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If you’re an employer, navigating the labor market can be challenging. But at Johnson Service Group, we are here to simplify things. Here is a collection of hiring process recommendations, overviews of the current landscape of the labor market, industry news, and much more. At JSG, we work hard, we work together, and we work for you.

The Most In-Demand Jobs in February 2021

The Most In-Demand Jobs in February 2021

With more coronavirus restrictions lifting, employers are back on the hiring train. Now that the holidays are over and the typical hiring slump for the traditional sectors (like retail) is dwindling, here are the most in-demand jobs in February 2021.

Tax professionals

There are two things certain in life, and one of them is taxes. With tax season upon us, the hiring of tax professionals has exponentially grown. According to LinkedIn, three different roles for tax professionals made the list of the most in-demand jobs. Tax specialists (3), tax preparers (7), and tax associates (8) are some of the most in-demand jobs this month. Companies are going on a hiring spree for these tax professionals as they prepare for a messy tax season, thanks to the pandemic. With extended due dates, stimulus packages, and Paycheck Protect Program loans, this tax season will be complicated for many corporations in the United States.

And just like corporations, individual taxpayers are poised for a crazy tax season because of stimulus checks, retirement account withdrawals, and other setbacks.

Receptionists

Further proof that employers are preparing to return to the office is the explosive hiring of receptions. Receptionists are the fastest-growing job, with a growth of 22x in one month. According to LinkedIn, many of these receptionist positions are for companies offering tax services. However, this can be an indication that employers are anticipating the return to their brick-and-mortar offices soon.

Software developers and engineers

Software developers and engineers have been some of the most in-demand jobs throughout the pandemic. Tech and software companies were able to adapt to the pandemic better than other industries. Their positions naturally offered more flexibility and made the transition to working remotely much easier. Software engineers are the job with the most overall demand this month, followed by full-stack engineers at the number 10 position.

Also, three software-related positions are the jobs with the fastest-growing demand for the month. These include blockchain developers, Android developers, and technical project managers.

Looking to add these professionals to your team?

So, these are three of the most in-demand jobs in February. If your hiring team is looking to add these professionals to your team, now is the time to start recruiting. Don’t wait and miss out on the best talent to your competition. Therefore, if you need assistance sourcing these professionals or other vacancies, reach out to JSG today. Our team of expert recruiters is ready to work for you to boost your team.

The Results of An Understaffed IT Department

The Results of An Understaffed IT Department

One of the biggest obstacles for IT departments is staffing shortages. Approximately 63% of companies struggle with understaffed IT personnel. Moreover, 51% of companies cannot source the talent with the skill sets they need. The results? Your employees cannot receive the support they need, projects are going over budget, and worse, your network is left vulnerable to a possible cyberattack.

So, how can you identify if your team is suffering from being understaffed?

Signs of an understaffed IT department

Your team is overworked

If your IT department is understaffed, your team is suffering from being overworked. Their attention is spreading too thin, forcing them to wear too many hats to ensure they meet all your IT needs. Overtime is becoming a weekly occurrence, which is hurting your bottom line. Your team is becoming stressed and irritable, and as a result, their work is suffering.

Mistakes are occurring

Overstaffed IT departments are more prone to making mistakes. These mistakes may begin as overlooking small details or tasks being left undone. However, over time, these mistakes can add up to a huge security risk that can bring your network to a screeching halt or other services experiencing downtime for unexpected maintenance.

Projects are running late

Another common trend of understaffed IT teams is missing crucial deadlines. When projects are running late, your team’s attention shifts away from other projects or concerns, which can quickly create a backlog of projects. As a result, the costs associated with each project begin to rack up, raising red flags to senior leadership.

Employee turnover

If your team is experiencing the above signs, the risk of higher employee turnover occurs. If your team is overwhelmed and overworked, they will ultimately seek other opportunities that offer more resources and better work-life balances. When employees start leaving, your quality of work further declines, projects become impossible to complete, and your company loses money by the fistful.

