Category Archives: Allied Personnel Services

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.  

How To Dress For An Interview

You’ve landed an interview. Congratulations! In addition to our top 3 tips for successful interviews, you also need to think about your attire. You may have sold yourself on paper, but now you need to make an excellent impression in a competitive job market. Obviously, you should aim to be an unforgettable candidate, but you don’t want to be unforgettable for the wrong reasons.

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Despite what you perceive or expect a company’s culture or dress code to be, always dress professionally for an interview. Avoid wearing jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, etc. If you’re not wearing a suit, consider dress slacks and a button down or collared shirt or blouse.

If wearing a dress/skirt, consider wearing stockings as they ensure a more professional presentation. Also be mindful of the length of your skirt/dress. Those that fall at or below the knee are best.

The shoes you choose are equally important. It’s best to be more conservative and opt for closed toed shoes. Avoid sandals, flip flops, or any overly casual footwear.

Above all, remember that you only get one shot at a first impression. If you find yourself questioning any part of your interview attire, go the conservative route.  You never want something like wardrobe obscuring an employer’s perception of you and your professionalism.

Still trying to land that next interview?  Check out our current job openings and apply today!

3 Tips For Successful Interviews

Looking for a great job in the Lehigh Valley? Part of the process will almost certainly include interviews.  In addition to placing people in career opportunities with some of the leading companies in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, Allied provides our candidates a crash course in interview preparation. Here are what we consider our top 3 tips to prepare you for an interview.

Always research the company and the position.

The Internet provides the means for gathering extensive information on a company. Visit the company’s website to read up on their history, their product line, and any current news. Many smaller companies also profile members of their management team. A company website will likely also offer a full description of the available job and may even include general information on the benefits offered. LinkedIn is also a great resource to learn more about the company, as well as the person who will be interviewing you.  By doing your research ahead of time, you will also be better able to formulate intelligent questions during your interview.A job interview

Be courteous to everyone you meet.

We always encourage candidates to be friendly to the first person they meet when they walk in the door of a company. Many interviewers will ask the person at the front desk or at the security desk for a quick first impression. If you were rude, if you were talking on your cell phone, or if you were pacing nervously, they will share that information with the interviewing/hiring manager so it is important to not get off on the wrong foot. Greet everyone with politeness and wish them well when you leave, turn the cell phone off in the car (vibrate isn’t good enough – it needs to be off), and sit calmly while waiting.  Consider your interview starting the moment you arrive at the company.

Even if it seems like common sense, think about it.

Most people look at us oddly when we provide this advice but you would be surprised how often simple common sense errors trip up an otherwise decent interview. Before you walk in the building make sure your sunglasses are off of your head and that your suit jacket lapel isn’t folded under. Make sure you’ve left food and drink in the car (this includes gum and mints). Always take at least three extra copies of your resume in case you meet with more than one person, and ensure those resumes are neat and are free of coffee stains, folds, and pen marks. Make sure you have reference information with you including the person’s full name, phone number, and email address. And most of all make sure you know who to ask for when you arrive!

Despite low unemployment rates, the job market in the Lehigh Valley is always competitive and employers will be considering multiple candidates when hiring.  If you’ve done your research, remember your manners and pay attention to the common sense details, you will absolutely have a leg up on the competition. Rest assured, we’ve seen enough people stumble to know what gets you noticed in a positive way.

Good luck with your search, and be sure to check out Allied’s available jobs regularly.

Job Fair: June 6, 2017 at Orasure Technologies, Bethlehem

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Allied is hiring for one of the Lehigh Valley’s leading companies:  Orasure Technologies in Bethlehem.  OraSure develops, manufactures and markets point-of-care, oral fluid specimen collection devices, diagnostic products, and other medical devices and was named a 2016 Top WorkPlace.  TWP2016

We are looking for Manufacturing Technicians for long-term roles at Orasure.  These opportunities offer a starting rate of $15/hour, a 4-day work week, and an excellent working environment with opportunity for growth.  We’ve helped many people begin successful careers at Orasure; be our next Success Story!

Visit us at our job fair on Tuesday, June 6th, 8am–2pm, on-site at Orasure (220 East First Street, Bethlehem, PA  18015) or apply online today!

