The Best Interview Questions to Ask to Find Top Talent

February 28th, 2017

As one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources knows when it comes to successful interviews, it’s all about the questions you ask. The wrong ones can lead to a hiring mistake, while the right ones can help you uncover your next top performer. But with so many options out there – and limited time during an interview – which ones are an absolute ‘must’ for you to ask? Here’s a look:

Why did you apply for this job?

This is a good ice-breaker question to ask. It gives the job candidate a chance to explain what interested them about the opportunity and the company, without being too aggressive or hard-hitting. It will also give you a chance to learn a little bit about what makes them tick.

Why do you think you’re the best fit for the job?

It’s important to ask this question for multiple reasons. First, it will showcase whether or not the candidate has done their homework. If they don’t understand what your company does or who it serves, they’re not going to be able to demonstrate fit. Second, it gives them an opportunity to talk about their unique strengths and abilities in relation to your job opening. So, if a candidate tells you about specific skills or accomplishments that relate directly to the role and your needs, it’s a good sign of a strong, well-prepared candidate.

What job on your resume did you like the most? The least?

Asking these kinds of questions will help you get a sense of what drives an individual candidate and whether that aligns with your company’s unique needs and culture. If their favorite job or company has similar qualities as the position you’re offering, then that’s a sign they could be a good fit. But the reverse is also true. If the job they liked least sounds like the role you’re hiring for, then it’s a good indicator the candidate wouldn’t stick around for long if hired.

Show me how you would…(fill in the blank).

When you ask a candidate to explain to you how they would complete a certain task or fulfill a certain goal that’s in the job description, it will give you some serious insight into how they think. It will also help you understand how they’d perform if offered the job.

Why do you want to leave your current role?

Finding out why a candidate wants to leave their current job can tell you a lot about their expectations, how they see themselves, and what’s important to them. It will also give you a chance to evaluate whether you can offer them what they’re seeking in a new role.

Every interview and every interview question is important. That’s why, if you’re not comfortable with the process or don’t have much time to invest in it, you should consider outsourcing it to the experts.

As one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources has worked with the city’s leading organizations to identify their human resource needs, locate top talent, and maximize employee productivity. Let us help you too! Contact us today to learn more.

The #1 Secret to Better Hiring in 2017

February 14th, 2017

Hiring just got a whole lot harder. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment was at 4.8% in January 2017. That means it’s not a buyer’s market anymore and candidates have a lot more opportunities to consider. As a hiring manager or employer, what can you do? The answer’s easier than you might think: bring in the experts at a Houston staffing agency.

Here’s how a staffing agency can help you:

#1: They have in-depth knowledge of the candidate market.

While you might only hire a few times a year, recruiters at staffing agencies are constantly networking, sourcing candidates and hiring them – all year round. As a result, they know what kind of talent is available, how to best attract and recruit the best professionals, and what competitive compensation you should be offering them. This insight and information will help you recruit better candidates, faster.

#2: They can recruit hard-to-find or specialized talent.

Hiring today is challenging enough. But when it comes to a demanding position that requires hard-to-find skills, it can seem almost impossible to fill. But recruiters at a staffing agency know how to source active and passive candidates who are more selective about opportunities. They spend a lot of time recruiting top talent, including those with specialized skills, so you can leverage their network to find people with the background you need.

#3: They can speed up the hiring process.

When you’re inundated with resumes and cover letters, it can be hard to properly screen every candidate and also get your daily work done. But a recruiter at a staffing agency is trained to screen resumes and hone in on the skills you’re looking for. Not only that, but they can conduct phone screens and interviews to further qualify candidates. That way, the candidates you do end up seeing are those who are all a good fit for the job you’re offering.

#4: They can help you create a strong employer brand.

Your reputation in the candidate marketplace can have a big impact on the quality of talent you’re able to attract. A good staffing agency partner can help you develop an appealing employer brand. They’ll know where to advertise your company and openings, and how to position you as an employer of choice, including what it’s like to work at your organization, including culture, as well as perks and benefits.

If you need to hire – but are hard-pressed for time or resources – consider outsourcing the recruiting process to professionals who do it all day. You can benefit from the reach, network, and proven processes of a trusted staffing agency partner.

Interested in learning more? Let the experts at Murray Resources help you. As one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, we’ve worked with the city’s leading organizations to identify their human resource needs, locate top talent, and maximize employee productivity. Let us help you too! Contact us today to learn more.

Considering Hiring a Staffing Agency in Houston? Ask These Questions First

January 17th, 2017

You know the benefits of working with a Houston staffing agency. But, with more than 6,000 across the country – and dozens in Houston alone, it can be hard to find one that’s right for you. If you’re interested in a partnership, but don’t quite know where to start, here are some questions to ask to ensure you hire the right staffing agency:

What can I expect from the relationship?

You might think that all staffing agencies are the same. While it’s true the end goal might be similar – to recruit the best talent – how they get there isn’t identical. So if you’re researching agencies, make sure the one you choose comes to your location to get a feel for your corporate culture, meets with hiring managers across departments, and takes the time to learn about your hiring needs and challenges. Look for an agency that views the relationship as a strategic partnership, not simply as a way to fill empty seats.

What kind of experience do you have?

How long has the agency been around? What kinds of companies do they work with? Who specifically will be working on your account and how long have they been recruiting for? It’s important to ask these kinds of questions to ensure the staffing agency you do choose can back up their claims with proven experience.

How do you screen candidates?

When it comes to recruiting and screening candidates, it should be all about quality. That’s why you need to ask about the specific steps a potential staffing partner takes in screening and vetting candidates. You need a company you can trust to focus on high quality, not just on sending the most candidates your way. Also, ask about background and reference checks and make sure the staffing agency you work with offers them.

What services do you offer?

If you have a range of staffing needs, make sure the agency you choose has the services to meet them. For instance, if you need temporary employees, as well as full-time ones in a variety of positions, you should be able to rely on the same staffing partner to fulfill those needs.

What are your rates?

It’s important to ensure you’re on the same page in terms of the costs. So ask each agency what they charge and how they structure their fees prior to signing an agreement.

Interested in partnering with an experienced staffing agency in Houston? Call Murray Resources. For more than 30 years, we’ve been helping companies in the area source, recruit and screen top quality candidates – and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn more.

Difficult Star Performers – Work With Them or Let Them Go?

July 12th, 2016

Most leaders face this dilemma at some point in time: they have a star performer who’s smashing goals, and on paper they’re clear keepers. But in person they’re disruptive or entitled…or maybe even a jerk.

To keep or not to keep?

Is it better to retain, and work with these disruptive star-performers – or are we and our companies better served wishing them well and letting them go? The answer to this may not be as simple as you’d think. Companies need to make money to survive and grow, so keeping the rainmakers may mean they sometimes have to overlook a little bad behavior. It can often boil down to what a company or manager is willing to accept and how far they’ll let certain behaviors go.

It depends…

Marc Prosser, Co-Founder at Fit Small Business asks himself this question when faced with this dilemma: “Should the rules be rewritten to accommodate one person?” To Prosser, the answer “really depends on the situation.”

Prosser’s biggest concern is ensuring that accommodating one individual won’t affect his company’s ability to manage others. He continues, “We don’t want to create a double standard that will cause animosity. We also don’t want to accommodate a jerk, which is different from star performer.”

Ultimately, your employee may be a star performer with a few bad behaviors, and you may be okay with that. But if they get to a point where they are a liability – legally or otherwise – it may be time to reevaluate the need for them.

Let them go…
Sometimes, even after you run the numbers, it’s more valuable to your team and your company as a whole to let high achievers with bad attitudes go. For Ian Wright, founder of British Business Energy, an energy comparison service, “it’s often best to let star performers go rather than bending over backwards to accommodate them.” From Wright’s experience, letting his star go ended up improving the morale of remaining employees and, in turn, they began performing better and bringing in more business. It was a win-win for Wright. He was able to keep bringing in a lot of sales while also retaining an effective and happier sales team.

But I don’t want to say good-bye
Max Robinson of Aims Glasgow Media
has found a way to have his star performer but keep peace in the office, too. “Rather than forcing them to stick to our rules, I’ll generally deal with them on a freelance basis.” Robinson provides the ‘talented-but-hard-to-work-with’ stars with a company phone and allows them to work remotely. This is a viable option if your company is open to working with a team member on a freelance or contract basis.

