The About Staffing Blog

Welcome to the world of About Staffing where we discuss all things relevant to the employment, recruitment and staffing industry.

Tag: employment

Dec 2015
The Globe And Mail - Alberta has twice as many EI recipients as a year ago

by Rachelle Younglai

The number of Albertans on employment insurance benefits climbed to its highest level since the Great Recession, another sign of how hard the western province has been hit by the weak oil prices...


Clicke here to see more Alberta has twice as many EI recipients as a year ago

Jan 2016
Tips for Finding Employment in Hard Times

by Colleen Paulson

To beat the job-hunting pack, you'll need to take risks, be realistic, and understand your potential employer's needs.


We can all agree that times are tough. Everywhere I turn, it seems that more companies are cutting jobs across the board. It's not just General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) anymore; everyone from Starbucks (SBUX) to Sun Microsystems (JAVA) to Citigroup (C) is announcing massive layoffs at all levels.


If you're gainfully employed, you're probably relieved it's not you. But if your company isn't among those that have had to slash jobs, I'm sure you at least know someone who has been affected.


As a professional résumé writer, I'm particularly interested in career development and the job search in general. I come in contact with all types of people, from Gen Yers just starting out to baby boomers looking for a job to carry them through to retirement. Of course, it can be especially tough to find a job in economic times like these. But there are some methods that can help you navigate through the madness, and I'd like to share some outside-the-box tips for finding a job today.


Take Chances


I started my full-time, one-year MBA program in July 2001, so you can imagine what my class' job prospects looked like after September 11 (really bad). Companies that were supposed to interview on-campus canceled and those that did interview had few, if any, jobs available. We were encouraged to network, but calling contacts only gets you so far in distressed economic times.


What can work, though, is getting in at the ground level. No, I don't mean through the mail room. Temporary work ("temping") can be a great way to introduce yourself to potential employers. It may not feel good to be making $10 per hour doing data entry for 8 hours a day, especially after you've worked hard to gain an advanced degree. But if you make a good impression with your new client, you could gain full-time employment in a few months. Some companies only hire staff starting in these entry positions, and once you've gotten in the door as a temp, you can look at open in-house positions to which others won't have access. Even if it doesn't work out for long-term employment, at least you'll be paying the rent instead of racking up the credit card bills while looking for a job.


Be Realistic


Understand that you may not get the title or pay that you want. It's great to be optimistic, and certainly you should apply for your dream job. But this is not a great time to try to jump from project manager to director-level when so many people with years of executive experience are losing their jobs. The competition out there is fierce, and to succeed you need to consider jobs at all levels, especially if you have been out of the workforce for a few years. Many big companies will require that you start at a lower level before jumping to any leadership position. Two of my previous employers, Procter & Gamble (PG) and FedEx (FDX), typically require all candidates to start small before moving into the big leagues.


Limitations of Networking


Professional networking sites like LinkedIn and the Business Exchange are great ways to grow your base, especially when connecting with past colleagues or classmates. But these networks must be used wisely for best results. When I look at professional online forums, I see many people advertising their availability. This is a fine way to meet fellow job searchers, but truthfully, the majority of hiring managers are too busy to sort through these forums to find potential candidates. Networking is great, but be mindful before spending hours surfing the Net for new friends and forums.


Revamp Your Résumé


One common mistake people make when writing their résumé is to focus on themselves, their abilities, and their lives. Prospective employees will often advertise that they are looking for "increased responsibility" or "great opportunities" with a new company.

Let me break it to you: Companies are not waiting around to offer you that dream job. They want to know what you have to offer them, not what you are hoping to gain. Quantify your accomplishments and highlight what you have done. Demonstrate that you understand the industry lingo and even sprinkle a few buzzwords into the mix.


Yes, it's rugged out there today, but you can increase your chances of gaining employment by thinking differently than all the other job searchers. Best of luck in your job search!


Taken from Bloomberg Business, Dec 2, 2008


Feb 2016
Interview Tips

by Sharlene Massie

If you have ever felt uncomfortable talking to someone wearing sunglasses, then you know how important eye contact is in face-to-face interaction. This is especially true in an employment interview. There are books, websites, companies and experts who will delve at length into the psyche of the “dreaded job interview”. Job seekers can get so caught up in trying to figure out the right answers to the interview questions that they forget the basics. Excluding skill set alone, there is something to be said for getting the job based on presentation, honesty and confidence.

  • No matter what your budget, you can still dress appropriately for the interview. Business dress is always a good choice – you can’t go wrong with a suit, male or female. Even if the company atmosphere is casual and/or funky, wearing business attire for the interview shows respect and gives you a professional demeanor.
  • If you get the job you can always conform to the company’s more laid-back style. First impressions count! If you feel confident it will show.
  • When the interviewer greets you, smile, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake. Maintain eye contact throughout the interview.
  • Don’t fidget or look at the floor. Stay focused on the interviewer and listen carefully to the questions.
  • Be honest with your answers. You are better off not getting the job than lying to get it. It is a great feeling knowing that you got the job based on honesty and integrity.

