Fake It ’Til You Make It: 4 Transferable Skills That Help When Tackling a New Industry

Abby Sabol, a recruitment specialist at our New York City branch, reflects on how she navigated her career shift by focusing on her strengths.

At the age of eighteen, I was dead set on conquering the fashion industry.

While studying visual communications and marketing at the Los Angeles Fashion Institute, I attended a handful of impressive internships before securing a position managing a jewelry boutique and its respective online store in Philadelphia. Two years later, I celebrated my 24th birthday and realized something important about my adult self… I had no true interest in the fashion industry.

Where to now?

Four years, three part-time retail merchandising jobs and two bartending stints later, I discovered the staffing industry. I was excited to help people find jobs and assist clients in procuring top talent. However, I still faced one hurdle:  I had no experience with the industry itself. After interviewing at a few firms, I accepted a position as an entry-level Staffing Coordinator.  How could my past retail experience be utilized in the corporate world?  When I began in my recruiting role, I admittedly knew very little, but felt that success would follow if I learned as much as possible.

Four skills have never failed me, even when my confidence did:

Networking – Maria Rodale of the Huffington Post says that “networking isn’t always at the top of our priority list. It can be awkward, time-consuming, and after a long work week, much less appealing than the couch.” Try to meet new corporate friends in a social setting. This can help advance your career, build relationships, increase your knowledge base, and create new business opportunities.  Networking is a great way to feel at home in your new industry, and free appetizers are a bonus!

Flexibility/Adaptability – Adaptability is the nature of changing or creating modifications to suit a new environment, such as being open to new ideas while functioning and performing with a positive attitude and accepting unforeseen challenges. Flexible people are easily approached and often accept new challenges to expand their industry knowledge and learning.

Poise – “The customer is always right” is a mantra that echoes from every sales and operations teams’ walls, and it is a beneficial attitude for placating an unsatisfied corporate client. Maintaining poise in stressful situations earns trust and creates strong interpersonal and business relationships.  A smile and positive attitude can clear your mind in difficult situations, making it easier to communicate and reach a common goal.

Resilience – A new industry can be overwhelming. New work, a new environment, and new ideals—you’re bound to hit more than one road block.  Rich Fernandez of the Harvard Business Review says that he’s seen over and over again that the most resilient individuals and teams aren’t the ones that don’t fail, but rather the ones that fail, learn and thrive because of it.”  Bouncing back and encouraging others to do the same benefits any challenging business situation!

Always focus on your strengths, and work on your weaknesses.  If socializing and networking come naturally, stack your calendar with events.  If positivity is your strong suit, use it to your advantage!  For me, it was natural to utilize my retail and service experiences.  I prioritized flexibility, retained a positive attitude, and focused on the goals I wanted to achieve.  Fake it until you make it!


Superior Group’s Marissa Testa on the Woburn Spotlight

Marissa Testa, an Account Executive out of our Boston branch, spoke with Tyler Gates at the ‘Woburn Spotlight’ regarding Superior’s mission statement and tips for both business and job seekers. She describes Superior’s consultative approach and its aim to serve as a “connector,” bridging a gap between workforce and the local talent pool.

The interview illustrates Superior’s abilities to:

  • evaluate a company brand and visibility
  • examine the positioning of open jobs to candidates in the market
  • create a more exciting job description, attracting the attention of jobseekers
  • evaluate company social media
  • discuss feedback from jobseekers to improve candidate experience

In addition to Superior’s many solutions, Marissa discusses ways in which a business can position themselves as interesting and attractive to job candidates in the current market.

  • Disruption – Is your service revolutionizing the market?
  • Purpose – What value does your company offer candidates?
  • Growth – Have you recently acquired new business or accounts?
  • Advancement – With hard work, can candidates move forward in the company?
  • Voice – Are employees shown to be valued?
  • Total compensation – What compensation, besides financial, is offered?
  • Culture – What is your work ambiance? How are employees made to feel involved?

To see the full interview, watch here:



Show the Love

Valentine’s Day may be a time to share appreciation with personal relationships, but February works for considering and reconnecting with professional contacts, as well.

The movie Sideways (2004) reminds me of my professional network through a touching scene in which main character Miles explains his fondness for pinot to love interest, Maya.

“It’s not a survivor like cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention …. only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression.”

The scene’s power stems from the fact that Miles is really talking about himself and the connection he hopes for in a partner. You can tell from Maya’s expression that she understands how much of a chance Miles is taking by opening up to her.

The scene resonates because of its emotional honesty and the use of pinot and cabernet as symbols of interpersonal and social connections. Pinot represents those you know well, including coworkers, customers, and professional colleagues. Cabernet, conversely, represents weaker connections formed after an initial in-person or online introduction.