Sometimes the benefit of a star performer’s skills far outweigh the hassle of putting up with them. And sometimes bad behaviors are non-negotiable. As a manager, only you can decide how much you’ll put up with and how much bad behavior is acceptable within the policies of the company.

Need to find your next Superstar – who doesn’t behave badly? Murray Resources can help. As one of Houston’s top staffing agencies, we can connect you with the best talent in the market. Contact us today to get started or learn more.

How Your Houston Company Can Hire Top Employees (Hint: It’s All About Sourcing)

March 1st, 2016

Your interviewing and skills-testing abilities might be top-notch. But if your sourcing process is less-than-stellar, recruiting top people to your team is going to be a challenge. Why? Because if your candidate pool is weak, it will impact your ultimate hiring decision. You need to ensure you’re sourcing the strongest candidates from the start, so you can interview, test and eventually hire the very best. Here’s how:

Consider what the job entails.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources knows that sourcing the best candidates needs to start with a vision of what the job entails. So ask yourself this: What will a candidate need to do in order to be successful on the job? What are your goals and expectations for them within 90 days and six months of being hired? What will their specific tasks and responsibilities be?

Don’t just rely on what you think you know about the position. Talk the department head, as well as the people who will be working alongside the new hire so you can gain a clear sense of what this person will need to accomplish.

Focus on what makes your job better.

In other words, why should someone want to work for your company? In order for a candidate to want to make a move, you need to offer a compelling pitch. Most traditional job ads only focus on what the employer is looking for. Make yours stand out and advertise what you can offer to the candidate.

Sharpen your marketing skills.

Broadcast this message in your online job posts, as well as when you’re communicating directly with candidates. Make sure they understand not only what they will be doing, but what they also can be learning and becoming if they accept your offer.

Leverage your resume database.

Don’t forget about the resumes you keep on file. When you’re looking for your next great hire, now’s the time to tap into your resume database. You may have the ideal candidate right at your fingertips. Reach out to the strongest contenders with an email describing the opportunity and why they should consider making a move.

Tap into your network.

Candidates aren’t the only ones who should be networking during the job search process. When you’re sourcing potential employees, networking is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal. When someone refers a contact to you, call them immediately to find out whether they’d be open to a discussion.

Do you need more help sourcing and hiring Houston’s top talent? Call Murray Resources. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, companies all over the city rely on our expertise to source and retain talent for a variety of positions, ranging from entry level to C-level. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.

How to Spot a Weak Candidate

December 1st, 2015

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources knows that hiring mistakes are expensive. But the good news is that many times, they can be avoided. To help ensure you filter out the weak candidates – and focus on the strong ones – be on the lookout for these negative traits:

They give you ambiguous information.

When you ask a candidate a question, they should be able to offer you detailed information and examples from past work experiences that highlight the skill set and experience you’re interested in. However, when a candidate can’t go into a specifics, it’s a sign they lack the background you’re after.

They give long-winded answers.

Sometimes a candidate may ramble due to nerves. But in many cases, it’s a sign that they don’t really understand what you’re asking. In addition, not being able to offer a concise answer means their communication skills need improvement.

They’re too informal about the interview.

They may show up a few minutes late, dress in attire that’s not completely appropriate and keep their cell phone in hand during the interview. These types of behaviors shows a total lack of regard for both you and your company…and it’s also a sign of what’s to come should you hire this person. A strong job candidate doesn’t need to be overly formal, but they should know how to act professionally during the interviewing process.

They aren’t prepared.

It’s important for candidates to spend some time before the job interview researching your company. Doing so enables them to ask insightful question to assess whether the position is a good fit for them and also shows their enthusiasm for the job. However, when a candidate shows up ill-prepared, it demonstrates they’re not willing to put in the work…even during the interview process.

They focus on the negative.

Most people have had a boss or co-workers they didn’t care for at some point during their careers. However, when a candidate focuses on negative experiences like these, it’s a sign that they lack judgment and professionalism.

They focus on the money.

It’s only natural for a candidate to want to know about the compensation, benefits and perks associated with the position. However, if their first few questions revolve around salary and vacation time, then the candidate likely doesn’t care much about the job or the company.

When a candidate demonstrates the traits above, then it’s time to cross them off your short list. If you’d rather outsource the process to the experts, call Murray Resources. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, organizations all over the city rely on our expertise to source and retain top talent for hard-to-fill, key positions across a broad range of business disciplines. Contact us today to find out more.

Why Outsourcing to Technical Recruiters in Houston Can Save You Money

November 10th, 2015

The economy has changed dramatically in recent years, making recruiting the right technical candidates more challenging than ever. From fierce competition due to skills shortages to ever-evolving business conditions, finding and hiring the right people in this new recruiting environment requires a different approach.

However, when you outsource the task to an expert – in other words, technical recruiters in Houston – you can find the best technical candidates, avoid the risk of hiring mistakes, and save time and money in the process. Here’s how:

Less Time-to-Hire

When you work with technical recruiters in Houston, they have a proven process in place based on years of industry experience and insight. So when you need to fill a position – whether on a contract or full-time basis – they immediately know where to look and may even already have relationships with candidates who would be a good fit. Rather than spending your valuable time searching for strong candidates, you can focus on other priorities and leave the task to the technical recruiting experts.

Increased Access to Candidates With Specialized Skill

Finding technical candidates can be a challenge, but sourcing those with a specialized skill set can be downright impossible…unless, of course, you’ve partnered with reputable technical recruiters in Houston. Recruiters are always doing just that…recruiting. So they come across a wide array of technical talent with various competencies across all levels, including those who may suit your unique needs.

A More Efficient Process

Between advertising fees and time to interview candidates, there are many direct and indirect costs to hiring. And they can add up quickly. But when you work with technical recruiters in Houston, you pay one fixed fee, so you know the expenses walking into the partnership. An experienced recruiter is also far more efficient with the process in terms of both cost and time.

Top Technical Candidates

In many cases, a new hire will quit after just a few months on the job, oftentimes due to lack of fit. However, when you work with a technical recruiter who understands the industry, you can gain access to better fit candidates, make a better hiring decision and avoid the costly risk of a hiring mistake.

Finding the right technical talent for your job opening be both challenging and expensive. But when you outsource the task to a technical recruiter, you can lower costs, gain access to top talent, and reduce the hassles of hiring.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of working with a technical recruiter in Houston, call Murray Resources. As top Houston technical recruiters, we can give you access to the highest quality talent, whether you need a programmer, project manager, or desktop support personnel. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

Are You Paying Your People What They’re Worth?

July 21st, 2015

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources knows when it comes to employee loyalty, salary isn’t the only reason people stay with a company. However, it’s still vitally important and can impact your ability to recruit and attract the best talent. If, on the other hand, you don’t pay people what they’re worth, they’re not going to stay with you for long and your company will develop a negative reputation as an employer. So how can you tell if your salary is competitive? Here are some tips:

Look to the competition.

If you’re assessing salary and find the competition pays more, you’re going to be on the losing end of the war for talent. It may take some time and effort to determine what other similar companies pay, but it’s certainly well worth it. Use resources such as Payscale.com or Salary.com to start your search. You can also look to sites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find salary averages for certain positions. And finally, you can tap the expertise of a Houston recruiter to gain a sense of what other companies are offering.

Make sure pay grows with responsibility.

If you’ve expanded the roles of employees without offering them more compensation, you’re going to eventually lose them. People don’t mind taking on more for temporary periods of time, but if this is the new normal, they are going to look for better opportunities – with better pay – elsewhere. Don’t make your people feel underpaid and undervalued; make sure their compensation aligns with the level of work they’re doing.

Evaluate company turnover.

Turnover happens at every company and is even healthy in some cases. However, if your organization is experiencing a high level of it, then your compensation may be to blame. But the reality is that turnover will actually wind up costing you more (in the form of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees) then simply paying your existing staff more.

That said, offering an across the board raise might not be in your budget. If that’s the case, then identify your key players and offer raises to them. Down the line, when you can, you may then be able offer raises to your other staff members.

