Why Hard-Selling Your Soft Skills Matters In An Interview

October 15th, 2018

Tired of being the ‘runner up’?

You have the right experience.  You have the right job skills.  You even have the right intangibles for the position.

So why are you always coming up with the “silver medal” – instead of landing the job you want?

It could be because you aren’t adequately explaining why you’re the best cultural fit for the job.  Most people find it easy to explain how their job skills and experience are a great match.  But few are able to show how their soft skills make them the best candidate – and therein lies an opportunity for you to separate yourself from the crowd.

So in your next interview, don’t be another me-too candidate who describes himself as an “outgoing team player with excellent communication skills.”  Skip the cliches, and find more vivid, memorable ways to hard-sell your soft skills.

Identifying Top Soft Skills

Plan ahead.  Learn everything you can about the company’s mission, vision and corporate culture.  Study the position description, looking for clues about the types of skills needed to interact effectively with others in this role.  Compile a list of the top four or five soft skills required.  Then, think back through your job history to find evidence that demonstrates you possess those skills.

Use a three-step process.  Rather than just reeling off a long list of soft skills in your interview, use anecdotes and experiences that clearly demonstrate them.  Experts recommend that you:

  1. Briefly describe the situation;
  2. Tell what you did specifically;
  3. Explain the positive result or outcome.

Don’t fake it to land the job.  Stay true to yourself – and your natural personality style – when selling your soft skills.  If you say you have a certain type of work ethic or management style (just because you think that’s what the interviewer wants to hear), be aware that this could backfire.  In the long run, you’ll need to actually demonstrate the skills to which you’ve laid claim.  Misrepresenting your soft skills in the interview could eventually cost you the job.

Looking for Your Next Professional Career Opportunity?

Send us your resume today.  Our team of recruiters will listen to your needs, match you with a perfect career opportunity, and then show you how to effectively sell your soft skills in the interview.

New Job Anxiety: 4 Tips To Keep It Under Control

May 30th, 2018

new job anxietyYou did it! You made it through the interview, your references checked out and you got hired. You’ve made it through the hardest part, right? Well, maybe.

The first few days on a new job are always tough. You don’t know anyone and you might feel a little overwhelmed.

Try these 4 sure-fire ways to keep the new job jitters at bay.

1. Remember Why You’re There: You were hand-picked for the job over of a lot of applicants! Your new employer trusts you are the best person for the job, has faith in what you can do and wants you to succeed. It’s their job to help you succeed and grow in the position.

2.  Just say hi: Every time you shake a new coworker’s hand, you’re not only making a new friend – you’re making a connection. Explain that you are new to the job and ask  if they have any advice to share.

3. Write it down: You won’t learn everything on your first day so keep a running list of questions.  If you’re unsure about something, ask your on-site supervisor. Whether you prefer to take ‘how to’ notes electronically or with an old fashioned pen and paper, make sure you save them for future reference.

4. Take the time: It’s one of the easiest ways to make a good impression, yet it’s so easy to overlook. Show up on time, take only the allotted lunch break, and don’t sneak out the door three minutes early – every minute matters!

The Night Before Your First Day

The Muse shares some great tips on what to do the night before starting a new job.

With these tips, we’re confident you’ll make a great first impression and wish you all the best on your new career adventure! Remember, there’s only one chance to make a first impression. So make it a good one.

Editors note: the content of this blog was originally published in November, 2011 and has been updated for SEO and edited for accuracy.

Office Job Interview Tips: How to Prepare

May 29th, 2018

Occupational Outlook: Office Support Jobs

It goes without saying. Office  support is key to the efficient operation of a department or company.  Of the top 25 largest number of projected job openings in WI, Wisconsin WORKnet ranks office clerks number 6 on the list through the year 2024.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual wage for office support personnel at $34,740 per year.

So how do you prepare for an office position interview?  We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions to help you prepare.

