Author Archives: aps

What To Do After An Interview

Interviews can be stressful.  Allied has some easy guides to help you through any interview process.  Start by checking our guide on how to dress for an interview, and review some quick tips for a successful interview.  (Just make sure you don’t prepare too much!)  Finally, follow these steps for ending the interview and proper follow-up.

After the Interview

  • Before leaving, ask the interviewer what the next step is. This will allow you to determine the best way to follow up.
  • If you are asked to call the interviewer about the next step on Wednesday, call on Wednesday. Not Thursday…Wednesday. This is often a test. An employer is evaluating your ability to follow directions and follow-up properly. These skills are vital to any position.
  • If the interviewer said she would call you Friday and you haven’t heard from her, call on Monday. If you must leave a message, be polite and brief.
  • If after leaving a message you haven’t heard anything in 2 more days, send an email. Again, be polite and brief.
  • If you haven’t heard 2 days after that, assume you were not selected and move on. Do not give in to the temptation to call and/or email again to tell the employer they missed out. This will eliminate you from any future consideration should other opportunities within the company arise.

The Thank You Note

You should send a separate thank you note to each interviewer. The note should be handwritten on a conservative card and be brief and professional.

Dear Mr. Gehrig,

I enjoyed meeting with you today regarding the administrative opening with your company. I believe that my experience and your needs will be a good match. I look forward to hearing from you about the next step in the process. Thanks again!

Marilyn

If plans were made for a second step within the next 1 – 2 business days, it would be appropriate to send an email rather than a note card.

Having trouble landing that interview?  Let Allied help!  Apply today and let us connect you to the Lehigh Valley’s top companies!

Job Fair at B Braun Medical, Allentown

Braun Job Fair 2-13-18

Come and learn about these great long-term job opportunities for experienced forklift operators. Can’t make it to the job fair? Stop by our office at 752 Union Boulevard in Allentown, call us at 610.821.0220, or apply online. Don’t miss this chance to get your foot in the door at one of the Lehigh Valley’s top companies!

Spreading Holiday Cheer in the Lehigh Valley

One of our favorite things to do during the holidays is giving back to the Lehigh Valley community. It brings us such joy to help those in need of a little extra holiday cheer. This year Allied partnered with Valley Youth House to collect gifts for 12 children and teenagers. We are thrilled to see our lobby filled with presents – one of our largest collections to date!

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – St Francis of Assisi

Xmas donations 2017

Allied Named Best Employment Agency

Allied Personnel Services has again been named Best Employment Agency in the 2017 Morning Call Reader’s Choice awards.

MC_2017ReadersChoiceLO

This is the 11th Reader’s Choice win for Allied.  Thank you to all of our employees and customers!

Looking for employment?  Check out our available positions and apply today.

Looking for employees?  Contact us to learn about our staffing solutions.

Driving Safely in Autumn Weather Conditions

The quickly changing environment and weather during the autumn season present a variety of challenges for drivers. Sharp declines in temperature can result in mixed precipitation, black ice, and snow. An abundance of falling leaves makes driving surfaces slippery. Extreme sun glare in the mornings and evenings makes it difficult to see clearly. To drive defensively during this season of transition, it is important that your vehicle is adequately prepared for driving conditions; that you are aware of the weather and animal hazards related to the season; and that you understand the correlation between reaction time and braking distance when unexpected hazards present themselves.
 
Prepare Your Vehicle
Being prepared prior to getting out on the road is the first step to safe driving. Prior to operating the vehicle, conduct a pre-trip walk-around inspection; checking tire pressure, fluid levels, headlights, brake lights and signal lights to ensure that they are inflated to proper levels, and in good, working condition. Also, make sure that your vehicle is equipped with functioning wiper blades and that the wiper arms are exerting enough pressure on the blades to ensure a clean sweep of the windshield. If wiper blades are worn or damaged, replace them immediately.
In addition to the walk-around survey, be sure to make adjustments to mirrors, seats and/or the radio before you begin driving and never while driving. Adjusting controls while driving distracts you from paying attention to events that are occurring on the road. And no matter what the season, always wear your seatbelt when operating or riding in a motor vehicle. This also applies to passengers riding in the back seat(s) of the vehicle.
The Hazards
 
