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Cedar Rapids: A Great Place to Live and Work

Posted on: April 25th, 2018 by | No Comments

cedar rapids

Located in Eastern Iowa Cedar Rapids hovers almost exactly halfway between Iowa’s Northern and Southern border. As the second most populated city in the state Cedar Rapids resembles the typical Iowa river-town. Those who seek a laid-back community setting with plenty of activities and amenities available prefer to settle down in Cedar Rapids. It’s arguably one of Iowa’s best cities to work, raise a family, and send children to school in. Premier Staffing in Cedar Rapids is dedicated to helping community members find good work and good companies in the area. Economic and community development efforts, great jobs, and exceptional education, arts, and culture contribute all contribute to Cedar Rapid’s livable qualities.

Economic and Community Development

The most prevalent opportunities available to the workforce in and around Cedar Rapids are food/bio, life sciences, logistics/distribution, finance/insurance/retail, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and business services, and retail. Because of the steady growth Cedar Rapids has experienced for many years, there has been a commensurate increase in job opportunities for those looking for their first job, a lateral move, vertical move, and anything in between.

Cedar Rapids communities continue to expand and develop new attractions for area residents. Core districts of the city include Downtown & Kingston, MedQuarter Regional Medical District, and Czech Village/NewBo Main Street. Downtown & Kingston feature a variety of dining and shopping options, a vibrant arts and culture community, and exciting nightlife. MedQ is an ongoing neighborhood planning initiative that aims to create a medical care destination in Cedar Rapids. The Czech Village/New Bohemia District was formed in 2009 and has continued to experience incredible growth. This district is home to cultural attractions, food & beverage hot-spots, furniture and home stores, health & beauty destinations, community organizations, photography & art studios, professional services, and a wide variety of boutique and specialty stores. As you can see from this brief list, there are plenty of amenities to discover around the city.

Jobs in Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is home to the area’s largest employers, which makes for an abundance of job opportunities. Aviation tech giant Rockwell Collins, Mercy Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital, Great America Financial Services, Nordstrom Direct, Quaker Foods & Snacks, Alliant Energy, and Transamerica Insurance Investments & Retirement are some of the most recognizable names.

Premier Staffing is a professional staffing agency in Cedar Rapids that helps community members find work in a variety of industries. Clerical, light industrial, cleaning positions, and more opportunities that allow individuals temporarily out of work find a great job with the potential of landing full-time employment. Premier Staffing is dedicated to helping community members find work and take pride in excellent customer service efforts.

Livable Community

“The arts, nightlife, sports, and recreation are all part of life in Cedar Rapids, a city with 74 parks, four golf courses and six swimming pools. Cedar River straddles the community, and 12 distinct neighborhoods give homeowners a variety of buying options.” – Livability.com

Cedar Rapids scores an overall 92.6 for the cost of living index, which makes it a highly affordable place to live. The city ranks 81/100 for housing, utilities 98/100, grocery 94.3/100, and a 99/100 for health. The city also has an extremely low unemployment rate of 3.8% which is below the already low national average of 4.1%. Affordable housing, accessible health care, plentiful job opportunities, and attractive entertainment options make Cedar Rapids a livable community by many standards.

Great Place to Grow Old

The quality health care services that can be found throughout the city make this one of the best places to grow old. Whether it’s specialty care physicians, housing that accommodates a wide range of needs, or recreational activities that keep older residents moving, Cedar Rapids has multiple choices for each need. There are also a variety of organizations and establishments that have claimed older demographics as their niche.

 

To learn more about work available in Cedar Rapids, contact Premier Staffing at (319) 730-3890 or stop by our office located at 1905 Center Point Rd. For more information about living in the City of Cedar Rapids, visit the City’s website.

Waterloo: A Great Place to Live and Work in 2018

Posted on: March 13th, 2018 by | No Comments

Seated along the Cedar River, Waterloo is home to approximately 68,000 Iowans. This highly agricultural community is Iowa’s sixth-largest city and a great place to work, raise a family, and send children to school. Premier Staffing in Waterloo is dedicated to helping community members find good work and good companies in the area. Economic and community development efforts, great jobs, and exceptional education, arts, and culture contribute all contribute to Waterloo’s livable qualities.

Economic and Community Development

Waterloo’s economy thrives on two large industries: agriculture and engineering. Companies and manufacturers including ConAgra Grocer Products, Tyson Foods, Ferguson Enterprises Distribution Center, John Deere & Company, Ryder Integrated Logistics, Denso International and GMAC employ thousands of Waterloo residents. These large companies, as well as a number of improvements and new developments throughout Waterloo, provide a strong, steady economy. More than one million square feet of industrial and office space has been developed in Waterloo since 2010. At an estimated value of more than 100 million dollars, this space is extremely beneficial to businesses, community members and the local economy.

Further improvements continue to make Waterloo a great place to find work. John Deere & Company recently donated more than $17 million to create the Cedar Valley TechWorks. The development includes buildings, land, technical assistance and financial resources to create the $50 million bio-based ag-industrial product development and exposition marketplace. To improve other important areas throughout Waterloo, the city spent an approximated $14 million improving the airport, recreational and cultural areas in downtown Waterloo, and recreational opportunities in efforts to enhance community member’s quality of life and support business growth.