So, unless your interview is outside on a sunny day, maintain good eye contact, dress for success, be yourself and leave your sunglasses at home!

Feb 2016
Burned Bridges Could Torch You

by Sharlene Massie

From the time you accept a job with a company, throughout your employment term and after you leave, it is wise to keep in mind the potential fallout that can result if you make mistakes during the resignation or termination process. You just never know who knows whom. Employers tend to take the word of others when considering hiring someone for their team. Next time you are planning to resign from your job, think about the impression you will leave and what your employer will say about you in the future if you quit today.

  • Employees may not consider that former bosses or co-workers could end up becoming a new boss or co-worker elsewhere, or a potential client, or a reference.
  • Is the person you may have just offended in some way going to be the interviewer for your ideal job next week?
  • Is your previous co-worker so miffed at you for something you said or did that when a relative or acquaintance of theirs is hiring next month, you would never be considered?
  • If you and your supervisor have agreed to a specific notice period, be sure to complete it. It may be difficult, especially if you no longer feel much loyalty, but you will be remembered for the last things you accomplished or didn’t accomplish, not the first.
  • If you are training a replacement, give him or her the job-related knowledge and resources that he or she will need to do the job to their best ability.
  • It isn’t doing anyone any favors to hold back valuable information, and in fact, you have an obligation to the company to leave that information with them, especially if it is confidential.
  • If you are asked to leave immediately, regardless of the circumstances, do it gracefully. You may be angry or upset, but avoid bad-mouthing the company or your boss to vent your frustrations.

Always remember that your former employer may know someone, who knows someone, etc., and your negative comments or actions could come back to haunt you.

My point is this: don’t burn bridges in the business community - they may end up setting fire to your career ambitions.

Jun 2017
Who Would You Call?

by Sharlene Massie

Sharlene Massie is the CEO and Visionary of About Staffing. 

Today’s blog is about being grateful. I am grateful for the very full, busy, and successful life this career has awarded me, and proud to be recognized as an expert in the employment arena. 

If you need a bit of a boost, keep reading. 


Yesterday I had the pleasure of going for a colonoscopy.  Normally, I like to keep my S#*T to myself, but this thought is not about what happened on the inside, it is what I heard on the outside.  As I was being prepped, really no big deal, warm blankets heating up my cold veins, I overheard conversations going on in the big “prep” room. Now, over the years of listening to people and conversations going on around me, I have written literally thousands of articles.  I admit, after writing in the Calgary Sun weekly for about 15 years, I got tired of writing new material, interesting points, opinions and thoughts about the employment world. But, after my experience yesterday, I realized, I have something to say.  All year I have been trying to piece together stories of the people I meet, people who’s lives are changed for the better because of the work we do.   Every candidate and every client we meet, we try to offer some value to.  Whether we offer resume advice, a temp assignment, a direct job offer, or help with hiring expertise in whatever regard to our clients, we do work to service. So, back to yesterday, I overheard a gentleman speaking with the health care team.  He had asked a few people to pick him up, and to no avail. I felt bad.  He had no one to pick him up.  The team was trying to find a solution.  You cannot have a colonoscopy and go home alone, I see why today. I couldn’t help but think how I could have asked a couple of hundred people to pick me up, and I would have had a couple of hundred people say yes, and happily!  I thought, sure, not everyone has a friends, family, and support network like I do. I can’t have a birthday party without 100 people showing up. But, I also thought that I would also show up for any of them.  You have to be open to giving before you receive.  What kind of giving life did this guy in the unit live?  I don’t know, maybe everyone was busy.  Either way, I am grateful that the work I do and the person I am is such that I will never have to worry about not having someone pick me up from a hospital!  I am grateful that I got the “all clear” in the colonoscopy hospital unit, and the procedure was no big deal.  Today, I weave my own grateful story. 

Jun 2017
Staffing for Canada Week

by Sharlene Massie

About Staffing is celebrating its 20 successful years in the staffing industry, as a result, we want to acknowledge the amazing individuals we have met along our journey! As this week also celebrates "Staffing for Canada" we thought we would take this opportunity to express the importance of using a staffing agency!


Staffing for Canada Week 2017 is celebrated June 4th to the 10th across our nation. It may be difficult for those who are not in our industry to understand how and why we have an entire week dedicated to recognizing the staffing industry.  Of course, I am taking the opportunity to boast about my industry, because even Rachel Notley showed support for the Staffing Industry, with her comments, “The theme of “Putting Canadians to Work/Au Travail” shows the importance of making the most of the workforce in our province and our country, by connecting skilled job-seekers to employment and helping employers meet their labour needs, so I am certainly able to speak up. I am also very proud of what we do, whom we help, and how we practice. This national recognition week originated in Edmonton in 1980 as “National Temporaries’ Week”, and has since become widely recognized in Canada and the United States. The purpose of this week is to acknowledge all those employed by an industry that finds work for over 500,000 Canadians on an annual basis. Not many industries today can say that. 

