Expert Tips for Common Interview Questions- Sept. 25, 2020

Congratulations! You have been chosen for a job interview! This means your resume must have impressed the hiring manager. That is great news! Give yourself a pat on the back. Now it is time to speak with the hiring manager and your potential team members. 

No reason to panic, even if it does come with a new set of challenges, we are here to help. ITS is providing the questions you are most likely going to be asked in an interview. The way you answer these questions can make all the difference in whether or not you get asked for a second interview, or better yet, get hired for the job. Being prepared with answers to these common questions can give you all the confidence you need to ace the interview!

1. Why are you interested in this role?

Be honest! Prior to the interview think about why you are interested in this role. Write down what sounds exciting about this position, what you would like to get out of it, and where you may be headed if you were to take this role.

2. What do you know about our company?

Do your research! It is always a great idea to find out about the company you may be working for in the future. Visit their website and read the “About Us” page. Check their presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Google the company to see if there is any recent coverage about them.

3. What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?

Time to talk about yourself! Be sure to make a list of your professional achievements no matter how insignificant you think they are the interviewer may find them interesting. While you are making lists, be sure to jot down two or three weaknesses that you have, and two or three strengths. While thinking about your weaknesses, be sure to follow up with ways you have improved them.

4. Tell me about a challenge at work and how you dealt with it.

Challenge accepted! Think about some of the obstacles you have had to face at work. This is not the time to talk about what your co-workers did to you, or how they made your job difficult. The focus should be on a specific problem and how you created a solution to resolve it.

5. Why are you leaving your current role?

Wow! It just got real! Be careful how you answer this question. You want to be honest, but you don’t want to reveal too much either. The answer to this question could very well be related to the job you are interviewing for. You want an answer that shows the employer you are looking to advance your skills and take on new challenges.

This may feel like a lot to take in, but remember the employer is trying to find the best fit for the position just as you are trying to find your right position. The better prepared you are, the better impression you will make! What are some interview tips that have helped you land the job? Head to our Facebook page now and share them to inspire others interviewing today.

Helpful Tips to Master Your Virtual Interview- Sept 11, 2020

Part 2: Interviewing Tips

Last week we discussed how to better prepare for a virtual interview by setting up equipment, testing technology, and performing practice runs. This week, we would like to share more details on how to master the interview, itself. Whether virtual or face to face, interview basics remain the same. The goal during an interview is to convey your value to the company and build a rapport with the interviewer. 

Spending time composing notes and researching the company will give you an advantage not only to get the job, but to ensure this is the right fit for you.  Preparation shows you are interested and that is exactly what your future employer/recruiter wants to notice. Check out some helpful tips on how to interview well below: 

1. Do your Research:
Prior to your virtual interview be sure to research the company you are interviewing with. It’s a good idea to read the “About Us” page on their website. Make note of their mission statement. Check their presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Pay attention to any new projects they are working on and Google the company to see if there is any recent coverage.

2. Watch the Clock:
Whether you are being prescreened, interviewed over the phone, in person, or virtually, be sure to be on time. This is the most basic first impression, yet so important. It shows you are dependable and responsible. The first step to a trustworthy candidate! If being on time is completely unavoidable, be sure to call your contact, well in advance, and let them know you are running a few minutes late.

3. Dress for Success:
You may be at home, but this is still a job interview. Dress to impress! By dressing the part, you convey thoughtfulness, time management, and responsibility.  All characteristics employers are looking for in a candidate. Also, in addition to dressing well, be sure to make yourself look polished, clean, and neat.

4. Present Well:
Be prepared to speak in depth about yourself, your skills and why you want to join the organization. List practical skills you have and talk about obstacles you have overcome, even during the pandemic. Maybe note some particular projects you worked on or ways you helped your team overcome a challenge. You want to talk about action and result. This shows you were a vital part of the team. It is a good idea for you to have some questions prepared to ask the interviewer. This is the time to address concerns you may be having. Again, you want to be sure this is a good fit for you as well as the company.

5. Be Yourself:
Don’t forget to be yourself. Elaborate about yourself beyond the resume. Try to make a connection with the interviewer. Pay attention to your body language. Be sure to smile, sit up straight, and relax. You are going to do great!

6. Always Say Thank You:
“Never underestimate the power of a well-written thank you. Even a bad interview isn’t always the end.” You can redeem yourself by sending a note of thanks. Along with thanking everyone for their time, reiterate your value and if there are any parts of the interview that you feel didn’t get answered well, you can address it in a thank you note. Explain that after having some time to think it through, you would like to share your thoughts now. This is a small gesture that leaves a lasting impression. Also, gratitude tends to diminish with time. Send a note within 24 hours after the interview.

Stay positive and remember what you have accomplished! Even if you don’t get the job, there are always take-aways from each interview. Learn from them. Make notes on what you want to improve on during the next interview. After taking some time to digest these tips, it is important to remember, you got this! Tips and advice can help. But, having faith and confidence in yourself will be key in your job search success.

Four Expert Virtual Interview Preparation Tips– August 28, 2020

 Part 1: Preparation for a Virtual Interview

   The pandemic has brought about a shift in the career marketplace. It has changed the way we manage our professional lives and the hiring processes. What was once a business community of hand shaking, face to face interaction and working shoulder to shoulder has now become a very different landscape. Although the general principles are the same we have had to adapt to a new approach in the workplace environment. For those of us fortunate enough to have a job, we have settled into working at home and the reality of the uncomfortable, and at times, awkward virtual meetings. But, for those seeking employment it is a whole new world with virtual interviews.

Trying to share your qualifications via Google Hangouts or Zoom, to people you are meeting for the first time, can be intimidating, but it can also pose an advantage. 

If your future employer/recruiter notices that you are prepared, virtually, they will be impressed. It proves that you are willing to deal with challenges and make the most of a, rather, uncomfortable situation. We have Four Expert Virtual Interview Preparation Tips on how to make a great first “virtual” impression when interviewing for a job. 

1. Set the Stage: Be sure the setting is professional. You need a space that is not distracting for you or the interviewer. The background should be clean and well kept. Good lighting is a must. Being near a window captures the best light.  It is important that you are comfortable, but not too comfy. You should be positioned in a seat that allows good posture. Place the computer monitor high enough so you are looking straight ahead.

2. Test the Equipment: “Tech savvy is one of the top 10 traits employers are looking for.” When the computer equipment and microphone are working well, it shows you have technical skills. Be sure to test all equipment. This should be done a few days prior to the interview, just in case you need to make a run to the store.

3. Practice Makes Perfect: Run through a few “virtual practice” rounds with a family member or friend. Not only will this ensure your equipment is working and setting is professional; but it gives you an opportunity to practice answering questions. Don’t over rehearse. Keep it natural.

4. Let’s Do This: Be prepared and ready for your interview 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Make sure everything is on, ready to go and WIFI is working properly. It might be a good idea to have your housemates refrain from using WIFI during the interview to ensure there is no lag time or disconnect.

Preparation is key and will set you apart from the other candidates. If you present well during a virtual interview, it will leave little doubt that you are a top candidate for the position. Please stay tuned, next week, as we discuss Part Two of our Virtual Interviews Blog, when we offer several key tips to help you “during” the interview.

How to Positively Disconnect from your Home Office  – August 14

We have spent a lot of time recently speaking about the pandemic, working from home, and managing stress. One topic we haven’t touched on is disconnecting. For the majority of us, we have found ourselves working at home. With our workstations so close, you could be having difficulties disconnecting after hours. If so, then you aren’t alone. Communication and pressure to succeed are both touchy subjects but understanding your expectations and supporting a healthy work/life balance can make a huge difference in your professional life. 