Jobs in Waterloo

Premier Staffing is not the only company that believes Waterloo is a great place to live and work. Forbes recently ranked Waterloo #46 for best small places for business and careers. More content

A number of small businesses, the large companies and manufacturers listed above, hospitals, schools and the City of Waterloo keep unemployment rates low in Waterloo. As it currently sits Waterloo is .4% below the national unemployment rate.

Premier Staffing is a professional staffing agency in Waterloo that helps community members find work in a variety of industries. Clerical, light industrial, cleaning positions, and more opportunities that allow individuals temporarily out of work find a great job with the potential of landing full-time employment. Premier Staffing is dedicated to helping community members find work, and take pride in excellent customer service efforts.

Livable Community

“Residents of Waterloo have a deep sense of pride and commitment to their community. It’s easy to understand why when visiting Waterloo. The extremely livable community is full of entertainment, shopping, and dining options that make it a fun place to both live and visit.” – City of Waterloo, Web.

The average cost of living in Waterloo is 14% less than the national average, making it an extremely affordable city to live and raise a family in. More content

Affordable living along with cultural attractions, parks, entertainment, and recreation enhance Waterloo citizen’s quality of life, promote a healthy community, and make Waterloo a “beautiful place to live, work and play.”

More content – Great place to retire, investing in retirement community http://www.kimt.com/content/news/Waterloo-retirement-community-planning-70-million-makeover-476484593.html

Education

The City of Waterloo and Waterloo School District places a large emphasis on quality education for children in the community. In recent past years, an increase in Waterloo student’s test scores are highly contributed to an improvement in curriculum, technology and Service Learning experiences. Mentor programs, Expanded Learning opportunities for gifted students, and support for special needs programs make Waterloo schools a great place for students of all abilities to learn and grow.

Waterloo schools teach students the importance of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship through Character Counts, an initiative supported by the Cedar Valley Character Counts Coalition.

To learn more about work available in Waterloo, contact Premier Staffing in Waterloo at 319-505-2733 or stop by the Waterloo office located at 2809 University Ave. For more information about living in the City of Waterloo, visit the City of Waterloo website.

Working in a Warehouse

Posted on: December 22nd, 2017 by | No Comments

working in a warehouse

No matter where you are in the U.S., there’s a pretty good chance you can find employment within at least one warehouse. Although warehouse jobs are generally plentiful, they sometimes get a bad rap. Admittedly these jobs aren’t for everyone, but many generations have made a long-lasting career out of this line of work and have used warehouse work as a means of putting themselves through school.

There are many great positive aspects of working in a warehouse and as you can imagine, there are portions that some people think of as negative. Let us shed a little light on what working in a warehouse is really all about and if it sounds like a good fit for you, Premier Staffing will help you find the right place.

Common Requirements

The general qualifications that are required of a warehouse employee fall into the categories of lifting ability, drug testing, teamwork, coordination, and communication. For many people, these requirements are not above or beyond what they’re already capable of, but if they are most states require accommodations be made for workers with special needs.

A warehouse position will commonly require lifting of objects weighing between 30-60lbs on a regular basis, which makes it a great job for anyone who likes to be active and not sit behind a desk all day. Physical coordination is generally the byproduct of an active lifestyle, so the ability to lift things and operate machinery won’t be a problem for most. Coordination is also vitally important to the safety of yourself and other workers around you, which is important as you may find yourself around potentially dangerous materials or equipment within the warehouse. Many jobs in a warehouse are done through teamwork where your role is crucial to the team’s success and is dependent on communication skills that help you describe issues and voice your opinions.

If you’re the type of employee that seeks out opportunities to work extra hours many warehouses will offer workers the chance to get extra hours in on a weekend or off-shift. Doing this a few times a month can make a big difference in your income, and it also shows your superiors how dedicated of an employee you are.

Types of Jobs

Depending on the type of warehouse it is there are a variety of jobs that need to be done; however, there are a few universal categories you can expect to find. You’ll likely find warehouses which don’t have all of these positions as well as positions you didn’t know existed, but this list should give you a general idea of what could be found in your area.

General Laborer – A general laborer could be asked to do a number of things from stocking storage racks to cleaning equipment and anything in between. This position will generally have different tasks to perform throughout the day, and often has special projects they’re able to be a part of for short periods of time.

Forklift Driver – As a forklift driver, you’ll need to operate industrial trucks where you will be moving, loading, and unloading products. Many times, this job function operates specialized trucks that are able to lift heavy loads up to 20 or 30 feet in the air, stacking them on heavy duty racking until they’re needed. Don’t worry if you haven’t driven a forklift before. Warehouses will thoroughly train and supervise you prior to allowing you to operate the equipment on your own.

Shipping & Receiving – Most warehouses will have a shipping and receiving department that requires the recording of shipment data, document damages, pack and label shipments, inspect shipments, and more.

Material Handler – The final role within warehouses is material handling which is sanding, assembling, boxing, mill and finishing cabinets.

What it’s really like

Yes, working in a warehouse is hard work, but it is rewarding work. Regardless whether you’re a man or woman, you can be a productive member of a warehouses workforce, and make a great living. You might also think this job seems more like a “man’s job,” but you can see Amy and Taylor enjoyed their experiences in the warehouse. These are prime examples of the misconceptions out there, benefits of working in a warehouse, and real-life experiences of individuals who have been involved in the warehousing industry.

