November 2010 Archives

Monday November 29, 2010

Staffing Employment Remains Steady in November

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Staffing employment in November is 18% higher than in the same month last year, according to the ASA Staffing Index. The index for November is 100, unchanged from 100 in October, suggesting that staffing employment has maintained a steady level over the past month. Despite slight weekly fluctuations, staffing employment has remained stable--the index value has been at or near 100 for the past eight weeks.

ASA releases a monthly report on the index that offers a preview of the nonseasonally adjusted temporary help employment numbers included in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly employment situation report, which is generally issued the first Friday of the month. BLS will release employment numbers for the month of November this Friday, Dec. 3. The ASA Staffing Index monthly report, released more than a week before the BLS employment situation report, compares weeks containing the 12th of each month, making it comparable to the reference period used by BLS.

Wednesday November 24, 2010

Five Questions to Always Ask on an Interview

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These five questions go beyond the obvious ones, such as the title of the job, the job description, to whom it would be reporting, and other such basic questions. In fact, it's unlikely you'll even need to ask those questions, as they're usually outlined for you.

With some preparation and thought, you should be able to easily come up with 15 - 20 first-interview questions to ask. But these five - in some form - should always be asked. Not only will they help you to ascertain if the job for which you are interviewing meets the criterion of your perfect job, but the answers, when put together, will give you a fairly accurate picture of what's really going on behind the interview.

  1. What are the priorities that will need to be addressed immediately in this position?

    A title alone tells you nothing. The job description won't reveal much either, except whether or not you're capable of doing what's required functionally on a daily basis. For the same reason that you put your accomplishments on your resume - and not just the job description - here, too, you want to get a sense of the individuality of this job in this company.

    Was everything left running smoothly? Is it pretty much picking up and continuing daily functions as normal? Or is there damage control that needs to be done? If so, is there a time line for the repair, and is it an achievable one considering your capabilities? Is it realistic regardless of who holds the position?

    If you don't have any information, this will begin to clue you in about both the supervisor and the previous employee. If you have been provided with some detail already, then the answer should track with what you've already learned.

  2. How long was the previous person here? Why did they leave?

    Generally, in answering the first part, the interviewer will answer the second part as well. But if they don't, then ask it. And if that person was there an oddly short time, you also want to know how long the person before that was there.

    See where I'm going with this? If the job is in disarray, and the last two people were there a short period of time and were fired, you don't need to ask any of the other questions here. Exit gracefully and then run! Because before long, you, too, will be terminated for not achieving whatever it is they want done - regardless of if the stated time frame sounded realistic or not.

  3. Tell me about your management style. How do you bring out the best in your employees?

    Is he a micro manager? Is he an information hound that needs to be kept informed of everything? Does he leave people alone to do what he hired them for and simply keep on top of what's going on? Does he help you if you have trouble? Do any mentoring? Or is he a berating, derogatory, jerk?

    Obviously he's not going to come right out and tell you he's a micro manager! Instead he might say, "I like to keep a very close watch on what's going on in my department," or "I visit with each member of my department on a daily basis to make sure they're staying on track," or something similar.

    You'll find that the person will be fairly straightforward in sharing their management style with you. What you want to pay attention to is how they word it.

  4. What types of people tend to excel here?

    Workaholics? Ones who are self-motivated and manage themselves well? People who work well in teams or committees? Employees who keep their supervisor informed of "where they are with things" on a daily basis?

    This tells you something about the pervasive culture in the company or department. Generally speaking, companies - or departments - tend to be made up of similar types of people that are in harmony with the company culture and philosophy.

    An entrepreneurial person won't function well in a committee environment. While sales personalities can vary greatly, the top achievers are goal driven and motivated to achieve, rather than complacent. People who are accustomed to thinking for themselves will find themselves chafing in a company that has a more dictatorial style, while those who perform better when they're told what to do will find themselves adrift in a company that requires its employees to think for themselves.

  5. How long have you been here? Why do you stay?

    The answer to this question will give you an indication as to the feeling or health of the department or company. The way in which he answers the question will also give you additional insight into your potential boss, his management style, and what type of people excel in the department or company.

