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5 Things to Do Before You Start a New Job

The first day of a new job can be many things – exciting, unknown, intriguing – but “stressful” is commonly number one. Not only is it likely jampacked with meeting new faces and signing endless HR paperwork, but it is also the initial chance you are given to make an impression on your team and other colleagues. While feeling overwhelmed is easy, take a moment to breathe make a list of the major things you need to remember and / or accomplish that first day – Being prepared will help you show up to the office in confidence and at the top of your game. For starters, here are 5 things to do before tackling that big first day.

Do You Research
In addition to learning about the role you are about to walk into, you should also read up on the company – Where is it headquartered? When was it founded? What departments and teams make up the business structure? Taking interest in these various aspects will help familiarize you with the culture, while avoiding any awkward questions to your new manager.

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
While your new team members likely won’t ask how you would like to move forward in your career, as this was already covered off on in the interview process, the rest of your colleagues will – Whether it is your boss’ boss, a team member you will be working closely with, or friendly conversation in the breakroom, someone will inquire about what jobs you’ve had in the past and how this one is an upward step in the right direction. Have your elevator speech in your back pocket for times like these, as well as for early on conversations with your direct manager on what projects interest you and those that will help you grow.

Have Conversation Starters
Although it may sound ingenuine, identify a few appropriate topics, work or non-work related, that you are comfortable talking about with strangers. These will come in handy if a conversation becomes dull or you are invited to lunch with a group of unfamiliar coworkers. Striking up conversation will show you are interested in getting to know your colleagues and not afraid or shy to chat with your peers around the office – Creating a friendly atmosphere can only help in these situations.

Pick Out Your Outfit
To avoid making too many decisions, causing yourself to be late, morning of, lay out your outfit before you go to bed the night prior. Always air on the side of business casual to ensure you are not underdressed or appear underprepared on your first day. Ultimately, this is a good habit to get into for the following days to save yourself time each morning – With this, you can arrive prompt and continue impressing your manager.

Set Your Alarm and Relax
Easier said than done right? For an ease of mind, set several alarms, so you do not need to worry about snoozing one and oversleeping. Additionally, take the necessary measures you need to relax the night before and stop your mind from overthinking. You already did the hard part by landing the job – Focus now on bringing your talent to the table and remind them why they picked you!

5 Things to Do Before You Start a New Job

8 Practical Tips to Prepare Your Business and Employees for a Hurricane

Hurricane season has begun (dun dun duuun); which means we should start boarding up our houses and buying all the canned foods and water bottles we need for 3+ months -- RIGHT NOW. Right?

On the contrary, hurricane season preparation doesn’t begin as early as it should AND we are not preparing everything that needs to be prepped. Unfortunately, we forget about the other important things like our business properties and our employees in the event of a hurricane/ storm, which means we may not be as ready as we thought.

You’re probably thinking, “So, Pete, you’re telling me, in addition to preparing my family and my house, I have to prepare my business and employees?”

Yes, that is absolutely right! You need to ensure that there is a plan in place so that your business can keep going.

Now, you’re thinking: “how do I prepare my business buildings, employees, and processes so that we can continue to serve our customers during and after the storm?”

Luckily, I have these 8 tips that I gathered from a conversation with my good friends at Florida Family Insurance and SNI Companies on exactly how to do that! So, keep reading!

1. Speak to your Insurance Agents, now!

Stephanie: “We suggest you call your insurance agents now and asked them to review your coverage. The last thing you want is to go through a hurricane and have a surprise. So, call your agent, ask them, and don’t be afraid to ask: ‘how did my current carrier perform during Irma?’”

Takeaway: Stephanie from Florida Family Insurance suggests that you call your insurance agents and go over what’s covered and what’s not. This will help you get an idea of how to react once the storm has past and if you have any damage, how to report it.