This week on ITS Talks, we are sharing 3 tips on How to Positively Disconnect from your Home Office. 

  1. Understand your expectations within your role.

Understanding your expectations within your role will help you be successful in and outside of the office. There should be clear discernment of your duties and responsibilities, in addition to the time needed to complete these. If your expectations aren’t clear to you, ask for clarification. Understanding your role will help you in the long run. 

  1. If answering or sending an email after hours is disrupting your personal time, don’t do it. 

Are you taking your phone out to answer any questions during dinner or family time? Could that email wait until regular working hours? Our desires to be successful can often disrupt our work/life balance. Take a moment and analyze the amount of time you spend working out of the office and find a way to refrain from disrupting your personal time.

  1. Be confident in your daily accomplishments.

While working from home can have its own challenges, finding accomplishments throughout the week might also be difficult. These should be as simple as showing up, performing, and producing each day. Trust in the quality of your own work and this will boost your confidence. 

Working longer hours at home isn’t all negative, if that is what you enjoy. But it is important to check in with yourself, analyze and understand your expectations, and be proud of what you produce daily during your actual working hours. Disconnecting from work is OK when you aren’t supposed to be working- your mental health will thank you for this! 

3 Life Changing Tips on How to Manage Stress– August 7, 2020

In today’s reality of managing a pandemic and your life, it can get overwhelming! It can be hard to disconnect and find balance in your day. Perhaps you are stressed over: looking for a more fulfilling job, managing your current workload, managing your personal life with work, or are dealing with a layoff.

We will all have seasons of life where it can feel overwhelming but remember you are never given anything you cannot handle. That is why ITS is sharing 3 Life Changing Tips on How to Manage Stress.

1.      Take it a Day at a Time

Try not to let yourself get overwhelmed. Set daily goals and mental checklists and try to accomplish what you can that day. Formulate plans for even the worst-case scenario so you are mentally prepared. If you can handle and mentally prepare for the worst thing that could happen, then you won’t sweat the small stuff. Make a running checklist and try to complete things daily, not all at once, so you can be more aligned with what’s important in the now.

2. Look for the Silver Lining

Instead of focusing on everything that could go wrong, look for opportunities to find the good in the situation. Every hard task has a reward and outcome that will bring a new perspective or new gratitude. If you’re having trouble trying to get your head above water, just remember your purpose, why you chose this path, and what you’re hoping to get out of it.

3. Focus on the End Goal

Feel like you’re at the end of your rope and defeated? Know that these moments of pushing outside your comfort zone and preparing you for something greater. It is building your mental toughness giving you some grit and character. When you start to feel defeated, focus on the end goal. Why you started this journey and how when you look back on this process 5,10, or 15 years from now how minuscule the time will feel in comparison. 

There you have it, ITS 3 tips on How to Manage Stress. What are some ways you manage stress? Share it on our Facebook page and start a conversation! 

How to Be an Effective Team Player– July 31, 2020

Most of us have heard the term, “There is no I in team!” This small sentiment packs a whole lot of truth. Whether at work, at home, or in school it takes a combination of people working together to be successful. Each one of us brings something different to the table, or in this case, to the workplace. Our individuality helps in serving a greater purpose. But, how you approach your part can be the “make it” or “break it” in your role. Being a better team player will not only cultivate healthier work relationships, but it will also help the business achieve goals.

This week, we are providing our best advice for how professionals can become a better co-worker and team player at the office.

1. Actively Listen

Listening is becoming a lost art. When we truly listen, we learn more about the people we work with. It gives us insight into who they are. This helps us better serve everyone’s needs. Listening is a gift. If you become an effective listener, you are on the path to becoming a better team player.

2. Build Others Up

We often focus on our own success rather than the success of others. Help others realize their potential. We don’t always have to be the one doing great things. Shine a light on what others are doing or can do. This helps us inspire each other. Giving others a boost is being an effective team player.

3. Spread Positivity

Positivity brings energy to the team. It allows for creativity and inspiration. Look for what is good. There is good in every job. Try to stay away from judgement and gossip. Realize there are differences and move forward. Bringing the light and smiles will help you be an inspirational team player.

4. Focus on Collaboration

Collaboration is when individuals work together for a common purpose of achievement. Find ways to help others, and, if you need help don’t be afraid to ask. We all bring a unique set of gifts and we should use those interactively to assist each other. This builds goodwill and reciprocity. This is a powerful way of becoming an effective team player.

 “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

How to Stay Motivated and Healthy with Home Workouts- July 24

Did you know the staff at ITS has a history of running marathons together to benefit local charities? We take pride in empowering our staff to live a healthy lifestyle and giving back to the triangle area. Recently with gyms closed in North Carolina, we have had to get creative with our fitness routines. That is why we are sharing our tips on: How to Stay Motivated and Healthy with Home Workouts!

  1. Create a space for your home gym

Time to dust off those dumbbells and unload the laundry from the treadmill. Look around at what equipment you do have and make the best of it. If you have a mat, kettlebells, or dumbbells we recommend googling “equipment you have workout” and that should provide you with different ideas to put your equipment to use!

  1. Get back to basics with workout DVDs

Online yoga!? How great and such a treat to find some peace during these days. Find an instructor you enjoy and follow their online class daily or whatever works with your schedule. Luckily, workout videos offer all types of fitness classes. They are available online and in video format. Talk yourself off the couch and get moving!

  1. Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air

No equipment? A few of our team members take advantage of every summer day by either walking, hiking, running, or biking. Around Raleigh, there are numerous paved greenway trails which make it a perfect opportunity to grab a buddy and go on a walk, hike, or run! An added benefit to living here are all of our state parks to enjoy and the great views North Carolina has to offer. 

Trust us, we understand it is hard to get motivated and to develop a new routine, but we hope the tips on this week’s post put an extra boost in your step! Remember to: 

  • Start small and start with what you have access to. 
  • Set an obtainable daily or weekly goal.
  • Keep yourself accountable, it will pay off in the long run. 
  • Take advantage of the information on the internet, follow a new workout or video!

We hope our tips help jump start your motivation! Happy exercising! 

Managing Leadership Styles In the Workplace- July 17

We encounter different leaders throughout our lives and each encompasses a distinct style. Recently we came across an article LinkedIn shared, The Best Leaders are Flexible to Switch Between Leadership Styles.

Leadership, defined by the Oxford Language Dictionary, is the “act of leading a group of people or an organization”, and there is more than one way to lead effectively. As we read through LinkedIn’s article, we became curious to find out which style we represented. We’d like to encourage you to do the same, check out the five types of leaders: Participative, Authoritarian, Laissez-Faire, Transformational, and Servant.

This week on ITS talks we are sharing a few tips on Managing Leadership Styles In the Workplace. See below for the five different leadership styles you may encounter and how to navigate them.

  1. Participative leader: 

This leader encourages employee participation and engagement. We recommend being vocal, participating and supporting group or team efforts.

  1. Authoritarian leader:

This leader sets the tone for goals and employee responsibilities. This leader will often set their own guidelines for employees to follow. We recommend following directions, asking clear and concise questions, and completing assigned duties.

  1. Laissez-Faire leader:

This leader typically has a hands off approach and will delegate tasks and responsibilities as they see fit. This is your “let it be” leader. We recommend being a self-starter and keeping yourself motivated to be successful with this leader.

  1. Transformational leader: 

This is the inspirational leader of the group. Transformational leaders focus on bigger picture goals rather than micro-tasks and issues. We recommend being detail oriented and understanding how your work assists in the bigger picture.

  1. Servant leader:

This leader is the true servant to the company, cause, and or mission. Servant leaders will get their hands dirty and prefer to keep themselves invested in daily work to accomplish an overall goal. We recommend participating in groups/teams when needed and being vocal about ideas, opportunities, and issues that arise. 

