Category Archives: job interview

Today’s Job Market is a Win for Job Seekers

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development just released February unemployment numbers and the results aren’t surprising area employers:  The State’s unemployment rate has declined to 3.7%, the lowest since 2000.  Pick up an issue of any business-focused magazine, HR-related journal or Google “how to find and keep employees” and you’ll see article after article about the talent shortage. While finding new talent is part of the challenge, keeping that talent is equally as difficult.  While employee recruitment and retention is a huge challenge for employers, it’s a huge opportunity for job seekers.

Employees are no longer lured to a company just by a decent salary and benefit packages.  This generation of our workforce has different ideas and the current employment market is only adding to their cause.  Companies are offering things like unlimited vacation time, flexible work schedules, paid volunteer time and employee wellness programs. Employers are getting creative, doing things like providing free lunches and breakfasts and offering family friendly policies that employees are encouraged to take advantage of.  Some are even allowing employees to bring their pets to work. Today’s employers have had to get creative.

This work environment has made us pause and take note. Workers in Southeastern Wisconsin, what is important to YOU?  What types of recruitment programs and employment offerings would make you sit up and take notice?  What type of benefits are most important to you and would make you consider leaving your current job?

Sound off!  We want to hear from you!

An award-winning job placement expert in Southeastern Wisconsin, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in your job search in southeastern Wisconsin. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your job search to the next level.  For more information about how you can find a new career, contact us today and allow us to help you focus on success!  




Twenty Years of Learning Can Lead to Your Success

Happy New Year! This year is especially important to Nissen Staffing Continuum, as we mark and celebrate 20 years in business.  We’ve come a long way, starting off as a three-person operation and growing and expanding to being one of the largest and most successful staffing companies in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Some may ask, “How did you do that?”  The answer is probably simpler than you think:  We Listen.

We listen to our clients when they tell us what THEY need to make their business successful.  We listen to our associates when they tell us what THEY need to be successful in their careers.  We listen to our staff when they suggest new and better ways to do things.  We listen to both our supporters and critics, because each of them tell us something new from a different perspective.

As your trusted career advisor, all of this listening has given us a lot of insight that can help you. While this list isn’t inclusive of everything we’ve learned, we hope that some of our learnings will help you grow into a successful career.

  • Integrity comes first. Be honest, do the right thing, and never compromise your integrity.
  • Do your very best. Give 100% effort in everything you do. You might not be good at everything, but sincerely trying to do your best is all anyone can ask for. You might learn something new or you might learn what you were meant NOT to do. Sometimes, landing your dream job can take a number of attempts. Don’t give up.
  • Be willing to learn. If there’s one thing that is certain, it’s that nothing is certain. Things change.  Technology changes. Processes change. Don’t run from change, run to it. Embrace the opportunity to learn something new and once you do, learn it well enough to teach others.
  • Mind your manners. Say please. Say thank you. Show the best of intentions, always. Be mindful of others’ time, and this includes being ON time and ON task.
  • Ask good questions. If you don’t know something, ask. However, before you ask, make sure you don’t have another resource that can get you the same answer. Maybe it’s in some training material you were expected to understand. Maybe it’s something that can be found on the company’s website. Ask a question because you can’t find the answer, not because you weren’t willing to look for it and couldn’t retain the information you were already expected to know.
  • Ask for feedback. You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. Ask for feedback, and more importantly, be open to the feedback that you get and act on it.
  • Find a job you love. Many people spend more time at work than with their own families. Make sure you enjoy your work and your place of employment.  Happy employees make happy customers.

Notice that our list doesn’t include technical skills, the name of a school, or a specific job title?  This is because over our 20 years of experience, placing people into careers in Southeastern Wisconsin, we’ve learned that we can TEACH technical skills and many employers are more than willing to make an investment in job training.  What an employer can’t teach is a good attitude and work ethic.  Employees with great attitudes that work hard, with integrity and dedication are often the employees that are most successful in our workforce.

An award-winning job placement expert in Southeastern Wisconsin, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in your job search in southeastern Wisconsin. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your job search to the next level.  For more information about how you can find a new career, contact us today and allow us to help you focus on success!