Wet Roads
When wet weather conditions are present, always slow down and leave enough room around your vehicle to create a cushion of safety. Remember that stopping on a wet road can take up to four times the normal distance as on a dry road. When road surfaces are wet, watch for the presence of standing water in the roadway. When water stands or puddles on the pavement, it lifts oils and other fluids from the road causing slick spots, which increase the chance for your vehicle to skid.
Excessive water can also cause your vehicle to hydroplane, which means that your tires “surf” on a film of water like a skier. Sudden, heavy downpours, driving too fast or driving on worn tires also increases your chances of hydroplaning. If the vehicle begins to hydroplane, do not brake or turn suddenly. These actions could put the car into a skid. Instead, ease your foot off the gas until the car slows down and you feel the wheels connect with the surface of the road. If you must apply the brakes in this situation, light, gentle pumping actions will be effective. If the vehicle has anti-lock brakes, brake normally and hold your foot firmly on the brake pedal so that the vehicle’s computer mimics a pumping action.
Mixed Precipitation and Ice
On cold, wet days, look for ice in shady spots along the roadway. Because ice forms easily in these conditions, these areas are often the first to freeze and the last to dry out. Slow down and watch for ice on bridges and overpasses. These apparatuses often have icy spots even when the rest of the roadway is relatively dry. Because bridges and overpasses are suspended above ground-level, they are not insulated from the heat generated by the ground and are subject to direct contact with cold temperatures and wind.
In temperature conditions of around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ice can often become wet, which then causes it to be more slippery than at colder temperatures. Be aware of the danger posed by “black ice,” which is a thin coat of glazed ice present on top of the road’s surface. Black ice is nearly transparent—making it a hazard that drivers cannot see. Always reduce your speed when temperatures are cold and the risk of icy conditions is present.
Wet Leaves
An abundance of wet leaves on the roadway can be just as dangerous as ice. Slow down and use caution when leaves are present on the roadway. Leaf accumulations are often found near sidewalks and stormwater drains.
Sun Glare
During the autumn season, the sun rises and sets closer to the horizon and almost exactly to the east and west. Because of this, driving can become more difficult and dangerous when heading in either direction. Intense sun glare can blind drivers, causing traffic to suddenly slow down or stop. To drive safely in conditions of extreme sun glare, take the following actions:
·         Wear a pair of good sunglasses and pay attention to traffic and the presence of bicyclists or pedestrians;
·         Reduce speed and drive slower than normal, covering the brake if necessary;
·         Keep the vehicle’s windshield clean. Oftentimes the glare from the sun makes any dirt present on the windshield more obvious; and
·         Be aware that drivers may slow down suddenly or stop.
 
Fog
Another driving hazard to be aware of is fog. Fog dramatically decreases visibility and can leave roadway surfaces wet and slick.   In foggy conditions, slow down, increase your following distance and leave a cushion of safety around your vehicle. Most fog-related traffic fatalities occur because the driver is unable to perceive hazards present in front of the vehicle and when these hazards suddenly appear, they aren’t able to react in time. Slowing down the vehicle allows you additional time to safely react to unexpected conditions.
Using your headlights correctly is another important technique for driving safely in fog. Always turn on headlights and use the low-beam setting. When conditions are foggy, the high beam headlights are not effective because they direct light up into the fog making it more difficult to see ahead of you.   Using the low beam setting directs light down onto the road, making your vehicle more visible to other drivers. Remember that in foggy conditions, other drivers also have limited visibility.   To increase your visibility to other drivers, use your turn signals early and brake with plenty of notice. In addition, keep your windows clear by using the windshield wipers and turning on the defroster. If you leave the roadway due to foggy conditions, pull off completely, turn off the headlights, and turn on the hazard lights so that other motorists can see your vehicle.
 
Deer Collisions
Recent statistics show that most of the people who are injured or killed in deer-related collisions were not wearing their seatbelts. No matter what the season, always wear your seatbelt.
The peak season for deer movement is during the months of October through December. This is called the “rut” or deer mating season. One of the greatest hazards of the deer mating season is that deer become less cautious about darting into and across roads.
Keep in mind that collisions with deer can happen at any time, in any place, regardless of the type of road or environment. Collisions have occurred on busy city highways as well as on rural roads near wooded or agricultural areas. When driving during the months of heightened deer movement, keep the following safety tips in mind:
·         When traveling at night, if there is no oncoming traffic, use your high-beam headlights to increase your night vision.
·         Be particularly attentive for deer between sunset and midnight, and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These times are typically when deer are the most active.
·         Drive carefully in areas known to have high deer populations and be extra cautious in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland. Look for road signs that mark deer crossing zones and avoid using your cell phone or other devices when traveling in these zones.
·         Scan the road ahead of you to give yourself additional time to react to unsafe conditions. If you see a deer, slow down and be prepared to stop. Also, keep in mind that when you see one deer, there are probably others nearby. Deer often travel in small groups forming a single-file line.
·         If a deer enters the road or the lane you are traveling in, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Though your immediate reaction may be to swerve out of the way, some of the most serious crashes occur when drivers swerve out of their lane. Swerving to avoid striking a deer increases the risk of hitting another vehicle or losing control of your vehicle.
·         Another technique to use when encountering a deer on the roadway is to flash your headlights from bright to dim or honk your horn to encourage the deer to move on.
·         If your vehicle strikes a deer or if a deer is blocking the road, don’t get out of your vehicle and touch the animal—it may still be alive and could possibly injure you. Call the police for assistance.
·         Finally, when driving in zones heavily populated with deer, don’t rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences or reflectors to deter them. Relying on these items often gives drivers a false sense of security, which results in them letting down their guard and not paying close attention to their surroundings.
 