2. Ensure your Employees are Cross-Trained

Stephanie: “That’s a huge part of what we do and our hurricane plan is making sure both our policyholders in our agents are prepared and have the materials they need, but making sure our staff is ready by the time hurricane season hits. We are ready to go. And it’s about making sure that everyone is cross-trained. We all become staff members of the claims department if there’s a hurricane. So it doesn’t matter if you’re an actuary or a financial analyst, you’re on the phone taking claims calls.”

Takeaway: Not everyone will be able to make it into work during or after the storm. If your employees are not cross-trained, there is a lower chance that your business will be able to take on the post-hurricane demand. You’re probably thinking, “Pete, I don’t have time to cross-train my employees before the storm comes, what are my other options?” If you cannot cross-train your employees in time, look to our third tip!

3. Speak with a Staffing Agency to Fill Temp Positions Immediately

Rose from SNI Companies: “If you know your business gets a boom during a certain time, I think it’s always important to partner with a staffing agency so they understand what your needs are, what your culture is, what the job duties are, so they can plug the right candidates in for you when you have the need…Our office always has a pool of candidates that we steadily used to fill positions that are open and we’re not waiting for a client to call us. We’re proactively recruiting and getting those candidates ready. So, as soon as we get a call, we are ready.”

Takeaway: Hurricanes are not all bad, in that they can create business for companies, which means more work for you. Therefore, if you are not properly staffed to take on all those requests, it will be hard to stay organized and leverage your new customers. Staffing agencies like SNI Companies can immediately place temporary candidates to help with the influx. We’re talking about positions like cost accountants, project estimators, claims adjusters, customer service representatives, and more. Call SNI Companies to find out more about how they can help your business prepare.

4. Let your Employees Prepare their Families/Homes

Stephanie: “At the beginning of hurricane season, we make sure that our employees put a lot of focus on preparing themselves, their home, and their families. If they don’t feel confident about their family, being secure and prepared, they’re not going to be able to and shouldn’t be able to devote the time and attention to the policyholders; so, we make sure that they spend the time on the front end preparing themselves and they are ready when they need to come back to the office. So, we have plans to text message and our employees. We have an employee hotline. Each employee gets a card that gives them the information — so that they can get regular updates on what’s expected of them in the office.”

Laurie: “I think one of the most important things you can do as an employer is to remember your employees are people and their primary concern is about their family and their homes. So, what we do at Florida Family is we’ll rotate people in and out during a workday to give them time to go to the grocery store to get the food they need to go get plywood from Home Depot to get their house ready. So, we just feel it’s really important that they feel 100 percent confident that they’re prepared for the storm.”

Takeaway: Allow employees to focus on their family and home before they take on the challenge of maintaining the business. Once they feel confident that their family and home are secure, they will do the same for your business.

5. During/After the Storm, Provide your Employees with Food/Snacks/Water

Stephanie: “If you’re in a situation where your employees are going to have to come in rapidly and worked for long hours after a storm, supply them with some food and snacks, they’re not going to be able to take breaks to eat lunch and it’s hard to find lunch…”

Takeaway: Make it easy for your employees to work in the conditions of the aftermath. Providing food is a simple way to do that.

6. Protect the (Tech) Goods

Stephanie: “So, practical things that people should think about for their plan are, what are you going to do with your equipment so you have all these computers and if we work downtown on the South Bank, in San Marco, which we knew the during Irma was going to get some water. We didn’t know how much. So, you might want to think about taking all your computers home or having the employees take them, phones. [Ask] how are you going to process payments? Do your employees have calculators and practical things, enough paper receipts, right? So, all that should be in a plan and thought about purchased in-advance.”

Takeaways: Figure out each scenario (no power, no internet, no computers) and ask, “how will you conduct business through each?” and then plan accordingly.

Also, if you do have expensive equipment and you are near a body of water, place the equipment at least 5 feet above the floor in case of flooding or ask your employees/ IT department to take them home.

7. Have a Paper Copy of Everything

Stephanie: “Make sure that you have your home insurance agent’s contact information, how to know how to report a claim, take a photo of your policy number and your agent’s phone number, carrier’s information. Make that a note in your phone and keep that handy.”