In a professional network, a mixing of both muted and strong connections is natural. However, while many of us are adept at building networks, we often don’t spend time nurturing them. Think of your LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers. With how many connections have you had limited or no direct contact in the past year?

Residual connectivity exists via status updates, but it can be difficult to break through a typical day’s millions of tweets and updates. Fortunately, there’s more we can do to engage network contacts. February is known as a time to encourage relationships and bonding, so why not engage with professional connections as well?

Here are 10 ways to nurture your network:

Congratulate. When someone is promoted or changes professions, send a congratulatory note and inquire about the change. Use the opportunity to catch up and provide updates.

Provide Professional Leads. Let appropriate contacts know of a professional lead. Think beyond jobs and referrals to everything from committees, board positions, speaking opportunities, writing assignments, and special projects. Offer to provide an introduction.

Mail. With so many materials now sent in electronic form, a handwritten exchange stands out. To hold someone’s attention, hand write a note and mail it. Finished a good book or interesting article? Mail it with a note expressing why it made you think of them.

Ask Their Opinion. Your contacts are in your network for a reason. Respect others time, but take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Reach out when you have a need and know your contact can assist. Inquire about their lives and thank them for helping you.

Meet in Person. Remember to periodically meet local contacts. This may not be possible with remote connections, but—if you travel—do try to meet up.

Send Links, but Personalize. Discover a link that a contact might appreciate? Send it with explanation of why you felt it might be useful.

Introductions. Many connections could be of service to each other. When you feel an introduction would be beneficial and both parties have agreed, introduce them.

Check In. You don’t need a specific reason to reach out to a contact. Send a short note inquiring about professional developments.

Reintroduce Yourself. We connect with so many people on various networks that we can’t always remember why or when it first occurred. Perform periodic network housekeeping and reach out to contacts.

Let Them Breathe. Wine connoisseurs like Miles from Sideways understand that aeration, warming from the surrounding air, and letting the wine breathe will bring out aromas and flavors. Professional networks also need time and air to flourish.

This February, take time to show your network a little love!




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.



Eight Is Enough

Is the traditional 9 to 5 work day back in style? Carl Camardo, Talent Development Manager for Superior Group, reflects on the new work day–does it need to be longer? Or just more efficient?

As I write this article, I’m reminded of the film Jerry Maguire.  The part where Jerry writes a pamphlet calling for fewer clients, not wanting to go after the big fish, and actually gets the character fired from his position.  I write this, not to upset my senior management, but to remind everyone of the truly important aspects of our lives.

Some say the 9 to 5 regular work day is dead.  As an HR professional I can accept when a model is outdated. However, what does constitute the new work day?  Do we come in early or stay late to get work done?  To impress our boss? At a previous job, it was common for me to return to work some nights after dinner.  One night, I returned to find my VP there as well and envisioned how impressed he would be with my dedicated presence.  He approached me, asking, “What are you doing here at this time?”  I told him that there were just some things I needed to finish up.  My expected response of “Great job” was not the response I received.  Instead, he asked why I could not get my work done during normal work hours, assuming it was a time management issue.  As I thought of how to respond, he ushered me to his office, opened a time management presentation and proceeded to email it to me.

We must put forth our greatest effort to get the job duties done during the work day.  Eight to eight and a half hours a day is a very long time.  There is nothing else we typically spend that many hours of the day on.  We don’t sleep over eight hours a day and we certainly don’t relax, spend time with family and friends, or take part in a hobby for that long a time.

Companies such as PepsiCo are encouraging employees to leave the work day comfortably.  This means not having to sneak out or feeling guilty for leaving at the end of each day.  For example, if you occasionally leave at four to pick up your daughter, make sure to notify the people in your surrounding workspace.  If it’s okay with your boss, it should be okay with co-workers.

If we have reached that level of professionalism in business, we should be mature with the new rules and not abuse them.  Don’t take advantage of the freedoms we now have in the workplace.  If you leave early or come in late, make sure it’s not every day.  Don’t make a pattern of it, especially if it relates to fantastic weather conditions or around holidays.  If everyone behaves in a mature and friendly manner, productivity is maintained.  You need to trust co-workers and earn their trust as well.

Flexible work day arrangements can go hand in hand with success.  If we achieve our goals during the eight hours, we can avoid after-hours work emails and phone calls. We shouldn’t need to dread hearing our phones ring once we are home.  Senior management respects the fact that people have lives outside of work.

I know people who do this successfully each and every day.  Many people work a full day, but still find time to coach their kids’ sports teams or attend school events.

Life needs a healthy mix of work and home. There is no real secret to productivity.  You have goals to accomplish each day – strive to accomplish these within 8 hours utilizing the right effort and attitude.  Too many life experiences are often missed or regretted. Days, weeks, months, and years go by quickly so try to enjoy your entire life, not just your work life.  As the saying goes: “Work to live, don’t live to work.”