The Office Job Interview: Common FAQ’s

  • What interests you about working in an office position at this company?
  • What kinds of office projects do you like to work on?
  • What office projects are less interesting for you? How do you overcome your disinterest in order to do a good job?
  • How would you rate your computer skills?
  • Describe your experience with calendar management.
  • What kinds of documents have you made from scratch using MS Office programs?
  • What is your experience with data entry?
  • How do you ensure accuracy in tasks such as processing expenses and preparing reports?
  • If you support multiple people at one company, how do you decide which projects to work on first?
  • Have you ever been on a team with a difficult coworker? How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time you worked with a team to meet a common goal. What was your role?
  • Describe a time you suggested a way to save time, lower costs, or increase revenue.
  • What does “managing up” mean to you? In what ways have you done that?
  • Some of this work can be repetitive. What motivates you to excel in this role?

ABR Employment Services:  Your Employment Connection To The Future™

When you work with us to find an office job, we’ll provide guidance and support to help you land a position where you want to work, learn and grow. And get promoted at work!

Search our open jobs on our website on our branch Facebook for Business pages, or on Indeed.com If you have questions about anything, please don’t be shy! We want to hear from you; access our office contact information.

Editors note: the content of this blog was originally published in July, 2013 and has been updated for SEO and edited for accuracy.

What to Expect When Working with a Job Placement Service

January 2nd, 2018

The Basics: Working with a Job Placement Service

If you have never worked with a staffing agency before, you may not know what to expect. First off, the great news is that companies definitely use job placement services as a resource. Staffing agencies work to build strong and lasting relationships with businesses. Cultivating strong client relationships means that agencies like ABR Employment Services learn about exciting positions before they can reach the open job boards, social media platforms, or classified ads. Once you start your work with your chosen staffing agency, you will unlock the door to key positions in your field you probably would not have otherwise discovered.

Working with a Job Placement Service: What Can You Expect?

Whether you are searching for a job in Human Resources, Staffing, Accounting, Customer Service, Logistics or Scientific/Laboratory, employment agencies offer you the chance to begin work quickly in your field. Over 8 million people in the U.S. find work through temporary work agencies every year, according to Smart Staffing. With that many fellow workers using the same job search strategy, it is important that you improve your job search to stay competitive by knowing what to expect and what your staffing agency expects of you.

Treat Your Employment Agency Like a Prospective Employer

Let your professionalism shine from the very start by understanding that working with a staffing professional is just like interviewing a potential job.

Every meeting counts when you begin working with an employment agency, so always go in prepared to get to work. Treat the process just as you would treat a traditional job interview, and you will get off to a great start.

Explore Additional Job Search Resources

Do not put all your eggs in one basket. While ABR will work hard to find the right position for you, there is no guarantee that your agency can place you. Monitor job boards and social media websites like LinkedIn, continue networking with friends and acquaintances, and tap into resources like ABR JobConnect to keep your job search active at all times.

Make Sure Your Employment Agency Can Connect You with the Right Job

You want to make sure your employment agency works with businesses that need your specific skills. If your agency specializes in financial and accounting services, and you want a job in warehouse production or office administration, you will lose valuable job search time and resources. Also, research job placement agencies to learn more about what they require from you. By exploring the staffing agency’s website, you may learn that you need certain certifications or skills that you can achieve before contacting a staffing professional. Instantly impress your staffing representative by taking the initiative to gain the required knowledge or earn the necessary credential before your first visit.

Take Temporary and Seasonal Assignments

It is difficult to know just when your ideal job may become available. Stay sharp and busy while earning a paycheck by taking on temporary and seasonal assignments. A possible bonus to your flexibility is that you can show a potential employer your abilities and your work ethic, which may turn into a permanent position in the future. It also helps your staffing agency keep clients happy, so it shows your willingness to work as a partner with your staffing professional.

Follow-Up with Your Staffing Agency

If you do not hear from your staffing agency, do not hesitate to call or email your staffing representative. Make sure to include your name, the date you applied, and the position you applied for when you follow-up.

Learn More About ABR Employment Agency and How We Can Help You Improve Your Job Search

At ABR, we are here to work as your job search partner, so we hope to hear from you soon to set your first appointment.