Similar to any place you’ve been employed there are some that are very demanding and some that aren’t, but for the most part, you’ll find warehouses are pretty straightforward. If you aren’t able to lift heavy items, work as part of a team, or be challenged at work, it probably isn’t the right job for you. Every employer is looking for someone who is dependable, so if that’s you why not consider a warehouse job. Premier Staffing is the resources you can turn to when looking for the warehouse job that is right for you.

Costs Of Making The Wrong Hire

Posted on: October 25th, 2017 by | No Comments

wrong hire

Efficiency and productivity is the key to achieving growth within any given industry. Businesses must also avoid frivolous spending habits but the aforementioned growth strategies are of utmost importance. In order to maximize overall productivity, you must prioritize tasks for each department ensure each employee is maximizing their own productivity. This means they are operating within set parameters and not deviating or taking on more than necessary. Businesses that are understaffed often shift responsibilities to various employees, creating an unnecessary bourdon and slowing overall production of said employees. Aside from the obvious pitfalls of hiring the wrong employees, current employees may view a hiring managers choice as a lapse in judgment and have less trust in them. Once a hiring manager has lost the trust of current employees it will be tough to make a future hire without employees being extremely critical. When looking to make a new hire always remember you’re looking for a long-term solution to your current problem, so don’t make a hiring mistake by rushing a decision in response to current stresses.

Desperation when hiring employees leads to an underqualified workforce. Hiring in this manner not only erodes productivity but also costs a business training expenses and extra time to get individuals caught up on processes and procedures. Premier staffing allows you to avoid these costly situations by attracting qualified individuals to your opening, and drastically eliminating position vacancy times. An effective hiring process is grueling and lengthy, taking vast amounts of time to find people you may hire. If you’re in a position that you feel requires you to hire an individual as soon as possible it is likely you’re hiring an individual that doesn’t meet your standards, thus forcing you to settle for mediocrity or worse. The process of scouting, interviewing, evaluating, and hiring should be grueling, ensuring you’re making the most informed decision possible.

Make no mistake, hiring a large quantity of employees won’t make your business more productive, however, hiring the highest quality employees that are rock stars is the proven way to increase productivity. Not only do you run the risk of underproduction when hiring the wrong employees, you are also potentially tainting your current employees with bad habits. Productive employees breed a culture of productivity no matter the circumstances, however, when you add indifferent employees that simply meet the status quo you’re creating a contagious atmosphere. Employees are likely to mirror the behavior of those who contribute the least, yet are compensated regardless. Hiring a qualified and driven individual means you are incentivizing your existing team to improve their own performance and contribute more to the company. Avoiding disgruntled employees is highly important when you know you already have the right people in place. Creating a culture of positivity, achievement, and work ethic are certainly results you can expect when working with a staffing agency.

If you’re a small business, a toxic employee can reduce employee productivity exponentially. Everyone has their own roll which means there is not enough time to provide extensive training, which means the new hire must be able to familiarize themselves with your business quickly, with the slightest amount of input. Seeking out employees that motivate others is tough for any business, especially if there are other operations to keep tabs on, which is why employers turn to Premier Staffing. We’re the only staffing company that ensures your new hires are the best fit for your company. It’s easy to see the night and day difference between a new hire that is a go-getter and a great fit, and someone who doesn’t particularly thrive in the new environment they find themselves in. A poor outlook and attitude are easily detectable and highly contagious. Working with a staffing agency to find an individual will help reduce the odds of hiring an individual that chronically deteriorates the culture you’ve worked so hard to create.

Taking into account all the factors that precede hiring a new employee, you must be certain you’ll be getting more out of your employees than you’re putting in. This may not happen right away as there is generally a warming period, which is a time when the new employee must quickly familiarize themselves and start working to become part of the team. Do not feel bad about knowing where your “break-even point” is, that just means you are keeping your bottom-line in mind. There are obvious costs associated with making a new hire, so you must know how much you’ll need to invest to get a new employee up and running or if that’s even a viable option.

Working with a reputable staffing agency helps to protect a businesses’ bottom-line, especially small businesses who have a tendency to run fairly lean. A staffing agency such as Premier Staffing helps ease the stresses associated with hiring new employees. Premier has years of experience helping businesses find the help they need, transforming them into productive and happy employees. A recruiter will have a vast network of potential applicants to rely on, giving you an immediate response to your hiring need. If your business is already strapped for time and you aren’t able to go above and beyond to find the exact person you need, an experienced recruiter can step in and get to work for you. This is simple task delegation. One of the most valuable aspects of working with a recruiter is the pipeline of candidates you can create. Once your business and positions are distributed among the candidate pools, a base of qualified applicants will be retained in case a position is suddenly vacated. Let Premier Staffing handles the background checks, drug screening, comprehensive interview process, job advertising, and more.

The mission at Premier Staffing is: Good jobs for good people at good companies. Early each and every morning, Premier Staffing opens their doors to serve the community with the best staffing agency solutions in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. They offer friendly, loyal and exceptional customer service. Because the focus is on service to others, they’ve built a strong customer base throughout Eastern Iowa.

Listening, asking the right questions, and taking extra time with each client. This thoughtful approach results in better and more successful matches between job seekers and employers. Trust Premier Staffing to connect the best people with the best possible jobs.

