6 Tips for Landing a Dream Job

Scott Fiege, a recruiting manager out of our Buffalo branch office, shares his tips on how to land the dream job you are after.

You catch wind of the perfect job. Whether you are underpaid, underappreciated, would prefer a shorter drive to work, desire an elevated job title, or are soon to be relocating, this job could be a great fit for your needs.

You should know, for every position we post, we receive anywhere from 25 to 50 applications through sources like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, CareerBuilder, Monster, etc.  We identify another 50 to 75 from our pipelines, and from job boards and LinkedIn. With all sources combined, there’s over 100 people interested in one job.

Considering these numbers, the odds of being granted an interview are not high. Even if you meet the required skills/education, hard skills alone won’t secure you the position. In most searches, the manager reviews at least 10 profiles to select for interviews, with a subsequent three to five candidates scheduled for appointments. And finally, only one receives the offer.

  • What qualities set a preferred candidate apart?
  • How do you increase your chances for an interview?
  • What is the best way to secure a job offer?

My ten years spent in recruiting have taught me some tips of the trade that may help better your experience and move you toward your goals.

Be interesting!

I’ve seen a lot of resumes and cover letters, and have sat through many interviews and phone screens. If you—as the applicant—cannot gather enthusiasm for your background, neither will I or another hiring manager. Is your resume up to date? It should reflect not only your experience, but your personality.

Motivation and excitement for the job challenge will set you apart during conversations with a recruiter. Keep ego firmly in check, but do illustrate your accomplishments with a friendly smile and attitude. Keep answers to no more than a minute in length and try your best to not interrupt the interviewer. Exhibit enthusiasm and mention the ways in which you are a team player with a broad interest in helping a department.


Are you aware of the most common interview questions and techniques used by hiring managers? Have you given thought to the financial compensation you would need in order to leave your current position? Are you confident of your market value? Are you clear on the manner in which you would decline a counter offer at your current employer? Have you familiarized yourself with the company websites and/or researched the background of the hiring managers prior to the interview?

This is where an applicant exceeds his/her competition. You should know, for example, that the company name is Sealing Devices, rather than Hearing Devices. Investigate the background of the hiring managers in case there is a friendly and common connection to mention during the interview. Dress for success in your most flattering and recently dry cleaned outfit. Practice answering questions in front of a mirror and role play with a helpful friend.

Use your connections or find common ground

Companies and hiring managers feel at ease hiring someone they know or referred over to them. They hire candidates with whom they share an alma mater, sorority, volunteer/community group, or other common connections. Some call it politics. I call it “well played.” Check out LinkedIn, or touch base with your network to determine whether you already have a valuable connection at the company for which you’d like to work.

Remember, interviewers are often nervous

Their job during the interview is to be tough, yet fair. Parts of the interview may feel disappointing or nerve-racking. True story: interviewers are sometimes as anxious as you are. They may not know the best questions to ask or feel they have an adequate handle on the type of candidate a department is hoping for. Your game plan may not go as expected. Roll with the punches, remain confident, and focus on what qualities paint you the best candidate for the job.

Become the solution

The most attractive candidates bring solutions to a void a company hopes to fill. Keep this in mind during the interview. Bring polished examples of your work and share wins from the past that could add to the organization’s productivity and contribute to a positive office culture.

Keep emotions in check

Interviewing can become emotional. You’ve spent money adding to your education, and time and effort in building your network and resume. I’ve heard many stories that inspired me to write up an offer that very second. We appreciate emotion—it illustrates to the hiring managers that you’re passionate about what you do. However, stay calm and present in the moment. Keep in mind that they are investing in you, and will prefer to move forward with a candidate driven not only by passion, but also by a calm and mature rationale.

There is a lot of talent out in the world, and we hope this helps you position yourself as a top candidate for your dream job.



5 Podcasts to Listen to While Traveling

Whether you are traveling for business or, to get away from business, getting through the monotony of airport layovers, long drives, or standard economy seats can be a bit irksome. Luckily, in the 21st century we all have mobile devices to distract ourselves.

If you’re looking to entertain yourself, and haven’t tuned in before, one of the most popular mediums broadcast through smartphones and mobile devices is the podcast. Podcasts, to put it simply, are downloadable radio shows that you can listen to at your leisure.