In order to be successful it is important to be able to identify leadership styles. The better you understand your leader the more equipped you are to meet expectations. It was Mother Teresa who said, “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”

How to Gracefully Resign From a Position- July 10

Resigning from a position? We have previously spent time talking about lay-offs, see our post: How to Stay Positive After a Layoff- June 12, but not about resigning. This week we are taking the time to start a conversation about resigning. 

There are right ways and wrong ways to professionally resign without tarnishing your work history. 

This week we will answer questions such as: 

  • Do I need to give the company notice?
  • Do I owe the company anything?
  • How much notice should I give? 
  • How do I deliver my resignation? 

Let’s get started! See below for our tips on How to Gracefully Resign From a Position:

Do I need to give the company notice of resignation? 

Yes. While no one likes receiving bad news, if it is your time to move on then it is your responsibility to also let your company know. Giving your company notice of resignation is professional, it allows time to tie up loose ends, and could serve you in the future by providing a reference. It is important to follow company policy when providing a resignation. Often, resignation policies are entwined within company policy and may include items such as how much of a notice to give, if they support a forced exit, and/or last day resignation items.

Do I owe the company anything?

Outside of contracts, employees do not need to provide long-term loyalty. Stated above, if it is time to personally or professionally move on then it is in your best interest to do so. 

How much notice should I give?

Generally speaking, a 2-week notice is professional and a typical amount of time. However, this can vary company to company. Again, resignation policies are often entwined within company policy and it is not abnormal for companies to state they require a notice outside of 2-weeks. 

How do I deliver my resignation?

While uncomfortable, it is better to resign in person, one-on-one with your direct supervisor if allowed by the company. Your supervisor will provide you with follow-up instructions such as if you need to type a formal letter, send an email, and or what loose ends need to be finalized before your departure. 

Resigning can take on many different forms. Across the board, it is important to know proving a notice of resignation with 2-weeks notice is typical and professional. Leaving a position without a resignation may tarnish your work history and professional contacts. What are some ways you have professionally resigned from your position gracefully? Share with others on our Facebook page!

How to Take on Bad News Gracefully- July 3

Everyone is subject to receiving some type of bad news at some point in their lives and we cannot avoid it. However, how we react to bad news is something we can control. Sit back and reflect on a time you received bad news; how did you react? Did you argue or snap back? Or, did you accept the bad news and learn from it? 

As professionals, reactions have the power to influence perceptions. Accepting bad news gracefully speaks volumes and can assist in your future endeavors. This week on ITS Talks, we are sharing a few tips on How to Take on Bad News Gracefully by accepting, learning, and being kind to yourself.

  1. Accept the Bad News

Receiving any type of negative or unexpected news may trigger emotions which we may all be subject to, and it is important to acknowledge these emotions, and accept what has happened.

  1. Overcome Adversity

Failing an exam, not getting a job, or arguing with a colleague can all cause feelings of failure. Overcoming these failures builds adversity and to help look at failures as learning opportunities.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself

Recall your previous accomplishments to boost your confidence and keep moving forward. Being mindful of your emotions is a healthy practice as a way of being kind to yourself.  

We know no one enjoys receiving bad news, we for sure don’t! But, learning how to accept bad news gracefully will greatly impact your attitude, profession, and overall outlook. If there was a time you received some bad news, share with us on our Facebook page. How did you react to it? Did you learn from it?

How to Summer Vacation with Social Distancing- June 26

It is indeed summer around here, but how do we celebrate it with social distancing and respecting others’ health? This week, we went around the inbox to see how our team members will be vacationing and or celebrating summer this year. Check out our tips on How to Summer Vacation with Social Distancing. 

Are you traveling this summer? 

I will be doing some local traveling to places such as the beach or the mountains to disconnect in nature and destress during these unique times. I am limiting my travel to only when necessary when it comes to flying for my own safety and others.

My oldest son graduated from high school this year. At the beginning of the school year we were talking about doing a big trip that would require a flight or maybe a cruise ship, but once Covid19 became a reality we decided not to make any plans for the summer. Then just a few weeks ago as the restrictions started to lift we thought we would plan a vacation at the beach, our old stand-by! Our normal family trips involve the mountains, beach or visiting family along the east coast. The kids were disappointed that we wouldn’t be taking a big trip, but we can always plan something similar in the future. We felt it would be safer to stay close to home, go by car and rent a house. With some restrictions still in place and guidelines to follow, we feel pretty good about our decision. And if nothing else, life is better at the beach!! 

We will only be doing some local beach travel with our dog this summer. Under normal circumstances we usually take a week-long, jump on an airplane across an ocean vacation at the beginning of summer. This summer I am going to make the best out of our beach trips. We really enjoy Emerald Isle and Virginia Beach, our dog does too! 

Yes, but for us travel will be local. Travel includes camping trips at the following places this summer; Rodanthe, Currituck Sound, N. Myrtle Beach, Williamsburg, Kerr Lake.

We aren’t doing any travel this summer. Normally we fly locally somewhere, but with COVID, we won’t be going anywhere. We are continuing our long staycation. 

What does a summer vacation look like this year? What about it makes you excited? 

A summer vacation looks like to me this year, one that I can surround myself with family or very close friendships. It makes me excited to share memories with those most dear to my heart and to take time out of my busy schedule for them.

Summer has a great feeling no matter what! Whether we are doing staycations, trips, or lounging by the pool. There is nothing like the lazy days of summer. Summer brings out the best in people. Everyone is in a good mood and more relaxed. You can get outside and enjoy the weather; and we can’t forget about taking time off from school and work. There is just a slower pace to life during the summer. Covid or no Covid, I am excited about summer! 

Summer this year has been much more family time and I am thankful for it. Our vacations this year are to the beach. I am excited about soaking up the sun and breathing in fresh ocean air. 

What does summer mean to you?

Summer means to me, getting outdoors as much as possible and reconnecting to god’s creation. Making time for things I may put off during the holidays and finding that peace to relax and rest. 

Summer means flip flops, gardening, longer daytime hours, time with friends and family, fresh lemonade on the back porch, night time swimming at the pool, lots of grilling out and cold cocktails, staying up late to watch movies on Netflix, fireflies, your toes in the sand and waves in your face, SUNSCREEN and all the ice cream you can eat!!!

I loved growing up in South Carolina. We had the best summers! Aunt Yvonne was a school teacher, and she took care of my brother and I while we were all out of school. She would take us swimming, to the movies, and roller skating (my personal favorite past time back then). If I could turn back the hands of time, I would definitely revisit those humid days full of ice cream, sunscreen, and more love than I’ve experienced since.

Summertime for me is about spending time with family, friends, and my dogs. I love camping, running, cooking out, doggie playdate, going on long walks, and working in my yard. I love that NC has all 4 seasons, and Summer never disappoints. I love the warm summer nights.We hope you enjoyed this little insight into our summers.

What advice would you give to someone this summer?

Do what you can with what you have. Call everybody, family and friends. It speaks volumes to check in and will make yourself feel better. Also, go enjoy the weather, get your vitamin D somehow- grill, hike, or go biking- make it a priority everyday to get outside while we can.

Eat lots of ice cream, visit the beach and spend quality time with your family by playing games!

Continue your routine or build new habits. If you run every morning, keep running, rain or shine.

We hope our responses have given you some creativity to how you approach your summer this year! Bring on the watermelon and share your own responses on our Facebook page, we can’t wait to hear from you!

Must Know Tips for Summer Networking- June 19

This week officially marks the start of summer! While our current summer plans may have changed, it is a great time to take advantage of reconnecting with old contacts and creating new ones! If you like to spend your summers interning, volunteering, or learning a new skill then you may already love networking! Networking can provide future references, new opportunities, and lasting friendships.