Temporary workers benefit from the flexibility, training, and supplemental income temping offers. Sometimes, that foot in the door opportunity to prove to yourself lands a temporary employee the permanent job they are looking for. Those opportunities may not exist for those unwilling to temp as a bridge to finding the right job. Staffing firms supply employees in every industry in every job category, from unskilled industrial labour and office support, to technical, professional and managerial positions. There is an agency that handles filling each type of job opportunity in every city across Canada. I believe in our industry association ACSESS, and willingly promote the members. With more than 1,300 staffing member offices from Vancouver to St. John’s Newfoundland, ACSESS members represent 85 per cent of the total volume of business in the staffing services industry in Canada. I put my money where my mouth is, and sit on the Board of Directors for the Calgary Branch of ACSESS, as well as an executive board member of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Alberta and East Kootenays, always promoting the important employment work we do. We promote, support, and operate within the ethical standards of ACSESS and the BBB, ensuring that our clients and candidates are protected and treated with respect. Show your support for the Staffing Industry and staffing in general this week. Recognize a temp, contact your chosen staffing agency, or place an order with an ACSESS Member Agency. Check out the ACSESS Website today for more information at, or go to our website and click on the ACSESS or BBB links under our awards and press category.


Jun 2017
About Staffing's Coming of Age

by Sharlene Massie

 About Staffing turns 21 on June 17th!  What a ride.  It occurs to me that turning 21 is kind of a big deal, not quite mature enough to handle all life decisions, but old enough to drink and gamble in Las Vegas!  The last few years especially were a huge gamble, small business, everything riding on the pennies that could make us or break us.  Surviving the last few years may have included a few glasses of cheap wine with friends as well.  What has really hit me this month though, is that A) we made it, once again, and 2) it is hard to re inject the fun back into the business and people after a long hard road.  But, because of A) we can go back to a business with B).  So, very consciously, I have taken on the responsibility of caring about the fun.  No longer is our company filled with busy work, but instead, how can we work 14 hours a day because we care about our clients, our candidates, our internal team, and the sustainability of our company.  The company not only pays our mortgages and our food and wine bills, but it can be a place that is doing good hard work, that allows for learning and mistakes, but also is a noisy, music playing, grabbing lunch, chatting at reception type of workplace.  Injecting fun back into a somber workplace does take a bit of hard work!  Remembering to smile, to ask simple questions like “how was your weekend, evening, birthday”, buying a workmate a latte’, and saying, “hey, thanks for that” can turn things around pretty quickly.  You’ll notice that I never mentioned bonuses, and big parties as they do not come into play when celebrating the small things that make work a positive experience for people.  Instead, turning 21 has made us a tiny bit calmer when sh*!t hits the fan, we celebrate coming of age with a little less gambling on our future, and a little more appreciation for the co-workers, clients, and candidates we are happy to have in our lives.  The last three years our mantra was day by day.  Get up, go to work, do your best, tomorrow, do that again.  But now, we get up early, go to work early because we are busy, full up, excited to see everyone, smile when we arrive, ask how everyone is, work hard, grab lunches for each other, help each other, leave late, sleep well, and know that everyone we touched that day is happy.  And tomorrow, get up and do that all over again.  21 is a celebration of workplace understanding and acknowledgement.  

Jun 2017
The Meaning of Success

by Sharlene Massie

Sharlene Massie is the CEO and Visionary of About Staffing, Masters at matching workplace culture. Today’s blog post is about job and hiring success statistics.