These are informational questions, not challenges. Be genuinely interested in the answer, because you're gaining valuable information that has to do with your future. When you leave the interview and process it within yourself, you'll be matching what you learned with what you are looking for.

Pay attention to the interviewer's body language and facial expressions. Is he relaxed? Does he fill in some of the spaces? Does he speak TO you - or AT you? Does he answer the question briefly and then quickly fire off another one? These, too, are valuable cues, and after the interview, you'll need to piece them together with the verbal information you received.

Your perfect job might land in your lap by grace and good fortune. But more likely, you'll need to look for it. It's there - but to recognize it, you'll need to know what it doesn't look like, as well as what it does.

- Judi Perkins

Judi was a very successful recruiter for 22 years (15 contingency, 4 agency, 3 retained) and has now been a career coach for 3. The recruiter background, especially having been all three types, gives her deep insight into both sides of the hiring process. Now she teaches job seekers both the skill and psychological aspects of job hunting.

Sign up for her upcoming instructional webinar "Interview Techniques That Can Lead to Job Offers". Learn how to sell yourself, ask questions, create dialogue and get to the essence with a few simple techniques that are applicable at all levels.

Judi has been interviewed as an expert for books at each author's request; has her own book, "How to Find Your Perfect Job;:and has been quoted in numerous on and offline articles. She's also done radio interviews and speaking gigs. Her clients find jobs quickly, ending their months of frustration!

Monday November 22, 2010

Staffing Employment Continues Robust Growth in Third Quarter

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Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from a news release being sent today to reporters across the nation.

Staffing jobs have maintained the strong upward trend that began earlier this year, showing substantial year-to-year employment growth in the third quarter, according to survey data released today by the American Staffing Association.

U.S. staffing companies employed an average of 2.6 million temporary and contract workers per day from July through September. This is 24.9% more staffing employees per day than in the same quarter last year and an increase of 8.1% in average daily staffing employment over this year's second quarter. The year-to-year percentage increases in employment in this year's second and third quarters are comparable to the industry's job growth rates in the early 1990s.

"During the past 12 months, staffing firms have added over a half million new jobs to the economy," says ASA president and chief executive officer Richard Wahlquist. "Demand for temporary and contract help is expected to remain strong as businesses turn to flexible work force solutions to help them improve efficiency and productivity while adjusting to changing economic conditions."

Staffing sales in the third quarter of this year totaled $18.1 billion, according to the ASA survey results--a 35.6% increase over the same period last year. This surpassed last quarter's previous record high as the largest year-to-year percentage increase since ASA began tracking industry sales in 1992.

Thursday November 18, 2010

How Social Media Is Muddying the Waters for Jobseekers

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Caution People! How Social Media Is Muddying the Waters for Perfectly Good Jobseekers ... and How Companies are Letting it Happen

Social Media.jpgInvited to an interview, you step into the room and unload that heavy photo album you've been clinging to onto the conference table. In addition to a resume and brag book, you have pictures on your iPhone of your dogs and the neighbor's cat stalking the birds enjoying your new bird feeder. The interview progresses by you opening and flipping through the pages of your album, pointing to your family and friends. You gladly draw the interviewer's attention to those older pictures taken during your college days ... and to the many of your drunk, sleeping positions your friends encapsulated forever through one click of a camera.


What? Personal items presented during an interview?

Why not? Isn't that basically what hiring companies are doing rummaging through your public social media accounts, learning more about you and your online activities?

The next few years are certainly gray, unchartered waters for jobseekers. The issue of whether a person's personal life and involvement online should have any place in the hiring realm is definitely a topic that will be battled over for years -- maybe even decades. Some might unexpectedly find themselves entangled in lawsuits, as privacy experts grow increasingly concerned that disqualifying a candidate based on information gained online can introduce certain forms of discrimination into the hiring process.

Jobseekers have every right to be concerned about protecting their online identities from prying eyes, but where should the line be drawn? Employers shouldn't be given uninhibited access to a jobseeker's private life, should they?