How to Make an Employer Fall in Love with You

December 18th, 2017

first impression

Like most determined job seekers, you want to make a one-of-a-kind connection with your dream employer. Professionally, it makes sense that you want an employer to fall in love with you, your skills and your enthusiasm. Once he or she spots those irresistible charms, you can start a long and mutually beneficial professional relationship together.

So, never fear because you are far from alone. Most job seekers feel the same way. What’s more is that many recruiters will tell you it is essential.

5 Tips to Make a Great First Impression with Your Dream Employer

You can definitely generate the right spark to make sure the employer only has eyes for you.

A trusted recruiting professional will tell you that the hiring process is your time to shine. Our own staffing team agrees and has come up with 5 fresh ideas to seal the deal with your professional love match:

  1. Polish Your Resume.Your resume is where you get to make first contact, and you really want to make a great first impression. You have probably updated your resume to include your most recent job positions and any personal information changes, as well as making sure your spelling and grammar are correct. However, there is more you can do to put the employer over the moon. Take another look at the job posting, and try to make subtle changes to tailor your resume to the position you want. If you see a position has desired skills outside of the job’s core responsibilities—as opposed to required skills or qualifications—such as light repairs and maintenance experience you have for skilled industrial work, make sure to add the details.
  2. Do Your Research About the Company.Your potential employer will love it if you have done your homework and can comfortably and naturally discuss their company’s history, mission and place in the community. This move is a great way to let an employer know you are serious about making a long-term commitment. Check everything from their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages, to their own company website and their Wikipedia entry.
  3. Perform a Mock Interview. Sometimes people looking for their soul mate in life go on “test dates” or “mock dates” to warm up for the main event. You can—and probably should—do the same thing for your big interview. Come up with a few questions you might anticipate, and ask your mock interviewer to come up with some curveballs to make sure you can knock ’em out of the park. Schedule your mock interview for a day or two before your official interview, and wear the clothes you plan to wear for the official interview.
  4. Plan Your Route So You Show Up on Time or Early.If you are slightly unsure about where you are going for your interview, map it out. If you have been to the area before or feel confident you can get there on time, just make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to arrive. If you are unfamiliar with the area, however, don’t risk it. Take a test drive a few days before so you know exactly where you’re going. Showing up with time to spare gives the employer a preview of your commitment to punctuality.
  5. Show Your Enthusiasm.Be yourself, of course, but be sure to show your enthusiasm and that they have every reason to fall in love with you for their position. Be friendly, warm, curious and open, and you stand a great chance of winning their love.

If you need additional ideas about how to make an employer fall head over heels for you and your abilities, our team at ABR Employment Services is here to help.

Call ABR to let us know more about the kind of first impression you want to make with the right employer.

5 Smart Video Interview Prep Tips to Ace the Interview

October 2nd, 2017

Video Interview

Video interviews have been rapidly on the rise since the early 2010s, according to PR Newswire. As recently as 2012, roughly 63 percent of hiring managers reported that their companies frequently conducted interviews via video for a few basic reasons:

  • Improved consistency of asking each candidate the same set of questions.
  • Questions can be tailored for a specific job.
  • The ability to replay, review and rate video interviews online and interactively among hiring managers and other key staff.

Use Your Video Interview as a Chance to Stand Out from Fellow Candidates

If you are camera-shy, tech-phobic or simply prefer face-to-face interaction—inasmuch as anyone enjoys a job interview—you may need some tips from a friendly staffing agency when it comes to sharpening your video interviewing set-up, skills and performance.