The Jedi Mind Trick of Being Positive

Cailan Sockness—a recruitment specialist out of our Minneapolis branch—performs a Jedi mind trick on himself to stay positive throughout the workday. While he is clearly excited about the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, these tips will serve you well whenever you need a positivity boost from the Force!

Today’s world of politics, religion, economy, and daily life struggles can either elevate or depress our moods. How does one remain positive when bombarded by negativity?

Employee happiness is an increasingly important aspect of the modern workplace. In fact, according to snagajob.com—a popular website for job seekers and recruiters—companies with happier employees outperform competition by an average of 20%. I currently work as a Recruitment Specialist. My position is personally rewarding, but I’m often confronted with negative interactions. I focus on creating positive and enjoyable experiences for candidates as I work to uncover their next career steps, but not every candidate shares my positive outlook.  On a good day, I speak with five to ten candidates who are less than excited to hear from me for varying reasons; most often, they feel bothered. While I’m comfortable being “rejected” by potential candidates, I still feel the sharp jab of negativity every time.  It makes me ask myself: How do I make my next call genuinely positive after getting a verbal smack down? This is when I decided to take a page from one of my favorite franchises…STAR WARS!  And no…I did not join the Dark Side.

For those who may not understand the term “Jedi Mind Trick,” this is an action within the Star Wars franchise in which a Jedi manipulates a person’s mind with the intended goal of achieving an outcome. And with the excitement around the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I decided to perform a Jedi mind trick on myself to achieve the goal of combating negativity and potentially helping others do the same.

For the Jedi mind trick to work, you must be open to the idea that you can achieve positive change simply through your thoughts. Most of us have heard the popular quote “I think, therefore I am,” so—with that logic—one should be able to think positively and, thereby, feel positive. For some, that’s all it takes. Others, like me, need more of a push to ignore the negativity or, as I refer to it, the “Darth Vader.” I need to physically do things to empower my thoughts to remain headed in a positive direction.

You must become comfortable with doing things outside of your comfort zone. You must become your own “Yoda,” willing to dismiss unnecessary noise from your mind. The more you can laugh about something unrelated to the negative experience, the stronger the positive influence over your thoughts.

Sonja Lyubomirsky—professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and best-selling author of The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want—has pinpointed several strategies to remaining positive. Her #1 tip is embracing gratitude. “Focus on really appreciating what you have at work,” she says. “Maybe it’s a valued colleague or your boss. Or maybe it’s merely the fact that you don’t have a long commute.” She adds that you can express gratitude directly to people in the workplace, which can “really strengthen your connections with your coworkers.”

A study in the Journal of Social Psychology cited that—when it comes to feeling happy—doing something kind for people has the same effect as trying new and exciting things. Although the workday is not the appropriate time to conduct our personal lives, we can integrate this tactic into our lunch hours or the often uneventful drive to and from the office.

Here are some examples of things that have helped me:

  1. Call a friend or family member – If you have a Bluetooth and can speak hands free during your commute, use this time to call a friend or family member you usually message through texting. Voice contact in the text era can elevate not only your mood, but also a connection to someone you may have put on the backburner.
  1. Positive breathing – This is different from regular deep breathing. While inhaling, hold the breath for three seconds while envisioning a positive word, something that harbors a personal connection for you. After speaking the word in your mind, slowly exhale. Repeat these steps for 60 seconds.
  1. Tell a joke – Tell a coworker one of the corniest jokes you can remember, as long as it’s safe for the work environment. This can help both you and a coworker laugh away lingering negativity.
  1. Get out of your seat…and move – Walk through the office. Say “hi” to a coworker. Take a ten-minute walk outside. Refresh your legs, blood and air flow. A quick walk can take you from ten to zero in a matter of minutes!

Conceptualizing positivity as a Jedi mind trick has helped me remove the gap between thinking and doing. It’s all about training myself to employ positive reinforcement when faced with a negative situation. It also encourages me to be less afraid of failure or animosity and prepares me to face a “Darth Vader,” or potentially negative interaction.

Just as the wise Yoda once said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” You have the ability to positively influence your life…if you choose proactivity. Choose to become The Last “Office” Jedi who uses mental barriers to keep the Dark Side of negativity at bay.


Superior Group Proudly Sponsors Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Exp

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tony Dvorak

Superior Group Proudly Sponsors Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo

Buffalo—June 14, 2016—Superior Group, a Buffalo-based provider of workforce and business solutions, is proud to be a sponsor of the Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo for the fourth straight year.

Bright Buffalo will feature 35 of the Buffalo-Niagara region’s most promising startups, will be selected to present a five-minute pitch for the opportunity to win $20K, and 30 will be selected to present a 90-second pitch and the opportunity to win $5K.