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Tuesday November 16, 2010

The State Of The Recruiting Industry

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The third party recruiting landscape has changed forever. Call it a 'correction' if you will, but I don't predict that our industry will ever achieve the robust status that it once had. Those days are gone and probably gone forever. Many in years past said that when baby boomers started retiring, there wouldn't be enough people to take their places so that meant opportunity for third party recruiters. That's a valid concept but there's one problem: most baby boomers can't retire. So to position your firm in a place where you can do well, there will be one of two areas where you will find opportunity:

WalMart vs.Tiffany's

There will either be a high end/low end aspect to our business. You'll be able to generate sizable profits when you either capitalize on either a volume aspect or specialized aspect to our business.

Volume: create a niche and market it for mid level positions on a mass appeal with lower margins. Make it up on volume and add value through the sheer size of your operation.

Specialization: find a niche that promises a moderate amount of growth and difficulty in finding suitable employees, and specialize in just that very one narrow niche or sub niche.

Niches are categorized in three areas:

  1. Industry
  2. Function
  3. Geography

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Thursday November 11, 2010

Recruiters: Spotlight Your Company in Our Staffing Directory for Free!

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Become part of the Net-Temps Premier Online Staffing Directory for free. Plus you'll become part of a leading local search network!

Staffing Directory Spotlight.jpgNet-Temps is offering you the opportunity to expand your company visibility even more and increase traffic by driving interested jobseekers and employers to your FREE staffing directory listing and your website! Your agency can be found on top sites that have content on staffing and employment.

~ This is 100% free, no hidden cost ~

Let people looking for a staffing partner know more about your company and what you can offer them!

Click here to get your company listed - takes just minutes!

Why Add My Company to the Directory ?

- It's 100% free - no hidden costs
- Get exposure for your organization - let employers and candidates find you!
- Helps drive qualified traffic to your website
- You also are listed in top local search sites with staffing content
- Takes 2 minutes to complete!

Thursday November 11, 2010

Why You Need New Clients

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Here's a quick math problem I remember from when I was a kid:

"If there are five flies on your kitchen table and you took a fly swatter and killed one of the flies, how many flies would be left?

"The answer: One--the fly you just killed. The other four flew away."

The reason I tell this little joke is because if a recruiter has five job orders on his desk and the recruiter only has the time or the ability to find candidates and schedule interviews for one of them, how many job orders does the recruiter have? The answer is one.

In other words, if four of the job orders aren't worth working on--or you can't get coverage on them--then for all practical purposes, they flew away and they don't exist. Which means you need to find new clients.

With this story in mind, let's take an honest look at what you've got going on right now.

Sizing Up Your Activity

Your workload--and by extension, your profitability--can usually be described in one of three ways:

  1. You are working at full capacity to fill multiple, high-quality job orders. You have strong sendout activity; that is, the activity is sufficient to produce multiple interviews with each job order.
  2. You have at most one high-quality job order and you're getting good coverage on it. As a result, you either have or expect to have multiple interviews scheduled.
  3. You have no jobs worth working on, or can't seem to get traction on anything.

What I've described is sort of a bell curve, with most recruiters sitting at number 2 in my description--somewhere in the middle of the curve. You've got one job--or maybe two jobs--that are "hot" and you're getting sendout activity to cover the jobs. In other words, you're not killing yourself to satisfy a number of equally hot assignments, but you're not totally without business, either.

So how do you figure out how much marketing you need to do, given your situation?

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Tuesday November 9, 2010

Ten Things a Recruiter Will Never Tell You

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As a former executive recruiter and headhunter, I can tell you there are a lot of industry secrets. Having access to those secrets can make the difference in whether your resume is accepted--or rejected--by top headhunters.

As you focus your job search, here are the top ten things recruiters will never tell you.

  1. Your cover letter put him off.

    Recruiter Advice.jpg You might have been thrilled to find just the right cover letter form in a book of cover letters or computer template. What you don't realize is that a thousand other people have also found that cover letter--and the recruiter has seen them all. It makes your cover letter look like 150 other letters he has read that morning. And it makes you seem unoriginal, and not a good candidate.