Do you need more help hiring and retaining top talent? Call Murray Resources. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, organizations all over the city rely on our expertise to source and retain top talent for hard-to-fill, key positions across a broad range of business disciplines. Contact us today to find out more.

 

Are You Hurting Your Job Search With This Bad Advice?

June 9th, 2015

Are you searching for a new job? If you are, it can seem like everyone under the son has a piece of career advice to help you during your hunt. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources knows that some of the opinions offered can certainly be valuable; others, on the other hand, can actually hurt your job search and negatively impact your ability to land a great new position. So what advice should you simply ignore? Here’s a look:

Your resume can only be one page.

Sure, this was the rule of thumb years ago. But today, it’s no longer the case. Your resume can be – and should be if you’re highly experienced – more than a page. It’s much better to have an easy to read and well formatted resume that’s two pages long, than a cramped one with tiny print that’s one page long. That said, don’t go overboard and submit a resume that’s more than two pages long.

A job search is a numbers game. Apply to as many positions as possible.

A hiring manager can discern fairly quickly whether or not you’re a good fit for a position. So if you’re sending your resume to any job – just because “hey, you never know” – a hiring manager will be able to tell. You’re only wasting your time – and their time too – by applying to every position that sounds good. Instead, spend your time crafting customized resumes and cover letters for the few positions you truly are a fit for.

Companies only advertise when they have an opening.

Considering that most job openings are filled through referrals, not ads on job boards, this certainly isn’t the case. So if there’s a company you’re interested in working for, apply anyway – even if they haven’t posted a position. In your cover letter, be sure to communicate why you want to work for the company and what types of skills and talents you bring to the table that could make a positive impact there.

Staffing agencies are for people without any real skills or experience.

Gone are the days when staffing agencies were simply used to fill administrative and industrial type positions. Today’s staffing agencies place highly skilled professionals in fields ranging from accounting to IT to human resources. So if you’re someone with plenty of experience under your belt, and you’d like some professional help finding your next job, a staffing agency can certainly help get you there.

If you’re ready to tap into the expertise a staffing agency can offer you, call Murray Resources. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, we can assist you with the entire job search process – from resumes to salary negotiations – all so you can secure a job opportunity that is a great fit for your skills and background.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

Murray Resources Announces the Launch of its Murray Technical Division

December 26th, 2014

New Business Unit will House the Firm’s Engineering, Information Technology (IT), and Technical Sales Recruiting Services

(Houston, TX – December 26, 2014) – Murray Resources, a leading Houston staffing agency and recruiting firm, today announced it has launched the Murray Technical business unit to house the firm’s Engineering, Information Technology (IT), and Technical Sales Recruiting Services. The company will continue to fill roles on a temporary, contract, contract to hire, and direct hire basis in all three areas.

“While Murray Resources has been successively placing Engineering, IT, and Technical Sales professionals for almost fifteen years, we felt that our firm’s substantial growth in those areas over the last 36 months necessitated the launch of a standalone business unit that focuses specifically on those lines of business,” said Keith Wolf, Managing Director of Murray Resources.

The launch of Murray Technical coincides with the hiring of Jeremy Tyler, who joined the firm’s business development team in October, and who will lead the Murray Technical sales team. Jeremy brings over fifteen years of technical recruiting industry experience to Murray Resources, with a specific focus on IT / Technical staffing for Fortune 1000 and mid-market clients.

Murray Resources will continue to place Accounting/Finance, Manufacturing/Operations, Sales/Marketing, Human Resources, Customer Service, and Administrative professionals from within its Murray Professional division. The Murray Technical and Murray Professional divisions will both have distinct teams of recruiters who focus on matching talent within their specializations.

“The launch of Murray Technical is an exciting and significant milestone in our firm’s evolution. Fifteen years ago several of our longtime clients requested that we help them find technical talent. That piece of our business has continued to grow and today, Engineering, IT, and Technical Sales is a significant portion of our firm’s business. It was the right time to officially launch the Murray Technical brand,” said Marsha Murray, President of Murray Resources.

About Murray Resources
Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston recruiting firm and staffing agency. In 2014 the company was named by the Houston Business Journal as one of Houston’s top 25 largest direct hire firms. In 2013 the firm was named to the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America. The company serves a base of over 800 client companies, including numerous Fortune™ 1000 companies and high-growth small and medium-sized organizations, in the areas of administrative, accounting, customer service, engineering, finance, human resources, IT, manufacturing, marketing, operations, and sales. The company has been named a “Best Places to Work” and the #1 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Business in the Personnel Category by the Houston Business Journal. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009 or visit www.murrayresources.com.

Posted in: Press Releases

Houston Recruiting Firm – Murray Resources – Announces Key Addition to IT Staffing Team

November 12th, 2014

(Houston, TX – November 12, 2014) – Murray Resources, a leading Houston staffing agency and recruiting firm, today announced that Jeremy Tyler has joined the firm’s business development team as Senior Business Development Manager.

Jeremy brings over ten years of recruiting industry experience to Murray Resources, with a specific focus on IT / technical staffing for Fortune 1000 and mid-market clients. With an extensive IT recruiting, sales, and sales management background, Jeremy offers a unique and well-rounded perspective to his client’s businesses, helping them fill some of their company’s most critical and time-sensitive positions.

In his most recent role, Jeremy served as the Business Development Director at Itsa Energy, an oilfield services company. Before joining Itsa, Jeremy held Director of Client Development and Manager of Strategic Sourcing positions at Triad Resources, an IT staffing firm.

“We are thrilled to have Jeremy join the Murray Resources team. His deep IT staffing experience will be an asset to our clients and his consultative, high-touch approach fits perfectly with our firm’s dedication to providing the very best employer and candidate hiring experience,” said Marsha Murray, President of Murray Resources.

About Murray Resources
Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston recruiting firm and staffing agency. In 2013 the firm was named to the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America. The company serves a base of over 800 client companies, including numerous Fortune™ 1000 companies and high-growth small and medium-sized organizations, in the areas of administrative, accounting, customer service, engineering, finance, human resources, IT, manufacturing, marketing, operations, and sales. The company has been named a “Best Places to Work” and the #1 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Business in the Personnel Category by the Houston Business Journal. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009 or visit www.murrayresources.com.

Posted in: Press Releases

Why Do Companies Use Houston Staffing Agencies?

December 3rd, 2013

If you’re out there searching for a new job, you may have come to the realization that many of the positions you’re applying for aren’t actually posted by employers…they’re posted by staffing agencies. And if you’re new to the world of recruiting and staffing, you may be wondering why.

To educate you as to why companies use staffing agencies – and how working with one can benefit you – here are a few thoughts to consider:

Staffing agencies help companies save time.

There are a lot of people out there looking for new jobs. And many companies simply don’t have the internal resources to handle the applicant screening process. So they call in staffing agencies to help.

A staffing agency will essentially work with the employer to learn about the position, create job postings, screen applicants via their resumes and phone interviews, and conduct face-to-face interviews with a handful of candidates.

The staffing agency will then present the top 3-5 candidates to the employer, who will conduct additional interviews and make a hiring decision.

Staffing agencies help widen a company’s talent pool.

When most companies need to hire, they generally don’t have a robust talent pool to tap into. That means they’re essentially starting from scratch.

But a staffing agency’s job is to build strong candidate networks. So when an employer comes to them with a certain need, they already have relationships with many different candidates who can fill that need.

Staffing agencies can help company’s dig deeper into a candidate’s background.

An employer may want to learn more about a specific aspect of a candidate’s background, but may not have the time to investigate. A staffing agency can take the directive from the employer and run with it. The employer gets the information they need to make a hiring decision, without having to spend a lot of time verifying details and learning more about each candidate’s background.

Now you know a few primary reasons why Houston companies use staffing agencies. The question: how can you benefit from a relationship with one?

First and foremost, staffing agencies can help you expand your access to job opportunities.

Oftentimes, they’re the ones who know about jobs not advertised or positions about to open up. When you work with a staffing agency, they will be able to connect you with such opportunities.

Staffing agencies can also help you polish your image as a job candidate.

Staffing agencies know what employers want in candidates. With that in mind, they can help you craft a stronger resume, prepare for interviews and give you tips and advice on how to answer tough interview questions. It’s essentially like having an expert career counselor coaching you through the process so you find the job that is just right for you.