Last week we spoke about layoffs, the country has seen record breaking unemployment recently, so this week we are sharing inventive or time-pressed ways to network during COVID-19.

  1. Be Patient and Personable

Everyone is feeling the brunt of our new reality and people have been affected differently. If you are out of work remember it can take, on average, a couple months to land a new position. During this time, sort through your contacts and reach out to multiple people. Remember, responses won’t be immediate. The important thing is that you did your part and attempted to reach out.

  1. Get on Social Media

     Take advantage of social distancing by using social media. E-meeting is now a popular way to meet and also network. Create a profile on Linkedin and connect with who you may know through school, work, and friends. Check out our Linkedin page for updates and job postings. 

  1. Be Direct and Informative

Previously, networking involved a coffee or lunch date, in the world of social distancing those face-to-face meetings are now a thing of the past. While pleasantries and manners are still important, getting your point and needs across are crucial during this time, be direct when reaching out about introductions, job opportunities, and updates.

This summer, many of us can continue to network safely while at home and respecting others’ health. Keep in mind to be patient, get on social media, and be direct. We hope these tips help you in networking this summer.

How to Stay Positive After a Layoff- June 12

Earlier in the year we posted a blog titled: “How to Manage Your Mindset After a Layoff”, that offered some positive tips on how to cope with an unexpected layoff.  Ironically not long after, record national unemployment numbers occurred due to the recent pandemic. As a result, layoffs were imposed in a number of industries, such as: retail, restaurants and manufacturing. This impacted millions of Americans who have been left jobless since COVID-19 made its way into our communities just a few short months ago. 

Being unemployed may leave you feeling inadequate, lost, and scared. These feelings can lead to depression and other mental health concerns. Please know that your emotions are natural and completely normal. It is important to focus and realign yourself by accepting how you feel. Remember, you will get through this by staying positive and taking it one day at a time.

We have provided some advice on How to Stay Positive After a Layoff:

1. Remind Yourself of Your Value

You are an essential part of this community. Recognize self-worth and realize what you have already been contributing. Make a list and think about what you are good at, care about, skills you have and your strengths.  A visual list can be a great reminder and allow you to see your characteristics as assets.

2. Maintain a Perspective of Worthiness

You are job worthy. The loss of recent jobs occurred because of a pandemic, this isn’t personal.  Take it day by day and live in the present moment. When your mind creeps back to worries about finances or your job, gently guide it back to positive thinking. You may not have had any control over losing your job, but you can control your thoughts.

3. Choose Joy and Gratitude

Life is full! It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s joyful, and it’s disappointing.Choose to do things that give you energy and hope. It will make you feel better about yourself! Be grateful for what you have and what is to come. When you count your blessings, you begin to see how rich life really is.

There is a great quote from a movie that says, “I do know one thing. My life has been full. Not in spite of the disappointments, but because of them.” Life hands us all kinds of situations, some good and some not so good, fortunately, they are all fleeting, lasting just long enough. This is a fleeting moment in your life. Tomorrow will bring something new. Uplift others today and spark a conversation in the comments on how you’ve dealt with an unexpected layoff on our Facebook page!

Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Pie to Bake for Your Neighbors– June 5, 2020

June 9th is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie day! Our conversations are typically advice filled and while we want to provide top quality tips, advice, and insight, sometimes it is great to steer off the track and provide a little light reading. Let’s take the time to foster community by baking for family, friends or your neighbor’s to bring some solace to these current times. 

This week, we want to honor National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie day and share a recipe from our Operations Manager that she swears by! It is strawberry and rhubarb season and the perfect time to try this recipe. 

Pies are a dessert that not only brings us comfort, but evoke nostalgia that stir feelings and memories from our past. Pies bring smiles and families together. With their easy versatility and wholesomeness, they make baking a fun and unique experience.

We could keep going, but let’s get to this tried and true pie recipe and honor this day!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie


1- large egg

¾- cup white sugar

2-tbsp all purpose flour

1-tsp cornstarch 

1-tsp vanilla extract

¾ pounds of rhubarb cut into ½ pieces OR use 3 cups of frozen rhubarb- thaw and drain

1- pint fresh strawberries, halved

1-pastry shell (frozen or graham cracker of your choice!)

Topping ingredients: 

¾- cup all purpose flour

½- cup brown sugar

½ – cup oats (any kind)

½- cup cubed cold butter


  • In a large bowl, beat egg then add sugar, flour and vanilla until well combined. Gently stir in fruit and cornstarch. Pour into the crust.
  • For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and oats; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit.
  • Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; for pastry crust 30-35 minutes longer; for graham cracker crust 20 minutes longer.
  •  Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into it.

We hope this recipe inspires you to try something new! Let us know if you try the recipe or if you have your own best version on our Facebook page! Happy National Strawberry & Rhubarb Pie Day!

Character Traits to Land the Job for the Class of 2020 –May 29, 2020

ITS would like to congratulate the graduating classes of 2020! You did it, despite a worldwide pandemic! This is such a special time in life, but even more so this year after navigating the unpredicted health crisis. It took resilience, hard work, and a little ingenuity to finish. Way to go!

The unexpected can lead us down a path we never imagined. We can plan and forecast the future, but sometimes life has other plans in mind. Good or bad, right or wrong, no matter how we view it- it is our journey. Each one special and presents a unique set of challenges, but how you approach the challenges will be the substance by which you build character. 

Character doesn’t take a whole lot of talent, but does offer a whole lot of respect. We have listed a few practical character traits which will help you not only land a job, but will be useful throughout life.

1. Having strong work ethic
Developing good work habits, such as focusing, staying motivated, finishing tasks, and respecting deadlines all help create a good work ethic. A strong work ethic is an important part of being successful in life.

2. Keeping a positive attitude
A positive attitude is a state of mind, one that sees the good in life. It is the willingness to try new things, accomplish goals, and help avoid excess worry. Having a good attitude will bring constructive changes into your life and career.

3. Being coachable
Being coachable is being humble enough to grow, learn, improve, and perform. Being coachable directly correlates to a happy and productive life. It means you are paying attention to other people, experiences, and gaining wisdom and skills. It will make your journey enjoyable.

Remember, the experience and the plans- they are important! But, let the unexpected be the means in which you develop your character. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” Share this post with a recent graduate student today!

Etiquette Tips For Your Next Virtual Meeting– May 22

It is safe to say everyone has now had some experience with virtual meetings. Whether you are a veteran user or new user, virtual meetings have quickly become popular ways to e-meet. 

ITS adopted virtual interviews this past March and we have learned different platforms for meeting with our candidates. As we are adapting, we have created a few etiquette tips we are excited to share with you for your next virtual meeting.

  • Show up on time, if not a few minutes before.
    • Punctuality is just as important online as it is in person.
    • Showing up early will allow you to navigate any hiccups; such as connection errors, passwords, or downloads.
  • Dress appropriately.
    • While these meetings are virtual, they do not take away from the professional purpose. Dress for what you are showing up for. 
    • If e-meeting for an interview, this is a company’s first impression of you, save the comfy clothes for after the interview. 
    • Getting dressed/ready will also jump-start your productivity.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
    • Leave the keyboard alone.
    • Keep any food out of sight. 
    • Be mindful of excess noise.
  • Stay present.
    • Don’t let your mind or eyes wander. Virtual meetings are up-close and the internet will always be a noticeable distraction. 

There you have it! Etiquette Tips For Your Next Virtual Meeting. Learning to navigate virtual meetings, and present yourself well and professionally will indeed go far this day in age.