Finding (and Keeping) A Job in Today’s Market

Recently, our team of experts was invited to speak at a conference targeted at people looking to enter, or return to, the workforce.  The goal of the program was to provide essential job search skills and advice on how to keep a job in today’s employment market.

Here are some highlights from our program:

On Job Availability:

  • There are many available jobs in today’s job market, as unemployment is extremely low and the market is looking for capable workers, provided they have skill sets that complement emerging job trends.
    • Health Care jobs, IT jobs, Construction jobs, Business Management and Financial jobs, Installation, Maintenance and Repair Jobs are some of the jobs with the largest needs and the most availability.
    • These jobs all have a median salary higher than the median salary in our region.
  • Our low unemployment means one thing to qualified job seekers: GREAT OPPORTUNITY.
  • If you don’t have experience in one of these growing jobs, look for transferable skills (skills that you already have but can use elsewhere) that you can apply in a new role.
  • Look for non-traditional employment!  As employers seek to diversify their workforces, ignore gender stereotypes about certain jobs and pursue any job you find interesting!  Many employers have developed special programs to introduce interested job seekers to roles that have traditionally been filled by typically one gender or the other.


On “The Search”- Considerations When Looking For A Job:

  • Manage every contact like it’s a live interview. Your interview started with the first contact and will continue until you get an offer, or they move on to someone else.
    • Check your voice mail! Make sure your outgoing message is professional and says “Hire Me!”  If it doesn’t, change it!
    • Check your e-mail. Make sure your email address sounds professional and all things related to email (your auto-signature, your grammar, etc) is professional.
    • Check your social media. What does it say about you?  Remember, if you put it on the internet, you should not expect any privacy.
    • Answer the phone with a pleasant, professional voice. If you are in a situation where you can’t talk, or things around you are chaotic, then let it go to voice mail and handle the call when you can do so in a quiet, professional manner.
  • Use your Network
    • Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work.
    • If you are involved with organizations that can help you, take FULL ADVANTAGE of their services, many of which are free.
    • Consider informational interviewing and find a mentor.
    • Consider working through a staffing company. You can build your resume, gain work experience, try something new and learn more about what you like and don’t like.
  • Follow up and be persistent. Don’t be afraid to call, but do so on a reasonable schedule, like once a week, not several times a day!
  • Have an updated and accurate resume.
  • Don’t give up and when feeling frustrated, DO SOMETHING.
  • Know your bottom line. We all have a budget, we all have a “bottom line”—know what yours is!  If you don’t know this, figure it out.  It’s important.
  • Know what the market is currently paying for your skill set. And if you’re not happy with that, go find a new skill set and learn some new things.  That’s the great thing about resources—you can use them!
  • Interview for as many jobs as you are invited to. Interviewing takes practice. Get good at it!
  • SAY THANK YOU. Thank you notes, letters, even e-mails, will set you apart.
  • If you are working, always give notice.

On KEEPING the Job You Found:

  • Be On Time. On time means on time.  Every Day.  Without Fail. It shows you are dependable and that you care about other peoples’ time as well.
  • Work Ethic.  Work Ethic means doing what you say you’re going to do, without fail, with honesty and good judgment. Always try your best and seek out improvement.
  • Body Language. You “hold” yourself with confidence and look approachable and pleasant.
  • Be Positive! Your bring effort and a can-do, positive attitude every day. A good attitude is half the battle.  Look at your job, your wins, your losses, your celebrations and your frustrations with a positive attitude and your life just gets easier.
  • Learn to love what you do.  And if you don’t love what you do, learn what you can from it so you can work toward loving what you do.
  • Be Coachable. Be coachable and learn to take feedback.  Learn to ask for feedback and most importantly, apply it.  It will only make you a better human being.
  • Do Extra. Go out of your way to be exceptional. Ask what else you can do to help and show a willingness to go the extra mile.
  • Be Prepared. Always be ready for your day, your week, your month.  Have a back-up plan.  Be ready for whatever the task at hand is.

All of these tips can help you to have a more successful job search and working experience.  In this market, many employers are willing to TEACH a candidate the specific job skills, but they expect a candidate to come to the table with excellent “soft skills.”  Apply our advice and be ready to succeed!