If you’d like to learn more about how working with a Houston staffing agency can help you advance your career, give Murray Resources a call. As one of Houston’s top 25 recruitment firms, we can assist you with the entire job search process – and connect you with rewarding opportunities throughout the area.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

Posted in: Blog, Job Search Tips

Avoid ‘Fluff’ On Your Resume! Here’s How

May 21st, 2013

Imagine you’re a hiring manager for a minute. You post a job opening and within 24 hours, you’re flooded with resumes from job candidates. You do your best to efficiently filter out the bad candidates and hone in on the good. But realistically, you can only spend a few moments scanning each resume.

Discouraged? Don’t be.

As one of the top Houston staffing agencies, Murray Resources knows that while today’s job market is certainly challenging, you can put your best foot forward via your resume…if you know how to grab attention and make the case that you’re the best candidate.

Unfortunately, many job seekers fill their resumes with “fluff” – that is, vague and unsubstantiated claims that may sound good, but really mean nothing. For instance:

• Dynamic visionary
• Independent thinker
• Committed team player
• Driven team player
• Proficient multi-tasker
• Strong communication skills
• Strong interpersonal skills
• Highly organized with meticulous attention to detail

Filling your resume with these kinds of phrases typically means it winds up in the trash bin. Instead, stick with the facts. If you want the hiring manager to know you’re a “dynamic visionary,” then offer them relevant accomplishments (quantified by numbers, statistics, percentages, etc.) that support your claim.

For instance:

Spearheaded and executed a direct mail campaign that resulted in improved awareness, a 5% increase in leads, and $10,000 in new sales.

Another type of fluff to avoid on your resume is listing your hobbies or interests. If they’re directly related to the position you’re applying for (for instance, you love to bike and you’re applying for a job at a sporting goods store), then include them. If they’re not, however, then skip them. You don’t want a hiring manager wasting valuable time reading about your passion for yoga instead of your skills and experience. In addition, if a personal hobby or interest doesn’t appeal to a hiring manager, it could actually negatively impact your chances of getting an interview.

Need More Resume Help?

Let Murray Resources know. As one of the top Houston staffing agencies, we can help you craft a strong resume, making you more marketable, as well as match you with job opportunities that are a great fit. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

 

Posted in: Blog, Job Search Tips

How to Find the Best Staffing Agency in Houston to Work With

May 7th, 2013

Gone are the days of the traditional 9-5 schedule and employing the same people for 10, 20, or 30 years. Today’s workforce is ever-changing – with both employees and employers looking for more flexibility.

Enter the staffing agency.

Staffing agencies can help employers deal with the evolving demands of the 21st century workplace – and offer a host of benefits along the way, including:

• Access to a flexible workforce to meet fluctuating needs

• Access to a wide range of of full-time talent

• Time and cost savings in terms of the recruiting and hiring process

That said, not all staffing agencies are created equal; the trick is finding the staffing agency in Houston that’s best for your organization.

To help you, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Look for a Staffing Agency With the Services You Need.

For instance, if you strictly need temporary employees, then an executive recruitment firm isn’t going to be right for you. So when researching potential staffing agencies in Houston to work with, make sure the one you ultimately choose offers the range of services you need.

Look for a Staffing Agency With Experience in Your Industry.

Each industry has nuances and obstacles specific to that industry. Ideally, you should work with a staffing agency that has experience in your industry or in placing candidates in a specific field. So if you have a need for accounting professionals, for example, an agency that has experience working in the accounting field will be more effective at meeting your needs than an agency that doesn’t have that same industry-specific experience.

Find Out How a Staffing Agency Qualifies Its Candidates.

Every staffing agency is different in terms of the screening process. Likewise, a staffing agency may also have a different process depending on the type of position they’re filling – whether it’s a temp job or full-time opening. So ask each you interview what their process entails. You can ask questions like:

• Do you conduct phone screens?

• Do you conduct background checks?

• Do you verify references?

• Do you conduct drug tests?

• How do you test skills?

• Do you conduct personality tests?

You want to make sure the staffing agency’s selection process is one that works for your company.

Find Out How the Staffing Agency Will Get to Know Your Company.

Staffing is not all about finding great candidates; it’s about finding great candidates that are a fit for a particular organization. That’s why it’s so important to work with a staffing agency in Houston that will spend the time to get to know your organization – and it’s unique culture and staffing needs.

Check References of Each Staffing Agency.

Hiring a staffing agency is kind of like hiring an employee. You’re going to want to interview several, whittle your list down to a chosen few, and then check references to find out what it’s really like to work with each. You can do that by asking for a list of references and verifying each.

Looking for the Best Staffing Agency to Work With in Houston?

Put Murray Resources on your list. As a leading staffing agency with more than 30 years of experience, we can help you gain access to the area’s top talent – and take the hassle out of the staffing process so you can focus on other priorities. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

 

 

4 Reasons to Give Your Top Pick Candidates Homework

April 2nd, 2013

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources hears horror stories about it time and again. A candidate looked great on paper, performed well during the interview, and fell apart once on the job.

What gives?

It’s scary but true that there are many job candidates out there who are really good at interviewing and selling themselves. But once they’re actually hired, they simply don’t meet expectations. Clearly this isn’t the kind of person you want to bring on board. But how can you avoid it?

While there are no guarantees in the recruiting game, there are some things you can do to minimize the chance of making a hiring mistake. One of them involves handing out homework to your top pick candidates.

Here are a few reasons why this will help you when it comes time to make your final hiring decision:

Reason #1: Assess a candidate’s eagerness.

If you hand out a homework assignment and the job candidate rolls their eyes, sighs, or protests that they have a “really busy week,” then this is a good indication that they’re not as eager to get the job as you thought. On the flip side, if a candidate takes on the assignment with a smile, asks some insightful questions about your expectations for it, and then submits it on time and done well, then you just likely found yourself your next hire.

Reason #2: Overcome any biases.

Everyone has biases; we’re only human after all. But biases can be seriously harmful when it comes to hiring. They can lead you down the wrong path because someone “seemed” like they’d do a better job. But when you ask candidates to actually complete a homework assignment, you can push biases aside. The work they submit will help you gain a much better sense of whether their skill set matches up with their resume and interviewing abilities.

Reason #3: Evaluate a candidate’s quality of work.

When you receive homework assignments from candidates, you’ll likely be able to tell in a few seconds who put in a lot of effort and who just plain didn’t. When you receive work that is well thought out and insightful vs. sloppy and poorly planned, you’re hiring decision just got a whole lot easier.

Reason #4: Serves as a tie-breaker.

Have two candidates you’re equally interested in and just not sure whom to hire? Giving them a homework assignment will offer you real, tangible pieces of work that you can compare side by side…and gain a better understanding of which one is the right hire for you.

Need Help Hiring Top Candidates?

Hiring is hard work, plain and simple. And if you need some help with the process – whether because you don’t have the time or the resources – let us know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources can handle the hiring process for you, from start to finish. And you can rest easy knowing your chances of a hiring mistake have been minimized greatly. Contact us today to learn more.


Relieve Stress with Office Meditation

November 28th, 2012

Thanksgiving now behind us and Christmas-themed commercials abundant, it’s safe to say that the holidays are officially in full swing. But with gifts to buy, festivities to attend, and relatives not to offend, we at Murray Resources, one of the premier staffing agencies in Houston, understand that this time of year can get pretty stressful in both your personal and professional life.

In the spirit of keeping your holidays merry and bright, try these stress-relieving meditation techniques next time you begin feeling overwhelmed at home or in the workplace:

The Inner Smile

Often used in Taoist and Buddhist circles to relax before meditation, this technique helps to loosen the facial muscles that tend to unconsciously tense up as your stress level builds. Close your eyes and imagine yourself smiling with your forehead, exuding positive energy and releasing tension. Once you feel the muscles begin to relax in the areas you’re concentrating on, apply it to other parts of your face such as your temples, cheek bones, and jaw.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing has a calming effect on both mind and body, as the physical act of releasing a breath is associated with the mental release of negativity and stress. Breathe in through the nose, imagining your abdomen as a balloon filling with air. Push your diaphragm down and out as you inhale so as to make as much space as possible for the balloon to expand. Once you have no more room to expand, exhale through the mouth just as deeply, envisioning all of your tension draining out of you with each release. Attempt to match the duration of your exhale to that of your inhale to create a measured, even pattern of deep breathing.