    If your cover letter sounds like an exact repeat of your resume, or if it sounds pompous and self-absorbed, your cover letter and resume will be tossed or ignored. A professionally written cover letter can make the best of your accomplishments and give a fresh sound to recruiters, winning their interest.

  2. Recruiters spend five to ten seconds looking at each resume.

    If your resume cannot get his attention in five to ten seconds, it will be passed over.

    In an extremely fast-paced environment, high-volume resume reading is required; recruiters are professionally trained to look for certain items. If your resume is not designed to contain what recruiters are looking for, you won't get a second chance.

  3. Your resume may be full of hidden or unsuspected red flags.

    You think you have a great resume, but there may be red flags you are not even aware of. Here are a few that cause concern for recruiters:

    • Too many jobs in a short time = Unstable candidate

    • Too many years at the same company/industry = Inflexible to change

    • Overqualified = Too expensive or won't stay long

    • Underqualified = Long learning curve

    • Too many different types of jobs = Candidate doesn't know what he wants
  4. A professional resume and cover letter can avoid these misperceptions by guiding the recruiter toward your strongest accomplishments--and away from the red flags.

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Monday November 8, 2010

Staffing Employment Growth Continues, Says BLS

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According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the staffing industry led employment growth in the professional and business services sector of the U.S. economy during October, adding 35,000 new jobs. Seasonally adjusted staffing employment rose 1.6% from September and was 23.1% higher than last October. The staffing industry has sustained a positive employment trend since last fall, adding 451,000 new jobs since October 2009.

BLS logo.jpg "Consistent and continued increases in demand for flexible work force solutions are driving the recovery of the staffing and recruiting industry," says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. "ASA members are reporting increases in permanent job orders, but for most job seekers, the best strategy continues to be to apply for temporary and contract assignments, many of which could transition into permanent jobs as the overall recovery gains steam in the months ahead."

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that staffing employment grew 3.9% from September to October. On a year-to-year basis, there were 19.6% more workers employed in October compared with the same month last year. The ASA Staffing Index, which also is not seasonally adjusted and therefore is comparable to the nonadjusted employment figures reported by BLS, showed an increase of about 4% from August to September and year-to-year job growth of 20%.

BLS also provides employment estimates for search and placement firms, but those are nonseasonal only and reports lag one month. Friday, BLS reported that search and placement employment in September fell slightly from August (-0.7%), totaling 237,400 for the month. Nevertheless, September employment was up 7.2% from the same month last year, continuing the trend of year-to-year employment growth in search and placement that began last spring.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose for the first time since May, adding 151,000 jobs to the economy in October, seasonally adjusted. Most of the job gains were in mining and a number of service industries, including health care, retail, and food services. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady for a third consecutive month at 9.6%.

American Staffing Association

Wednesday November 3, 2010

IT Temp Work Skyrockets

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CIOs and other senior managers are turning to contract and temporary hires more than ever now in light of continuing economic challenges. In fact, the pace of hiring temp workers is growing three times faster than during the last recovery, according to analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics by tech jobs site, which augmented the analysis with data from its own site. The findings demonstrate that full-time IT jobs are also on the rebound. The number of available full-time tech jobs has increased 46% in the past year.

The unemployment rate for tech professionals (4.3 percent) is far lower than the overall national average (9.6 percent). The wealth of temporary and contractual IT work being created demonstrates the growing emphasis on flexibility among CIOs, who want to make sure that enough talent is available to get the job done while keeping their options open with respect to staffing levels.

Hiring a full-time worker, after all, is a long-term commitment that often requires the provision of costly benefits. A contractual/temp "hired gun" requires no benefits and can be brought on board for a single, demanding IT project. Moreover, in a bid to overcome the ongoing IT skills shortage, companies have been increasing contractor's hourly rates as well.

"The economy has created nearly 400,000 temporary positions in just 12 months," Dice senior vice president Tom Silver wrote in his monthly report. "By comparison, it took more than three years to achieve that kind of growth during the last recovery. In tech, both full-time and contract hiring have been in lock-step with recruitment activity in both up about 50 percent since the lows in mid-2009." Total tech jobs, including full-time, contract and part-time positions, rose from 51,439 to 70,798 in the 12 months ending Oct. 1.