Simply contact Premier Staffing today to get started. You’ll be walked through the entire process and have all your questions answered by our knowledgeable staff.

Negatives of Collecting Unemployment

Posted on: July 20th, 2017 by | No Comments

Claim Limits

The government limits the amount of unemployment a claimant receives. Each state sets a minimum and maximum weekly benefit amount a claimant may receive. These amounts are often based on a number that changes from time to time, such as the state’s minimum wage or the state’s average wage. In Iowa, you can receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. Each state sets its own rules for how long unemployment benefits last. Until quite recently, virtually all states offered a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits. In the last five or six years, however, some states have changed their rules on the duration of benefits (in most cases, to offer benefits for a shorter period of time).

Federal & State Taxes

Unemployment benefits are considered taxable income at the federal level, as well as at some state and local levels. The state of Iowa fully taxes any unemployment benefits you receive throughout the year, which may come as a surprise since you aren’t technically earning a wage.

Payment Delays

Most claimants receive their first payment in about three weeks after applying for benefits, if they meet all of the eligibility and monetary requirements.  It takes three weeks because after your claim is initially processed, your employers of the last 18 months are notified of your claim and have ten days to protest. Claimants should be cautioned because this is not a guaranteed time frame as delays in payment and processing are commonplace.

It’s Not Forever

As stated previously, in most states unemployment benefits are limited to 26 weeks. Although you may receive these benefits up to 26 weeks, in most situations, it is best to terminate these benefits as soon as you are able. There is usually a time limit on how long you can collect, again it varies from state to state but a general time tends to be around the 26-week range.

Must Stay in State

You must physically remain in the state you are collecting unemployment benefits from. This also applies to students, meaning if you are enrolled as an out-of-state student, you must remain in the state of the school you are attending while receiving benefits.

No Benefits

When you receive unemployment benefits, you will not receive any insurance or additional benefits. You as the recipient of unemployment benefits are wholly responsible for any insurance you need. If you don’t want to continue the burden of supplying your own insurance, finding new employment is your best solution. The majority of employers in your area provide a benefits package which includes various types of insurance.

Work Gap

Employers are always wary of any gaps in your employment. The best way to improve your future employment prospects is to keep employment gaps to a minimum. This allows you to explain the circumstances that lead to the unemployment, and shows that you were not willing to sit back and not improve your standing.

Time & Money Wasted on Hiring

Posted on: May 4th, 2017 by | No Comments

Hiring is a lot like dating. You want to find the perfect match and the right fit. In order to do that, you ask a lot of questions, spend money on and time with the person, listen, negotiate terms, see how they like your friends/co-workers and hope for the best. But, unlike dating, hiring can be a very expensive proposition.

In fact, some researchers estimate it costs $3,500 and up to hire a new employee. Why so much money?

Recruitment

If you’re the person in charge of hiring at your company, consider all the steps you must take to even attract applicants:

  • Coordinate requirements with the department manager.
  • Write—or help write—a job description.
  • Get the job and salary approved by management.
  • Post the job internally and then promote it on external recruiting websites.
  • Pay posting fees and check the external websites.
  • Contact friends and associates to spread the word.
  • Wait for applications to arrive.

Then, if you’re lucky and people see your job post, the applications begin pouring in. Then you must:

  • Screen every CV and cover letter.
  • Pare down the list of candidates.
  • Check references.
  • Forward your initial selections.
  • Set up and coordinate interviews.
  • Contact people who didn’t make the cut.
  • Work with the hiring manager.
  • Prepare an offer for the top candidate.
  • Make a second offer if the top candidate doesn’t accept.

All these steps—and many more—take time. In fact, the average interview process usually takes 23 days. This long waiting period costs your company money. In addition, it’s frustrating for any potential job applicant. If the process takes too long, you risk losing new employees to other companies.

hiring agencyOnboarding

Once someone accepts a job, the money meter just keeps running. Following are just a few tasks the new hire may need to complete. The first three, if required by your company, cost even more money.

Your new candidate may be busy:

  • Passing a drug screen.
  • Completing a personality assessment.
  • Undergoing a background check.
  • Filling out paperwork for taxes, medical benefits, retirement, and workplace policies.
  • Having a photo taken for an id badge.

As the person handling all those details, you must spend your time coordinating the process. Often, you’re juggling multiple applicants as well as doing your regular job. Your time is worth a lot. And most of these logistical tasks take place before the new hire even sets foot in your business.

Training

It’s the first day of work for your new employee. Now you can reap the rewards of all your challenging work and let the new hire start earning money, right? No. It usually takes at least five months before employees reach full productivity. That’s a long time to wait for a return on your investment.

New hires must complete orientation, undergo on-the-job training, and learn the culture and rhythm of their workplace. These steps are hard to quantify; these things take time.

hiring agencyRetaining

As the designated human resources associate, your workload increases for each new employee. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you must maintain specific records for every person who works at your company. These include files for:

  1. Employee’s full name, social security number, mailing address, birthdate, sex, and occupation.
  2. Time of day and day of the week when employee’s workweek begins, hours worked each day, and total hours worked each workweek.
  3. Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (weekly, bi-monthly) plus regular hourly pay rate.
  4. Total daily or weekly “straight time” earnings for each workweek and total overtime earnings for each workweek.
  5. All additions to or deductions taken from employee’s wages.
  6. Total wages paid each pay period, the date of payment, and the pay period covered by each payment.