Takeaway: Do not rely on your electronic devices and the cloud for important documents. Write them down, take pictures, and print them out to guarantee you have everything on hand.

8. Create a “boredom” box

Stephanie: “I’m preparing my “boredom” box is one of the last things I do. You don’t, you forget how bored you get during the storm, so get all your games down, get your puzzles down, books you want to reread and put them in a central location in your house so you’re not climbing through dark closets, letting things fall on your head during the storm.”

Takeaway: Things don’t have to be gloomy during/after a hurricane. Keep the ambiance light and fun. The “boredom” box is something that you can easily do at home and in the office to get some good energy out of a terrifying or stressful situation.

So, there you go hurricane/ storm preppers! If you didn’t get any new information, fantastic, sounds like you’re prepared for the next gust of wind flying our way. If you did get some new insights and you want more information, feel free to visit the links below!

Happy prepping from your Hurricane Staffing Expert,

Visit Florida Family Insurance’s Resource Center here.

Get more info on Temporary Staffing Services here.

Get Free Business Hurricane Guides here.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

8 Practical Tips to Prepare Your Business and Employees for a Hurricane

Four Things You Didn’t Know that Recruiters Do For You

I recently spoke with some of our outstanding recruiters on our SNI Companies team about 4 things you may not be aware that recruiters do for you. Read below to find out what they had to say!

1. Guide you before, through, and after the interview process

Patricia: So what’s really important for them to do is I try to provide as much information about the company and about the job description and they need to do their homework. Everybody’s got to do their homework. I can’t do it for them. So when I mean homework, it’s more like going to the website of the company, figuring out information about the company. Who’s the president? How long has the company been around? You know, what their mission says and then not only that, but the expectations of the job.

Patricia: So we would give tips on what to mention or what questions to ask. A little bit of a mock interview. [For example,] what would you like, what are some questions that you’ve thought of to ask the company afterwards? Because when a company interviews you, a lot of times at the end they’ll say, ‘so do you have any questions for us?’ Your answer should always be yes, here are a few good ones, you know, and because they want to know that you’re invested in that, you’ve thought about it. So, I like to ask them, ‘what would you ask them?’

I actually had one person say, ‘oh, well I went online, I went online, and notice that you had a couple of bad reviews. What are some things that you as a company are going to do to improve your reviews online?’

I said, ’that is not a question. So, I’m so glad that I asked you what you’re going to ask them.’

So, that it’s important for us to know what they’re going in. I don’t want anybody going rogue, you know, and asking some crazy thing.

Recruiters are your professional coaches. They give you professional tips on any and everything you need to know so that you land the job (and keep it)! They are your help before, during, and after the interview process.

Recruiters can typically help with your resume. They understand the company so they know how to make your resume more appealing to the company and they know how to highlight your strengths. Recruiters can naturally prepare you for interviews through practicing difficult to answer questions and through encouragement.

Also, our recruiters at SNI Companies go the extra mile and ensure to deliver in small ways like: calling before and after the interview, sending reminders of the time and location of the interview as well as how to dress, what to say, reminding you to write/send a thank you note. These are all small things that you don’t have to stress about so you can focus on landing the job!

However, even after you land the job, our recruiters can still help you. They can assist with orientation, questions you may have but are not confident to ask to your employer. They are still there to assist you.

2. Help you identify our value to the company and market yourself

Patricia: Knowing how are you going to sell yourself to that company because hey, you know, not everybody’s in sales, but when you’re looking for a job, you’re in sales, let’s be real. So, you have to be able to identify with that, what you’re going for and how to market yourself. So doing that "homework", research on the company is very important.

I like to call research “due diligence.” This is a law term but it can be applied to this situation; it means: “reasonable steps taken by a person in order to satisfy a legal requirement, especially in buying or selling something.”

Due diligence is required. Conducting this due diligence at the level companies are expecting will give you the answer on how to market yourself to the company. Understanding the background, the goals, the needs, the problems/pains of the company will propel you above the other candidates. This knowledge and your skills will form your value which is answering how you will fill the gap between their problems/pains and their goals.