Summer Dress Code Tips

As the warmer weather approaches and we swap our sweaters and winter work wear for summertime garb, it’s important to keep dress code in mind.

What is appropriate professional dress for summer? Naturally, dress code varies a bit for every employer, but there are some general rules of thumb to follow.

Skirts & Dresses

Be very conscious of the length of any skirts or dresses you choose for work. They should fall at the knee or below. Find yourself questioning the appropriateness of length? Save it for an occasion outside of work.

Shorts

Tailored shorts have become a trend, and they are often paired with a blazer giving them the feel of a professional dress option. However, they are most likely not suitable for those adhering to traditional, professional dress code standards. If you are working in a business casual environment, they may be acceptable provided that the length is appropriate, falling at or below the knee.

Spaghetti Straps & Tank Tops

Any top with thin straps is best covered by a cardigan or blazer. Some employers have no problem with a sleeveless, but tailored blouse. Remember, however, that a bare or nearly bare shoulder is not regarded as professional.   

Summer Footwear

Traditionally only a beachfront staple, flip flips have become a summer dress essential for many. While employers with a casual dress code may allow flip flops in the summer months, many others adopt the conventional mindset that they are not at all work appropriate. Check your employer’s dress code policy, but know that flip flops are to be absolutely avoided when dressing for interviews, professional events, or meetings with clients. An open-toed, professional shoe, however, is often acceptable in the summer months.

 

Always be sure to have a clear understanding of your company’s dress code policy and whatever you’re wearing, in any weather, aim to present yourself as a polished professional destined for success.

 

 

Summer Staffing

summer popsicles

Summer is right around the corner! Your busy season may be coming, vacations may be looming, and interns may be knocking on your door. This year think about how Allied can help you make summer staffing a breeze.

Allied has a network of new and returning college students that can help you:

  • Meet peak production times by supplementing your staff
  • Ensure shipping deadlines are met by covering staff vacations
  • Complete projects you’ve saved for later
  • Cover your front desk during vacations

Do you already supplement your staff with the use of interns? Consider payrolling. Allied can: 

  • Screen, on-board, and pay the interns you’ve recruited  
  • Handle employee paperwork and payroll processing 

For more information or suggestions on how you would benefit most fully from our summer offerings, contact us.  We can help you get the most out of your summer help. 

2017 Resume Refresh

imgresAs 2016 winds down, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year and gear up for 2017.  It is also the perfect time to give your resume a refresh.  If it has been a while since you updated it there may be significant changes in your skills and experience that aren’t reflected.  Here are a few tips to help guide you through the process.

Review the past year.  Have you completed any significant projects?  Do you have any added responsibilities?  What new skills have you acquired?  Looking through your calendar for the past year is an easy way to remember your accomplishments.  If you received a performance review take a look at that also, as it should include some details that might need to be added to your resume.

imagesUpdate your keywords.  Strategically using keywords throughout your resume is essential to ensure that employers find you, and also that your resume makes it through the automated resume screening tools that many companies utilize.  Your objective or summary statement at the beginning is an easy place to include keywords, and it’s also an easy area to edit when applying for specific positions.

Consider a redesign.  While you are editing the content of your resume you should also think about updating the style.  A new format might allow you to better highlight some of your recent achievements, or it can help your resume stand out in a crowd of others.  Be careful not to overdo, however;  keep it professional and remember that sometimes less is more.

Get an objective opinion.  Ask a friend or colleague to look at your resume and give you their honest feedback.  It can be helpful to seek the opinion of both a person who knows you well and also of someone who doesn’t know you very well.  Comparing the feedback of both can help make sure that you’ve crafted a resume that speaks to who you are and what you’ve accomplished.

Need an objective resume review?  Talk to one of the staffing professionals here at Allied.  Working with a staffing firm is the perfect way to begin a job search and we would love to help you with your 2017 resume refresh!

10th Readers’ Choice Win For Allied Personnel Services

Allied Personnel Services has been named Best Employment Agency in the 2016 Morning Call Readers’ Choice awards.  This marks the 10th win for Allied, confirming our status as the leading staffing company in the Lehigh Valley.

Thank you to all of our clients and employees that voted for us.  We are proud of our service to the Lehigh Valley over the last 32 years and look forward to our continued commitment to our community.

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