Reaction Time and Braking Distance
 
As a defensive driver, an important concept to understand is the correlation between reaction time and braking distance. The physics that contribute to a driver reacting to a situation, applying the brakes and bringing the vehicle to a complete stop play a significant role in preventing collisions.
Reaction time is the time it takes you to recognize the need to stop or maneuver the vehicle. The average person’s reaction time is approximately 3/4 of a second if they are paying attention.
 
Braking distance includes a variety of factors such as the condition of the road surface; dry, wet or icy, plus the condition of the vehicle’s brakes and tires; proper inflation and good treads and how many passengers or additional weight the vehicle is transporting. The formula for how fast a vehicle will stop equals reaction time + braking distance.
For example, at 60 mph a vehicle travels 88 feet per second. It takes 3/4 of a second to perceive the danger and another 3/4 to react and apply the brakes. In these 1.5 seconds, you have traveled 132 feet and the vehicle is still going 60 mph. Once you apply the brakes there is a .27 second lag before the brakes actually engage for a total of 1.77 seconds before the brakes are engaged. This equals a distance of 155 feet in which the vehicle has traveled during the perception and reaction phase of the stopping process.
 
Conclusion
 
The autumn months are a beautiful time of transition and change. Before getting out on the road, be sure that your vehicle is prepared to meet the various weather conditions and exposures associated with this season. Along with being a defensive driver, practice being a thoughtful driver by adjusting your driving habits in accordance with the road and weather conditions and eliminating the temptation to focus on distractions, both inside and outside of the vehicle. Keep your eyes on the road, leave your cell phone in your bag and no matter what the season, always wear your seatbelt.

Temporary Staffing: The Shepherd’s Hut of Careers

A daily morning read that never fails to provide a huge amount of insight in a tiny amount of time is Seth Godin’s blog.  A recent entry makes a great case for the value of temporary employment:

Can you live in a shepherd’s hut?shepherd's hut

The best way to plan a house on a vacant piece of land is to move into a tiny shepherd’s hut on a corner of the property. It’s not fancy, and it’s not comfortable, but you can probably stay there for a week or two.

And during that week, you’ll understand more about the land than you ever could in an hour of walking around. You’ll see how the rain falls and the sun shines and the puddles form.

As you’ve probably guessed, you can do that with the job you’re thinking about taking or the project you’re thinking about launching. Show up in the market and make some sales. Take a role as an intern and answer the customer service hotline for a day. Get as close as you can to the real thing, live it, taste it, and then decide how to build your career or your organization.

If the shepherd’s hut feels too uncomfortable, it might not be the land you wanted in the first place.

Working in a temporary job will give you more insight into a company and a position than you ever could in an hour of interviewing.  You’ll see how the work flows and if the people shine and how the culture is formed.  You can see the real thing and then decide if the organization is a place you can build a career and thrive within.

And if the temporary job feels too uncomfortable, it might not be the company you wanted in the first place.

Looking for a “shepherd’s hut” at a top Lehigh Valley company?  Allied’s temporary positions offer the best way to learn about an organization and evaluate the next steps in your career.

Can you be Too Prepared for an Interview?

A recent discussion here at Allied about trends within the applicant pool gravitated toward one particular trend showing up more and more frequently – candidates who are too coached and how that negatively affects an interview.

You may think that “practice makes perfect” applies to interview preparation and the more you rehearse the better you’ll do. This doesn’t necessarily apply to interviewing.
The purpose of an interview is for a company to discover detailed information about your work experience and your job history, including the reasons for leaving jobs and the specific skills you possess. Equally important, sometimes even more important, a company needs to assess your fit for their environment. This is where too much practice can be a problem.

One pattern recently has been in applicants who talk about the importance of “networking” in the job search and how they are especially “effective at building relationships”. Both are important concepts but virtually all of these candidates use the exact same phrasing over and over. It appears as if a particularly compelling article circulated online, everyone took its advice, memorized the suggested “good” answers, and are now interviewing at the same time. Here is the thing though– the answers are only good if they are YOUR answers.