Each team’s pitch will be judged by a panel of experienced judges in the entrepreneurial space, and teams will also have the opportunity to pair up with interested investors throughout the event.

The event will be capped off by keynote speaker Bill Rancic, New York Times bestselling author and winner of NBC’s breakthrough program “The Apprentice.”

“Buffalo has experienced an entrepreneurial and innovative renaissance over the past several years, especially in the biomedical, information technology, and renewable energy sectors,” said Scott Stenclik, President and CEO of Superior Talent Resources. “Superior is proud to play a role in partnership with Bright Buffalo to bring sustainable and thriving businesses to Western New York through fostering an environment and community where startups and new businesses can thrive.”

The Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo will take place on Wednesday, June 15 at the Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo, NY.

Founded in 1957, Superior Group provides agile workforce solutions organized into three complementary categories:  People, Process, and Project Outsourcing.  Superior’s people services include direct placement, contingent staffing and executive recruitment services.  The company’s strategic process services enhance productivity, compliance, and cost savings through web-enabled managed service programs (MSPs), vendor management systems (VMS) and independent contractor compliance programs.  And, Superior’s outsourcing solutions include CAD, HR, risk management, recruitment, and IT outsourcing.  Headquartered in Williamsville, NY, Superior maintains offices throughout North America, as well as in South America, Europe, and Asia.  For more information, please visit www.superiorgroup.com.



May Economic Update

Lots of strong economic signs were reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for last month, as their monthly jobs data was released in June. Below is an infographic highlighting some of the top trends in staffing, jobs, and unemployment.



Tips of Tuesday Series

Searching for a job can be a stressful endeavor, and being fully prepared for it is critical. The best tool in your arsenal is your resume.

Creating a resume that is as custom-tailored as your interview attire is an absolute must. This document is your biggest advocate and best source of praise, which is why you want to make it count. It not only demonstrates your skills and experience, but its presentation says a lot about you as a person.

You want to create a clean and concise layout for your resume. Humans are visual creatures, and this does not exclude recruiters, or HR representatives. By having a resume that looks clean and well organized, you present yourself as someone who is professional, organized, and took time in developing your personal details. This makes you more desirable than “the other guy,” and is far more of a noticeable trait than a resume that is jam-packed with information. Most resumes won’t see a full reading—so make it count.

Below are a few simple tips to get you moving through creating a thoughtful and clean resume:

  1. Employers want to see results, so use action words and phrases to show what you have accomplished: “Analyzed and gathered web data for lead generation.”
  2. Be sure to use a professional email with your first and last name included like: john.doe1@gmail.com. Do not use emails that are unprofessional.
  3. Use a font that is neat and concise. Arial, Calibri, Garamond, and Times New Roman are all examples of appropriate fonts.
  4. Have variation in your resume. Tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for. Take items from the job description and place them within your resume, as this will resonate to the hiring manager.
  5. It might seem silly to say, but please SPELL CHECK. If you have a typo or grammatical error, it signifies to the reader that you aren’t thorough and lack attention to detail. If it was not worth the time to spell check, it is certainly not worth reading, and will quickly find its way to the recycling bin.

Though you spend hours making your resume stand out, hiring managers just want to be able to easily weed through their very large pile of resumes as quickly as possible. Sending in a clean resume that gets straight to the point will be your best bet at landing the interview.

Stay tuned for more in our Tuesday Tips Series.


Superior Goes Beyond for STEM Career Education


In an effort to boost the awareness of STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Superior has partnered with some of Western New York’s science elite to help boost interest in the vast array of STEM jobs that could be in their future.

It’s all about encouraging young kids to want to learn about STEM careers. With the combined efforts of the newly-formed partnership between The Buffalo Museum of Science, Superior Group, The University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and iSciWNY, the Buffalo Museum has put together an engaging environment highlighted by an interactive video kiosk and creative posters displayed throughout the museum.

The kiosk displays videos from local STEM professionals ranging from Software Engineers to Genetic Scientists.

Bmos Kiosk

Dr. Norma Nowak, and Dr. Sandra Small

“Fostering interest in STEM curricula is extremely important not only nationally, but to our region — where the medical campus is quickly becoming a stronghold of scientific talent,” said Scott Stenclik, President and CEO of Superior Group.

According to NYS DOL figures, STEM jobs are expected to grow by 1.25 million between 2015—2018, and the development of this talent is crucial. This makes it incredibly important that future generations be excited about STEM opportunities.

Not only are STEM professionals highly sought after in New York State, but the average salary of STEM workers is $74,520 per year. This is 85% higher than the average $40,390 for other sectors in the state.

“We at Superior Group see the demand for highly-skilled resources on a daily basis, and the need for innovators is strong. This wonderful campaign at the Museum of Science is aimed at helping meet that demand with up-and-coming talent.”