We interview on average 40 people per week at About Staffing, for positions ranging from short term labour to very specialized professional executive roles.  There are only a few interview questions that we are able to ask every candidate, regardless of skill, or desired employment choice. But, one of those questions we can and do ask everyone is what is the meaning of success to them? I wondered, out of the 34000+ current interviewed candidates in our database, what kinds of answers would I see? Would there be similar answers, or one-of-a kind answers to that key question.  Would I find the meaning of life imbedded in these answers? Would candidates always know the answer, or would they make it up trying to figure out what I am looking for in the answer?  I have my own complex thoughts behind my question of analyzing what the meaning of success is for those looking for a job or a job change.  Here is a compilation of the most repeated answers to the meaning of success, from the highest repeats to lowest, other than a whole bunch of individualized answers and those who could not answer.  The exact question is, “What is the meaning of success to you?” 5834 said achieving goals, 3873 said being happy (good one), 1176 said balance, 898 said skill, 828 said help (giving vs. receiving I think), 673 said being great (at something in particular I assume), 531 said money (I am glad this is way down the list, aren’t you?), 420 said something about meeting or exceeding expectations, 316 said passion, 313 said support, 253 said something about a dream (dream job, dream home, dream lifestyle), 225 said opportunity, 220 said a plan, 187 said education, 185 said to lead, 131 said follow, 112 said win,96 said drive, 52 said travel, 45 said energy, 42 said motivation, 36 said creativity, 34 said limits, 32 said hobbies, 32 said communication, 21 said belief, 19 said parent, 16 said listen, 2 said negotiate.  These answers are scaled down to a word or 2 for this blog, but in my files, some people have given a paragraph of an answer, and some people, just the one word. Many individualized answers were along the lines of doing something you love and doing it well, and with a good team. Customer satisfaction was also a clear answer for those candidates registering for sales jobs. Interestingly enough, my own answer to THE question would have been freedom, to make decisions, to travel freely, to be independent.  Maybe that answer comes from being an entrepreneur, not an employee.  And surprisingly, there was no clear relation to health related answers which should be the top answer for everyone.  All in all, we have gathered some informative statistics about people at work in general, and how different or the same we are. The meaning of success is a unique and positive perspective and something for all of us to strive for.



Jul 2017
Time To Work

by Sharlene Massie

There is a time for work, a time for play, and we should allow time for rest.  But, we rarely do fully rest, unless we go off the grid for awhile.  Being in nature, to hike, or even sit and smell the clean air is needed now more than ever.  I noticed a few weeks ago, I was developing a technology hump, not the real name for it, but a bump, kind of curve on the back of my lower neck.  It occurred to me that I have been unable to disconnect from technology.  Doing placement deals in the evenings, and weekends, missing my workouts, because, finally after years of suffering during the downturn, we are busy.  And, I don’t want to lose a single deal, so I work, on my phone, my laptop, everywhere.  My shoulders are rolling forward, my wrists are tight, my head hangs forward, and I know I am not the only one!  I actually wonder what the next generation will deal with?  Will technology force us to work differently? Of course, but how will we manage the physical changes that our phones will put our bodies through.  So, I try to remember that work is just that, work, and play, no matter what that is, should be technology free.  And even more important than work or play, is the rest.  Now that the Calgary Stampede is finished for another year, the time is now to balance work with rest.  I am sitting looking at a beautiful body of water, on a deck, off the grid for a day, but still writing my blog.  I just have to remember, and remind everyone too, that rest is OK, and sometimes needs to be scheduled, to allow our bodies to carry us as straight as possible for another day.  

Jan 2018
Don't Forget About the Local Guys

by Sharlene Massie

Don’t Forget About the Local Guys


As many of you know, About Staffing is a locally owned business. Over the course of its life, we have seen many ups and downs and are thankful for those that have continuously supported a local business. It is often overlooked what challenges a local business overcomes especially in this global market.


How to Operate in this Global Market?


In the back of my mind, I am always thinking about operating About Staffing in a competitive manner, price checking throughout the year, checking-in on our value propositions, looking for market opportunities, hiring local talent and creating jobs wherever I can.  Lately though, after the market hit us so terribly in Alberta, I noticed so many of my once 300 plus competitors are now gone.  Many of the long-term staffing companies either sold, merged, retired, or closed over the past few years.  I found myself saying that after 30 years in this industry, and 22 years of owning my small local staffing company, that the secret to success is to just hang on longer than everyone else! 


What is the Answer to Business Success?


Is the answer to business success simply perseverance and gritty determination? Or maybe it is keeping my house from the banks? I know I am not the only one willing to fight hard to keep my team employed, and keep my clients happy, even if I did have to cut some deals to make that happen.  We seem to be through “the worst of it”, or so I hear, all over Alberta, and Canada, and in fact the U.S. too.  The recessions are over, oil prices are stable, interest rates are fair, and the unemployment rate is lowering. 


Those Affected by the Downturn …


We quickly forget about those that were affected in the downtown. I thought it was just the staffing industry that was murdered on a local level but now; I can see it in other industries too. The local businesses that survived have a small consistent clientele, repeat customers who faithfully support the relationships they have.


I certainly have heard more than once that I should find something else to do, get with the times, and do things differently.  We could become like the nationals or internationals, and strictly match keywords, and replace my team with a dial 1, or click here option. But I still feel, (there is that word again, “feel”) that there is a place for a staffing company in the middle! We are bigger than the one-man shop that can fill direct hire only, or old school “permanent” only, and we can fill temporary jobs quickly and easily.


Join the movement and support the small guys


Next time you pop across the street for that non-fat, triple shot, biggie sized sugar-free latte; think about supporting a local business instead. Sadly, the option may not be there anymore but the first step is to start thinking about it.