Other good signs: Silicon Valley posted its highest job count on Dice in two years, with 4,567 jobs, up 64% from a year ago. The Seattle region, home of Microsoft, Amazon, Nintendo and others, saw open tech positions double in the past year to 2,355.

Although having more jobs available is a good thing, Silver notes that hiring managers are, as usual, finding it difficult to locate skilled applicants, potentially making it difficult to fill open jobs. Java developers, database administrators, virtualization specialists and project managers are among the most in demand IT pros.

Although Dice numbers show substantial increases in the number of full-time positions, Silver indicates that the best post-recession opportunities may lie in contracting work.

Courtesy CIOInsight

Wednesday November 3, 2010

Conquering Salary Question Fears

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Learn How to Get an Offer on Your Next Job Interview

Today we're discussing how to confidently handle the most-feared job interview question: "The Salary Question." In this segment, I'll give you several different ways to respond to this question and tell you what to do if interviewers ask multiple times. By giving you several options, you'll be able to create a response that feels comfortable and effective for you. I'll also describe what to do before you're asked "The Salary Question" and provide specific examples of what to say. I'll not only give you the strategy, I'll give you some examples.

Salary Tips.jpgCareer advisers generally agree that it is best to not be the one to first provide or mention a salary number. The job-seeker risk is high when replying too early to the salary question because the salary number is used to screen candidates from further consideration. Stating your salary requirements before you know the company's salary range is risky.

Your overall strategy is to delay stating a specific salary number until the company has decided to hire you. Any discussion of compensation before this time runs a high risk of eliminating you from further consideration. Companies ask "The Salary Question" to ensure that your compensation is compatible with what they are willing to pay someone for a specific job. The problem is that when this discussion occurs too early in the interview process, the interviewers do not know how your compensation requirements compare to the value you can deliver. In the end, it is all about paying for results. Through the interview process, you have the opportunity to discuss the results you can deliver. At the end of the process, you are in a much stronger position to discuss compensation because the hiring manager understands the value you can deliver. It is in your best interest to delay the salary discussion until the company has decided it really wants to hire you.

Companies are much less aggressive using "The Salary Question" when the job market is strong for the job applicants. Job markets favoring the applicant force hiring managers to focus on getting the best value from an employee. During a weak job market, companies feel they have the upper hand and can be more aggressive screening job seekers regarding salary.

Know the Salary Range Before They Ask You

Before the interview or phone screen, research the salary range for your occupation. and are two web sites that provide salary range data. You can find out what companies are paying for your occupation in your industry and location. Corporations use data from these web sites to compare internal salary ranges against what other companies are paying for similar positions. When using the sites I just mentioned, you are researching salary ranges from many companies. The salary range for a specific company may be quite different, but it is likely to be similar to the broader salary ranges for your locale.

Your Strategy for Handling "The Salary Question"

When you are asked "The Salary Question," your response strategy is as follows:

  1. Don't give them a salary number
  2. State your interest in the position
  3. Express your openness to discuss salary later

Here is an example of how this strategy might sound when the interviewer asks, "What are your salary requirements?"

You smile and confidently say:

"I'd rather not give you a specific salary number right now. I am very interested in this opportunity with your firm, and I'll be thrilled to discuss salary after we've mutually concluded I'm a strong fit for your company."

I can hear you saying to me, "Hmm, that might work some of the time, Michael, but I'm not comfortable saying those words to avoid giving them a number." All right! Let's try another approach.

If you're already a user of Interview Mastery you'll recognize this strategy from the Interview Mastery module titled "Handling the Salary Question."

Second Time They Ask: Salary Range

Sometimes interviewers ask about salary a second time or in a different way. They often ask, "What is your current or most recent salary?" This question is more specific and feels more difficult to handle without providing a salary number.

Your response strategy remains the same; you don't want to state a number first. So your response to their second inquiry about your salary might sound like the following:

"I understand that you need to make sure my salary requirements and your salary range are aligned. Please share with me the salary range, and I'll tell how my salary fits in your range."