Sprinkle in a few of these five tips to prepare for any upcoming real-time video requests you receive so it already feels like second nature to you:

  1. Set Up Your Video Interview Tech Station. While most laptops sold over the past 5-10 years feature a built-in webcam, you definitely need to make sure yours has one before you do anything else. If your computer does not have one, you can buy an inexpensive external web cam. Give yourself plenty of time for arrival or store pick-up. Check your camera right away to make sure it works properly. Additionally, test your camera and internet connection the evening before your interview to make sure you are up and running with no possible technical difficulties in sight.
  2. Get the Right Video Interview Platform. Ask your human resource contact which video platform they use. Skype is incredibly popular, so it would be easy to assume that would be the company’s choice. However, with an increasing number of video communication options, it is important to clarify so you can download the right one, set up an account and understand how to use it.
  3. Remove Distractions from the Room. Whether you love massive posters of classic cars or you collect antiques, it is best to avoid sharing those interests in the background for your video interview. Either choose a location clear of those types of items, or temporarily remove them. Additionally, if you have energetic pets or children—like those seen in the recent live BBC interview with Professor Robert E. Kelly that went viral—it may be best to secure the area by closing and locking the door. As charming, mood-lightening, and completely familiar as that moment was for the viewing audience, it was incredibly stressful for Professor Kelly. Save yourself any added worry by securing your video interview area.
  4. Perform a Mock Video Interview. A mock interview can help you iron out any details and determine the best location, lighting, make-up, colors to wear, camera height and angle, and anything else to help you make the best impression. Additionally, your trial interviewer, who is ideally a professional mentor, can ask you a set of interview questions relevant to the job position and company. At the end of it all, ask your mentor, friend or family member to give you honest feedback on each detail. You can also review the mock interview on your own to look for improvements.
  5. Let Your Enthusiasm Shine. Remember to work up the same energy and enthusiasm for your mock interview that you would bring to a live and in-person interview.

We Can Help You Get the Confidence You Need for Video Interviews

Our team at ABR Employment Services understands that not everyone has experienced a video interview and may need some additional assistance in getting ready. We have plenty of other ideas, tools and services to give you the confidence you need to show the hiring manager you are perfect for the job.

Contact us to talk about what you need to prepare for a  interview or any other aspect of the job search process.

The Art of Writing a Post Interview Thank You Note

September 4th, 2017

thank you note

A Thoughtful Thank You Note Never Goes Out of Style

While etiquette may be undergoing some changes in the digital age, good manners will always be an important part of the interviewing process. It is important to remember how important courtesy, respect and gratitude are before, during and after a job interview.

Companies definitely pay attention to the art of the thank you note. Fast Company reports the findings of a CareerBuilder survey indicating that “22 percent of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they don’t send a thank-you note after the interview.”

Sending a thoughtful thank you note after each job interview is an important way to show your good manners, as well as your enthusiasm about the available job.

Email or Handwritten (or text)?

Knowing the value of sending a thank you note is one thing, but you must also consider whether you should write out a personalized note or send an email. Texting someone you’ve just met is a bit too casual at this stage in the job hunting game.

Sending a Thank You Email After an Interview

There are many staffing industry professionals and internal hiring managers who love handwritten thank you notes, but emails are sometimes the best and most practical choice. It often comes down to the company culture.

  • The Company Is Eager to Hire. If the interviewer lets you know that they plan to hire quickly, an email is the best call. While your handwritten note may arrive in a few days, they might have already made the decision by that time.
  • The Company Culture Is Digital. If you are interviewing at a high-tech company and see few, if any, handwritten pages anywhere, it may be safe to assume that email is the preferred form of communication. One indication of a digital company culture is if the hiring manager asked for you to send your resume and cover letter via email. Additionally, they might have sent an email to set up the interview. Look for clues, and do your best to decide from there.

Once you return home from your interview, write up a brief and thoughtful message that reinforces your gratitude for their time and your interest in the position. Make sure  you proofread and correct errors before sending your email.

Tip: if your email address is ‘hot4U2@gmail.com’ or something similarly unprofessional, create a new one, just for job hunting purposes. Use your first and last name, if possible, or a first initial and last name. Do not use nicknames or anything that may seem unprofessional or inappropriate to your potential new employer.