Jun 2018
Winning the Business in Calgary Leaders Award

by Sharlene Massie

I am honoured to be chosen as one of the twenty Business in Calgary (BIC) Leaders for 2018.

The BIC Award event took place June 27th, 2018; exactly 5 years after the 100-year flood hit Calgary and Southern Alberta unbearably hard, including my business About Staffing.  With no office to work from, no acceptable insurance, no phones and mail, my business dropped 65% over that next year. This downfall continued into the next two years due to economic uncertainty.

Thankfully, after celebrating our 22nd year in business this year, we are experiencing rapid growth. I look back on these challenging years and can pinpoint five key lessons that have helped bring me here to today.



Cut Costs

Cut costs quickly on every line item on the income statement. Every penny counts but do not loose key staff, as you will need them later.  Be honest and cut base wages, expenses, bonuses, and benefits. Make promises to bring those employees back up to par later, when you can.  In order for that to work, they have to trust you to honour your promises, because you always do.

Choose your battles 

Fighting is tiring and not every fight is worth it.  Sometimes, you may have to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Sometimes, you may have to have a calm and rational conversation to compromise and come to an agreement. Sometimes, you have to cut ties and walk away. And sometimes, you have to stand your ground, make your points, escalate, go up the chain and stay the fight.

Keep good business relationships intact. 

Maintain key accounts by doing whatever to you have to do.  Offer value, give and take, don’t give away the farm out of desperation, but allow for flexibility and good deals for all. When overall businesses are suffering, your competition may not spend money on client retention, so spend less than your normal, but continue to do something.  Throw in some prospecting or networking while working those good business relationships and continue to give back and volunteer in the community. I devoted myself to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay on the Board of Directors.

Start fulfilling staff promises, slowly and carefully

When revenue begins stabilizing start fulfilling staff promises slowly and carefully. Tie everything to an incentive goal! We found that a company-wide goal is the best kind. Don’t over spend as incentives need to be attainable and a bit of a stretch but will take everyone back up to or better than market. Enthusiastic, stable and loyal staff is all that matters as you grow.



Embrace change

Do not be afraid to learn and change policies and procedures, no matter how long it worked for your business before.  Pay attention to how the world of work is shifting, and consider trying new ideas, then tweak them, shift again, and continue to tweak throughout difficult times.  Many small wins amount to one big win at the end. 

During times of struggle, everything seems overwhelming. Sometimes, just setting the goal of getting to 0 is enough.  But time moves quickly and before you know it your business, like mine, is doing record numbers, achieving manageable but exciting growth, and those key staff are flourishing once again.  

Winning the BIC Leadership award certainly feels like a big win to me!

Oct 2018
Common Misconceptions about the Staffing Industry

by Hailey Radcliffe

You’re looking for your next shining star employee! You have spent hours, weeks, and months trying to find the next perfect fit to your unique company’s puzzle. You have held interviews and just haven’t had “that feeling." Your workload is stacking high as you’ve been committing your time to finding this Grade A Human. You have a great company to work for- I mean, you work there! You thought this would be straightforward and simple.

Why wouldn’t you leave your hiring needs to a experts in the industry? You don’t try to cut your own hair- you go to a professional (unless you are rocking that bowl cut). Did you know that more companies are utilizing agencies these days? If you take a look at the overall costs of recruiting and hiring yourself, you could end up paying the same or less if you go with a professional. Wow! Who knew? Well… we did!

If you havent taken the plunge creating a relationship with an agency, it is possible that you may have heard at least one of these common misconceptions.

Misconception #1: “They wouldn’t know enough about my industry or company’s needs.”

Every industry and every company is unique- like a fingerprint. We totally get that! About Staffing has specialized recruiters who work in their designated sectors of business, so you will always be working with a professional who understands your industry. We also know the importance of collaboration and often discuss different routes of action to accommodate every client individually. Our recruiters work day in and day out to perfect their systems. That is why we are Masters at Matching Culture.

Misconception #2: “Agencies are expensive.”

While the initial cost of utilizing an agency can look daunting, when you add your fees and lost time to what you could be paying an agency you may be surprised to learn that the costs are the same or cheaper than what your company could do on their own.  Yes, agencies do get paid for delivering you your Grade A Human, but imagine the costs that you would incur when a position turns over many times. Not only are you continuously recruiting and interviewing for this role, but your valued staff are being pulled away from important tasks and tied up training this position multiple times.

Misconception #3:  “They wont be able to find someone that I wouldn’t be able to find.”

This is a very common misconception and has been proven many times to be untrue. When a company invites a candidate to their office they will likely get the answers that this company is looking to hear, which may not be how a candidate actually feels. When candidates come to an agency they are very transparent in what they are looking for and can be matched based upon those answers, as they are not speaking to what they “think they should say.” The beauty of an agency is that they do get to play “ match maker” with the pool of their interviewed candidates and their clients. About Staffing performs personality and retention testing on candidates to go above and beyond what a resume can tell you. We roll up our sleeves and dig deep!