We’ve assembled a list of podcasts to which we are listening that have topics ranging from mystery to entrepreneurship. If you enjoy a good who-done-it, or want to get in on the life of a startup, we have some suggestions for you.


In 2014, the show Serial was released and soon became an internet phenomenon on par with Netflix’s Making a Murderer. The story centers on a young man who had been convicted of killing his high school ex-girlfriend in 1999. This is a can’t-miss podcast that is perfect for anyone who enjoys a murder mystery mixed with solid detective work.

This podcast will bring out the Sherlock Holmes in anyone. If you need any help on theories, thousands of Reddit forums are dedicated to new clues and theories.


Ever want to experience the startup life firsthand? This is the podcast for you. The man who brought you Planet Money and This American Life, Alex Blumberg, takes you into the world of startups by recording his experience of starting a podcast network. He pitches investors and goes through the stressful grind of leaving a comfortable life to start his own business, and it isn’t as glamorous as many people play it up to be.

If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, this podcast is for you.

Mystery Show

This podcast only goes one season, but it’s exactly as described: a show about mysteries. Starlee Kine, another alum of This American Life, seeks out to solve real mysteries on each and every episode. Now they aren’t as large scale as Serial or Making a Murderer, but these small-scale mysteries are no less entertaining. One episode goes into tracking down a family heirloom belt buckle to its original owner, and the story behind it. Another features a mystery that has left someone asking questions for over twenty years.

If you enjoy amazing stories about everyday life, this is for you.

The Ask Gary Audio Experience

If you haven’t been introduced to the master of modern media, Gary Vaynerchuk, then buckle in. Gary is a serial entrepreneur who launched his parents’ liquor store into an online empire through the power of digital content. Now, Gary is one of the most recognized faces in marketing and is the owner of Vayner Media. Gary’s podcast focuses on everything from building a business, to creating amazing content. Be warned though, Gary is not suitable for children.

Listeners who enjoy entrepreneurship and marketing will love this podcast.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Remember those boring history classes in your college’s lecture halls? Dan Carlin flips those on their head with his dialectic view. These podcasts will change the way you see historical events through Dan’s exciting narrative style and extensive background research. Topics range from Genghis Khan, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War. This is not your average boring lecture.

This podcast is perfect for anyone who loves history, and wants to win games of Trivial Pursuit.


5 Traits of an Ideal Candidate

You’ve made it past the resume screening phase, and now it’s on to the interview. Since the employer has already reviewed your qualifications on paper, now what? What are employers looking to glean from a candidate during their interview and just who is their ideal candidate?

We’ve compiled a list of the most frequent, positive attributes a candidate possesses:

Today, more than ever, the ability to be adaptable to changing environments is essential. With the influx of technology, expansion and the ever-changing workforce demographic, it is important that a candidate possesses the flexibility to be able to adapt to sudden, major (or minor) changes in their work environment.

Positive Attitude
The attitude you give off—whether positive or negative—during your interview is your first impression to your potential employer. While most interviewees are understandably nervous, it’s important to give off an upbeat vibe. When asked about a negative situation or something that may have not played out in your favor, try putting a positive spin on it. People like positive attitudes, and are more likely to give a positive candidate an offer. At the end of the day, people like working with positive people.

Many candidates will boast that they think out of the box, but can you name an example? Employers are looking for those jobseekers who demonstrate past situations in where their creativity was put to use. Many situation-based questions asked are looking to uncover your creativity level in a given setting.

Work pride
Did you help put together a fantastic presentation that won over a client? Or makes a sales pitch that helped seal the deal? Now’s your time to shine. Employers want to hear about your accomplishments and that you take pride in your past projects. They want to know past indicators that will help predict your future success.

Being honest about your shortcomings or weaknesses in a past position without saying anything negative or critical about your past employer is critical. Employers are looking for candid responses that demonstrate loyalty. The ability to be able to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses speaks volumes.


5 Reasons Companies Choose RPO


Recruitment Process Outsourcing, or RPO, is one of the most in-demand services available on the market today.  Besides the obvious benefit—getting talent—are you aware of the other potential value that engaging an RPO solution can offer?

Here are the top five reasons why more companies are turning to RPO:

Cost savings – Every company is looking for cost savings. Cost savings are readily achieved through nearly any RPO program, as placements are generally discounted based on volume.  Want to rapidly hire 100 people? It might cost you less in the long-term than hiring one.