You may also be required to coordinate insurance benefits, worker’s comp coverage and claims, workplace training, immigration documents, vacation and sick requests, and many other human resources tasks. That’s a lot of juggling balls in the air.

Turnover

Despite all your careful work and screening, employees do leave. And when they walk out the door, they take a lot of money—and skills—with them.

Each time a company replaces a salaried worker, the average cost is six to nine months’ of their salary. If it’s a management position, it may take up to 150 percent of the salary to replace the person. For lower paying jobs, the cost of replacement is 16 percent of their annual salary.

Then you must factor in costs that are harder to quantify. If you have high turnover, how does that affect the performance and productivity of other workers? If a current worker is always the one training new hires who then leave, what affect does that have on his/her view of the company?

If you’re not conducting detailed exit interviews, you’re losing an enormous amount of data. The information you gain during these formal interviews could be used to drastically reduce turnover and strengthen retention.

How Premier Staffing can help

Save yourself time, stress, and money by working with a professional hiring agency like Premier Staffing. Spend your time running your business and being profitable, rather than tracking down qualified job candidates.

Since 2011, we’ve helped hundreds of Eastern Iowa businesses find qualified temporary workers. Premier Staffing provides a diverse workforce, including people who seek light industrial, clerical, management, and salaried staff positions. Our hiring agency takes care of all the logistics and paperwork, including advertising, recruitment, payroll, taxes, insurance, and worker’s compensation. Our doors open at 6:30 each morning so we can fulfill all your staffing needs, including seasonal and part-time employees.

Another advantage of working with Premier Staffing? You can hire someone on a temporary basis and see how he or she fits into your workplace. It’s like an engagement period. We believe this is mutually beneficial. It gives both you and the employee time to see if the job is a good fit. If you’re delighted with the person’s performance and attitude, you can then hire them full time. We’ve also found this trial period boosts long-term employee retention rates.

Contact Premier Staffing today to learn how we can help you with all your hiring needs.

Eleven Strong Ways to Start a New Job

Posted on: February 23rd, 2017 by | No Comments

 

You applied for the job. You interviewed for the position. You waited for the news. And you just received the phone call. You got the job. Congratulations. Once you’ve celebrated your good fortune, then it’s time to prepare.

First, talk to your current employer. Make sure you give your company ample time to hire someone new for your position. Offer to help train that person. After all, who knows your job better than you do? You want to be professional until the end. Don’t burn any bridges and finish your current job with your head held high.

Next, agree upon your start date at your new job. You may want to take a week or two between positions to shift gears, run errands, schedule appointments, or vacation. Do whatever you need to do to prepare for your new opportunity.

Change of any kind can be stressful and starting a new job is no exception. If you’ve got a few butterflies in your stomach, that’s natural. But at Premier Staffing, we want to be sure you start your new job with confidence. We believe the following 11 tips will help reduce your worry and boost your readiness for a new job.