Charles F Glassman once said, “There is only one way to survive and thrive when faced with circumstances out of our control and for which we are unprepared: ADAPT.”  What are some ways you have been adapting? Share it in the comments on our Facebook page!

3 Tips for Looking Ahead to a Better Tomorrow – May 15

Normally, at this time of year we are planning for summer; looking forward to vacations, spending time with family, and getting a break from school and work. This crisis has skewed our lives, and for many of us, the summer is not looking quite the same as it has in the past.

With crisis comes loss. We have all lost something – jobs, security, health, life as we knew it. But experience has a funny way of teaching us. What will you learn from this experience? How can we take what we gain and apply it to our future?

Below, we have provided 3 Tips for Looking Ahead to a Better Tomorrow:

1. Help others in need
This is a time to be thinking of others. We can provide a financial gift, your time, or an ear to listen. When we set others’ needs ahead of our own, great things happen. Think of what it would be like if we all put our neighbors first. What would our schools look like, our businesses, our families, our community and our world? It doesn’t have to be big, small acts make such an impact. We can all help in some way.

2. Laugh well and often
Take this time to give yourself a break. Put the worries and anxieties aside and laugh. Positivity will bring new light into each day. Stay in touch with loved ones, continue to share stories, and be lighthearted! The responsibilities and schedules will come back, so let’s take advantage of this sweet reprieve and laugh!

3. Practice being mindful and more patient
I think we can agree patience is something all of us could use a little more of. We miss the ball games, going out to eat, and shopping. Mourn it, but move on! If any lesson can be taught, it’s that we need to slow down and wait. When we are patient we learn more about ourselves, we notice the small things, and we are able to think clearly. Good things do come to those who wait. 

Life will be different, but there is so much good that can be gained. Allow this time to be the start of something new. Change can bring opportunities, both personally and professionally! 

How to Celebrate Mother’s Day During Social Distancing– May 8, 2020

This coming Sunday, May 10th, marks this year’s Mother’s Day! This year, we will be honoring the Mothers in our lives a bit differently than in previous years. Here in North Carolina, our schools, not limited to Sunday schools, are out, restaurants are closed, and large gatherings aren’t advised. These circumstances will lead us to getting more creative this year, in our efforts to recognize the importance of Mothers in our lives near and far. 

That is why ITS is dedicating this week’s blog post on creative ways on: How to Celebrate Mother’s Day During Social Distancing. Firstly, we want to thank all mothers who dedicate their time, energy, patience, and wisdom.

A few simple but meaningful ways we can socially distance and still say thank you to mothers out there:

-Mail personal cards

-Send a gift

-Create a video

-Make a phone call

-Schedule a group video chat

-Drop off a care package

If you live with a mother, make the day about her by:

-Make a meal for her or pick up from her favorite restaurant

-Do some of the chores she usually does

-Let her set the agenda for the day

-Host an in-home wine tasting

-Try a video paint night at home

-Participate in a virtual yoga class

While many of us cannot be together, simple acts can let mothers out there know we acknowledge, appreciate, and honor them. Social distancing is forcing us to become more creative, and we are sure any effort will be highly appreciated! 

To all of the mothers, Happy Mother’s Day from the team at ITS. 

5 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips- May 1, 2020

Recently, we have been speaking a lot about being at home. How to stay motivated, how to spread kindness in your home office, how to update your resume, and how to go green while at home, all posts you can find below! To continue this trend and celebrate the spring weather, we want to share 5 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips.

Spring cleaning is an easy way to feel accomplished, refreshed, and increase productivity. These all sound like some things we could use a boost in during this time. Don’t let the idea of spring-cleaning your entire home overwhelm you, start small. 

  1. Create a plan
    Make a checklist of what you want to accomplish in a specific area. Pre-planning will keep you on track, motivated, and will keep your end-goal in sight!
  2. Refresh with new bedding
    If you haven’t already done so, an easy spring clean is to replace your winter bedding with your spring/summer bedding. Wash, dry, and pack up your winter bedding for next winter.
  3. Revamp your refrigerator
    Another easy, accomplishing spring clean is to tackle the inside and outside of your refrigerator. Go through old left-overs, your condiments, and freezer. Also, give the outside of your refrigerator a good scrub down.
  4. Make your home welcoming
    It’s likely your doormat has gotten the best of winter or even pollen from the spring. Give your doormats a new update or clean the ones you have by shaking out debris, sweeping/scrubbing any dust/pollen off, and repositioning them.
  5. Organize your closet
    If you are guilty of avoiding this, you are not alone! Take the time to put your winter coats away for next winter and go through the clothing you do have. This is a good time to create 3 piles: winter, keep, and donate. 

We hope that these 5 tips for spring cleaning leave you feeling accomplished, refreshed, and productive! Spring cleaning is something we all avoid, but it is a good way of making the most of your while at home. Let us know if you use any of our tips and share what has worked for you in your homes and spark a discussion on our Facebook page!

Five Tips for Going Green While at Home– April 24, 2020

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, many of us are experiencing quarantine for the first time. With this we all have experienced changes to our everyday lives; such as, spending more time at home with family and pets, working remotely, cooking at home, home-schooling, and an overall slower pace of life. With every challenge, we continue to adapt. Many of us are already doing our part to ease the carbon footprint, whether we are aware of it or not.

One good thing to come out of stay home orders is taking a real bite out of pollution and giving us more time to think about nature. We are driving less, flying less and using less take out containers, all of which helps the environment. In addition many of us are planting gardens, getting out in nature and enjoying walks, runs, or just good old fashioned play-time. 

No matter what your work environment looks like, at this time, there are still some great ways to help us keep thinking green! In celebration of Earth Day which is April 22nd we are sharing Five Tips for Going Green While at Home.

1. When cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in your home use white vinegar to disinfect surfaces. White vinegar is a great way to stay clean and green. Vinegar can eliminate some bacteria and viruses.

2. Spending more time outdoors? While you are out walking, running or playing, stop and pick up trash that has littered our streets and neighborhoods. Help to make your neighborhood more visually appealing and help the environment at the same time!

3. Calling all water drinkers! Purchase reusable water bottles, or a mobile water filtration system. Buying water bottles is an unnecessary expense and waste.  Plastic water bottles are usually the first thing to go in a time of crisis. With a water filtration system, you can have all the freshwater you need and it’s portable! 

4. Make it green by adding plants to your office! Plants are a great way to add beautiful décor to a space. Indoor plants can help reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue. They also reduce indoor air pollutants. So, breath in the fresh air!

5.  Since we are spending so much time at home, you are probably binge-watching TV shows or movies. This is a great time to gather the family and watch movies that promote the beauty and welfare of our globe. 

These are very small changes that can make a big difference, but most importantly bringing awareness to our planet’s health.

Our team at ITS applauds you for already playing a small role to reduce waste and produce better air quality! We know you will help us in doing your part to keep our community healthy by staying home and practicing good hygiene. Share these tips with others to celebrate Earth Day on our Facebook page!

Top 3 Things to Include on Your Resume– April 17, 2020

As a staffing firm we see many resumes.We know a great resume can be the first step to landing that dream job. That is why this week our team is sharing some tips and tricks on the Top 3 Things to Include on Your Resume.

1.Stick to the point:

  • What exactly do you or did you do in your previous position? 
  • Tell us the facts. 
  • What have you mastered? Skills are not your job duties or education.

2. Less is more

  • No one needs your personal address. 
  • While you may have participated in clubs and organizations, they won’t get you any additional attention.
  • Too many beautiful adjectives can create a lengthy resume. Keep it short and to the point.

3. Time to Design

  • Take advantage of decreasing your margins and enlarging text. 
  • It is important to create a resume that is appealing, but still reflects your capabilities.
  • Your resume is your story. Tailor your resume for different job opportunities. 