Centralized process – Oftentimes, a company has multiple business divisions, each requiring several hires.  In an RPO solution, the provider can serve to centralize the hiring process, adding uniformity and a holistic approach to sourcing for your company.

Top quality talent (not just external) – Generally, when you think of top quality talent, you think of the external talent your company is seeking to hire. But what about your internal recruiters and HR department? “Recruiting a recruiter” can be just as challenging as finding the right candidate for an open position. You want a top caliber recruiter—and what better way than to hire an existing recruiter to source your open positions?

Access to technology and leading recruitment tools – RPO providers dedicate 100% of their time to finding qualified candidates for companies. They use—and have—the latest technologies and newest job search tools for finding active and passive jobseekers. Instead of investing time, money and resources into getting these tools—when you may only need to source 10 people this year—why not outsource to a company who already has the latest recruiting tools mastered?

Accountability – With any program, SLAs and KPIs need to be established up front.  It is common for customers to engage in a “gain-sharing model”—that is, if an RPO program is performing well and delivering cost savings, frequently, the RPO provider will share these cost savings directly with the customer, in a form of a rebate or increased discount.  It’s a win for everyone, and you can potentially make money on the service you’re seeking.

Learn more about RPO


What Exactly is Payrolling? Why Do I need it?


What exactly is payrolling? Why do I need it?

There’s payrolling, and then there’s payrolling. What most people think of when the term “payrolling” is used is the outsourcing of your company’s paycheck processing. What we are here to talk about is the other payrolling. This payrolling occurs when you have temporary worker that your company has engaged with and identified as an asset, but the key is that they are put on someone else’s payroll—hence the term payrolling.

Companies often wish to engage skilled workers on an as-needed basis. These workers can be hard to find, and oftentimes a company has already worked with someone who has the competencies and skills to step in and hit the ground running on a project.

Below are a few reasons you would pursue payrolling services:

Everything in business has a cost—a cost that is constantly being measured. So, any CFO knows that the costs of bringing on a full-time employee can add up fast. Benefits alone tack on an additional 18% – 20% to a base salary. We’re talking social security, Medicare, state unemployment, healthcare, insurance, and 401(k) plans. Any CFO looking to offset costs while bringing in specialized labor should pursue payrolling as an option.

Payrolling = Speed
Projects are often time sensitive, and spending time going through the administrative lag of onboarding an employee can cost you time—and ultimately money. Engaging a payrolling provider can cut that process out, and reduce the amount of lost time for you. A payroll provider handles the burden of the processes, while the worker is assigned and hits the ground running.

Day-to-Day Efficiency
HR managers normally take on many tasks on a day-to-day basis, especially as companies seek leaner and more efficient teams. Adding to this already intense workload is overburdening for any staff, and ultimately leads to many things being neglected and incomplete. Using their valuable time to onboard and offboard employees who are used on a short-term basis is probably not the best use of these critical resources. Partnering with a strategic payrolling partner can eliminate the hassle of specialized short-term workers.


Building The Case for MSP/VMS: What You Need to Do.


Controlling and managing a large-scale contingent labor force can be a highly taxing job. Doing away with old processes to switch to a MSP/VMS technology can pay incredible dividends, but as HR and procurement leaders seek solutions for this task, they can be overwhelmed with the amount of content out there. Not only can doing the research be difficult, but convincing executive leadership increase anxiety. However, when done with the right partner—in the right way—huge returns make the effort worthwhile.

Where to begin?

Analyze Current State

CFOs love numbers. Prepare a deep analysis addressing not only current-state performance indicators, but pain points and inefficiencies solved by an MSP/VMS deployment. Case studies and other content that shows similar scenarios working for other customers in similar scenarios can also prove beneficial.

View our Case Studies

Set Your KPI and ROI Requirements

Organizations need to set their KPI and their ROI expectations in the discovery process. There are different models that can affect the way your program performs, and picking the one that is customized toward your organization’s overall goals is critical. Knowing what your requirements are will help you make a sound selection.

Read this whitepaper on various MSP/VMS models

There are many elements within an MSP/VMS that can affect your ROI, but some of the most important to focus on are implementation, time-to-fill, worker quality, hard savings, resource allocation and other benefits. Once established, organizations can address other benchmarks to address. Note that buyers achieve a median of 10% savings in their contingent workforce spend during year one.