Body Scan Meditation

This technique attempts to relax your entire body by concentrating on certain body parts piece by piece. Close your eyes and clear your mind. Imagine you are being lowered ever so slowly into a warm, glowing hot spring. Concentrate on the sensation of warmth first in your toes, and let it slowly move up your body. If you’re pressed for time, you may only be able to focus on relaxing one or two parts of your body (i.e. shoulders and neck). If you have a little more time, however, slowly guide the warmth through your feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, lower back, spine, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, back of the head, and finally forehead.

We at Murray Resources, one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, understand that holiday cheer comes with holiday responsibilities, which are often a source of stress at both home and the office. Keep this time of year from becoming overwhelming with these stress-relieving meditation techniques you can practice throughout your day!

For more detailed descriptions of each of these techniques, as well as even more types of meditation, check out the “12 Meditation Techniques for the Office” piece that inspired this post.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston– Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

Annual Performance Review Myths BUSTED

November 21st, 2012

There are three words that, when combined in a certain order, have the power to raise the collective blood pressure of an entire office: Annual. Performance. Review.

The recruiters at Murray Resources, the award-winning Houston staffing agency, are constantly receiving questions about annual appraisals from employees, and we think it’s high time to de-bunk some of the myths that make the concept of an annual performance review so daunting.

MYTH#1:

An annual performance review is your boss’s chance to rehash every little mistake you’ve made as an employee over the past year.

Why This Myth Exists:

Employers often don’t do a good enough job setting proper expectations for performance reviews. The purpose, the process, and the possible outcomes are typically under-communicated, creating unnecessary anxiety going into the review.

The Truth:

An annual performance review is really an opportunity for an employer and employee to step back and assess how well the employee met their work objectives for the year, to learn from past mistakes and, to set new goals for the future.

MYTH #2:

An annual performance review is a waste of an employer’s and employee’s time since it covers past projects instead of looking forward.

Why This Myth Exists:

Reviewing a year’s-worth of accumulated work can be an overwhelming notion, with employees assuming they’ll have to review the difficult-to-recall minutiae of past projects.

The Truth:

Annual performance reviews are just that: the review of an individual’s ANNUAL performance. While individual projects likely received specific feedback, an annual performance review gives employers and employees the opportunity to review projects at a higher level and to identify / discuss general work patterns that may have formed over the past year.

MYTH #3:

The annual performance review is the only time when serious feedback can be offered and discussed with employees.

Why This Myth Exists:

As a leading Houston staffing agency with a client base of over 800 companies, we get it: work days can get hectic. With deadlines to meet and tasks to be accomplished, it’s easy for managers to get wrapped up in the day-to-day responsibilities of their position and to feel that they don’t have time for a formal meeting with an employee to discuss their work habits.

The Truth:

While annual performance reviews are indeed an important part of keeping employees on track to meet their goals, they shouldn’t be the only time feedback is given. Quarterly or even monthly one-on-one meetings with employees are a great way to ensure short-term goals are being achieved and small issues don’t grow into big ones over the course of a year. Frequent feedback in a comfortable, more informal environment lessens the anxiety of a pending annual performance review.

We hope that with these three common myths busted, you’ll be able to walk into your next annual performance review less anxious and more prepared.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to Murray Resources, the leading Houston staffing agency, for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

10 Most Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make

November 15th, 2012

At Murray Resources, leading Houston staffing agency, we strive to help job seekers find employment more efficiently and effectively. With almost twenty-five years of experience in the recruiting industry, we’ve amassed a working knowledge of techniques that prove advantageous on the job hunt, and others that fall flat.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most common mistakes job seekers make with the hopes that you’ll avoid this slip-ups when preparing your own applications:

1) Not Following Application Instructions

This mistake can end your chances at landing an interview before the race has even begun. Employers often will include specific instructions on their applications to see how well candidates pay attention to detail. When you are filling out an application, thoroughly read through the material and make note of any special instructions or requirements. Once you think you’ve completed an application, be sure to double check everything before submitting it.

2) Giving Up Too Soon

Especially in times of economic duress, this is a mistake we see happen far too often. Tired from what has felt like a long and laborious job search, candidates will throw in the towel before the application process is complete. You may be the perfect candidate for a job but if you give up too early in the game you’ll never know it. Persistence is crucial in any job search, and ultimately will pay off when you find the company that’s just the right fit.

3) Keeping a Job Search Too Narrow

Flexibility is important when you’re trying to find a position that meets your needs. In a competitive job marked, consider broadening your search to include other positions you may not have considered before. For example, if you have experience as a copywriter for an advertising agency, you may also consider marketing or media buying positions as well. Think outside the box when it comes to transferable skills you’ve acquired throughout your life.

4) Focusing On Salary

It’s tempting to try to find a job that pays the highest salary, but there are a number of other factors that are crucial to ensuring your success with a company. While compensation is important, you should also consider the company culture, your coworkers, the company’s history and growth opportunities within the organization as well. Your salary should not be the only deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right company to work for.

5) Submitting a Bad Resume

If there’s one thing this Houston staffing agency can’t stress enough on this blog, it’s that your resume is IMPORTANT. Your resume will be your first point of contact with a potential employer, your chance to make the right impression from the very beginning. Grammatical errors, formatting inconsistencies and confusing language can all be huge turnoffs. Before you submit your resume to any organization, you should tailor it to the position you are applying for and double-check for any mistakes. If you want more resume help, check out our past post about 6 common resume typos to avoid.

6) Lacking Accountability

Looking for a job is often said to be a full time job in and of itself. In order to keep yourself on track, enlist someone that can hold you accountable for meeting deadlines and submitting applications throughout your job search. Having a friend, loved one or fellow job searcher to keep you accountable is a great way to make sure you make progress in your search.

7) Listing Out-of-Date Contacts

When you list references on your resume, these contacts should be up-to-date. Nothing says that you are unprepared as clearly as poor job references. Before you add these people to your resume, contact them and let them know that you are looking for a new job and ask them if they will provide you with a good reference.

8) Adding “Filler” Content to Your Resume

When job seekers start feeling like they’re getting nowhere with all of the applications they’ve submitted, resumes began to fill up with more adjectives than accomplishments in an attempt to make a candidate seem more qualified. We know it’s hard, but avoid adding filler content to your resume at all costs. Fluff only weakens your first impression, and makes it look like you’re making excuses rather than presenting yourself as a qualified applicant. Focus the content of your resume on measurable results that will be relevant to the position you are applying for.

9) Neglecting Social Media

Social media has created fantastic opportunities for modern job seekers. In fact, many employers will list an available position on their Twitter feed or Facebook page before they move on to other job search sites. Take advantage of these avenues of direct communication with a prospective employer by closely following and engaging with their social media platforms.

10) Going It Alone

When it comes to your job search, you want to give yourself the best chance at finding your ideal position. To do this more effectively, consider working with a Houston staffing agency who has experience in your industry. Murray Resources has an unparalleled track record of success when it comes to placing candidates in the right positions, and we have the experience and resources that can help set any job seeker up for success.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to premier Houston staffing agency Murray Resources for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

How to Set Up a Successful Informational Interview

November 13th, 2012

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources has seen informational interviews work well for job seekers looking to enter a new industry or job function. A well-executed informational interview can provide job leads, opportunities for industry-related introductions, and a more focused search for candidates looking to break into a particular sector.

Below we’ve compiled a list of five crucial steps for conducting a successful informational interview:

1)      Target Your Search — Prepare a detailed list of intriguing industries and types of companies in which you would potentially want to work. Be sure to narrow your list to a few industries that are not only interesting to you, but also are practical for your abilities and an environment in which you could achieve success. From this list of industries and companies, compile a list of any personal contacts you might know in this sphere.

2)      Make Contact and Be Specific – After you’ve highlighted the people you know in your target industries and related companies, reach out to your contacts to set up an official appointment. It is extremely important that from the onset you convey to your potential interviewee that you are not looking for a job. Be specific in explaining the true purpose of your proposed informational interview- that you are looking for career advice and insights about that particular industry from someone who knows it well. Also, while it may be tempting to try and set up an informal meet-up to learn about an industry via casual conversation, this is a business interview and should be conducted as such. A professional atmosphere helps to ensure that both parties stay on topic, and you glean the specific information you’re looking for.