While your resume should speak to your experience, abilities, and accomplishments, we hope these few key points can help you on your journey to finding your dream job. There is a lot of material out there about resume format do’s and don’ts as well as programmed format styles. 

Remember when creating your resume, at a minimum, always include: 

-Your name

-Contact information: your phone number and email address. 

-Your Skills.

-Employment history and job duties related to the position you are applying for.

-Education. Degrees and years of graduation. 

-Stick to 1-2 pages at a maximum. 

We hope to have streamlined some of the information that is out there about resumes and we hope to help make your resume standout! If you are looking for a job our recruiters would love to help! Head to our job openings tab on our website to view our openings today.

Four Ways to Spread Kindness in Your Home Office– April 10, 2020

We are currently seeing kindness being shared in all types of new ways during this stay at home order! Whether it be from our neighborhood-porch dance parties, to drive-by birthday wishes, or the need to ensure we are being kind to ourselves in our remote work spaces. 

For some of us, working from home is new and during this time we might have new co-workers such as children, pets, spouses, and partners who don’t exactly understand our normal work boundaries and functions. However, we are all getting through it and continuing to push through to our new normals! To continue our conversation about stay-at-home, this week we are sharing: Four Ways to Spread Kindness in Your Home Office. 

  1. Make time for yourself before logging on and after logging off. Enjoy your “me time.” Even if it means waking up a few minutes early, introducing yourself to special time set aside for you will be hugely rewarding.
  2. Give yourself respect and recognition
    While we are all sheltering, it is difficult to see the accomplishments throughout our day. Give yourself the same respect and recognition you provide yourself in the office. At the end of each week, take a look at what you virtually accomplished- I’m sure it will put a smile on your face!
  3. Develop a routine Everyone needs to be on board for this one. If you live with others, include them on developing a daily routine which everyone can then get behind on and benefit from. Keeping a routine is any easy way to be kind to yourself.
  4. Find beauty in the imperfections Kids, animals, and doorbells going off during virtual meetings and phone calls are the new-normal. Allow yourself to scramble, but accept that the chaos of working from home is temporary. Embrace and accept what you have at home.

What are some ways you are practicing kindness with yourself and others during our stay home order? Let us know and inspire others by leaving a comment on our Facebook page!

ITS at Home– April 3, 2020

How to Stay Motivated and Sane While Working from Home

While much of the nation is currently under “stay-at-home” orders, we decided to take a peek into what keeps our own team going each day. Previously, our post on March 20 spoke to Three Habits of Successful Remote Employees. Take a look below if you haven’t read it! 

We went around the office… I mean…inbox and asked our team members three questions: What has kept you motivated? What do you do throughout the day that keeps you sane? Finally, what surprised you about working from home? Check out our answers and tips below on how to stay motivated and sane while working from home.

What has kept you motivated?

“Running outside with my dog before work.”

“Setting goals and holding myself accountable.”

“Remember, ‘This, too, shall pass.’ I have remained motivated through faith. There are many positives to what is going on and I think it is important for us to accept it and to look for the good.”

“I feel like what we do matters, even more so than usual. People need jobs and our economy needs to keep moving. I feel like I’m making an impact at the local level, and it motivates me to keep going.”

“I stay motivated by focusing on gratitude and the blessings that I have right now, taking it day by day. I think our adrenaline is wearing thin for adapting to this new normal and as I see many friends of mine lose their job, it gives me comfort we are helping others find security and job placement at great companies.”

Sticking to a pretty-strict agenda each day so that I don’t feel I’ve wasted it.

What do you do throughout the day that keeps you sane?

Play ball outside with my dogs.”

“Create a comfortable and quiet workspace.”

“What keeps me most sane is to TURN OFF the NEWS and focus on kids/dog, chores, reading, and getting outside. There are a lot of activities that keep us so distracted that we never have time to focus on such things, but now it has been nice to enjoy a different type of pace.”

“Throughout the day I take a walking break around my neighborhood or read a devotional. I stay focused on my goals and keep in touch with friends virtually over zoom or Facetime.”

“Before I log on in the mornings, I get a workout in, brew tea and walk my dog. I ensure I have “me time.” It is extremely important for me to continue exercising and keeping a semi-normal routine.”

What surprised you about working from home?

“I thought I would get more accomplished.”

“I don’t get out of my chair as often.”

“It’s more challenging to stay focused.”

“What has surprised me the most about working from home is how comfortable it is…no worrying about what to wear, no worrying about make-up and hair…I think it has made me a bit more productive for that reason.”

“I miss being out in the world and talking to my clients in person, but most of them have made time to speak with me remotely. We’ve even done some video chats.”

“Since I have experience working remote, I would say there were less surprises but it has been nice to be less stressed from the hustle/commute and being able to refocus on important projects. I feel more rested and centered. I do however miss working at a local coffee shop and leaving the house for a change of scenery in this more flexible environment.”

Surprisingly, I don’t enjoy it as much as i thought I would. I love the time at home with my dog and husband, but it really isn’t for me. I think it is still foreign.

We spent some time reflecting on these questions, if you are in a work from home situation, take time for yourself to answer these questions. Let us know some of your answers on our Facebook page. Our team can’t wait to hear your responses and as always we are here to chat if you have any questions.

Why Companies Should Work with a Staffing Firm– March 30, 2020

During uncertain times, especially now as everyone is navigating uncharted waters, we at ITS are operating business as usual. ITS boasts a commitment to providing staffing services that are responsive and focused on long-term relationships. Our team is temporarily working remotely and is available for all of your staffing needs.  This week on ITS Talks, we want to provide you with a few reasons as to why you and your company should work with a staffing firm.

There are numerous benefits to working with a staffing firm. We are going to take time and highlight some of ITS’ unmatched benefits. 

Why work with Innovative Talent Solutions:

ITS is a local staffing firm. We have been staffing Raleigh-Durham area companies for almost 20 years now. ITS’ recruiters and account managers know the industries, market, and talent. Our team takes the time to learn about your business and your hiring needs. We then take that information to the numerous networks available to us to find you the right fit in an employee. 

Why use a staffing firm? 

Utilizing a staffing firm allows you, the company, to “try” employees. Staffing companies swallow the risk for you by covering on-boarding, compliance, and worker’s comp. Taking on these new-hire tasks allows you, the company, to focus on your new employee rather than a usually lengthy on-boarding process. Having the freedom to “try” an employee also allows the company to quickly end the relationship if it isn’t the right fit. 

Top three benefits of using a staffing firm:

  1. Staffing firms have connections that often don’t exist in your traditional HR settings. 
  2. Staffing firms take on the risk for you while allowing your company to grow with the best talent. 
  3. There is no risk when utilizing a staffing firm to find the right employees.

We know that great companies care and build relationships with their clients. Work with a staffing firm who recognizes your voice when you call. Why not see how ITS is different and connect with one of our account managers today? Head to our LinkedIn page and experience the no risk of hiring top talent. Stay safe and healthy. Until next time on ITS Talks. 

Three Habits of Successful Remote Employees– March 20, 2020

While some prefer to work remote and the benefits that come with it, others love the structure that going into an office provides. In light of COVID-19, and for the safety of others, many companies are having mandatory work from home policies. Our team at ITS has also temporarily switched from in-house interviews to video interviews.

Luckily one of our own team members at ITS works remote as a contractor and is sharing: Three Habits of Successful Remote Employees.

  1. Start the day with a plan

It is important to set the tone for your day even while working remote. Stick to the routine you would commit to before going into the office such as: working out, reading, meditating or quiet time. We are creatures of habit and will feel more on track when we stick to what we know. Schedule your day according to your projects and calendar, make a to-do list, and set yourself up for success. 

