Thank You Letters Say More Than Thank You

When a candidate sends a thank you letter after an interview it signals that they care about the position enough to follow up appropriately. Should an applicant who fails to send a thank you letter be rejected? No, in some instances a letter may not be considered necessary. However, with the number of job searching “how-to guides” available, it is surprising when a person, who wants the job skips this meaningful step.

As with all application materials, the focus should be on error-free and well-written copy. More than the resume, a letter is the one writing sample that is least likely to have been reviewed and edited by others. It’s a great way to assess a candidate’s writing style and competence. Well formed sentences without spelling or grammatical errors reflect an individual who pays attention to detail. Evidence that the person is enthusiastic about the position, the firm, and the staff members they met is also important. What the candidate has written can help determine if they place emphasis on the key areas that you consider essential.

Any follow up questions addressed in the letter should be answered and it is advisable that applicants understand the next step of the hiring process timeline. Of specific concern is the possibility of letting a qualified person lose interest because they lacked information that could have easily been supplied to them at this stage.


How Long Do You Let Them Hang Around?

At the time an employee appears to have lost interest in the job and begins to project complacency, unproductivity, and attempts to operate outside the organizational structure and rules, management must evaluate its part in the problem but not to be intimidated by these silent demands. There are times when a business relationship stops working and no matter how many attempts are made to recapture the magic… it doesn’t happen. Under these conditions, it is better to accept the disappointment and move ahead for the good of the person and, as well as the organization.

It’s That Time Again

There are a large number of firms that have very strict rules about company-sponsored social activities. But the sacred “summer picnics” seem to still be on the approved list of many organizations. Thinking back through the years, weren’t those fun! It was a way for everyone to see everybody else on the same awkward level.

The macho guys always made the rest envious of their net techniques. The macho women loved to out-macho the guys. The not-so-macho folks always made a brave effort not to let anyone see how uncomfortable they actually were trying to play shortstop… trying to field a softball that they couldn’t have… even in their teens.

Of course there were those wonderful contests to see who could pitch a horseshoe… be team captain… or, win at croquet. For the un-athletically inclined, one could always pray for it all to end… or at least for rain. Plenty of people thought the best way to make it through the day was to drink lots of beer… proof of being “cool.”

You betcha! Those were the good old days. Just think, we can all start planning to get together again soon for one of those outdoor parties. So, get out the equipment, your sweatpants and tees. Start practicing your physical prowess; it’s that time again – no matter how much you might hate it!

Keep It Simple

Effective leaders communicate in a way that everybody knows exactly what they mean. People want to understand details and yet the language some use in business seems designed to make that virtually impossible.

When you use a term that is not absolutely clear to someone, they will rarely question it for fear of appearing stupid. Human nature is such that we often don’t want to draw attention to ourselves. If anything unclear is said or written, chances are that no one will challenge it. Keep it simple and you’ll never have to worry about people misunderstanding your message.

Get to the point of the actual matter at hand, rather than beating around the bush. This helps you to stand out and influence others in your business. Next time you have something to communicate, think about how you could do it differently. How can you grab your audience’s attention in a straightforward yet compelling way?

The Gap

I am not talking about the chain of retail clothing stores. What I’m speaking of is the “Generation Gap” that can often create conflict and complicate communication in the workplace. Althought there will always be differences between age groups, the key to bridging the gap and forming a cohesive atmosphere is recognizing the potential value of multi-generations and finding common ground to build on.

Baby boomers may or may not retire, depending on the state of their retirement savings. At the same time, due to the love affair with what’s new, cutting edge, and technologically cool, firms are recruiting new (and sometimes less costly) talent in the belief that this can be the way to develop a competitive advantage. The best managers today, realize it is vital to encourage their organization to understand that each generation brings something unique and valuable to the operation.

The new generation of professionals is smart, creative, achievement-oriented and tech-savvy. However, their more experienced counterparts are often highly competent in strategic planning, leading people and managing change, which are equally impressive in a very different way. A firm’s success can depend on how well they meld the generations into a cohesive, exciting, productive, highly motivated workforce. When leaders create cross-generational teams, they can take advantage of the strong suits of each age group and break through barriers more quickly.

Mentoring provides one of the most significant ways for integrating these diverse abilities. It increases the chance for innovative ideas to grow and flourish. More experienced employees can benefit from fresh views and know-how of new technologies. All the while, younger employees can benefit from the wisdom and work of their experienced colleagues. Together the two groups can come up with progressive ideas for success. Everyone wants to make a difference and this is a great way to integrate the generations and put together a lasting legacy.