Solutions to understaffed IT teams

So, with 29% of IT departments believing they lack the adequate personnel to function properly, what can your team do to solve this issue before it transpires into something much graver?

Address the situation with your team

The first thing you should do is address this understaffing issue with your team and identify the cause. Provide examples to your boss or leadership team of why your department is understaffed and the results of the dilemma. Solving this problem may be as simple as bringing it to light to the right people. Share where you are spending your hours and each task you are responsible for working on. Once you identify the source of the problem, you can work on a solution.

Hire a contract worker

If the root of the problem is simply being understaffed, the only solution is to bolster your IT group. One way your team can get support is by hiring a contract worker. If you need help in one specific area, hiring a contractor might be a great solution. You can hire a temp worker with a flexible schedule that meets your department’s needs. If you only need to enlist help for a particular project, this might be the best option. Once their support is no longer needed, you can terminate their contract, saving your team the hassle and costs of laying off a permanent employee.

If this sounds like the best solution for your IT needs, JSG can work with you to source qualified contractors that will fill any critical staffing gaps.

Outsource some of your IT projects or tasks

Moreover, if your staffing shortages are more critical, it may be time to consider outsourcing part of your IT tasks. Now that you understand where your team’s deficiencies are, you can outsource those responsibilities. So, if your team is getting bogged down with troubleshooting hardware devices, you can easily outsource your helpdesk support. Whatever your shortcomings are, you can outsource those tasks to a certified JSG expert with our IT Consulting Services.

With JSG’s extensive IT consulting service offerings, we can create a custom solution that is the perfect fit for your organization. We offer 24/7 support and are ready to alleviate your IT team’s staffing shortages. Therefore, if this solution sounds like an excellent fit for your needs, reach out to our IT Consulting Services experts today, and let’s have a conversation!

How To Normalize Employees Taking Mental Health Days

How To Normalize Employees Taking Mental Health Days

Following an extremely taxing year on the North American workforce, more workers are prioritizing mental health in their careers. They are purposely seeking out companies that offer mental health days and normalize taking that much needed time to recharge. However, companies are not rising to the challenge. In fact, according to a Deloitte survey, “95% of employees who have taken time off due to stress named another reason, such as an upset stomach or headache. Also, less than 30% of employees feel comfortable talking to their managers about their mental health, and even less (25%) to HR.” So, how can your company attract these candidates and create a more successful team overall? Try implementing these three strategies to normalize mental health days in your workplace.

Change Your Policies

The first thing you must do is implement a concrete change in policies. Don’t just assume that your allocated “sick time” will attract new candidates. Talk to your HR team about changing the PTO policy to explicitly include mental health days so that employees know this is accepted and encouraged.

Advertise Your Priorities

After you’ve made a change to your policies, shout it from the rooftops! Advertise it on your website, include it in your job descriptions, even build a social media campaign around it. Everyone from current employees to prospective candidates should understand that your team supports mental health days. You will be amazed at how this small change can attract impressive talent!

Encourage The Use Of Mental Health Days

As a result of “unlimited vacation day” policies, we learned that just because a perk is offered doesn’t necessarily mean it’s utilized. Fostering a supportive mental health culture will take ongoing work. Check-in with your team members often, and keep the mental health policy top of mind. If you notice that someone is struggling, encourage them to take a couple of days to recharge! Sometimes people need a break more than they’d like to take one.

These are just a few ways that your company can start supporting time off for mental health. This is a trend that will only continue to grow in the corporate world, and it’s essential that you don’t get left behind in order to remain competitive. Interested in learning more ways to support your team and hiring efforts? Explore our client resources!

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

It’s been nearly a year since the beginning of the pandemic where thousands of companies were forced to transition to a remote working environment. This transition is temporary for some employers, but many are permanently shifting operations to allow their staff to work from home. Regardless of which boat your company is in, you will eventually have to hire a new staff member on a remote basis. Hiring someone for a remote position takes a unique skill set and requires you to ask different interview questions to ensure candidates will be the right fit. You need to understand if they are reliable, flexible, and excellent communicators. Here are three interview questions you should ask remote work candidates.