Be Convincing

One person cannot drive the implementation of a MSP/VMS technology as a solo mission. It will take the village to raise this child into a cost savings champion. To draw support and sponsors, explain the benefits for internal hiring managers, HR, legal, IT, and the C-suite. Keep in mind that the primary motivator for MSP/VMS programs is the cost savings that most companies achieve while undertaking the shift from internal management to a centralized MSP/VMS solution.

Understand Your Risks

Managing large volumes of contingent labor can increase the rate at which errors occur. At the rate that specialized workers are used, organizations will become more susceptible to the risks involved in using contingent labor. As contingent workforces have grown, a common trend has been that companies employing larger amounts of contingent workers offload these burdens onto already burdened workers who cannot handle the additional workload.

Without a successful program, organizations can fall prey to unrealized savings, reduced productivity, and a myriad of different legal exposures that can tack on hefty IRS fines.

Making Your Pitch

Hiring Managers: Explain the streamlined processes and easy-to-use interfaces that will help them not only manage their workers, but also get better performers at reduced costs.

IT: IT pros are going to look for security and integrated technologies. Look for a VMS deployment that is fully-customizable to your firm and vetted to ensure that your processes and information are secure.

Legal: Regulatory compliance and risk aversion should be paramount. It can be dizzying to manage and account for every contractor or SOW worker for internal teams. By engaging an MSP with this task, legal teams have a little less to worry about.

Finance: The financial benefits of an MSP/VMS are probably the most important thing to your organization. Calculate the potential cost savings of consolidating vendors into one centralized hub. MSP/VMS providers ensure that rates are standardized; billing and invoicing are consistent; and processes are seamlessly integrated.

C-Suite: C-level executives care about all of the above, but they also care about business intelligence that arms them with analytical tools to make swift and intelligent decisions. A MSP/VMS is a real-time, data-driven tool, and your MSP partner will provide broader-reaching information on industry trends and emerging regulations.


Behavioral Interviews: What Hiring Managers Need to Ask


You’ve probably heard the saying, “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” This is especially true in the staffing world. Hiring Managers want to know how a candidate is likely to perform on the job in six months—but frequently, they ask the wrong kinds of questions and limit their interviewing effectiveness.

Many Hiring Managers focus on hypothetical situational questions, such as, “how would you react to this situation?” or “what would you do if that happened?” In each of these scenarios, the interviewee has little accountability, and can make up the best answer to conform to what they think the interviewer wants to hear. Candidates are used to these typical job interview questions and have canned responses at the ready. These questions elicit “best answer” responses…and do not reflect how the prospective candidate would actually respond to a given situation.

Applying behavioral interviewing, Hiring Managers aim to identify firsthand events, skills and abilities that can help to determine the candidate’s true potential for success. In a behavioral interview, questions are based on a candidate’s past experiences and, therefore, interviewers are able to “pick it apart,” gaining further insight. Hiring Managers can ask, “why did you do that in that past situation?” or “tell me how you came to that conclusion” and delve into specifics. These pointed questions uncover past behaviors and reactions, leading the interviewer to stronger conclusions on how those past behaviors will affect the candidate’s future potential. These atypical questions force candidates to respond more honestly and not give “best” answers.

Before you ask behavior-based questions in an interview, it’s important to prep ahead of time and decide what qualities are most important to the position and you—whether it’s teamwork, critical thinking, interaction with clients, communication, or motivation. Use these qualities to shape your questions. If teamwork is an important aspect of the job, frame questions such as, “Tell me about a time when you needed to collaborate with others and someone didn’t do their part. How did you handle this?” Think of behavioral questions as having an ask (“tell me about a time”), a situation (“when you needed to collaborate with others”), and a complication (“and someone didn’t do their part”). These building blocks help ensure that you won’t get rehearsed answers.

So the next time you sit down to perform an interview, consider adding some pointed behavioral questions to your mix…and get to the heart of the candidate’s professional disposition.

Other samples to get you started:

• “Describe how you accomplished your greatest success last year and the largest roadblock you had to overcome.”
• “Give me an example of how you mentored a team member through a stressful work situation.”
• “Walk me through how you closed a large deal with a customer who was not at first interested in your company’s offerings.”
• “Tell me about a time when you had to engage an angry customer and your manager was not available to help.”