Not only that but About Staffing is also an industry professional on algorithms, job posting boards and methods that have been trialed and perfected for over 22 years!

Misconception #4: “Agencies are just for temporary work.”

Agencies are more versatile than ever. About Staffing services temporary, temporary to  direct and direct hire positions. Whether you have a full time vacancy of a superstar executive assitant, a unique administator, a tech specialist, or need to staff 120 positions in a temporary warehouse About Staffing can assist! Not only can we fill your vacancies with ease and enthusiasm, but we can provide you with information such as competitive wages, hiring strategies and industry trends as well.

--- Now that we are all on the same page wouldn’t it make sense to trust your hiring needs to the Masters at Matching Culture? Let About Staffing do the leg work for you! It’s what we do everyday.

Nov 2018
Your 2019 Job Hunt Vision Board

by Denise Ebata

At About Staffing we are big supporters of vision boards and believe these to be powerful tools in keeping you focused in the year to come. They help establish goals, give clear direction and motivate you in times of need. We stick them in a place where we can be easily reminded of what we are trying to achieve.

Why not create a job hunt vision board for 2019?

The job hunt is a daunting task and can sometimes seem to last for months. As the job hunt begins, people are focused, eager and have a clear goal of where they want to end up. As the process continues on, job hunters loose focus and begin applying to any and all positions. If this seems to be your case, let’s take a step back for a second and bring back the focus.

Take out a pen and paper and let’s begin.

There are no rules to vision boards. They should however motivate, inspire and remind you of your intentions. You can make this a simple arts and crafts project and put it in a frame or you can write down everything by hand in a notebook. This is the joy of the exercise.

Why are you awesome?

We reach a point in the job hunt where we become deflated by the lack of response to our applications. Your vision board should remind you of your awesomeness and be front and center. Remind yourself of your great qualities and why an employer needs to hire you.

Are you proud of your resume?

Your resume is your brand. It represents you. This is the first impression employers get of you so ask yourself this, are you proud of this document? Does it not only show off your skill set, experience and education but your personality as well? Can you spice up the formatting, add in a little colour or work on your wording?

If you answered yes to any of this, then let’s add SPICE UP MY RESUME, to your vision board.

What is your big picture career goal(s)?

Having this goal front and center on your vision board is also crucial. It will keep you focused and possibly outline the steps or positions you need to take to achieve this goal.

Get Strategic

The job hunt is a strategy. It is about outlining your process to achieve the best results. When do you check job boards? Do you customize your resume and cover letter for each position? Do you keyword match the job description with your resume? Do you investigate whom to address the cover letter to? Perhaps adding a checklist to your vision board will keep you focused and ensure you are not missing a step.

What is your dream job? What is your dream company?

Visualize these characteristics on your vision board. 

What qualities in an employer are you looking for?

  • Longevity
  • Benefits
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Management style
  • Public or Private

What does your dream job entail?

  • Small or large team
  • Heavy workload
  • Flexible work hours
  • Professional development opportunities

Sometimes putting things down on paper help turn things into reality. Good luck on the job hunt in 2019!



Jan 2019
Words of Wisdom: My Bucket List

by Sharlene Massie

I don’t have a bucket list. 

That is because I ‘live’ my bucket list. I don’t dream about it and I don’t wait for things to come.

There are many ups and downs as a business owner. Over the years, I have learnt that my bucket list is a constant ebb and flow, give and take. Opportunities do not always present themselves and if they do, should be taken immediately. Seize the day, the moment or opportunity, as people like to say.

I don’t own expensive watches or luxury homes; instead I have experienced more exceptional moments than most people have. 

I don’t procrastinate, but I may get behind sometimes.  As soon as I get a glimpse of something I want to do, I book it, like concerts or travel destinations, or throwing parties.  I may have to book it for an available time, but nonetheless, I book it, sometimes with a payment plan! 

I feel like my Microsoft Outlook was built to manage my ongoing bucket list bookings.  I never give up! If I had that personality trait, my business would have failed years ago, and the thousands of people I have helped may not have found that great job or received that perfect advice. 

I take responsibility for my actions, and I do what I say I will. I set very high standards for my team and myself. 

I ‘live’ my bucket list which means there is no room for mediocre and my company expects great things.  In return, I offer a really great place to work, with 2-way street loyalty and room for work life balance rarely seen.

I don’t think I am exceptionally talented; instead, I have strong and meaningful human relations, and common sense.  I am also kind, and I try to add something helpful to the people I meet. 

The bucket list term became popularized by the 2007 movie, seemingly stemming from the phrase kicking the bucket.  I am not suggesting that everyone should or should not create their own bucket list.  Instead, I suggest that successful people get things done by not waiting. 

