Enlist the services of a staffing agency should you need to find a job while on the road, know how to answer those tough interview questions, and discover a new travel atlas.
By Janet Groene, F47166
As a full-timer, you have the jump on other job hunters because you’re free to live anywhere. Better still, you bring your home with you. Much has been written about jobs available to people who live on the go. They include work camping, temporary service jobs, e-commerce, house-sitting, and campground hosting. However, it could be that none of these is right for you.
If your efforts have left you unemployed, underemployed, underpaid for your specialized skill level, or otherwise unhappy with your career, here are two words for you: staffing agency.
For more information about services available from a staffing agency, I spoke with Mindy Morris, marketing coordinator at FrankCrum Staffing. Based in Clearwater, Florida, the agency finds staff for companies located in more than 40 states. The company’s specialties include accounting and finance, legal, medical, administrative/clerical, light industrial, skilled trades, and hospitality.
When asked why folks might want to enlist the help of a staffing agency rather than a recruitment firm, or headhunter, Ms. Morris said, “A staffing agency seeks to match candidates with positions within their client companies. Our hope is that if it becomes a permanent position, the employer will take that candidate from temporary to permanent. During the first 520 hours (90 days) of work, the candidate is still our employee, meaning that we pay them, provide their benefits, etc. The client is then billed and that covers the cost of our keeping that employee.”
Headhunters are matchmakers. They don’t pay the employee on their own or assume responsibility for the match. They find great candidates, introduce them, negotiate on their behalf, and are paid a service fee/finder’s fee. Many times when a headhunter places a candidate, they will keep that relationship going and, a year or so later, might come back with a new option for employment. However, when a staffing firm places a candidate, the hope is that the position will be for the long term. Generally speaking, reputable firms will not charge the job seeker for their services. Instead, all costs are covered by the clients who hire candidates.
Ms. Morris said that the most common mistake prospective employees make is becoming overly personal. “There are times that candidates come in and break into tears talking about past positions, why they ended, or personal details about their lives,” she said. “We consider ourselves a compassionate, family-run business, but when someone comes in and starts talking about all of the difficulties of their recent divorce and how it hurt their previous position, all we can see is drama. It is difficult to place a candidate like that.”
Resumes are important for those seeking work, but oftentimes people don’t update them, which can give the appearance that the individual is hiding something. An example cited by Ms. Morris is if a candidate’s resume reports that they have been with a company from 2006 to the present, but it’s known that they have been unemployed for five months. This can raise a huge red flag. The excuse is often, “I didn’t have time to update it.” The problem with this reply is that it makes it seem as though their job search wasn’t important enough to them to spend the time it would take to fix the resume.
When visiting a staffing firm for the first time, you should bring your resume and a list of references. When building a relationship with a staffing firm, the more feedback they have from the candidate, the better. It is easier to sell a candidate when the agency can provide the prospective employer references from past employers.
Many full-timers seek to find a job that meshes with their carefree lifestyle, and Ms. Morris said many opportunities exist for those who do not have a stationary home. “In addition to a great deal of seasonal work like catering and hospitality, we also have several large client companies that are always looking for people to fill telecommuting positions such as customer service, manufacturing, art collators, etc.”
Most staffing agencies have a broad variety of clients who are always looking for different types of candidates. While you may be able to find such an agency in a field-specific publication, more companies are using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to advertise positions. If a candidate contacts an agency with specific skills and expertise, it generally is not difficult for the agency to find a position for them.
The Job Interview
In a story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, a representative from Skillful Communications, an interview coaching firm, provided answers to tricky questions you may be asked during a job interview.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Answer: Instead of stating your career goals, emphasize how this job fits into your future aspirations.
“Do you have trouble working with certain people?”
Answer: Don’t take the bait. Instead, tell about a problem you had with someone and how you worked things out.
“Tell me more about your current position.”
Answer: Don’t be tempted to repeat points that are already on your resume. Instead, walk the interviewer through a typical workday in your current post.
“Do you have children or are you married?”
Answer: It’s illegal to ask these questions, but be prepared to answer honestly, because the underlying question is really about whether you are able to work the hours required in the job for which you’re applying.
Book For Travelers
When it comes to travel, National Geographic is tops. Now National Geographic Society Maps offers state-by-state recreation guides that you’ll read for fun as well as guidance. The National Geographic Recreation Atlas series includes books on traveling to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, with more on the way. When you first acquire the atlas, take some time to learn the symbols and colors so you’ll know how immensely powerful these guides are. Priced at $24.95, the oversized paperback books combine a map and travel encyclopedia all in one handy volume.
Donating Your RV To Charity
When it’s time to trade in, trade up, or hang up the keys, it may be tempting to donate your motorhome to charity in exchange for a tax deduction. Before doing so, take a closer look to make sure the IRS will honor your deduction and that the money your RV provides will be spent in a manner of which you approve. Some charities spend most of their money on high salaries and advertising. Some actually aid causes that may contradict your personal beliefs.
Charity watchdogs find that less than one-third of Americans look beyond the soulful faces they see in ads or catchy jingles heard on the radio. If they did, they may be as surprised as I was when I investigated a group that wanted me to mention them in this magazine.
A charity can meet federal standards for tax-deductible gifts and still be misleading in how much it helps and who it helps. Sites that provide insights into the workings of charities include www.charitywatch.org, www.charitynavigator.org, and www.guidestar.org. You also might investigate whether the group has had complaints lodged against them with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org).