  1. First impressions do matter. The old expression that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is certainly true about starting a new job, especially the first day. So be sure to make an amazing first impression with everyone you meet. How? Dress appropriately for the job for which you were hired. If you’re in doubt, dress up, not down. Greet everyone you meet with a smile and a firm handshake. Plan how you’ll respond when people ask you about yourself. Show your enthusiasm. You were excited to be hired; don’t hide that. As author Malcolm Gladwell says, “We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.” Make strong and positive impressions with everyone at your new company.
  1. Respect your hiring manager. The person who hired you saw something in you he or she liked. Return the favor by putting your trust in this person. During your first few days—or weeks—you’re bound to have questions about the position. Rather than running into his/her office with each new query, keep a list. When you have 4-5 items, knock on your manager’s office door and say “Do you have a minute?” Doing so shows you respect your manager’s time and that you’re motivated to learn. Win. Win. After you’ve had some basic questions answered, ask your manager, “If I have further questions, whom do you recommend I ask?” Your manager will either tell you to keep visiting his/her office or give you a name or two.
  1. Read the fine print. Human Resources will require you to sign a great deal of paperwork—insurance plans, a W-4 form, direct deposit forms, contact information—so make sure you read everything before you sign it. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. You can also ask for a day or two to consider your options. If your new employer offers a matching program for retirement savings accounts like a 401K, make sure you take advantage of these matching funds. If you don’t, you’re throwing away money and reducing the real value of your salary.
  1. Define expectations. After you’ve been on the job for a month or more, you’ll have a clearer understanding of your role and your duties. Now would be a good time to set up a brief meeting with your boss. Start by saying something upbeat and positive like “I’m really enjoying learning about my new role here.” Then move into a more specific request: “I want to be sure I’m meeting all your expectations. Can you list your top goals for me?” Your manager will either spend some talking with you or promise to forward them to you. You want to be sure you have these goals in writing. It’s much better to know your expectations upfront than discover, later, you weren’t meeting them.
  1. Get to know your peers. If co-workers invite you to lunch, go. If they ask if you have any questions, ask. If your co-workers give you advice, thank them. Nothing is more important than strong relationships in the workplace. Take time to get really know the people in your company, especially those with similar jobs. Be friendly and keep confidences. Resist the urge to gossip. If you have strong allies, you’ll always have people who can help you. In addition, connect with your new colleagues on social media. LinkedIn is a good, non-risky first step. As your relationships deepen over time, you may wish to connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
  1. Establish good habits. Starting a new job is a great time to re-invent yourself. So, if you had any questionable or bad habits at your former position, you can avoid them in your new role. Think of it from your manager’s perspective. As you’re walking through the office, would you like to see your employees on their personal phones, noisily laughing with co-workers, taking frequent breaks, or checking out Facebook? Probably not. Even if the employee’s behavior lasts only a moment, the boss is likely to remember it. Keep your head down and work hard. Sometimes is perception is reality.
  1. Be early. Leave late. If the early bird gets the worm, perhaps the early worker gets the raise? Pad some extra time into your morning schedule. Make sure, at least for the first few months of your new job, that you arrive earlier than your co-workers. You’ll never feel rushed or stressed. Arriving early allows you to settle in, drink some coffee, and be ready for the day. At the end of the day, don’t rush out the door. Make sure you’ve completed all your work and made a list for the following day. As everyone is winding down from a busy day, it may also be a good time to check in with a co-worker or your boss about a project. You spend a lot of time at your workplace. If you make sure you’ve wrapped up everything for the day, it makes it much easier to disconnect for the night or weekend and focus on life outside of work.
  1. Talk, don’t email. We’ve all become so reliant on email, we’ve forgotten the art of the spoken word. When you’re tempted to fire off an email to someone who sits 20 yards away, stop for a moment and think. Unless you need something in writing, make the effort to stand up and go speak with that person. Do the same with clients. If you can pick up the phone and have a real conversation, do that. No one likes having their email box clogged up with messages that could be resolved with a brief exchange. Avoid the back and forth of email chains. Whenever possible, try to talk to people. It’s a good way to connect and it will save you time.
  1. Be a team player. Listen. Volunteer. Participate in meetings. Offer your help. And learn how to help your team. If you’ve ever felt swamped at work, you’ll know the incredible feeling when a co-worker offered to help you. Be that person at your new job. Since you’re coming in early and leaving later, you should have some built-in extra time to help others. Make your offers quietly. You don’t need to draw attention to yourself. But if you see someone struggling, offer to help. You may learn a new skill and you’ll certainly build rapport with your co-worker. Everyone loves a team player. Sometime in the future, when you’re buried in work, you may have someone helping you.
  1. Stay positive. Remember how excited you were when you received the call about getting this job? Channel that feeling and try to recall it every day. A positive attitude will see you through many a busy or rough day at work. Of course, as with any workplace, challenges will arise. You may have conflicts. But resist the desire to vent with a co-worker. Find a trusted friend or family member with whom you can discuss work issues. Leave your work issues behind when you exit your workplace. The more upbeat you remain, the easier your job will seem.
  1. Take it slow. Give yourself time to adjust to your new work environment. It may take you a month, three months, or longer to feel comfortable with your position. You’re bound to make a mistake or two. Mistakes lead to information and change. Take it easy on yourself. Set goals and work toward them.

At Premier Staffing, we want to congratulate you on your new job. We’ve been connecting employees and employers since 2011. We know finding the right fit is important and we hope the 11 tips above help you prepare for your new job. At Premier Staffing, we want everyone to find everyone to find the ideal place to build a career. Talk to the best staffing firm in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.

Thirteen Steps to Prepare for an Interview

Posted on: December 29th, 2016 by | No Comments

 

“Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them.”
–Audrey Hepburn, actress

You found a job that interests you. You applied. And now you have an interview. At Premier Staffing, we know that first impressions matter. We also know that second impressions matter. We want you to be prepared and confident for all your interviews.

Since 2011, Premier Staffing has helped people just like you find work. We’re the leading professional staffing agency in Eastern Iowa. Whether you’re new to the interviewing process or you’re a seasoned pro, we hope the following 13 tips will help.

We use these factors to make our own hiring decisions. We know most people can be trained, that’s why we hire based on attitude. Employers want to find the perfect fit. It’s just easier in the short- and long-term. That’s why it’s important, as an applicant, you show your professionalism, personality, and enthusiasm during each step of the interview process. Following these steps to prepare for an interview will only enhance your chances of getting the job.