2. Create more than one workspace
While working from home, you may find it easy to get distracted if you are not used to this environment. Set up a workstation in a room with a lot of sunlight and windows, away from the TV, and where it’s quiet to be able to take a phone call, or Skype into a meeting. If you find yourself getting restless in your main workstation, move to another. Make room in your kitchen, spare bedroom, or living room. Changing up your environment can help to reset and realign with what you have to accomplish for the day.

3. Take advantage of the benefits
Working remotely comes with advantages such as being able to make a delicious meal in your kitchen, or taking a walk in your neighborhood when on a phone call for a meeting. Take advantage of this unconventional work environment, take breaks if you feel your focus diminishing and refocus. Experiment with your days and find what works best for your new routine. 

Most importantly, the team at ITS wants you to be safe during this time and take time to learn a new perspective. We know that great businesses are built upon relationships, and take the time to connect with others virtually. Head to our social media accounts and spark a conversation in the comments, leaving your own tips for working remote. Together we will prevail through kindness. 

What to Look for When Hiring your Future Employee– March 13, 2020

When it comes to hiring people for your company you want to surround yourself with the best employees. After all, they are the ones that make the organization successful. But, how do you know if you are getting the best?

Of course, we can learn a lot about the candidates during interviews, but we can’t always rely on “gut feelings” to make such important decisions. That is why it is crucial to consider the value of references. A candidate’s references can give you great insight into their character and work ethic. If you ask the right questions you can gain a rich understanding of who you are considering as a potential employee. This is a critical next step when determining whether your candidate will add to the value of the company. We have some great advice on what to look for when hiring your future employee, to help you get the most out of those references!

What to look for when hiring and calling references:

1. Get to know your Candidate

First things first, be sure to get to know your candidate. This is particularly important if you weren’t part of the interviewing process. Ask the interviewer some questions about the candidate. You want to know if there were any areas of concern or glaring “red flags”. Maybe your company makes notes within the candidate’s files during an interview. Take the time to read through the notes to see if there is anything you should pay close attention to. Also, read through the candidate’s application and resume. Familiarize yourself with their background and experience so you can ask the right questions.

2. Become acquainted with your Candidate

Create a list of specific questions you want to ask. This will keep the conversation on track and help you get the details you need in order to make an informed hiring decision. It is wise to include specific questions, as well as, some open-ended questions. This will prompt the referee to talk about the candidate’s experience and behavior.

Allow enough time to talk to references. This is not the time to be trying to go to lunch or creating that report. Set time aside to have rich conversations. Remember, this is the time to focus on getting as much information about your potential employee. You want to allow enough time to get to know the candidate’s skills, qualities and experience.

3. Set the stage for a relaxed conversation.

Remain friendly, despite the mood you sense from the other end of the phone. Keep positive and excited! This is not only a time to interview the referee, but you are also representing your company. You never want to come across as disinterested or unfriendly. There might one day be potential for some business with this person or company.

4. Ask the right questions

You want to be familiar with the position you are trying to fill. Be sure that you know the job description and any pertinent details of the job. Discuss the job specifics with the referee and ask the question; “We are considering this candidate for ________  position. How do you think they will do? They can tell you if your candidate has experience in those skills or if they think it would be a good position, given the candidate’s past work history.

Stick to the facts! This can be hard, especially, if you get a chatty Cathy on the phone. It is easy to get off subject when you enjoy talking with the person on the other end of the phone. You want to remain positive and friendly, without becoming too friendly. Stay on subject and get as much information about your candidate’s work background. This is when a specific list of questions will come in handy. It will keep the conversation on the facts!

5. Actively listen

Turn your listening ears on! Take a back seat to the conversation. Ask the questions and listen. A majority of the time you will get some great stories and find out about specific projects and contributions that the candidate made to the company. Sometimes, what you hear may lead to another set of questions that could give you more understanding of the person you would like to hire. Also, you talking, might skew the conversation and put words in the mouth of the referee, that might, otherwise, not be there.

You should get, at least, 2 verbal reference checks. Don’t go on just one reference, whether good or bad, you need several references in order to gage the candidate’s characteristics and background.

What not to do when hiring and calling references:

1. Hiring based off emotion

You shouldn’t ever go on emotions or hunches. Sometimes, if you come out of an interview and can’t get a good read on a candidate, follow up with the references. References can also be beneficial if you are deciding between candidates. They could help “tip the scales” toward your next great employee.

2. Asking only closed ended questions

As you create your list of questions don’t make them all yes or no questions. Be sure to keep them specific and open ended. For example, a great question to ask is “What type of environment did he/she work in?”. This question allows for the referee to talk openly about the work atmosphere while you learn the challenges that the candidate faced daily. Depending on the type of job, you may need to stream-line the questions.

3. Not keeping your reference call professional

Don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in the conversation. Keep it professional and remain a neutral party. Remember, you are getting the facts.

References should not be seen as “going through the hiring motions”. Take them seriously! You are bringing this person into your work family. Is it not worth some “due diligence” to find out if they are going to be a good fit? Not to mention, the expense and time wasted hiring the wrong person.

We hope this helps in your journey to finding that next great candidate! You will find that spending time calling references is worth the investment. Good luck finding those candidates and, as always, let ITS know if we can help with any of your recruiting needs!

Three Ways to Support Women in the Workplace– March 6, 2020

This week at ITS we are celebrating International Women’s Day and being a woman owned full staffing firm in the Triangle area!

Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue,” Women’s Day tell us

International women’s day allows us to spend a little extra time focusing on efforts and accomplishments of equality, women in the workplace, and breaking through the ever dissipating glass ceiling. 

Last week, on ITS Talks, we focused around our woman founder and CEO. While we know failures and mistakes are formative steps to lead you to where you desire to be, it isn’t without  perseverance, drive, and a good support team to get yourself where you ultimately want to be.  

Having a support system is important in anyone’s personal and professional worlds. While it might sometimes seem you’re chasing the moon, you need to have people behind you telling you it’s possible and actually within your reach. Personal cheerleaders are great to have! At ITS we rely on each other to:

-Celebrate the victories: we do this by celebrating wins in the gym, at the office, and by being dog moms to puppies.

-Embrace life’s challenges: obstacles present themselves without warning and it is important to be able to talk through these issues with those who are close to you.

Get across the finish line whether it’s in a race or to meet a deadline.

While International Women’s Day this year is Sunday, March 8, we at ITS challenge you to find the women you support and who support you- acknowledge them, thank them, and give each of them an extra boost! 

February 28, 2020- Five Secrets & Tips to Achieve Success

Do you ever wonder what it takes to step out of fear and lead a successful career? Our CEO and Founder did exactly that when she started ITS 17 years ago, as a full service staffing firm. Her vision and dedication shine through in Innovative Talent Solutions’ ability to foster relationships with our candidates and understand what’s at the heart of our clients’ business. 

ITS is a company that loves to give back to our employees, candidates, clients, and community. That is why we took a page from Tim Ferris’s “Tribe of Mentors”, and gathered a few questions to ask our very own CEO and Founder on the Five Secrets & Tips to Achieve Success.

  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

When I feel overwhelmed or unfocused, I usually just keep working. When possible, I try to squeeze in a workout. Running has always been my go-to stress reliever. Also, I’ve recently found Yoga to be extremely helpful. It helps me clear my mind and refocus on what’s important.

  • What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore? 

What you put on social media today matters tomorrow. You should ask yourself, “Would my future employer think this post represents their company well?” If the answer is no, don’t post it! 

  • If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?

“Think Local. Call ITS.”  Our local staffing firm will out-pace and out-place any national firm if given the opportunity. We prioritize our clients and give them the attention national firms can not compete with. Companies often make the mistake of thinking bigger is better.