Sending a Thank You Letter After an Interview

Even in our quick-paced world, some hiring managers and decision-makers love receiving traditional thank you notes via old-fashioned snail mail. Your mission is to understand just who is going to go for your handwritten thank you note and why. Here are a few ideas that may help:

  • The Company Is Small, in a Small Town or Features a More Traditional Atmosphere. You may be able to pick up on this clue from the company’s website before heading out to the interview. Look for bulletin boards with handwritten notes and flyers, or check to see if there are notes on the hiring manager’s desk or the conference room table.
  • The Company Culture Is Digital Culture, Take II. It may be a tricky call to make, but sometimes sending a handwritten message on high-quality paper stock to an interviewer in a digitally-centered office can help you stand out among the crowd of candidates. You may compromise in this situation, and look for the perfect thank you card to suit the high-tech environment. Choose a glossy and shiny paper, and use your best penmanship.

The Best Times to Send Both a Handwritten and Email Thank You Message

Some hiring managers may consider it overkill to send both an email and a handwritten message, but it may be appropriate in the case when you know the organization is planning to hire quickly. In this situation, send a quick, thoughtful and error-free email, followed by a neatly handwritten thank you note on good quality paper to drop in the mail box the next day.

There are many ways that you can stand out during your interview, as well as your post-interview, and we can help you come up with additional ideas. Contact us to find out what else we can do to help you prepare for any phase of your job search.

Recruiter Texting Etiquette: How To Text A Recruiter

August 7th, 2017

recruiter texting etiquette

If you are like 68 percent of the millennial population, or 47 percent of those age 30 to 49 and 26 percent of 50 to 64-years-old, you likely spend significantly more time texting than actually talking on the telephone than you did a decade ago, according to Forbes.

If you are about to start your search for a new job—or your first job—you may wonder how you can use your texting skills to your advantage. You might even assume that there is no place for text messaging during a job search. The truth is that text message recruiting is on the rise, so you can definitely use your preferred means of communication—whether using text messages, emails, social media or old-fashioned telephone calls—to stay in contact with your possible employer or professional staffing agency.

Employers do not want to miss finding the right candidate for their position, so they are happy to adopt any and all modern technologies to make sure they don’t miss an opportunity. There is even HR software that makes it easier for recruiters to manage text messages and even send a text message job offer when the time is right.

Is There Such A Thing As Recruiter Texting Etiquette?

Now that you know texting is a possible way for you to easily communicate with your recruiter, it is important to know that there are some considerations for you to keep in mind. While recruiters are open to this modern method of communication, the hiring process is still basically the same, as far as professionalism and etiquette.

Keep the following 5 etiquette tips in mind on how to text a recruiter:

  1. Spelling and Grammar Still Count. Approach your text messages the same way you would approach writing an email or cover letter. Don’t use text style abbreviations, emoticons or acronyms. Use full sentences to let the recruiter know you are professional and serious about the position. Before you press “send,” make sure you proofread your message so you don’t send a message riddled with spelling or grammar errors.
  2. Keep the Text Message Professional in Tone and Content. Treat your text messages to recruiters the same way you would treat a telephone call. Keep your message brief, polite and to the point. Avoid typing information that is off-point, such as any personal information. You definitely want to avoid sending any information that is inappropriate, which might include mentioning your significant other or your hobbies. It is easy to treat text messaging as a casual method of communication, so it is important that you keep context at the forefront of your mind when texting your recruiter.
  3. Don’t Use Texting as Your Only Means of Job Search Communication. Just because texting has become an important part of the recruiting process doesn’t mean it is the only choice you should make. It may be perfect to confirm an interview via text, but if you have a more detailed question or concern, picking up the telephone or writing a professional email is probably better for you and the recruiter.
  4. Avoid Sending Bad News Via Text. It is always better to deal with unpleasant conversations on the telephone or face-to-face, if possible. For instance, if the recruiter chooses you for the position, and you decide not to accept, you probably want to let them know directly.
  5. Track and Save Your Text Messages. Just like you keep your emails and make notes about telephone calls with recruiters, track and save your text messages to review previous conversations to avoid repeating yourself or repeating the same questions.

Do You Need More Ideas About Your Job Search?

If you need help starting your job search, ABR Employment Services can help. Whether you have more questions about texting, or another means of communication with recruiters, our professional recruiting team is here for you.