A good interviewer doesn’t want to hear the buzz words and the packaged answers available to everyone. An interviewer wants and needs to hear from YOU — the person who will show up every day and work hard (without a coach or source material). An interviewer needs to know what interacting with YOU will be like. An interviewer needs to know if YOU are going to get along with the rest of the staff. An interviewer needs to know what YOU are really good at – not what the articles say are important skills.

There’s nothing wrong with preparing ahead of time so you can intelligently talk about your experiences, the job opportunity and the company at which you applying but keep it down to earth. It’s fine to practice how you might answer certain questions and to make sure that your answers will include some key things that are important for the position but don’t be generic about it. Be genuine. Be yourself and you will land the right job for YOU.

Check out Allied’s available jobs and apply today!

Viewing The August 21st Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse visible in the United States is rare – and precious, just like your vision.

solar eclipse

solar eclipse

When the moon crosses in front of the sun on Monday, Aug. 21, skies will darken, stars will twinkle and millions of Americans will be treated to an astronomical show last observed in the U.S. in 1979. The only safe way to look directly at the sun is through special-purpose solar filters, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

These special filters are used in eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers. Eclipse glasses are available for purchase at big-box stores, electronics supply outlets and online. Look for glasses that carry this certification insignia: ISO 12312-2.

“The concern over improper viewing of the sun during an eclipse is for the development of ‘eclipse blindness’ or retinal burns,” said associate professor of optometry Dr. Ralph Chou in an article published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Chou said children and young adults are most at risk as bright light and radiation from the sun can cause heating and cook the exposed tissue of the eye. The aging process can provide a natural filtering effect in older people and reduce risk of retinal damage.

Set Rules for Your Viewing Party

In Eclipse 101, NASA outlines do’s and don’ts of viewing the eclipse:

  • Do not look directly at the sun
  • Do not use homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark sunglasses
  • Use special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers, to view the eclipse
  • Read and follow filter instructions and supervise children
  • In any stage of eclipse, do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device, and never use solar filters with these devices, as concentrated solar rays will damage them and can cause serious eye injury
  • Inspect your solar filter before use; if it is scratched or damaged, discard the filter
  • Pinhole projection is a safe way to view the sun in indirect fashion; Exploratorium provides instruction on “How to Build a Sun Viewer” and other methods of safely viewing the sun

Who Will Be Able to See the Eclipse?

Everyone in America will see at least a partial eclipse. Those living inside a 70-mile stretch known as the “path of totality” will see the total eclipse when the moon fully covers the sun.

downloadable map produced by NASA plots the total eclipse course through 14 states, beginning in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. NASA projects the longest duration of totality will be near Carbondale, IL, where the sun will be completely covered for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Times for partial and total eclipse viewing vary depending on your location. NASA’sinteractive map allows you to click on any point in the U.S. and check peak times for viewing in your area. For example, the eclipse in Carbondale will begin at 11:52 a.m. CDT, with maximum eclipse at 1:21 p.m.

NASA also provides links to general viewing parties and libraries hosting events.

How Often Do Solar (or Lunar) Eclipses Occur?

The range is from two to seven eclipses each year, according to EarthSky.

  • One calendar year has a minimum of four eclipses, two solar and two lunar
  • The last time there were seven eclipses in a single year was 1982, and the next time will be 2038
  • Few people see the shallow solar eclipses that occur regularly in the Arctic and Antarctic regions

After Aug. 21, the next total solar eclipse will be July 2, 2019, in South America.

 

Check out where to view the eclipse in the Lehigh Valley.

Allied Personnel Services is a proud member of the National Safety Council.  

Criticism: Can You Take It?

It is essential that employees learn how to handle criticism in order to be an effective worker. But what exactly does “handling criticism” mean? Leadership communications consultant John Baldoni offers some suggestions in his article titled “Learning How To Accept Criticism,” published in Darwin Magazine.

The following are some of Baldoni’s suggestions:

Photo from Leadership Freak
  • You’ve got to be able to roll with the punches. The message this will send out is that you are allowing people to disagree with you. And even though you may not be aware of how much you need this, probably some day it will become very clear to you just how important this is. Listen to what your critics have to say and if you feel it’s necessary, you can politely defend yourself. But here’s the key: Don’t under any circumstance try to discredit your superior.
  • Take a deep breath and thank the person who criticizes you. Why are you thanking the person who is criticizing you? It’s helpful to think of it in this way:  it took courage for that person to speak his mind. Whatever you do, don’t go on a defensive attack. What you’re saying when you react negatively is “No criticism allowed here.” A negative reaction will likely prevent others from being truthful with you in the workplace in the future, and that is a dangerous position to put yourself in.
  • Reflect, then act. Taking time to think over what your direct reports say to you, even if it’s something you don’t want to hear, demonstrates your maturity and true caring ability. If you want respect, this is a sure way to gain it.