An award-winning job placement expert in Southeastern Wisconsin, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in your job search in southeastern Wisconsin. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your job search to the next level.  For more information about how you can find a new career, contact us today and allow us to help you focus on success!

Do You Need A Job? Are You A “Super” Job Seeker?

This year’s “big game” has come and gone.  While the actual game is over, the discussion about the infamous commercials continues.  What made a commercial memorable? Did it make you think?  Was it a funny commercial?  Did it make you more interested in the product?  In a recent CNN interview, CBS President Les Moonves said that a 30-second spot during this year’s broadcast would cost $5 million dollars.  Wow!

Luckily, you do not need to spend $5 million dollars to become a super job seeker.  However, you can take some of the lessons learned from the CBS advertisers and apply them to your local job search.  Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Make yourself memorable. Be the job candidate that includes real accomplishments on your resume instead of just your job duties.  Follow up after the job interview with a phone call and not just an email.  Take the time to email or hand write a thank you note to the person(s) that did the job interview, highlighting how your skills can make an impact in your new job and in the organization.  As simple as it sounds, many job seekers do not take this last step and doing so can make a huge impression.
  • Customize your resume and/or cover letter for the specific job.  Just like the big game marketing, your resume is a mini-commercial that highlights you.  Be sure you are talking to your target customer:  the company to which you are submitting your resume.
  • Know YOUR brand. Be prepared to talk about your background and your accomplishments during your interview.  Be specific about all you would be able to contribute to the organization and do not be afraid to sell your talents.
  • Know THEIR brand. Do your research on the company that is offering the job and know about their business.  Know who their competitors are.  Know who their customers are.  A quick online search can tell you more about their short and long term plans, their management structure and their company culture.  Searching on websites like LinkedIn, Google, Glassdoor, and even Yelp can give you valuable insight before you even walk in the door.
  • Have a little fun. Hiring managers look for technical skills and job experience.  However, they also look for personality and cultural fit.  Be appropriate, but be yourself.  Do not be afraid to let your personality shine during an interview.  After all, if you get the offer, you want to be able to enjoy the job.  A job candidate that is friendly, personable and appropriate comes off as trustworthy and someone who is enjoyable to be around.

An awarding winning job placement expert in Southeastern Wisconsin, Nissen Staffing Continuum, can assist you in your job search in southeastern Wisconsin. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your job search to the next level.  For more information about how you can find a new career, contact us today and allow us to help you focus on success!

Interviews Types: Presenting Yourself as a Top Candidate

Suppose you have an interview coming up for a dream job. Naturally, you want to do well.

Specifically, though, how do you prepare for this job interview so that you handle yourself with confidence, communicate effectively, and present your best self from your first contact to winning the position?

You may already know there are several types of interviews: the initial screening, second interview, panel interview, and group interview. It helps to have knowledge of each so that you can be fully prepared. Following are some obvious and not-so-obvious strategies to help you succeed.

Passing the initial screening

Whether your first contact takes place at a career fair or by phone, remember that what you don’t say can be just as revealing as what you do say. The screener can be a recruiter or company representative who is evaluating your credentials, education, goals, and likeability toward matching the qualifications of the position and company culture.

If the meeting takes place in person, make sure you are dressed appropriately. Use body language that indicates you are interested and paying attention. Take several copies of your resume with you. If by phone, keep your tone positive and think about the language you use. Put a mirror in front of you and smile while you talk. It comes through in your voice.

Enunciate your words and speak at a reasonable pace. Above all, be honest.

In the dialogue, identify the general job characteristics that are important to you and why. Explain how your qualifications are a good fit for the position. If you can do so using an example showing you’ve done your homework or have a related experience, it makes you sound stronger.

On to the second interview

First, always be prepared with another 2-3 copies of your resume.

Build rapport by shaking hands, smiling, keeping eye contact, and listening. Make sure you have studied the job description and can address all its details. Knowing this helps you navigate the interview toward answering those points and explaining how your traits and skills contribute.

Additionally, do your homework on the company and its current events. Familiarity with current events helps you ask pertinent questions and shows genuine interest. At this juncture, the idea is not only to stay in the running but also to advance to the lead.