3)      Be Flexible – Remember, this contact is taking time out of their day to meet with you. Be flexible and understanding when it comes to working around their busy schedule. Someone who has agreed to participate in an informational interview has done so because they are passionate about their career and want to share their insights with an interested audience; the advice they have to offer is well worth the hoops you may have to jump through to accommodate them.

4)      Create An Agenda – Of all the steps, this is the one in which you get to showcase your professionalism as well as your creativity. When coming up with a list of questions for the interview, do some research on the industry/company of your informational interviewee. Thorough research gives you a foundation of knowledge from which you can create insightful and specific questions, and also shows your interviewee that you’re dedicated and committed to put in the time and effort to learn about their industry.

5)      Show Your Appreciation – After the meeting, make sure your interviewee knows just how appreciative you are of their time and insights that they shared with you. Send them a thank you email or handwritten note as soon as you get home expressing your gratitude for their willingness to take time out of their schedule to help you. It’s also a nice gesture to send them an update later on down the road if you end up acting upon a piece of advice they’ve given you, or landing a job in their industry. If they cared enough to meet with you, they likely want to hear about your progress and success!

Sticking to these five simple steps will ensure that you conduct a productive and successful informational interview. Armed with valuable knowledge about your career interests, staffing agencies in Houston, TX like Murray Resources can better help you take the next step of landing that dream job!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the staffing agencies in Houston, TX – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

6 Common Resume Typos to Avoid

October 24th, 2012

Our team at Murray Resources, one of the premier staffing agencies in Houston, is committed to helping job seekers reach their maximum potential when it comes to being a competitive candidate for a position. A major aspect of this process is helping applicants craft effective resumes that can improve their chances of landing an interview. Many hopeul hires fail to realize that a resume’s presentation is just as important as its content, and misspellings or grammatical errors can eliminate even the most qualified of applicants from contention.

In order to ensure your resume is in top form, here are 6 common typos to avoid when preparing your resume:

1)      Spelling errors – A major pitfall in any piece of writing, especially a resume, spelling errors convey to potential employers that an applicant lacks attention to detail, a quality that’s never looked upon favorably. If you can’t be bothered to correctly spell something when representing yourself on an application, how can you be trusted to do so when you’re representing your company? Along the same vein, proper syntax is also paramount when writing a resume or cover letter. You won’t get a medal for knowing the proper usage of “their,” “they’re,” and “there,” but it can mean the difference between landing their interview or having them decide that they’re throwing your resume over there in the recycling bin.

2)      Poor Grammar – While this next point may seem obvious to some, you’d be surprised at how many resumes we review throughout the year that are chock full of grammar mistakes. Any job is going to require basic communication skills and your resume is the first demonstration to a potential employer that you possess those. A simple spell check on Microsoft Word can perform most basic grammar corrections, and if you are still struggling, staffing agencies in Houston like Murray Resources have great resources to help you overcome your grammar woes– just ask!

3)      Using incorrect verb tense – Another major typo that often occurs in resumes is using the wrong tense when describing one’s work history or skill set. If you’ve accomplished something that had an end date, be sure to describe it in the past tense (“I developed software”). If you’re still currently involved in an activity listed on your resume, explain it in the present tense (“I develop software”). It’s easy to fall into the pattern of uniformly formatting resume descriptions to a single tense, but employers want to have a sense of time and progression in your work history and accomplishments when reviewing your resume. Proper tense usage provides this kind of framing.

4)      Bullet usage inconsistency – If you use bullet points when providing descriptions on your resume, make sure to either always include a period at the end of each bullet point, or to never include a period at the end of each bullet point. It is grammatically acceptable for you to do either, but once you decide your formatting, be sure to keep it consistent throughout the duration of your resume.

5)      Employment history date blunders – Needless to say, including the dates of your past employment is a mildly important aspect of a resume! You absolutely must must MUST include the timeframe of when you were employed at past positions next to the description of your responsibilities while there. Failure to do so almost guarantees you won’t make it past the application round. Beyond just including these dates, though, is the important and recurring theme of formatting consistency. Whatever date format you choose (month written out or written as a number, etc.), be vigilant about keeping it uniform for all of your work history entries.

6)      Missing or incorrect contact information– Finally, perhaps our most important tip: ensure that the contact information on your resume is correct! Imagine having avoided all of the other resume pitfalls and intriguing an employer with your polished resume, only to include the wrong email address or mistype your phone number. You may be the most qualified applicant for the position, but a prospective employer isn’t likely to hunt down your updated contact information to offer you an interview, especially if they have a number of other qualified candidates who included their correct information. Double check to be sure that your email address, phone numbers, etc. are on your resume and  up-to-date.

Securing interviews all begins with submitting an effective cover letter and resume, and adhering to these six steps will help you to accomplish that. We hope that you incorporate this advice throughout your own job search process, and wish you all the best on your road to success!

Can’t wait until next Thursday for more resume rallying advice? Check out last week’s Rally That Resume post about the 15 most important resume tips for young professionals.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help  in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

8 Ways to Stay Upbeat While Job Searching

October 15th, 2012

While working with one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston can help job seekers stay positive during their job search, we’d like to offer additional tips for staying motivated and upbeat while looking for a job.

Here are eight things you can do to stay positive during your job search:

  • Turn off the news. The local and national nightly news give the impression that the entire country is unemployed and jobs are almost impossible to find. This information is plastered all over the media, a constant reminder of the fact that you are out of work. Turn off the television and stay clear of negative press as much as possible.
  • Make time for personal hobbies. Once a day, make time for those things you enjoy doing. Just as you would put work aside after a long day at the office, try to put you job search to the side and dive into an activity that you truly enjoy.
  • Spend time with positive people. Simply being around people who have a positive outlook on life is a great way to improve your morale.
  • Engage in conversation with people you meet in public. You don’t need to strike up a conversation with every person you come across, but don’t be afraid to engage with people you don’t know. Increased personal contact is a great way to improve your outlook – it may also help you get used to speaking to interviewers.
  • Pick up a book and read. Reading is not only a good way to stay occupied, it’s also a great way to help your mind stay engaged while unemployed.
  • Seek out previous mentors in your life. At some point in your life you most likely had a person you could go to in order to seek counsel or simply gain some good advice. Don’t be afraid to seek them out now when you need it most.
  • Volunteer your time to a social or community program. Giving is a great way to boost your own spirits, in addition to those you’re helping.
  • Finally, take stock of the positive things in your life. Being unemployed can be extremely stressful, but it’s important to realize what you do have.

Following these simple 8 tips is a great way to maintain a positive attitude while job searching.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Posted in: Blog, Job Search Tips

How to Prepare For and Close Your Next Interview

October 9th, 2012

Day two of our “Murray Resources Best of: Career Tips, Tricks & Advice Columns” segment brings us to a part of the job search process that is often cited as the number one source of anxiety for potential candidates: the interview. We at Murray Resources, one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, understand that anxiety, and we want to help.

Introvert, extrovert or anything in between, the prospect of a first impression potentially making or breaking a career path is nerve-wracking for just about any job applicant. But with practice and the right tools, you can learn to channel that nervous energy into a successful interview.

Our first article about interview tips focuses on arguably the two most important parts of an interview: the opening and closing impressions you imprint upon your potential employer. These tips on how to prepare for and close your next interview will help you to seal the deal!

http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2012/10/01/how-to-prepare-for-and-close-your-next-interview/

Can’t wait until next Tuesday for more interviewing tips? Check out some of our previous posts on how to make the most of an interview!


Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

How “Saving” Money Now on Understaffing Costs You Later

September 7th, 2012

Leverage. Optimization. Streamline. Lean and mean. Do more with less. Maximize resources. Right size. Over the past decade, the challenging economic times have driven some of the most commonly-used corporate phrases into becoming actual management strategies.

While quality improvement, re-engineering, and right-sizing initiatives have resulted in unparalleled gains for American businesses, the long-term effects of cutting too deep and staying understaffed are often hidden. In many instances, understaffing has become a real threat to future prosperity.

