companies you’d like to work for and then research the opportunities at each. You can also research which recruiting firms work for those companies and when each will be holding job fairs.

 

Be image conscious – Your best efforts will come to naught if you don’t have an updated and optimized resume and if your online presence isn’t professional.

 

Track your efforts – Whether you use a notebook, a traditional spreadsheet, or a mobile app, it’s important to track your efforts. Many of the small steps that you take in your job search – e.g. following up, sending thank you notes or emails, connecting on LinkedIn – can become important factors in the hiring process. Your tracking efforts should include:

  • the date you apply for the job
  • the name of the position and the job number if there is one
  • the name of the organization
  • the application deadline
  • a date to follow up
  • the name of the recruiter and their contact information
  • notes and reflections on the interview, including what questions were asked
  • whether thank you note or email was sent
  • strategies for networking, e.g. following on LinkedIn, meeting at an upcoming event

 

We created an easy-to-use template for tracking your job search efforts, which you can download by clicking on the image below:

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There are also plenty of calendar and project management apps, like those offered by Trello, that can help you stay organized.

 

Gwendolen Knott is a Senior Group Manager on the Major Accounts Division at Professional Staffing Group. She manages four teams that work with a variety of clients within the higher education and healthcare industries.

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Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Holds at 4.7 percent

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate remained at 4.7 percent in December, according to a report today from the State’s Executive Office of Labor and Development. Massachusetts added 7,100 jobs in December for a total of 73,800 over the past year.

 

December’s job gains occurred in the Education and Health Services; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Information; Construction; Manufacturing; Financial Activities; and ‘Other Services’ sectors.

 

Nationally, the unemployment rate is 5 percent.

Predictions for Boston Hiring Trends in 2016

 

PSG President Aaron Green sees some interesting trends emerging around hiring job candidates in the Boston area this year.

 

“Hiring has become a painful experience,” Green says. “It’s painful for employers because there’s a shortage of qualified candidates for most open positions and because HR departments are stretched pretty thin.”

 

Green is referring to the low average unemployment rate in Massachusetts that has been below 5 percent since last April. As hiring picks up in certain sectors – such as technology and healthcare – organizations like hospitals and universities are looking for candidates with specific talents and skill sets, like workers who can support new initiatives in online courses.

 

At the same time, organizations are more mindful of having their HR department be the “right” size. That means ensuring there are enough resources to handle all the functions expected of HR, while staying flexible to adapt to changes in the economy – a lesson many learned the hard way during the last recession.

 

For many mid- and large-size companies this means considering outsourcing some parts of the recruiting process. PSG is seeing an uptick in clients using its Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) services. In some cases, clients outsource some aspects of the recruiting process, such as sourcing and screening candidates, so their internal HR team can focus on more strategic functions, like interviewing and onboarding new hires.

 

Green says the hiring process is also painful for job seekers. “It’s almost like hazing,” he says. He believes this will change, starting in 2016.

 

“Economics, combined with the availability of information online, is forcing businesses to look at the candidate experience in new ways,” says Green.

 

Ratings systems that leverage digital data – such as the star system on Glassdoor and use of the short survey that quantifies a Net Promoter Score (NPS) – are driving change and helping the recruiting process evolve.

 

“PSG will be rolling out a new NPS for candidates applying for internal staff positions,” explains Green. “For many years we’ve conducted NPS surveys with candidates we meet and consider for placement with clients; and the data from those surveys has informed our recruiting and interviewing processes. Now we’re applying that experience, along with research we’re currently conducting – including feedback from candidates we hired as well as those we didn’t – to help us build a stronger candidate experience all-around.”

 

Retailers have long lived under the adage that “the customer is always right,” which comes from a desire to make sure customers have a positive experience with their brand. Now many employers are applying that methodology to the hiring experience. They’re treating candidates like customers and using new tactics to ensure that even candidates who don’t get hired come away with a positive experience of the process and, subsequently, the brand.

 

Another local hiring trend is how quickly compensation is changing. Green says that aggressive recruiting by private equity and venture funded companies is partly to blame. Unlike traditional businesses that are run for long-term profitability, PE and VC funded firms can offer outrageous compensation packages for short-term employment periods. This practice forces wages across the local economy to rise and compensation plans that were created even one year ago are now out of date. On the other end of the spectrum, increases in Massachusetts’ minimum wage  are also helping to accelerate the changes in compensation.

 

Another big trend in recruiting and hiring is matching candidates with an organization’s culture to increase the odds of making a successful hire. When it comes to culture fit, Google is championing the idea. In his book Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead, Google’s Head of People Operations Laszlo Bock explains that “culture underpins everything we do at Google.” Bock offers several tips for interviewing for culture fit, including knowing where to find the type of workers you’re looking for, using “work tests” in which candidates are gauged for their reactions in typical work situations, and testing candidates against the traits that are most highly valued at your organization.

 

In the future, Green foresees a hiring process that’s built around a candidate’s needs, rather than a company’s. While this likely won’t come to fruition in 2016, our use of digital data and the examples of hiring practices at companies like Google are showing that it’s possible.

 

In 2016, companies are better than ever at hiring, but it’s still a painful experience. Fortunately, a focus on improving the candidate experience and hiring for culture fit can help Boston organizations improve the process.Aaron Green 0904 22