Sing Your ALS Off Recap



Superior is proud to have been a sponsor for the 2014 Sing Your ALS Off Karaoke Throwdown, supporting the 90Founation‘s quest to raise awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) research.

The Superior Austin team, along with 60 other participants, stepped out in costume to provide some serious lyrical tributes to raise money and awareness for this debilitating disease.

The event also featured face-to-face interaction with the founders of the organization Jay and Missy Smith, who began the foundation last spring after Jay was diagnosed with ALS.

Smith, who is one of 30,000 Americans living with ALS, started the foundation in hopes that the money raised for research will benefit the thousands of soldiers, athletes, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters diagnosed with the disease.

For more information on the 90Foundation click here.


Become a Leader in the Life Sciences!

Did you know that the Buffalo-Niagara region is home to over 160 life sciences companies, all of which need professionals with leadership skills who understand their industry?

The “Becoming a Leader in the Life Sciences” program is tailored to meet the professional development needs of those seeking careers and career advancement in the emerging life sciences industry.

No scientific background is needed for many of the job opportunities available. The course will feature several subject matter experts from the greater WNY area who bring relevant and practical knowledge of the life sciences industry, including several case studies.  Topics include product development, management issues, regulatory affairs, corporate culture, financial models, and intellectual property.  This eight session program will run weekly from September 21st to November 8th, 2011 (5:30PM – 7:30PM). Class size is limited.

To register, please contact Tom Ulbrich at 716-885-5715 / or Renata Bator at 716-881-7588 / $399 cost per participate; student discount available.

Download Life Sciences course at UB


Avoid Costly Temporary Worker Co-employment Claims

There are many reasons why it makes sense to bring on temporary labor.  Companies can “try out” temporary employees before making direct offers, on-board strong talent for short-term projects, reduce costs associated with benefits and HR administration, etc.  Still, there are risks associated with contract labor use:  namely, co-employment risks.

We’ve all heard the phrase “co-employment risk” and many companies seem to throw it around to add clout to the value of their solutions.  But to really get our hands around the issue, we must define the widely-used term.  What exactly is co-employment?—it is defined by Staffing Industry Analysts as:

“…[a] relationship among two or more employers when each has specific actual or potential legal responsibilities to the same worker or group of workers.”

This can become problematic when a contract worker believes that s/he is owed certain benefits or compensation directly from the company at whose site s/he is providing services.  It is good practice for contract staffing providers to establish all of the paperwork associated with proper employer-employee relationships, but this may not be enough.  If that staffing provider’s customer inadvertently undermines the preexisting employer-employee relationship, courts could rule in favor of the contract employee.

When dealing with a provider’s contract employee, by all means:

  • Train the new resource to perform job-related tasks;
  • Take immediate corrective action if the resource is violating safety rules;
  • Report any absences, tardiness or unacceptable behavior to the contract staff provider;
  • Refer all questions relative to pay, benefits, duration of assignment, or opportunity for employment to the provider;
  • Inform the provider about any changes in the resource’s work schedule; and
  • Assist the provider in evaluating its contract employees.

However, doing the following could increase the possibility of the contract employee believing that s/he is really your employee:

  • Informing a provider’s contract employee that s/he is terminated or suspended;
  • Discussing pay rates, increases, incentives or bonuses;
  • Improperly discussing opportunities for regular full-time employment;
  • Improperly extending an offer for employment;
  • Requesting that a contract employee complete timecards or forms with your company’s name on them;
  • Counseling contract employees concerning tardiness, punctuality, attendance, dress code, child- or elder-care arrangements or other personal matters;
  • Inviting contract employees to company-sponsored events, such as picnics, holiday parties, etc.; or
  • Otherwise treating providers’ contract employees as if they were direct employees of your company.

When working with knowledgeable staffing providers and following these guidelines, most companies will not face actionable claims made by providers’ contract workers who may come to believe that they have a right to participate in the benefits and compensation structures provided to your direct employees.  In addition, companies using contract agencies should review their written benefit plans and ensure that they clearly exclude contract agency personnel from any right to participate.  Finally, because these are important legal matters, please ask an expert to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to potentially costly liability.

It should also be noted that co-employment reaches beyond contract workforces to independent contractors, as well.  But that will be the subject of another post in coming weeks.