Have you worked remotely in the past?

First of all, you want to understand in what capacity they have worked remotely in the past. Are they currently working remotely? Or are they considered an essential worker and able to work on-site? Shifting from working on-site to your home “office” is challenging, and you need to see if your prospective candidates are up for the task. You are looking for qualified candidates that fit the work style or environment. Understanding what capacity a candidate has worked from home is an excellent first step.

If a candidate has not worked remotely, that is not a dealbreaker. You will just want to look for qualities in their answers to understand if they fit that working style.

What types of communication tools have you used, and how did you use them?

Asking a candidate what type of communication tools they use will help you understand how they will virtually work with others. You want to see what tools they have used in the past and how they have used them to communicate. Clear communication while working from home is essential. They don’t necessarily have to have experience with the same tools your team uses. For example, skills with Microsoft Team will undoubtedly translate into using Zoom or Slack. Most importantly, is learning how they use these tools to work with others successfully and complete assignments.

How do you control your time management and remain organized?

Time management and organizational skills are crucial for remote workers. It is much easier to check in on workers when you physically share office space. However, when people work remotely, they have much more independence; candidates will be more responsible for managing their time and organization. Asking this question will allow you to understand how a prospective candidate keeps track of their time, prioritize their work, and stay organized throughout the day. Answers will differ from person to person. So, what you are looking for is that they have a thoughtful method for managing their time and staying focused.

Need more hiring input?

So, these are three basic interview questions you should ask remote work candidates to see if they are a strong fit for your team. If you need more help vetting candidates for remote assignments, reach out to our team at JSG. We can help you identify the candidates that will make an immediate impact on your team from the safety of their homes. Let’s work together!

Modern Updates To Old School Interview Rules

Modern Updates To Old School Interview Rules

Job interviews have always come with a common set of rules. Make good eye contact, ask great questions, etc. However, due to recent events, these old school interview rules require an update! Here are three old school interview rules along with their socially acceptable modern updates.

Old Rule: Greet The Interviewer With A Firm Handshake

Since the dawn of time, one of the pinnacle interview tips was to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake. Then, a global pandemic hit, and suddenly everyone became much more aware of their personal hygiene and interactions with others. Now, reaching a hand out in greeting could put your interviewer in an awkward spot or, even worse, make a bad first impression.

New Rule: Instead of a handshake, offer a polite smile and wave.

Even if you’re wearing a mask, an interviewer will be able to see your smile in your eyes! And if the interviewer does reach out for a handshake, it is perfectly acceptable to politely decline. Try to reserve judgment; old habits die hard!

Old Rule: Don’t Ask About PTO

 It was frowned upon for you to inquire about paid time off (PTO) during an interview as early as last year. It was seen as eager and tasteless. However, we have undergone some significant global changes since then! Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the priorities of most professionals have shifted.

New Rule: You can ask about PTO policies (if you do it the right way!)

No, we aren’t recommending that you barge into your interview demanding to know how much vacation time they’re offering. However, as you progress through the hiring process, it is understood that how companies handle PTO is important during unprecedented times.

Try framing it this way: “What are your PTO policies in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic?” Or, if you need to dig a little further, “How has COVID-19 affected your company-wide policies? Do you offer remote work options? Has it impacted vacation or sick leave policies?

Old Rule: If they ask about salary, you have to tell them what you’re making

It was common for an interviewer to ask you to share your current salary in the not so distant past. Moreover, it was expected that you answer!

New Rule: Not only is it okay for you to not answer this question directly; in some states, it is even illegal for an interviewer to ask!

Here are the states which have implemented state-wide salary history bans:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Alabama
  • Washington
  • North Carolina
  • Michigan
  • Hawaii
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico

Additionally, 17 cities have implemented local bans on inquiring about salary history.

But what if you’re in a state where it is still technically legal for an employer to ask what you make? Well, the good news is you have options. You can certainly decline to answer; however, we recommend you do your research first. If you go into an interview knowing your value, you can instead provide the interviewer with a desired salary range.