Contact us to learn more about our services that will help you kick off a successful job search.

Data Entry Jobs: Part-time Jobs & Full-time with LHI

August 3rd, 2017

part-time jobs

Part-time Jobs & Full-time Data Entry Jobs

ABR, in partnership with LHI are looking for Data Entry/Admin Candidates!

Flexible Shifts: Full Time & Part Time Jobs

Job Summary: Responsible for processing all incoming medical and/or dental service documentation according to contract requirements and customer specifications. Receive and thoroughly review documentation for errors, identify missing components and complete data entry. Ensure program policies and customer designated guidelines are adhered to while processing the documentation under time-sensitive deadlines.


High school diploma or equivalent required, post high school education preferred.

A minimum of 1 year of related work experience required.

Intermediate computer skills including Microsoft Office programs and electronic file/database management experience required.

Strong keyboarding skills required.

Data entry and customer service experience preferred.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity. EOE/AA

Apply Now:

Questions? Contact:
Brittany Erickson
328 Front Street South
La Crosse , Wisconsin 54601
Phone: (608) 784-0760
Email: berickson@abrjobs.com

328 Front St S
La Crosse, WI 54601-4023

That First Impression: Why Your Voice Matters In An Interview

July 24th, 2017

VoiceYour Voice Matters When Trying To Make A Great First Impression

There are so many factors that play into creating your first impression when you are interviewing.  One of those factors that is not addressed enough is your voice.  Conclusions can be drawn simply by the way you speak.  Whether those assumptions are correct or not, it does not matter when you are being considered for a job.  You need to actually listen to your voice and analyze how you sound.  If you have trouble being honest with yourself, ask someone you can trust to provide you with honest feedback.

The rate or speed of your words is very important.  If you talk too fast you may be perceived as nervous, impulsive, disorganized, immature, or even flighty.  On the other hand, if you talk too slow you may be perceived as lacking intelligence, unable to keep up with a fast paced environment, older or lacking overall confidence.

The best place to be is in the middle of too fast and too slow.  You need to speak clearly, distinctly, slowly and thoughtfully.  Try to pronounce each syllable, the syllables that are meant to be stated.  If you are unsure of a word you need to look it up in the English Dictionary, never assume anything.  If you keep your speaking at a medium pace, you are able to get your thoughts across more clearly and easily.  If you want to check your speech, you can tape yourself speaking or you can speak in front of a mirror.  Both techniques are helpful and will provide results!

Relax Speech To Avoid ‘Pitchiness’

Your pitch is also extremely important.  If your pitch is normal, this won’t apply to you.  However, if you have a very high pitch it can be more annoying than anything else.  A high pitch is associated with women, but definitely occurs with men as well.  Part of lowering your pitch to a professional level is relaxing your speech.  It is a difficult thing to accomplish.  First, you must learn to control any nervousness, which is difficult to do in an interviewing situation.  If you speak too low you may be hard to understand.  It may also be perceived as not being honest.  It is also important in business to have a voice that projects professionalism.

The too soft voice is often perceived as a lack of self confidence, fearful and self conscious.  The too loud voice is again annoying and can sometimes be an indication of feeling of superiority.  There needs to be a happy medium when you are in any professional situation.

Verbal crutches are habitual phrases you use; they are extra words you throw in to give yourself time to think.  The two most often abused crutches are “uh” and “ah.”  Often people are not at all aware they use these words.  Once you record yourself talking you may find numerous crutches.

You Know, Like, Nix The Slang

Another crucial part of listening to your speech is looking for any type of slang words.  These are very common with teenagers.  However, it is also common with adults who are not aware of the terms they use.  Some of these slang terms are “you know, like, no way, cuz, yeah, for real and for sure.”  These sound funny in this text, but these simple words can assist in a company taking a pass on you for their opportunity.

Be aware of your voice and realize the necessity to listen to your voice and analyze it.  Practice and speak confidently, it will open more career opportunities for you!

Want more great advice on interview preparation?

Contact an ABR job specialist today. Our goal is to support candidates throughout the job search process to succeed.