Moving On Up!

Effective January 1, 2013, our San Francisco office relocated to the 35th Floor of One Sansome Street, also known as Citigroup Center. Located at the intersection of Sutter and Sansome near Market Street our new space is within walking distance to many of our clients’ offices and with direct elevator access to BART and Muni, it also offers easy transitions for those commuting by public transportation.

The Specialists Group is growing and we thank our clients for the business you entrust to us.  Please pass this information to the persons responsible for updating corporate addresses.

The Specialists Group, LLC

One Sansome Street, Suite 3500

San Francisco, CA 94104

* Phone and fax numbers will remain the same

Are You Sure You Want That Promotion?

Certainly you do, but are you ready to accept the added responsibility?  Promotions are not generally given to people so that they can come in later, leave earlier, shop leisurely at lunch, have time for a few personal phone calls, spend a couple of hours at the gym, or take long walks in the park.  As a matter of fact, not only does a promotion mean greater commitment, it means dedication and much more responsibility.  It also means new awareness of others’ expectations.

Realistically speaking, the people who report to you are not nearly as accountable to you as you are to them.  Not fair, but that’s the way it is!  They expect you to be the best and that means you have to be or otherwise they won’t respect you. You have to set the example – no way can you let them disapprove of you.  If they do, you can forget about getting any enthusiastic support from your staff.

With every promotion, in addition to the obvious new demands, there are a lot of unexpected areas of accountability.  Many people want and need the challenge and recognition.  Others, when faced with the demands of a promotion, may find after some soul searching that “it’s not for me.”

Helpful Hint: If you really want that promotion – work now as if the announcement has already been made.  It could happen sooner than you think!

The Specialists Group’s 55th Anniversary!

September 3rd 2012 marked The Specialists Group’s 55th anniversary. As we look back over the past 55 years and see how dramatically the staffing industry has changed, we’re grateful that we, too, have been able to change while maintaining the highest level of client service.

Reaching a milestone like this was possible only because the company has had a great deal of support throughout its history. We would like to thank our employees for their past and ongoing contributions to our longevity and success.  We pay special tribute to our clients who have played a key role in the firm’s growth for more than a half-century.  We are also fortunate to have a network of applicants with whom we’ve enjoyed long-term relationships, and recognize them for their partnership.

As a privately-owned company we fully understand the importance of constantly striving to be better at what we do. Toward that end, we are committed to exploring new market opportunities and developing new services that will meet the needs of clients in the future. With the continued support of our employees, clients, and applicants, we have great confidence that we will remain the “Industry Standard of Excellence” for decades to come.


Use Social Media Sites With Care

Employers can benefit from using social media sites, if they use them – carefully.  Professional, and even personal, online networking sites are popular places to search for employees and build qualified pools of candidates. However, as social media networking and recruiting grow in popularity, employers need to use social media sites with caution, especially as a means of background checking.

Are job references, provided by an employee on a social media site, an official company reference for purposes of background checking and employment? No. Should employers utilize social media job references? Maybe. It is very important for  employers to remember that social media references are an informal acknowledgement that somebody, somewhere out there, likes a candidate enough to say so. But, this does not constitute an employment reference.  The dilemma lies in differentiating a friend or colleague’s social media recommendations from references authorized by a company.

I recommend considering the similarity of online references with other data you’ve gathered about a potential employee. Social media references can provide interesting additions to your potential employee’s profile, but take them for what they are worth. Regard references in social media the same way you would consider personal recommendations from family and friends.

Circumventing Counter Offers

Few situations are more frustrating than finding the perfect candidate, extending an offer, and then losing the person to a counter offer from their current employer. However, the threat of a counter offer and the chances of the applicant accepting can be diminished.  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Determine the person’s true motives for wanting to leave their current role, and then make it clear your opportunity will fulfill their goals.
  2. Discuss the potential of a counter offer early in the selection process and ask how they would react should they receive a counter proposal from their current firm.
  3. Make your best offer first, to help remove the possibility of a wage war.
  4. Stay in touch with the candidate after they accept by checking to see how their employer responded when they gave their notice.

Even after following this advice, the candidate may still accept a counter offer (nothing is 100% when dealing with people!).  All you can do is work to avoid the counter offer before it happens.