I’d suggest that opportunities come in moments of time, not in big expensive items. Keeping track of those moments is far more important than planning or waiting for big things to happen.   

I would suggest never giving up and understanding that money comes and goes. Problems occur and get solved over and over again; it’s a part of life. 

I’d suggest taking responsibility and not blaming others, including yourself when things don’t go according to the plan. 

I suggest that talent comes in all forms and getting to understand yourself and what your own strengths are is really important.  Choosing to learn more about yourself should be on the ongoing bucket list in some way. 

Take a chance, jump in, and starting doing instead of maybe saying “one day.” Living your bucket list is far better than thinking about doing something down the road. 

Jan 2019
What is Job Satisfaction?

by Denise Ebata

Right Job + Right Employer = Job Satisfaction

I was recently reading an article about job and employee satisfaction that explained all of the intricate elements that make up this topic. It seemed rather complex and it made me reflect on my own personal perception of this concept.

I believe you can look at job satisfaction as a sliding scale; a scale that is in a constant eb and flow of small ups and downs. On one side of the scale you have your job and on the other you have your employer. To maintain equilibrium or job satisfaction, you have to have a balance between the right job and right employer.

The Right Job

I am not in a position to say what the right job is. This is an individualized concept that is defined by our experiences and ambitions. Regardless of the definition in our own minds, we should be able to list off our wish list, must haves, wants or needs in a job. These usually involve our day-to-day tasks and the work itself.

The Right Employer

I carefully used the word ‘right’ here because it sets the stage for your own personalized definition of what a right employer is to you. Sometimes it’s in the type or purpose of the organization, the products it sells or simply what the company stands for. Sometimes the ‘right employer’ has to have a certain reputation, be of a certain size or in contrary, exhibits similar values to you personally.

Does job satisfaction really exist?

We don’t often have the luxury of finding the right job and right employer at the time of our job hunt. Current economic conditions, employment rates and job availability often cause the job satisfaction scale to be imbalanced from the start. We usually have to compromise on one or the other.  We often hear people say, “It’s not exactly what I want to do but it is a great company.”  “It’s exactly what I have been trained to do but there are no opportunities for growth.” With these statements in mind, you can start to see how difficult it becomes to find the balance.

How do I find the balance?

I believe the first step to job satisfaction is awareness. It is important to know and define what your balance is as well as determine if the balance currently exists. I feel it is also important to write down what’s important to you and understand what are your definitions of the right job and right employer?

Once you have this awareness, you also need to understand that job satisfaction will never be in perfect harmony. There will be times when you are dissatisfied with your job or vise versa and the scale has tipped a bit. It is only when the scale tips completely to one side when you need to re-evaluate your job satisfaction.

Looking back now on your career history, have there been instances when you worked for the right company but were in the wrong position? Or was there a time when you loved your job but hated the company you worked for? Perhaps you can start to see a pattern between the right job and right employer. How was your scale then compared to now?

Jan 2019
2019 Strategic Interview Tips

by Hailey Radcliffe


It has been said before that hiring has no exact formula or guidebook. It is an art form, and unfortunately it can be subjective.  Managers are more likely to hire a candidate who possesses the same attributes or mannerisms of themselves. This is called the similar-to-me-bias, and it could cause the interviewer to choose a less suitable candidate.  The similar-to-me bias is something that is often done subconsciously rather than intentionally.

Monkey see, monkey do- also known as “mirroring”

The HR manager speaks quietly and slowly. You speak quietly and slowly. The HR manager puts one hand close to her mouth while she speaks. You put one hand close to your mouth while you speak. You get the point.

Mirroring can create a rapport with whomever you are imitating. This can subconsciously build trust and help a person feel more connected to you. It is all about finding that commonality.

Do your homework – also known as social media "investigating"

How are you going to find a common ground if you don’t even know who you are meeting with? Thanks to technology, this is a thing of the past. Most hiring managers will at least have a LinkedIn account. If you are unable to find them on any type of social media handles, try checking the company website on the “about” page.

If all else fails, try using slogans or key words from the companies website. If a company has core values, subtly bring up in conversation how you exhibit those values.

Complimenting – also known as “brown nosing”

There have been numerous studies conducted that prove the more you praise someone, the better they feel about YOU. The compliment-ee will associate you with positive thoughts and feelings. It may explain why the running joke of “brown nosing” often lands an employee a seat next to the CEO.

Subtly is key here. Try complimenting something you genuinely admire. Nobody likes a fibber.

At the end of the day you can only hope that you will be selected because you are the best candidate for the role. But it doesn’t hurt to use a little psychology to nudge the hiring manager in your favour.

Best of luck with your 2019 job hunting!   

Mar 2019
How Important are Job Descriptions?

by Lynne Cihelka

We all know what job descriptions are, but how much importance do we actually give them? In addition to providing a road map for potential and current employees, job descriptions are indispensable for both employers and employees.


