Tag Archives: Job Seekers

Before the interview: How We Screen Our Job Seekers

Criminal-Background-Check

We like to take measured and holistic approach when it comes to finding the right employees for the job. Because we are looking for quality job seekers to match with our companies, we are careful about the candidates we place. This is why we have a thorough screening and testing procedures at Financial Professionals.

We implement a thorough national and state background screening for every employee that comes through our agency. This is not unusual; nowadays, background checks are very common in seeing whether or not employees are falsifying their applications. The Society for Human Resource Management reported that eight-seven percent of organizations conduct criminal background checks on a least some applicants. We verify if candidates have a criminal record, if they are who they say they are, and we look at their credit reports to get some insight on the candidate’s reliability and responsibility. After all, we want our employees to be responsible when it comes to handling other people’s finances.

In addition to background checks, we also give a series of tests to every person who comes through our agency. Each of these tests were designed strategically, so there’s no way for candidates to cheat the system. Our Bank Rely Test reveals employee’s work ethic, and is a good way to determine their punctuality and attendance record. The Work Attitude Questionnaire tests applicants’ attitudes toward theft and respect toward other people. It also flags checkered behavior, such as substance abuse and problems with anger management. The Bank Customer Service Survey tests a person’s strengths and weaknesses; how friendly the individual is when working in sales, and how they deal with conflict situations. The General Information Appraisal is a reliable gauge for testing one’s overall intelligence, including logic skills. Last but not least, the Teller Test, designed specifically for bank tellers, tests money math skills. We see how quickly these candidates answer the questions without a calculator. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a guide that helps prepare candidates. The results are out of job seekers’ control. But the good news for candidates is that if they’re honest, trustworthy and responsible, chances are they’re do well passing our tests and our screening process. The best advice we give is for employees to be relaxed and get a good night’s sleep before taking their test. The rest will fall into place.

Feel free to contact us if you’d like more information about our screening and testing services.

Ron Ray

Ron Ray is Owner/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. Since 1981, Ron has worked with a variety of banks and banking professionals to ensure they are working with the best talent.

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What Employers Don’t Want to See on Your Facebook Profile

Photo by Mashable.

Photo by Mashable.

In today’s day and age, social media is a major way job applicants learn more about employers – but it’s a two-way street. Many employers, including our staff at Financial Professionals, screen job seekers by looking at their Facebook profiles. The practice is becoming more common. Based on a survey conducted lasts year, CareerBuilder.com found that 37% of employers use social networks to screen potential job candidates. Many employers use social media to learn a little bit more about his or her qualifications. Of course, candidates’ resumes, cover letters and interpersonal skills weigh heavily on whether or not employers think a job applicant is the right person for the job — but companies and agencies will review candidates’ digital presence to learn if the person behind the resume presents his or herself in a professional manner online, as well as in real life. 

Sometime we find discover things that aren’t always pretty. Those embarrassing photos you posted on Facebook of yourself the other night – we see those. Those cuss words you used to describe your former boss in your last update – we read that, too. The last thing employers want to see if someone’s provocative or inappropriate party photos, chronicling a night of getting drunk and acting like they’re a rock star. Those are not the quality applicants we like present to our employers. When you’re competing against several applicants who all have an equally strong skill set, the content on your Facebook profile could be the thing that sets you apart.

Take a lesson from us and make sure that if you’re searchable online, you’re not sharing too much. Here’s how to keep things professional on Facebook.

Make your profile photo a picture of you

No matter how tight you’ve set your privacy settings, your profile photo is the one thing everybody sees. A photo of your dog or of a cartoon character isn’t the best representation of you.

Think twice before posting offensive status updates

Take a deep breath the next time you think about posting something obscene, obnoxious or even controversial. Employers are looking for people they can respect – so only show your best side by posting things you don’t have to explain later.

Have someone you trust scan your profile for red flags 

Sometimes it’s easy to miss those little details that reflect your checkered past. For example, you might’ve thought it was cool to post those photos of you partying when you were in college – but they’re not so funny if you and your friends were drinking underage. Keep anything incriminating off of Facebook, even if it isn’t recent.

Have questions about our recruiting, screening or testing? Feel free to email us today.

Priscilla Stricker

Priscilla is the Managing Partner who oversees operations, staffing and business development for Financial Professionals. She has 15+ years' experience in the staffing industry, which has allowed her a successful career of finding the right fit for clients as well as candidates. Specialties have included banking, commercial real estate, title, mortgage, accounting and financial positions at all levels.

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Why Texas Is Where You Want to Work

texas

Photo courtesy of nbcnews.com.