Below are just a few of the hidden costs of understaffing:

Stressed employees – Understaffing virtually ensures employees are stretched beyond the limits of what they can sustain over extended periods. The result is a stressful environment, where employees battle to get the same (or more) amount of work done with less help. In this environment, workers are generally concerned with just getting through day. Value-added initiatives typically stall, while teamwork and morale often suffer.

Higher personnel costs – Years of research supports that stressed employees are much more likely to get sick, stay home, and require workers’ compensation. In addition to the related hard costs, tending to personnel issues can be a significant drain on management resources.

Mistakes – When organizations try to produce more work using a constrained workforce, attention to detail will inevitably suffer. Whether it’s paying an engineer rework a project or replacing incorrect orders, those mistakes cost money.

Missed deadlines – How much do you have to pay for late deliveries or projects that aren’t completed on time? Empty desks (that need to be filled) mean the rest of the workforce pushes products out the door later than you (and your clients) will want.

Unhappy customers – Customers notice when we’re one day (or hour) late with a promised product. They also notice when the product isn’t perfect. Unhappy customers do not result in repeat business. How much would it cost you per year to lose even one of your best customers? Chances are, it’s more than the cost of the extra assistant your staff needs.

Missed opportunities – One of the most commonly overlooked consequences of stretching your staff too thin is missing new business, partnership, and related opportunities. Networking lunches, ‘thank you’ dinners with top customers, and breakfasts with prospects tend to take a back seat to the more pressing issues, such as getting orders out the door and satisfying current clients. Yet reductions in business development activities will eventually take a toll on the new business flow for an organization, ultimately costly your company significant revenue.

Employee turnover – Even if you continue to pay your current workforce well and offer the same benefits you always have, burned-out employees will not stick around indefinitely. Chances are, there is another company offering similar benefits while maintaining a well-equipped staff.

Disadvantage against competition – Compound all of the above repercussions of a too-lean staff, and it’s obvious why competitors will enjoy another company’s  “cost-cutting” methods. While the cost-cutting company stretches the remaining employees too thin, competitors will jump at the opportunity to produce quality products, on time, and with a smile on their faces.

Yes, running lean can save money in the short term, but don’t underestimate the costs associated with lost business, reduced productivity, and increased workplace stress.  A well-staffed business not only allows your employees to do their best work, but it also gives you the best chance of remaining successful in today’s competitive marketplace.

What’s your take on understaffing? Have you experienced it? How did it go?

Ready to build your team?

Hiring is difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. As one of the leading Houston staffing agencies, Murray Resources can take the hassle out of hiring for you – so you can bring an exceptional candidate on board that meets your needs. Contact Murray Resources today to learn more.

How to Survive a Major Job Interview Blunder

August 28th, 2012

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources knows that job interviews aren’t exactly the most pleasant situations for candidates. They’re high-stress interactions that typically come at a time when you have a lot on the line.

It’s no wonder, then, that many candidates mess up during their interviews, from blanking on their answer to a question to blabbering on about nothing to sharing too much personal information.

Sound all too familiar to you?

If it does, then take a deep breath and relax. Most people screw up at least one job interview in their lifetime, so you’re certainly not alone. That said, there is something you can do to attempt to rectify an “interview gone bad.” What is it?

Send the interviewer a thank you letter – immediately.

You’re probably wondering what good that will do; but the answer is: A lot.

By doing so, you can attempt to salvage your reputation and perhaps put yourself back in the running for the job. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll demonstrate your humility and professionalism, which could help you should another job opportunity within the company arise in the future. And finally, even if you never see the hiring manager again, at least you’ll be able to leave a positive final impression.

But to craft an effective letter, it must contain a few essentials:

• Thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to interview.

• If you know you screwed up on a particular answer, then the hiring manager likely knows it, too. So use the letter as an opportunity to right the wrong. For instance, if you blundered the question about your career accomplishments, then highlight a few keys ones that pertain to the position.

• Re-iterate why you are, in fact, a great fit for the job opening and the company.

• Keep it short and sweet. And end it on a positive note.

 

Here’s what NOT to do:

Make it seem like it was the hiring manager’s fault…like somehow, they didn’t conduct an effective interview or ask the right questions, leading to your missteps. If you do that, then you won’t just screw up once; you’ll do it twice.

Want more help with your job search?

Let us know. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, Murray Resources can match you with a job that’s the right fit for you. Search our jobs in Houston or contact us today to learn more!

Are Your Employees Motivated & Engaged – Or Ready to Jump Ship?

September 27th, 2011

Company ABC and Company XYZ are in the same industry, offer similar products, and are both experiencing a cash crunch due to the economy. But whereas employees at Company ABC are feeling either overworked and stressed out or completely disengaged, employees at Company XYZ are motivated and optimistic about the future.

How can two such similar companies have employees with such different attitudes?

As one of Houston’s top staffing agencies, we know that the simple answer lies in leadership. Employees at Company XYZ are feeling optimistic because company leaders know how to motivate them and navigate them through a high stress environment.

So how can you keep your employees on board and moving forward during tough times? Below are 4 tips that can help:

1. Get Connected

Great managers are great because they know how to connect with their employees. They know the importance of getting to know their employees on a more personal level, and therefore, they have a good understanding of each employee’s strengths and weaknesses and of what makes them tick. As a result, if it does come down to layoffs, they know how to best reposition people in order to fill in the talent gaps, while still maximizing strengths.

2. Set Clear Expectations

This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how few employees know, in very certain terms, what’s expected of them on the job. Setting clear expectations becomes even more important if your company has experienced layoffs and remaining staff are unclear as to where to pick up the slack.

3. Communicate a Vision

Managers should let their employees know what their vision is for the future of the company – and how each employee fits into that vision. Why? Because without a strong vision, employees don’t really know what they’re working toward or why their roles matter. It’s also important to communicate new opportunities on the horizon and how the company plans to take advantage of them.

4. Recognize Employees

It can be easy to focus on mistakes and correcting weaknesses, and forget about recognition altogether. But when times are tough – and people are being bombarded with bad news everywhere – recognition becomes even more important. So what’s the easiest and least expensive way to boost recognition efforts? Praise often and generously when employees do great work or go the extra mile.

Click here for more ideas on employee recognition efforts.

And if you have a talent gap you need to fill at work, Murray Resources can help. In fact, for more than 23 years, we’ve helped high-performance organizations – including numerous Fortune 1000 companies – build strong teams. If you’d like assistance from one of Houston’s premier staffing agencies, please contact us today.

Posted in: Blog, Tips

5 Ways Staffing Agencies Can Help Your Houston Small Business

August 16th, 2011

As one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, we know that staffing is one of the most difficult, yet critical tasks, a business can undertake. If you have a top tier team in place, you can get more done, improve customer satisfaction, and increase profitability.

However, one bad hire can cause your entire staffing function to suffer a big blow. Hiring the wrong person for a job can lead to decreased morale and lower productivity, not to mention that it can cost you a lot of money.

So how can you avoid staffing mistakes?

By working with a reputable staffing agency in Houston. An agency has the knowledge, skills, and resources in place to help you hire the most qualified candidate for your team. They know where to look to find the top talent and know the right questions to ask to uncover weaknesses.

That said, a staffing agency can do more than just help you avoid hiring mistakes. Here’s a look at four other ways an agency can help your small business:

1. A Staffing Agency Can Help You Save Money

While there is obviously a cost to working with a staffing agency, you can actually save money in the long run. Rather than having to implement an expensive recruitment campaign, as well as develop your own screening, interviewing, and testing processes, you can hire an agency that has the knowledge, experience, and processes in place to perform these tasks more efficiently.

2. A Staffing Agency Can Help You Save Time

When an employee quits, you can quickly lose productivity until you fill the position, especially if they give you less than a few weeks notice. But most staffing agencies have a candidate database with pre-screened and qualified individuals they can tap into to speed up the hiring process for you.

3. A Staffing Agency Can Help You Avoid Hiring Hassles

If you’re like many small businesses, you don’t have a dedicated HR department. Or you may have an HR professional on staff who is already busy with many duties, like handling benefits and payroll.

If this is the case, a staffing agency can take on the many time-consuming hassles associated with hiring, including recruiting, screening, interviewing, conducting background checks, verifying references, and conducting skills testing – and then send only a handful of highly qualified candidates to you.