The challenge here comes from the interviewer’s use of open-ended questions. Many questions can be anticipated but some cannot. Searching the web to find examples of standard questions to use for practice is one option. However, this same technique is available to everyone else with a computer who is vying for the position you want. A smart interviewer will quickly discern canned answers and may even eliminate you from consideration.

So, how do you stand out as an individual? Be a storyteller. Use the STAR technique (Situation or Task, Action and Result) When you study the standard questions on the web, choose a personal professional experience. Describe the situation or problem, tell what action you took, and relate the outcome to the original question.

Handling a panel interview

A panel may conduct the second interview, which is when two or more people from different departments of the company share the interview. Usually, a lead interviewer introduces panel members. Each panel member may ask questions relevant to departmental concerns or interests. Remember that the above second interview strategies still apply.

Making a connection with each panel member is very important. Take out a pad and pen and write down names in the order of the seating arrangement. It is also appropriate to ask for business cards and lay them out in front of you. Discerning titles and functions of each panel member is helpful in identifying how to respond.

While answers to questions should be addressed to the whole panel, start eye contact with the person who initially asked the question.

Panel members are typically looking for strengths and weaknesses, but don’t become too hung up on group dynamics because there may be frequent interruptions as members may duck in or out. So, be prepared for possible breaks in your concentration.

At the conclusion, ask, “What other information would you like?” Make eye contact with each person as you wait for a response.

Acing the group interview

For this style of interview, candidates may be divided into groups, and groups may be required to join in a simulated work exercise or problem-solving session. Interviewers are interested in observing each candidate’s interaction and communication dynamics to determine abilities, competencies, and teamwork. Plus, there is added tension because of toe-to-toe competition with those in your group.

Again, many of the above strategies still apply, especially doing your homework. In addition, have a self-introduction sound-byte that will make a standout first impression. Don’t forget to be mindful of your body language and facial expressions. Convey respect for and interest in each person involved in the interview.

Be alert and listen attentively, not only to the questions you are asked, but also to your peers’ answers. You don’t want to appear as a bully by dominating the group, but it is good to be the first one to answer occasionally. Consider, too, that when you support others’ statements, you appear to be a team player as well as a supportive leader. Ask insightful, intelligent questions, but not until the interviewer asks for them. Never interrupt him/her.

Regardless of which interview phase you are in, finish every interview with a thank you. Verbalize your thanks on the spot, of course, but also follow up with a written or emailed thank you.

Looking for a new job? Nissen Staffing Continuum can help you put your best interviewing effort forward. We consult with you to help you find the right fit with your job goals. Contact us to discuss how we may help you.


Bring Luck to Your Unlucky Job Search

smiling workerMonths without call backs and responses from employers can make you feel like the most unlucky soul in Wisconsin. Hang in there. Landing a job doesn’t take luck, just a new approach and a few tweaks to your job search. You don’t have to knock on wood, carry a four leaf clover or bring out Irish luck, but you do have to revamp these aspects of your job search:

  1. Practice and improve your interview skills.Don’t walk into an interview without learning what job interview mistakes to avoid, and practicing a mock interview with a trusted family member or friend.
  2. Apply for temporary work. A temporary job can fill in gaps in your resume, bring in income, build your skills and network, and provide benefits. Be sure to apply online to a top Wisconsin staffing firm who can provide a quality job, benefits, and an answer to a key question.
  3. Dress the right way. As a general job search rule, don’t wear anything that is ‘too’—too short, too low cut, too casual, too formal. Don’t wear after shave or perfume. You don’t want to find out the interviewer is allergic and leave a bad impression. Your clothes should be clean and appropriate for the job you want.
  4. Revamp your resume. Go through your resume with a fine tooth comb. Correct any errors, and make sure your resume includes information appropriate for the type of position you want.
  5. Don’t bad mouth anyone, anywhere, any time. Mind your p’s and q’s on social media, in the job interview and on the phone. Employers do check your social media profiles, and they do care. Don’t say anything bad about previous employers, family members or your past positions during the interview—and don’t post anything online about your interview after it’s done.

Don’t feel you have to go through your job search alone. At Nissen Staffing, we say “It’s not who you know alone, it’s who we know together” and we mean it. Contact our Nissen Staffing Career Consultants about your job search. It’s free, and can give you the job search “luck” you need to find the right position.