When it comes to getting ahead in your career, it’s important to make a change – whether it’s moving to a slightly different field of work or transferring to a new city. Moving to another city to advance yourself professionally – especially if you plan on moving without lining up a job –can be intimidating and stressful. But if you find a job in a city that is thriving economically, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

Right now the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Austin are prime areas for motivated professionals to relocate because of state’s fiscal health. Texas is one of the fastest growing state in the nation. Every day, approximately 158 people are moving to Austin and about 198 people are moving to DFW. Thanks to the energy boom, growing tech scene, low cost of doing business and growth in population, the Lone Star State is the nation’s second largest state economy. Better yet, the best part about living in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and the surrounding cities is the cost of living is more affordable than other cosmopolitan cities in the United States.

We’re excited to be recruiting in the DFW area and Austin right now because there are plenty of job opportunities. Our employers in these cities and the surrounding areas are looking for qualified employees to fill a variety of financial positions. If you’re ready to make the jump to a new career working in banking, accounting or finance, take a look at our job postings and reach out to us today.

Erika Boswell

Erika Boswell is Vice President of Recruiting at Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. With a background in Marketing and Management, Erika uses her expertise to place prospective job candidates and seasoned talent where they belong in the financial industry.

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Top 3 Apps For Job Seeking

Everybody’s got an iPhone or an Android, which means everyone should get used to apps. Since they’re available for both phones, be sure to have the right apps that can help you find a job while you’re on the go. Here are three that I hope will lead you to the next interview (and maybe even us).

1. Facebook – See if your friends are talking about new opportunities, and don’t forget to follow the businesses you want to pursue. Financial Professionals is on Facebook for this very reason. Don’t forget to look and act professional.

2. Linkedin – Linkedin has a simple app you should check regularly. It’s no secret Linkedin is taking the lead for networking towards the next step.

3. Job Search by Indeed – Get rich input on any job happening in specific cities and markets. The Job Search app also has an alert function that you will find useful if you want to be first to get your resume in.

Download these apps, and you’re one step closer. Hope to see you in our office soon!

Ron Ray

Ron Ray is Owner/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. Since 1981, Ron has worked with a variety of banks and banking professionals to ensure they are working with the best talent.

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Networking for the Job: What a Tech-Savvy New Schooler Should Know

Think of how much easier it is to find the “prime connection” for your dream job. It probably takes less than 5 seconds to search on Linkedin for the “Loan Operations Manager” of XYZ Bank, learn about whom you would be interviewing with, then craft your perfect sales pitch. However, it wasn’t always that way – at one point all you had was a telephone, a phone book, and maybe a lunch spot in mind to meet. You definitely had to try harder. But there were some key things that still carry through the generations.

Knowledge of the Industry. Nothing breaks the ice better than a passion for the job. Show the employer you’re an encyclopedia of knowledge and not afraid to share it. This makes people confident to spend their time hearing you out.

Personal persistence. Back in the day, people got on the phone and called their job leads to touch base and follow up. Today, you can email or message anywhere in the world, but it’s not as personal as a one-on-one conversation. Even our agency, Financial Professionals, encourages a phone call.

People make the decision. The bottom line is that there’s a real human being that will make the decision. Know when to be personable, but also know how to express your wish to be hired and leave it at that. As long as you respect others’ time, you will come out on top.

Erika Boswell

Erika Boswell is Vice President of Recruiting at Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. With a background in Marketing and Management, Erika uses her expertise to place prospective job candidates and seasoned talent where they belong in the financial industry.

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Get Your Fill: Job Searching Tips and Wayne Gretsky

I had to offer advice to a friend looking for a new job last week, when a quote caught my eye. It’s goes like this:

Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.
-Wayne Gretsky

Skates and sticks aside – when it comes to finding the right job, Gretsky’s words couldn’t be closer to the truth. Sometimes it’s not about holding out for the big “dream” position or financial institution you’ve had your sights on. Truth is, the marketplace is unpredictable, so its best if you feel out every option, and watch to see if your niche is a growing practice for your next employer. This applies to all skill types, from mortgage loan officers to accounting.

Get in line with the goal when your puck gets passed, take a look at Financial Professionals’ current direct hire jobs today.

Ron Ray

Ron Ray is Owner/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. Since 1981, Ron has worked with a variety of banks and banking professionals to ensure they are working with the best talent.

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Keep an Eye on Your Virtual Resume

Social Network Background Checks

Image courtesy of Forbes.com.

Your social media activity is your online fingerprint and it can speak volumes about you to an employer. Increasingly more HR departments and employment agencies are performing background checks on a candidate’s online presence, so don’t let your activities lock you out of your highest potential job.