Before the interview

  1. Time is of the essence: Life happens. Allow time for bad traffic, bad weather, and bad luck. Make plans to arrive at least 10 minutes early to your interview. Why? If you’re not on time, the company may assume (rightly or wrongly) that you’re chronically late. This type of tardiness with employees costs them time and money. If you’re early, it shows you’re a responsible and eager person.
  2. Clothes make the person: You don’t need expensive designer labels. But you do need to dress appropriately for any interview. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you’re wearing a suit and your interviewer is in jeans, that’s okay. But imagine the reverse. Not okay. When you dress professionally, you’re signaling that you take the position and the company seriously. You’re showing you put time and thought into your appearance.
  3. You’re never fully dressed without a smile: Your face projects so very much emotion—fear, joy, anxiety, or happiness. One of the first things your interviewer will notice is your face. Make sure you greet him or her with a genuine smile. While you’re talking, make sure to smile with both your eyes and your mouth. Smiling affects the tone of your voice. It doesn’t have to be forced, you can learn it. Give it a try.
  4. Prepare your story: Many hiring managers begin the interview process with that common phrase: “Tell us a little about yourself.” Only you can answer that. How will you choose to respond? Will you talk for 10 minutes? [No. Keep it well under 2 minutes]. Will you summarize your CV? [No. They already have that]. Will you discuss job experiences that may or may not have anything to do with your current position? [No. You should intrigue them instead]. Practice your biographical story ahead of time. Tell it to your family and friends. Tailor it for the position you seek. And always end with a question. Even though it’s your interview, make no mistake, you’re there to listen and learn too.
  5. Do your homework: If a company is willing to consider you for a position, the least you can do is learn more about them. Do some research before you arrive. Learn more about the business. Consider ways you can help them. A website cannot tell the entire story. Were there elements missing you wish you knew more about? Memorize 3-5 questions to ask. If you don’t need them, that’s fine. But at least you had them at the ready. Questions may crop up during the interview itself. Ask follow-up questions. While you’re trying to get the job, you also want to be sure it’s a good fit for you.
  6. Tune out tech: Unless you’re waiting for an organ transplant, there is no reason your phone should be turned on during an interview. No reason. Turn it off as soon as you enter the building. Don’t mute it. Turn it off. The best-case scenario is that the company will like you and your interview will last well over an hour. Sixty minutes (or less) is not much time to keep all your devices powered down. Remember that this job is much more important than a silly text or an irrelevant post. Remember: Turn off all your devices.

During the interview

  1. Be honest: As the interview proceeds, you’ll may be asked about your strengths and weaknesses. Prepare ahead to describe your strengths in a way that sounds confident, yet humble. And think about any weaknesses—or skill gaps—you may have. It’s always easier to play offense than defense. Then if the interviewer asks about any areas that need improvement, you might say you’ve sought out a mentor, are getting certification in that area, or have attended a conference to learn more. This shows you’re a self-aware and pro-active person.
  2. Know when to stop: You’re on a roll, telling the company about how perfect you are for the position. Don’t bore your interviewees. Keep them wanting more. Keep your answers concise, upbeat, and with a natural start and stop point. If the interviewer wants to know more about you, he or she will ask a follow-up question. Be objective. If you start to sound like one of the adults in the Peanuts cartoons, wrap up your answer and smile.
  3. Leave out the filler: Many people use fillers or vocal tics. And when you’re nervous, these can increase in frequency. What are fillers, you ask? They’re the unconscious things you utter between sentences, words such as: Ummmm, ahhh, like, well, anyway, and so. The first step to eliminating these stalling words is to become aware of them. You can speak to a friend or use free audio software. Groups like Toastmasters, for example, will ring a bell if you use a filler word during a speech. Rather than talk quickly and pepper your speech with “ahh’s” and “umm’s,” slow down and pause before your next sentence. You’ll sound more thoughtful and more intelligent.
  4. Consider alternatives: Sometimes, during interviews, you may be asked to consider a different job than the one for which you applied. Relax and smile. Perhaps the interviewer heard something that made him or her think you’d be a strong fit for another department. You should be flattered. Listen carefully and ask questions. This other job may be a better opportunity. Always remain flexible. If you cannot make a decision, politely ask for time to think about this other position.

After the Interview

  1. Assess and review your interview: Do this while the experience is still fresh in your mind. You can take some notes afterwards, leave yourself an audio file, or type up your impressions when you get home. Be sure to include your answers as well as the answers your interviewer provided. Then critique your performance. What questions surprised you? Were there areas or answers where you think you can improve? What do you wish you’d asked? Save these notes and use them for future interviews.
  2. Formerly say thank you: Many people won’t take any action after an interview, others will send an email. Make yourself stand out from the pack by writing and sending a proper thank you note through the U.S. Mail. Aim to send this within a day. Refer to your post-interview notes and mention pertinent details—i.e. I hope your daughter gets the part in her school play—to show you’re a thoughtful person and a good listener. Then close with a statement saying you’re excited to learn more about this opportunity.
  3. Remember that patience is a virtue: Even if you had a wonderful interview, the person who interviewed you still has to work at his or her regular job. The human resources staff is still performing their regular duties. Therefore, don’t expect an immediate response or an answer based on your timeline. First send a thank you note. Wait a week. If you haven’t heard anything after two weeks, send a short and upbeat email saying something like: “Thank you again for the opportunity to interview. I look forward to hearing from you soon.” Keep your options open. Continue interviewing for the experience and the chance to learn about new positions.

Applying for jobs and interviewing can be fun. It doesn’t have to be stressful. Like dating, both are opportunities to meet new people, learn things about yourself, and change or improve your life. Also, like dating, you should always put your best foot forward. You want to look and feel your best before each new meeting.

Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Many people have discussed the importance of preparation. It’s important that you learn as much as possible before each interview. Sure, it takes time. But the payoff could be a rewarding and fulfilling new career. The fact that you’re reading this blog shows you care. You’ve already taken the first step to ace your next interview.

At Premier Staffing, your local professional staffing agency, our mission is to provide good jobs for good people at good companies. We know a thing or two—or 13—about interviews. We hope you’ve learned at least one new tip from this blog. Good luck with your next interview . . . and don’t forget to smile.

If you have any questions about the steps to prepare for an interview feel free to contact us.