3. Bargain your salary for you

Kumi: I always, actually, advised the candidates never to discuss money in an interview. And also I always let them know like that's what I'm here for. You don't ever have to talk about money. That's my job… one of the things that we're able to do is, we would not have them go to that interview or be put in that process without knowing the ballpark of what the range is for the position offering.

Patricia: A lot of people are worried about either underestimating or overestimating themselves, which I think a lot of people can identify with. So you don't want to put yourself out of the game by requesting too high or not, you know, giving yourself enough credit and requesting to low.

As Patricia and Kumi mentioned, they are your middleman. If you are uncomfortable asking the company a big question, you can always rely on your recruiters, ESPECIALLY when it comes to asking/negotiating your prospective future employer for your salary.

Recruiters are familiar with the salary ranges for your position, in your industry, in the region (I mean, they do this almost every day and they have salary guides). You can always trust that recruiters will fight for your numbers, if they are within reason. So avoid being passed up simply because you asked about the money.

4. They are a free service

Alex: Well, that's something you just said I didn't think about this, that the audience may not know that the candidate, this is free to them as services for it. Yeah. Yeah. And the client pays your fee. That's right. Okay. And it doesn't impact their salary. They don't go, oh, well I've got to pay this fee to the agency, so I'm going to have to reduce your salary by that amount.

Patricia: That’s right. So we've had people ask us and I said, if that ever happens in a company calls you and they're charging you for their services, the recruiting - run, hang up the phone, do not work with them because is not right.

That’s right they are free to you! If you’re looking for a job and a recruiting agency says they need to charge you, do not move forward with using them. Verified recruiting services are paid through the company and those fees do not affect your income in any way.

So what are you waiting for? Start utilizing this free service to grow into a career that you are ready for.

Four Things You Didn’t Know that Recruiters Do For You

Low Unemployment Rate in Finance

National unemployment has dropped to 4% - the lowest in 18 years - according to the Bureau of Labor’s second quarter report. The unemployment rate is even lower across the finance and accounting profession – 2%. In general, low unemployment is often sought after and seen as an important feat for the country’s workforce – more people gainfully employed is often viewed as only advantageous to the economy. However, there are noticeable challenges to this very low unemployment rate, for both organizations and professionals. Focusing on the finance and accounting profession, let’s consider some matters of which to be mindful during this time of record-low unemployment.

Lack of Productivity
In a market of low unemployment, hiring managers may make compromises in hiring decisions. When an organization has a high number of open positions, combined with a tight candidate market, there is a great deal of pressure for roles to be filled. This can lead to hiring managers extending offers to candidates that aren’t truly qualified for their responsibilities. In turn, this could result in a finance and accounting function not operating effectively and perhaps also be damaging to an underqualified employees’ career when they are placed in a role in which success could be challenging. Hiring managers may want to consider whether they can tolerate the risk associated with hiring the best candidate available instead of a truly qualified candidate. Some organizations may decide to wait for the most qualified candidate or perhaps pursue alternative staffing models while continuing to look for the best permanent employee for the role.

Tight Candidate Pool
For those searching for a finance career in today’s market, you are in luck. Along with a low 2% unemployment rate, employees are enjoying more job security, making the candidate pool much tighter than years prior. Additionally, there are more choices available due to the number of positions that have been recently created. While this is great news for job hunters, it is tough on employers. Not only is attracting the right candidate difficult but retaining talent has also become extremely challenging. In addition to a tight candidate pool is the emergence of non-traditional roles that catch the eye of millennials. Employees are more inclined to job hop in order to experience different areas of specialization. Now more than ever, employers may want to give new or increased focus to retention strategies. In addition to ensuring compensation is competitive with the market, reviewing non-monetary retention strategies is also critical. Strategies such as job rotation can create diversity for employees that may be tempted to look outside the organization for new challenges. Work-life balance initiatives such as flexible work schedules might also be a way that an organization can stay competitive.

Low Unemployment Rate in Finance