Your answer would look like this: “In my next position, I am looking to make between $65,000 and $70,000.” An even better option? Partner with a JSG Recruiter to find your next position, and you can refer the interviewer to us. We’ll handle it for you!

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, head over to our candidate resources to browse jobs, explore job search tips, and get a jump start on your journey.

2021 May Be the Biggest Year for Job Growth

2021 May Be the Biggest Year for Job Growth

Last year was challenging, to say the least. Over 22 million U.S. jobs were lost due to the coronavirus crises, and as of December 2020, there are still 10.7 million unemployed Americans. However, with several COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, 2021 is poised for a massive year for job growth and may even be the biggest year for job growth ever recorded.

Largest job growth since 1939

Job market experts and economists project a colossal year for job gains – bigger than any other on records dating back to 1939. According to economic forecasting from Oxford Economics, job growth will climb to 5.8 million in 2021. Economists at the University of Michigan’s economists are predicting gains to reach 5.3 million. Both projections for 2021 will put job gains well above the 4.3 million created in 1946, the start of the post-WWII economic boom.

Hiring is expected to start slowly this year; however, it will pick up steam as vaccines become more accessible and people can resume activities currently under lockdown. So, where will this growth be generated?

What industries will soar?

Throughout the pandemic, some industries are struggling while others are flourishing. Last year, leisure and hospitality, retail, restaurants and bars, and professional and business activities were hit the hardest. In December, employment in construction, transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, and wholesale trade grew despite a cumulative loss of 140,000 jobs. These industries will continue to experience job growth well beyond the virus.

Other industries that are ripe for a strong year of job growth are information technology services. In December, tech companies added more than 20,000 jobs. Furthermore, job postings for core IT positions grew to nearly 207,000 jobs. This trend will continue throughout the year as more Americans continue to work from home permanently.

Consumer habits have shifted during the pandemic, and many of these new routines are here to stay. Ecommerce has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and as a result, transportation and warehousing are surging. For example, Amazon has officially taken over Boeing as Washington state’s largest employer. With this boom in online shopping, employment in couriers and messengers has increased by 222,000 since February 2020. This trend will continue to climb in 2021.

Need help finding talent this year?

If you are one of the many companies preparing your hiring strategy for the new year, JSG is here to help. The market will be competitive, and you may need to seek the aid of a hiring professional. So, partner with JSG today to find the workers your company needs to keep pushing forward.

Top 5 Hiring Trends For 2021

Top 5 Hiring Trends for 2021

As we kick off the new year, many hiring managers are planning their hiring strategy for 2021. While this is difficult for many in a standard year, there is more uncertainty than ever now. To help you prepare, we’re sharing the top five hiring trends for 2021.

Safety & wellness

On the tails of the Coronavirus pandemic, safety and wellness will continue to be a top priority for companies worldwide. Hiring managers are having to pivot to remote interviewing, flexible work policies, and extended PTO policies to accommodate the ever-changing modern environment.

Continued growth of diversity & inclusion

2020 reignited concerns about racial and gender inequality throughout the United States. With many companies establishing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) taskforces, appointing DEI executives, and implementing DEI policies, changes will continue into the new year. In order to continue hiring top talent in 2021, you must prioritize diversity. So, examine your hiring strategy and candidates to allow more diverse hires in the future, and commit to supporting and promoting your current BIPOC employees.

Remote work

Even after the pandemic is in our rearview, remote work will remain a constant in the world of hiring trends. So, to stay competitive in the hiring market throughout 2021, consider expanding your remote work policies. Candidates will be looking for remote or flexible opportunities. Additionally, make sure your interviewing process is remote-friendly to make for seamless hiring.

Streamline hiring

Speaking of seamless hiring, is your hiring process as smooth as possible? With an influx of candidates on the market, you’ll be more overwhelmed than ever trying to hire in 2021. Allow for remote interviewing and cut down on the number of necessary interviews. Instead, focus on asking better questions to assess candidates faster!