Premier Staffing Agency Celebrates National Staffing Employee Week

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by | No Comments

National Staffing Employee Week

September 19th marks the beginning of the 2016 National Staffing Employee Week. During this week, the American Staffing Association celebrates the contributions of the millions of individuals employed by U.S. staffing agencies.

These employees contribute greatly to our economy and temporary jobs are increasingly becoming the new standard of employment across multiples industries.

At Premier Staffing, we’ve employed hundreds of temporary employees and placed them in great jobs with great companies in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.

If you’ve been considering a temporary job and aren’t sure if it’s for you, check out some of the reasons why our staffing employees love their temporary jobs.

 

Bridge to Permanent Employment

Many job seekers have difficulty finding a permanent position right out of the gate. Others may have been unemployed for personal or family reasons. Several of our temporary positions have led to permanent employment with the hiring company.

 

Initiate Relationships with Companies

Maybe you’ve had your heart set on working for a specific company but they never seem to have any job openings posted and your attempts to connect have been unsuccessful. Staffing agencies have connections with a variety of industries and businesses often seek employment through these agencies to ensure they are getting qualified applicants. Working with a staffing agency can help you get your foot in the door of the company you’ve been dying to work for.

 

Help to Determine the Right Fit

What if you get hired for your dream job only to find out it’s actually a nightmare?  Starting with temporary employment in the industry or position you’re interested in can help you decide if it is something you’ll want to do every day before you commit to a permanent gig. It can also help you determine if you fit in with the company, should you get offered a permanent position.

 

Changing Careers

If you’ve been working in the same industry for years and are looking to switch careers, working with a professional staffing agency can help jumpstart your job search and match you and your skills with open positions in your desired field.

 

Get Work Experience

Many of our employees come to us as college students or recent grads without a vast range of experience. Temporary positions are a great way to gain real-world experience in the workforce and help build up your resume.

 

Learn or Improve Skills

Along with building experience, temporary jobs through our staffing agency have helped employees improve upon skills that are needed in their industries of choice as well as learn new skills that set them apart from other job seekers.

 

Flexible Schedule

Many of our employees’ favorite thing about working in a contract or temporary job is the flexibility. For those that prefer to work fewer, longer days or need to work around child care needs, temporary jobs often have the flexibility to accommodate unique schedules.

 

Supplement Household Income

An increasing number of our employees have started temporary jobs to supplement their current household income. Whether you’ve recently incurred some additional expenses or need a job to fill a seasonal gap in your employment, we have several short and long-term assignments that are perfect for anyone looking for an extra paycheck.

 

At Premier Staffing, we celebrate all of our temporary employees in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.

Does a temporary job sound like the right fit for you? We’d love to celebrate you as one of our staffing employees! Contact Premier Staffing to learn more or apply now for one of our current open positions.

4 Reasons to Work Warehouse Jobs in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo

Posted on: August 16th, 2016 by | No Comments

At Premier Staffing, we want to help the best candidates find the best jobs in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Whether you’re new to the job market or looking to switch careers, a warehouse job probably isn’t at the top of your list…but maybe it should be. You may be skeptical about manual labor, but there are some great advantages of working in a warehouse setting.

Keep reading for four of the top beneficial reasons to work in a warehouse.

1. Leave work at work.

 With a warehouse job, you don’t have work to take home in the evenings or on your days off. You are able to separate your work life and your home life. You can work hard during your shift and go home with a clear mind to spend time with your family or enjoying your hobbies.

Many warehouse jobs in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo also have flexible schedules to work around your personal life. So you may work a few longer days, but in return, you may have more days off in between work weeks. Or maybe you’d prefer a schedule that allows you to watch your kids during the day.

2. Maintain good health.

 As many office careers become more and more sedentary, illnesses like heart disease and strokes are on the rise. With a warehouse job, you’re not bound to a desk and you have the ability to keep your body moving throughout the day. The constant standing, walking, lifting, and other physical labor puts you at a much lower risk for these physical health issues.

As previously mentioned, with a warehouse job you are able to go home at the end of your shift without worrying about taking extra work home with you. With less stress on your mind, you’re at a lower risk for work related mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

3. Stay entertained.

 You’re probably thinking a warehouse job only consists of the same boring and monotonous tasks all day, every day. While you will likely have routine tasks, there can be a lot of entertainment value in a warehouse environment. For example, you might be in a packaging area and see a variety of unique items being sent. You’ll also have plenty of coworkers around you with great stories to tell and to keep things exciting in what might seem to be a stale environment.

Whether it’s the products being manufactured or sold or the machinery used, some of the latest and greatest technological advancements are found in warehouses. So you have the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of technology.

4. Create opportunities for growth.

If you’re just beginning your career in a warehouse job, you’re likely going to be starting at the bottom, so you have ample opportunity for growth. If you are responsible and work hard, you can climb the ladder to higher level jobs, from warehouse supervisor to foreman.

Warehouse jobs in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo also give you the foundation to prove your worth in any career. Should you decide to eventually move beyond the warehouse setting, a strong work ethic is a quality that employers from every industry put great value in.

So before you write off the next warehouse job opening you see, remember the benefits. It just might be worth taking a second look.

If you’re interested in warehouse jobs in Cedar Rapids or Waterloo, apply now for one of our current openings, or contact us to learn about more opportunities.