  • How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

There are definitely worse things in life then failure…like regret or perpetually wondering, “What if?”. I’m grateful for every failure or mistake that has led me to this point in my life. I feel truly blessed.

  • What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise? 

Your resume and application are such a key part to the hiring process, it doesn’t do you any favors to over-sell yourself or exaggerate your abilities. The truth will come out and may cost you your dream job. Let your actual experience and successes speak for themselves.

ITS hopes that this short Q&A with our Founder and CEO helps you to go after your goals and look forward to a successful future ahead. What are some ways you have overcome fear? Help us to Celebrate our 17th Anniversary and start a conversation on our social media pages in the comments! 

February 21, 2020- 3 Tips on How to Manage Stress

In today’s culture of hustling and doing it all, life can get overwhelming! It can be hard to disconnect and find balance in your day. Perhaps you are stressed over: looking for a more fulfilling job, managing your current workload, managing your personal life with work, or are dealing with a layoff (more tips on that from our January 26th post, “How to Manage Your Mindset After a Layoff”, see below).

We will all have seasons of life where it can feel overwhelming but remember you are never given anything you cannot handle. That is why ITS is sharing 3 tips on How to Manage Stress.

1.      Take it a Day at a Time

Try not to let yourself get overwhelmed. Set daily goals and mental checklists and try to accomplish what you can that day. Formulate plans for even the worst-case scenario so you are mentally prepared. If you can handle and mentally prepare for the worst thing that could happen, then you won’t sweat the small stuff. Make a running checklist and try to complete things daily, not all at once, so you can be more aligned with what’s important in the now.

2. Look for the Silver Lining

Instead of focusing on everything that could go wrong, look for opportunities to find the good in the situation. Every hard task has a reward and outcome that will bring a new perspective or new gratitude. If you’re having trouble trying to get your head above water, just remember your purpose, why you chose this path, and what you’re hoping to get out of it.

3. Focus on the End Goal

Feel like you’re at the end of your rope and defeated? Know that these moments of pushing outside your comfort zone and preparing you for something greater. It is building your mental toughness giving you some grit and character. When you start to feel defeated, focus on the end goal. Why you started this journey and how when you look back on this process 5,10, or 15 years from now how minuscule the time will feel in comparison. 

There you have it, ITS 3 tips on How to Manage Stress. What are some ways you manage stress?

Share it on our Facebook page and start a conversation! 

February 14, 2020- Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Job References

It is common to only focus on updating and polishing off your resume but it is JUST as important to keep you references looking their best. Did you know, your references are your personal campaigners?  

They should be people who can speak highly of your qualifications for the position you are pursuing. The primary reason for references is for potential employers to find out about your work performance and character. No one can truly vouch for you like the references you supply!

The interviews can go well, and you may have perfected your elevator pitch, but until the references are confirmed with the same sentiments, don’t go thinking you have that job, just yet! 

We have some practical advice on The top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Job References, to help you get the most out of your references!

The top five Dos: 

  1. Always ask your reference if they are comfortable speaking for you

Before you submit any references take some time to call them and touch base if they are comfortable speaking on your experience. Some people will want to sing your praises, while others may feel awkward. You always want to use people you have built good working relationships with. Most of the time these are the ones that will glorify your skills, qualifications and character. 

2. Be sure to submit quality references

Most employers want to hear reviews from previous managers, supervisors, and team leads. It is important to include people that have overseen your duties. Include a complete list, with name, company name, title, phone, and email. It is important to have as much information as possible. It will allow the employer to get started at their convenience, without delay. A solid list of references can be the first sign to a potential employer that you are on top of it!

3. Use references that can speak on experience that relates to the role you want

If your past jobs have similar or overlapping skills, it really gives the employer an idea of your qualifications. This is key if you are going for a specific type of position and may have gained some past experience. You may not have all the skills they are looking for, but a little can go a long way if your references can attest to the few you do have. 

4. Make sure to have three to four solid references

Your potential employer may not need this many, but it gives them enough options to go on. Some companies may want more, especially if it is a senior position. Have your references ready to go! Make sure they are clear and precise and “ready upon request”. Also, it never hurts to have them match your resume. Keep the fonts and graphics the same to have them look like a set. It will show that you have put thought and time into making yourself stand out. 

5. Send a thank you note

Send a note of thanks to your references if you do land that job! They helped you get there and they deserve to feel appreciated. Depending on the relationship you might want to follow up with a small token of gratitude by sending a small gift, gift card or treat them to lunch. If that feels like too much, then just let them know you are willing to return the favor. 

The top five Don’ts: 

  1. Professional references should stay separate from personal references

We have all heard the old adage “keep personal and professional life separate”. That goes for your references, as well! Unless, otherwise requested there is no need to give a potential employer, personal references. More often than not, your professional references will give an insight into your character. 

2. Always provide truthful references

“The truth shall set you free.” Never lie on your references! You always want to provide truthful information. It wouldn’t be worth it to be caught with false information and jeopardize getting the job you want. Always be honest.

3. Don’t keep your references on your resume

Your references should accompany and compliment your resume. They should never be on your resume. Be sure to keep the two separate, but professional looking. You want everything clear, concise and clean. It will make you appear polished and thoughtful.

4. Never assume that your past managers will speak highly of you

Call the people you want to list as references and have candid conversations with them. Talk over the positive skills, qualities and contributions that you made to the company while you were there. This is not easy, but it will benefit you in getting that future job. 

5. Don’t burn bridges

You may not always love where you work, but you should put differences aside in order to keep lasting references. Despite how you feel about the work environment or company you can still have good enough relationships with previous managers to have them speak on your behalf. 

There you have it your top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Job References! It is also important to keep in mind that your potential employer is busy. Recruiting and hiring may not be their only responsibility. Be mindful of their time and give them as much information, upfront, as possible to keep the process flowing smoothly! Your references not only give them insight into who you are, but providing solid references, in the beginning, can be the very first impression for your potential employer to see what kind of employee you will be.

ITS believes in you and your ability to land your dream job! What are some references you can think of that would give you a promptly glowing review? Get started on your reference list today! 

February 7, 2020- How to Negotiate a Flexible Work Schedule

Work from home, remote-work, and flexible schedules are on the rise and are quickly becoming preferred and sought after environments. In fact, a recent LinkedIn survey shows 70% of people- employees and employers-claim their biggest cause of stress is lack of a work-life balance. Are you stuck wondering how to shift your schedule or how to enhance your work-life balance?! If so, we have four key tips for how to negotiate a flexible work schedule at your current employer.

1. Take a look at your current work habits:

  • Consider, where do you work best. Is it at your desk in the office, at home, or in a coffee shop type environment? 
  • When reviewing your work habits, think about how many days or hours will be impacted by a more flexible schedule. For example, do you need to leave early on Wednesdays or do you need to work from home on Tuesdays? Reviewing your schedule and organizing your work will be crucial when negotiating with your employer. 

2. Think of how will this benefit your employer: 

  • Do you spend more than an hour commuting? Could you spend that time working instead if you were home or at a different location? Could you alter your hours so that your commute doesn’t include traffic? 
  • Will a flexible schedule lower your stress? Less stress will arguably make you a better employee.

3. Develop a plan for maintaining goals:

  • Organization will be key to effectively managing your time and accomplishing your tasks 
  • When speaking with your employer, suggest a trial period. You want to ensure this change works for you as well as your employer. 

4. Come up with a problem solving strategy: 

  • Define your specific need for a flexible schedule. 
  • Help your employer understand what flexible means to you.

We hope these tips help to give you the courage to ask for a more flexible work schedule and better work life balance. If you haven’t caught our post on work life balance, see below!