The Human Resources Focus

Job descriptions are used for different purposes by the employee and the Human Resources (HR) department. A HR office uses job descriptions for the following purposes.

  • As a definition of the functions and responsibilities of a job
  • As a mechanism for recruitment
  • For employee training and development (establishing and updating performance standards)
  • For succession planning or organizational development (for example, what additional tasks can be applied for the growth of the organization as a whole)
  • For assigning jobs
  • To benchmark the company’s positions against those described in salary surveys.


Used as a Mechanism for RecruitmenT

Starting a recruitment campaign with a comprehensive job description means the recruiter can develop selection criteria and use it as a benchmark to identify candidates. When areas of a job description are well thought out (key objectives; tasks & responsibilities), the recruiter can identify the best applicants against these criteria.


The Employee Focus

When looking for a job, a candidate can request a copy of the job description at the interview. The candidate can then do research to benchmark the position against its placement in the market, in order to participate in an informed negotiation process. At the very least, a new employee should receive a copy of the job description within the first week on the job.

An employee’s job description should be reviewed at performance review time to make sure it accurately reflects the employee’s current job responsibilities. It should be used by both the employee and manager as a tool for establishing development goals.


The Basic Elements of a Job Description

A job is a collection of tasks, duties, or responsibilities assigned to an individual. A job exists regardless of who performs the functions. Even when no one occupies the job, it still exists.

A job description simply describes the job. It should not have language or technical jargon that is difficult to understand. Every job description should include the following.

  • The job title
  • The location of the job
  • A position summary describing the purpose of the job
  • Major responsibilities, describing the job as it currently exists and including the essential duties. These are tasks for which the employee is evaluated.
  • Job qualifications, describing the minimum education, experience, and skills necessary to perform the job. Working conditions, describing work-related hazards and environmental conditions that occur while performing the job.

The job description is not meant to include any judgments. It should not state what is expected in the future, and it should not discuss how well the job is being performed. It may be used as a tool for measuring and establishing further career development, but this should be addressed in the employee’s performance management plan.





Apr 2019
Workplace Trends for 2019

by Hailey Radcliffe

At About Staffing we are constantly staying on top of trends. We watch the unemployment rate, the job market, technology and industry changes as well as overall workplace variations.

Here are the top trends we have noticed from the first quarter of 2019.

Work-Life Integration

The term work-life balance is shifting in 2019. The visualization of a balance scale with home life on one side and work on the other depicts an image of separation rather than unity.

The corporate world never sleeps. We have our emails at the tips of our fingers. Can balance even exist? If there is no balance and no scale to work and life, then what concept will reign in 2019?

Work life integration! It is simply the two worlds of work and life blending together in harmony. Sounds crazy? It isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Have you ever found yourself taking a personal call at work without logging it? How about when you checked and replied to your emails for 30 minutes over the weekend and didn’t log that either. That my friend, is work-life integration. These worlds do not need to be existing only when the other is not. They can both thrive simultaneously.

Work-life integration is simply a give-and-take relationship.



As four generations in the workplace coexist, authenticity is becoming a predominant value for employees.

People just aren’t buying into phony anymore. They want purpose.  They want to feel as though they are part of a bigger picture. Corporate culture matters, and it doesn’t grow on trees.  It grows from the top of a company down. If your company doesn’t have a strong corporate culture, it may as well be operated by Siri and Alexa. It’s cold, its meaningless and no one is passionate about it. People want to stand behind a brand they genuinely believe in.

Marcus Buckingham hit it home when he said, “authenticity is your most precious commodity as a leader.” Be honest and genuine with your employees and you can expect the same back. It’s a win-win!


Flex Days

The market is competitive. Future candidates hold a lot more cards than they ever have before. If you are not willing to entice future hires, or your current employees for that matter, someone else will. Younger generations are holding their home life and travel in a higher regard than their baby boomer parents. How will we keep these generations engaged? Have you ever considered a rotating schedule of working Fridays from their home? No... why? If you don’t trust your employees to actually work while on the clock, why would you hire them in the first place? It is actually proven that remote employees work harder and longer than their 9-5 counterparts. This is partially attributed to the stigma of a teleworker putting in less hours, thus needing to over compensate with physical proof of work completed. 

While this doesn’t work for every company and position, consider it for roles that have the ability to be flexible. How about your marketing department? These right brained thinkers are often energized outside of normal work hours. They are not going to be stimulated in a cubical at 9:00 am. They are best to be at home surrounded by things that inspire them!

We challenge you to engage your employees and to think outside the box! Be flexible and solutions oriented when it comes to employee benefits. It doesn’t need to hurt the pocket book and will pay off in the short and long term.


“Once a new trend rolls over you, if you’re not a part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”