4. A Staffing Agency Can Improve Your Flexibility

While a staffing agency can give you access to candidates for full-time positions, they can also help fill temporary job openings, as well. So if your company experiences busy seasons or you have an employee going on an extended leave, you can leverage the power of temporary staffing to ensure you have the right people in place…when you need them.

So what can Murray Resources do for your small business? Give us a call. Together, we can explore staffing solutions that can help you more easily manage your staffing function – and help your company grow. Contact us today.

Should I Hire a Bookkeeper, an Accountant, or Both?

July 5th, 2011

When you’re running a small business, today’s software and technology solutions have made it easier than ever to handle accounting tasks yourself. However, there are likely times when you’re uncertain if you’re doing things correctly or when these tasks are cutting into the time needed to grow your business. If that’s true for you, it may be time to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant. But which do you need?

A bookkeeper is responsible for the day-to-day accounting tasks, such as:

  • Paying and submitting invoices; following up on them if necessary
  • Paying bills
  • Making bank deposits
  • Tracking and recording company expenses and other transactions
  • Ensuring new employees complete the proper paperwork for payroll
  • Managing payroll

An accountant is responsible for the larger picture tasks as they relate to a company’s finances, including:

  • Analyzing the numbers and offering strategic advice and guidance
  • Preparing and filing company tax returns
  • Preparing financial documents, such as profit and loss statements

So the answer may be that you need both. Possibly, you can hire a bookkeeper – whether full-time or part-time – and then just work with an accounting firm to handle those strategic accounting needs. Whatever the case, when you have the right team in place to handle your finances, you’ll benefit from:

  • More organized records
  • More accurate billing for your clients
  • A better understanding of how much money you’re really making
  • A better understanding of how much money you’re really spending
  • More time to focus on managing employees, increasing sales, and growing your business
  • Money saved from any late fees you’ve been accumulating as a result of inefficient bill paying
  • Being able to make better-educated decisions about your finances and your business
  • Peace of mind that comes with knowing your accounting functions are being properly handled

Whether you think you need a part-time bookkeeper, or a full-time accountant, Murray Resources can help. As one of Houston’s leading staffing agencies specializing in accounting and finance, we have the knowledge and experience to source the finest candidates for your contract and full-time job openings. Contact us today to learn more.

A Million Thanks from Murray Resources

December 28th, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close this week, we’d like to take the time to thank our many clients and candidates. We have a million reasons to be grateful to you, but most importantly, we’d like to thank you for your continued loyalty and support. We appre­ci­ate the trust you have placed in us and we promise to con­tinue working hard and working smart to help you find people and find work.

We’d also like to thank you for letting us share our ideas and knowledge about staffing, human resources, and job searches through this blog. We think it’s a privilege that you look to our Houston staffing agency as a source of information for your business or your career. So again, thank you!

We’d also like to thank you for all the great feedback we’ve gotten from you in 2010. Hearing about your success stories is such a pleasure – whether it’s in finding people or finding work – and it reminds us why we got into this business in the first place.

And finally, we’d also like to send you and your family our best wishes for a joy-filled holiday season and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year! We’ll see you in 2011!

Posted in: News

A Message of Thanks from Murray Resources

November 16th, 2010

In 1789, then-President George Washington proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving as a reminder of the feast celebrated by our forefathers after surviving their first winter in Plymouth. More than two centuries later, we’re still celebrating Thanksgiving and using it as a time to reflect on our many blessings. And despite the uncertainty in our economy, there is much to be grateful for here at Murray Resources.

To our clients:

We are deeply thankful for your continued loyalty to our Houston staffing agency. Without your support, we simply would not exist. We also know that trust is earned and we pledge to continue delivering the exceptional candidates and top-notch staffing solutions you’ve come to rely on.

To our job seekers:

Searching for a new job in Houston can seem overwhelming, and at times, frustrating – we know that. And we are so grateful that you’ve chosen Murray Resources to help you along the way. We always have your best interest at heart and promise to continue to work diligently to match you with opportunities that are a terrific fit for you.

To our employees:

We are truly lucky to have a team of such smart and dedicated professionals. We know that each day, you go above and beyond to meet the needs of our clients. You care about our clients, and about our staffing agency as well, and it shows in your work. For that, we are grateful.

So, as 2010 quickly comes to a close, we invite you to pause and reflect on the many things you have to be thankful for this year. We’d also like to wish you a Thanksgiving filled with peace and joy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in: News

6 Mistakes Managers Make When Giving Feedback

November 9th, 2010

You know that, as a manager, you have to give your employees feedback in order for them to grow and develop into top performers. But, as a Houston staffing agency with lots of experience dealing with people, we know sometimes it can be an awkward prospect – particularly if it’s negative feedback you have to give. Sometimes it’s easier to avoid it altogether, rather than face the unpleasant situation head on. So to make your job of giving feedback a little less painful, we’ve put together a list of six common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Waiting until the performance is well below expectations before speaking up.
  2. Giving feedback only when things go wrong.
  3. Giving negative feedback in front of co-workers.
  4. Criticizing performance without offering recommendations for improvement.
  5. Avoiding annual performance reviews.
  6. Offering generic praise without specific examples.

Offering constructive criticism isn’t always easy. But when you give good feedback, you’ll only stand to benefit in the form of a solid team operating at peak efficiency. With that said, here are some tips to help you give good feedback:

Be proactive.
If you see a performance issue happening, act immediately. The longer you wait, the worse it will get.

Give specific examples.
No one likes to give (or get) negative feedback. But for it to be effective, you have to be clear and state specific examples. So instead of saying something like, “You’re a bad communicator,” consider saying, “I think a lot of the mistakes you make are a result of not asking enough questions at the beginning of each project.”

Make a plan.
Give your employees a plan of action to improve their performance. Be clear about your expectations and the time period within which you want to see a change. Also, be sure to follow up with them.

Offer praise too.
Let your employees know that they are valued. Tell them specifically how their hard work contributed to a happy customer or meeting an organizational goal.

6 Ways to Avoid Layoffs at Your Houston Company

July 20th, 2010

It’s the dreaded “L” word. Layoffs. Both employees and employers fear the unwelcome proposition of losing their job, or laying people off. Sitting down face-to-face with an employee and actually saying the words is no easy task; plus layoffs mean your company isn’t at its healthiest. Not exactly the situation you want to be in.

But while cutting staff might be an inevitability in the near future, there are some steps you can take to try and avoid layoffs.

Step #1: Encourage attrition.

Do you have a number of employees who will retire in the near future? Think about creating and offering an attractive incentive package to those who qualify. Also, if you’ve had any employees who have recently quit or been fired, don’t fill those positions if possible. Reassign those duties to your existing workforce until you are able to hire again.

Step #2: Institute a hiring freeze.

If you’re experiencing an increase in demand at your company, it can be tempting to hire again. But you may want to consider placing a freeze on hiring until the situation has stabilized. If you have a seasonal peak in demand, or have employees out on maternity or sick leave, consider using a staffing company to hire temporary employees for the time being.

Step #3: Reduce hours worked.

While this is sure to be met with some protest and trepidation on the part of your staff, you may want to consider creating a four-day work week to lower the number of hours worked and salary paid. Assure your employees that this situation is temporary and will help the company to avoid future layoffs. To offset this, you may want to allow your employees to trade pay for company stock.

Step #4: Limit overtime.

Overtime is expensive if you’re paying it to your full-time employees. Instead, think about hiring some temporary employees to get the work done. It may cost much less in the long run.

Step #5: Encourage job sharing and leaves of absence.

Allow full-time employees to become part-time employees and share their job roles with each other. Or, if you have an employee who you know wants to take an extended trip to Europe, or write a book, ask him or her to take a leave of absence without pay, but with benefits, for a period of time.

Step #6: Tap into the power of temporary staffing.

Take on more projects and increase productivity – without an increase in overhead – by using temporary employees. Once the project is complete or work flow starts to slow down, simply release the temporary workers.

At Murray Resources, we’ve helped many employers throughout Houston to weather the tough economy by taking full advantage of strategic, temporary staffing. If your company is currently in a position where layoffs seem imminent, please contact Murray Resources. We may be able to help you avoid them.

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