Greater emphasis on employer brand

With so many companies starting off the year virtual, candidates will be heading to your social media and website to learn more about your brand. They will want to learn about all of the above topics and more, so make sure to expand on your virtual employer brand. Link your careers page to your diversity statement, share stories about your company culture and give a quick preview of the hiring process. The more information a candidate has, the more likely they’ll become passionate about working for your company!

Looking for more hiring trends and tips on how to hire successfully in 2021? Explore our client resources here!

Hiring Resolutions For The New Year

Hiring Resolutions For The New Year

Ah, the new year. A chance for a fresh start, a time to implement changes, and an opportunity to reflect on what hasn’t worked in the past and how we can improve. Everyone loves to make new year’s resolutions to improve in the new year. And this year, we’re sharing the best hiring resolutions you can make in 2021 as a manager. These five resolutions will help your team start off on a strong note, even during these uncertain times.

1. Do not ghost candidates

Alright, hiring managers, we know this is a tough one. Especially in today’s market, you’re receiving an influx of qualified candidate resumes. So many, in fact, that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with! But hear us out; today’s candidates are desperate for open communication. They will respect you and your brand all that much more if they receive a simple automated rejection email. And as we’ve learned through economic times, both prosperous and dire, reputation is everything!

2. Streamline our hiring process

Many of you are probably still hiring remotely, making this resolution challenging. However, as your competitors start to regain speed throughout 2021, you will get left in the dust with a slow and antiquated hiring process. Instead, take this time to focus on improving your strategy – getting people face-to-face (or on video chat) immediately, reducing the number of required interviews, and sending a solid offer as soon as possible.

3. Write better job descriptions

Believe it or not, one thing that will help you attract better candidates (and reducing the number of resumes you have to sift through) is writing a stellar job description. Not too long, not too short, enticing enough to grab people’s interest, but simple enough to retain it. Does your current job description paint a vivid picture of your company culture? Do you share your company’s stance on hot button issues like diversity, equality, and benefits? Today’s candidates want to know all of this information upfront before they invest time in submitting an application.

4. Retain the great employees we already have

Yes, we know these are “hiring resolutions,” but if you do a great job retaining the talent you already have, it will make hiring new talent that much easier. Especially while working remotely, be sure to check in with your employees often. Ask them how they are coping – both professionally and personally. The first few months of the year can be tough on people, particularly cooped up in their own house juggling home and work life.

5. Ask for help when we need it

You can refer to this resolution as “work smarter, not harder.” When you’re balancing managing your team, working remotely, hiring great team members, and a global pandemic, it can be overwhelming. However, you are not alone. Let us carry the burden of hiring your next talented employees, so you can keep the focus on what you do best. Your team needs you now more than ever, and when we work together, you can be more available to them.

Partner with Johnson Service Group in 2021 to help you check off all of your hiring resolutions this year.

How To Offer Sustainable Workplace Perks

How To Offer Sustainable Workplace Perks

“Workplace perks” have been a long-standing topic in the world of hiring. During the candidate-driven market of 2016-2020, they became a last-ditch effort for many companies to secure talent from a limited pool. However, when the Coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, and the world came to a halt, work perks were turned completely upside down. Suddenly, no one cared about free snacks or foosball tables. This rapid shift has left managers scratching their heads, wondering what they can offer employees to attract top talent and remain sustainable through economic and cultural changes. Here is a quick glimpse into the workplace perks that today’s candidates are looking for.

Flexibility

If the COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is king. As millions of workers worldwide were thrown into remote-working situations and difficult decisions, a company’s ability to be flexible became invaluable. Company leaders such as Simon Berg, CEO of software company Ceros, understands this new demand better than ever. “I was an everyday-in-office kind of guy, and it felt like that was how I’d build culture and connectivity between myself and the team.” However, now that he can spend more time with his family, his company’s values have shifted. He wants the company culture to hinge on allowing employees more “autonomy, mastery, and freedom in their life.”