A large misconception is that adjusting privacy settings will keep prying eyes away. There are still some activities visible regardless of settings, such as groups you belong to on Facebook. Social media is a powerful tool and even after you have cleaned up your act, be careful about posting rants to your friends. Don’t be surprised if even your ‘friend’ copy/pasted your complaint, and slid it anonymously under the boss’ office door (I’ve seen this happen).

Also, Twitter usernames are no exception. As Managing Partner for a financial industry recruiter, a candidate whose Twitter name is @hotlips will raise flags, no matter how qualified the resume is.

Scouring your social media sites may not be enough. Before you apply for a job or approach a recruiter, Google your name and city to see the virtual breadcrumbs you left behind. Data collection sites can paint a public picture using online sources you visit and even your online photo albums. Most of these sites allow you to request that the information be removed, however not everything can be removed from the internet. In 2010 the Library of Congress bought the archive to any tweet on the web.

As more recruiters turn to social media as their recruiting tool of choice, protecting your virtual resume is crucial. So think twice — If a post is not something you could share with your parents, then it is probably not appropriate for an employer either.

Miki Rose

Miki Rose is the Managing Partner at Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based recruiting agency specializing in financial jobs. Miki leads client relationships and business decisions that position Financial Professionals as a top staffing source for the southern US region.

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Are Cover Letters Still Necessary?

Cover Letter

Do you recall the viral cover letter sent to Wall Street by a recent college grad? It was an unremarkable letter sent to the head of his dream intern program asking for an opportunity, even though he was a self-proclaimed ‘hopelessly average student’ with ‘no special skills’. The casualness of it made you stop and wonder if spending time writing cover letters was really worth the effort.  Believe it or not, his cover letter was carefully crafted for his particular task.

I read some articles recently that claim there is no need for a cover letter. From a professional recruiting perspective, I couldn’t disagree more. There are several crucial aspects of a well-crafted cover letter. It should:

  • Show you did your research on the company
  • Highlight a particular voice you want to convey
  • Lack information overload
  • Ask for an interview

You don’t have to be an English major to craft a well-written cover letter either. A well-researched letter offers a good chance at getting noticed over someone who merely sends their cover letter, “To whom it may concern.” There is credibility to writing with a clear voice, and without information overload. A painfully lengthy letter containing awkward details will probably hit the trash, so think offensively rather than defensively. You have one final chance to grab their attention as you close your letter so choose carefully.

Erika Boswell

Erika Boswell is Vice President of Recruiting at Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. With a background in Marketing and Management, Erika uses her expertise to place prospective job candidates and seasoned talent where they belong in the financial industry.

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Know Your Teller Applicant, and Know The Whole Person on the Teller Job

“We hire people for their skills, but the whole person shows up for work.”  This piece of overlooked wisdom is from Chester L. Barnard, an American businessman. We tend to focus on a teller applicant’s job skills and experience and overlook or downplay the fact that this is a person, a unique individual with her own personality and preferences for how work is done.

Good cash handling skills are a requirement for a teller, but a teller is also your bank’s point of contact with many of your customers.  And, while your customers expect their tellers to handle their money accurately and in a timely fashion, they also expect to be treated well as a person, not just handled with cool efficiency as a “customer.”

That means that to insure repeat business and new business in the form of referrals to the bank, customers must like the way they are treated.  And that means that tellers must show an interest in the customer as a person, actually get to know the customer and interact with the customer on a person-to-person level, not just on a teller-to-customer level.

Some tellers just naturally like people and enjoy forming friendships with customers.  Other tellers, not so much.  While the interview will give you a pretty good indication which teller applicants are not likely to be good at customer service, unfortunately it is not as good at indicating which applicants will be good at pleasing customers.

A better way to evaluate customer service skills is to use an objective pre-employment test to help you see which applicant has a natural preference for customer service, which ones can learn to give good customer service and which ones just don’t feel like it is up to them to make interactions with customers a positive experience.

Objective test data, when added to interview impressions, give you a more balanced picture of what you are likely to see on the job in the way of customer service skills.  Using this balanced approach, you have a better idea of what the person you interviewed will look like once the “whole person” settles into the teller job.

For a free copy of Dr. Helm’s booklet, “How to Use Pre-Employment Tests in Bias-Free Hiring and Promotion Decisions,” call Helm and Associates at 800-886-4356 or email at khelm@helmtest.com.

 

Kurt Helm

Dr. Kurt Helm is an industrial/organizational psychologist. His firm, Helm and Associates, Inc. has been developing, validating, and marketing pre-employment tests and professional development systems since 1981.

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