To attract top talent moving forward, companies will need to examine the flexibility of their work environments. Can you offer remote working options, even just a couple of days a week? Do you allow your employees to make exceptions for extenuating circumstances (i.e., kids at home sick, doctor’s appointments, etc.)? Most importantly, do your employees feel trusted and empowered to make the right decisions for themselves and your team?

Cash Stipends

Some of the most popular workplace perks of yesteryear revolved around food and beverage options: in-house baristas, extensive cereal bars, unlimited snack options, and even catered lunches. However, with the shift to remote working, these perks were instantly irrelevant and foolishly surface-level. But, everyone loves free food, right?

Instead of focusing on providing an unlimited stream of snacks, consider offering your employees a cash stipend for lunch. It’s still a fun perk, but it gives your employees more freedom with how they use it. Or, seek out a local coffee shop to partner with and coordinate an employee discount. This is a great way to ensure you’re stimulating the local economy while keeping your team caffeinated.

Wellness Reimbursements

The past year has left employees feeling anxious and depressed. Investment in your employee’s mental and physical health is a workplace perk that will pay dividends. Amidst the pandemic, companies are putting the focus on mental health to try and combat feelings of isolation and depression. For example, Starbucks is giving employees and their family members 20 free counseling sessions per year. And Target is offering free access to both mental and physical health-focused apps such as DaylightSleepio, and Wellbeats.

Offer your employees reimbursements for the health resources they need. From counseling to gym memberships, that may look different for everyone. Providing a wide array of options shows employees that you care not only about their work but also about them as a person. Can you partner with a local gym to provide discounted memberships for employees? Or offer a reimbursement for virtual memberships while we are all cooped up at home. 

Still unsure of which workplace perks are the best fit for your company? Ask your employees. Conduct a company-wide survey asking people for feedback, or task a small focus group with coming up with innovative ideas. Your perks are only valuable if your employees deem them so!

For more hiring tips, explore our client resources.

The Easy 5-Step Strategy To Hire Remote Employees

The Easy 5-Step Strategy To Hire Remote Employees

Implementing a great hiring process is difficult enough, let alone a process to hire remote employees while your whole team is working remotely! Our best advice is to keep it simple. Focus on what matters, and let the rest fall away. For guidance, follow our easy 5-step strategy to hire remote employees.

Write A Great Job Description

It all starts with a great description. If there isn’t enough information in the job description, you will get an influx of unqualified resumes. On the other hand, if your job description includes a laundry list of complicated qualifications, you could deter talented candidates who don’t meet every single unnecessary qualification. For a remote position, be sure to detail the remote-work situation throughout, even if it’s just temporarily remote. You want that to pique the interest of the right candidates!

Additionally, use the job description to entice candidates. Share insight into your company culture, a glimpse into the day-to-day tasks, and information about benefits and perks. If it’s a permanent remote position, explain the support you provide to remote employees.

Define Your “Must-Haves”

In an incredibly competitive job market, you might receive hundreds of applications for one opening. Thus, it’s essential that you define your absolute must-have non-negotiables. Limit these to one or two of the most important qualities. That way, you can prioritize candidates that meet your most critical needs. For a remote position, this should include common remote work skills and experience.

Ask The Right Interview Questions

Now, more than ever, behavioral questions are instrumental to the hiring process. In the current job market, don’t be afraid to dig deep with candidates! Have them explain how they react to common remote work situations like frustrating Zoom calls, technology struggles, or unclear lines of communication. How they answer will be a great indicator of how they work remotely. Additionally, ask questions specific to your team or company culture to really cover all of your bases.

Check Their References

When you hire remote employees, it is entirely appropriate to request references that worked with them in a remote capacity. Making this specific request will grant you the opportunity to get a first-hand account of the candidate’s true ability to work remotely.

Extend An Offer Promptly

There are some incredible candidates on the market today; however, they won’t last long! Talent with remote work experience is in high demand, and your competition could sweep them out from under your feet. Make sure your interviews are effective so you can extend an offer and hire remote employees quickly.

Looking for more hiring advice? Explore our hiring resources here.