This second response almost always works, and the company representative reveals the salary range. Then you respond by saying approximately where your salary requirements are within their range.

You're not going to let me off the hook this easy. You're probably asking, "What do I say if they ask me again to give them a salary number?"

Third Time They Ask: Multiple Job Factors

If the interviewer or phone screener asks you a third time about your salary your strategy remains the same and you can say the following: "When deciding on a position, I consider the following factors: quality of the opportunity; quality of the company and the people I'd be working with; growth potential; location; and finally compensation. Compensation is the least important criteria I use to evaluate a position. So far, I'm impressed with what I have learned about this opportunity and remain very interested. What is the salary range you have established for this role?"

Remember that the first person to give a salary number is at a disadvantage. You want to discuss salary only when they are absolutely convinced they can't live without you. It is at this point that you have negotiating leverage...and not until then.

Craft a response that feels comfortable for you and practice saying it. Decide right now that you are not going to discuss salary until you are ready. Using this response strategy and the examples I've just given you could make the difference between you getting a job or being eliminated from further consideration. Your response to this frequent question will definitely influence the salary you are offered. You are worth it! So get ready to confidently handle "The Salary Question" and a few other difficult questions and you will secure a great job.

Handling difficult interview questions can be uncomfortable unless you know how to best handle them and have practiced responding to these questions. This is why Interview Mastery was help you be confident and ready to get hired during your next job interview.

The job interview is the most important moment in your job search. The career success you enjoy is directly related to your job interview skills. When you have interview skills, you control your career during the bad economic times and the good times.

Good luck on your next interview. You're going to be awesome!

If there is an issue you are struggling with and would like me to create a Podcast to help you, just e-mail me at And you can always find my contact information at under Contact Us. There you will find my e-mail and phone along with links to my blog, twitter posts, and LinkedIn profile.

- Michael Neece

CEO, Interview Mastery

Tuesday November 2, 2010

Online Job Demand Rises in October

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Online advertised vacancies rose 113,700 in October to 4,409,800, following an increase of 59,900 in September, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLineā„¢ (HWOL) Data Series released today. The nation's Supply/Demand rate stood at 3.44 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in September (the last available unemployment data), a figure that is down from a peak of 4.73 in October 2009. Nationally, there are 10.5 million more unemployed than advertised vacancies. (Chart 1).

"In this slow economic recovery, the October rise is welcome news that the trend in labor demand continues to move in a positive direction, albeit at a very moderate pace," said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board. "The October increase reflected a moderate rise in a range of occupations and geographically across the nation. The slow but steady upward trend of the last seven months points to modest growth in employment through the end of 2010." Note: the current declines in employment (Chart 2) reflect the closing out of the decennial Census.

October Conference Board Report.jpg

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Monday November 1, 2010

'Tis the Season for Staffing Across Sectors

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Holiday-shopping seasons traditionally mean increased temporary hiring at holiday-related companies and retailers. This year, staffing firms are telling news reporters that the season has brought an influx of requests from staffing clients in the retail business and in other sectors too.

The 2010 holiday hiring season is proving to be better than 2009 for holiday-related manufacturers and retailers. According to ASA member Denham Resources, cited in a news report on, area companies that produce and distribute holiday-related items "are hiring more people than last year."

In fact, "Half of [polled] hourly hiring managers are planning to bring on temporary workers this season, up from 3% in 2009," according to a survey by ASA member Shawn Boyer, the company's chief executive officer, told, "These holiday hiring indicators from the front lines of business make us cautiously optimistic that things are turning in the right direction."

And work force growth is not limited to season-specific companies or positions. Randstad, an ASA member, recently told the Associated Press that it experienced "'solid growth' in staffing for the manufacturing and logistics industries, and an increase in demand for administrators and skilled professionals" in the third quarter. The company has also expressed expectations for "continued healthy growth in the coming quarter."

"In the next few months, hiring for temporary or temporary-to-permanent positions outside the retail sector is expected to increase by around 10% over last year's holiday season," Paul Shanahan of ASA member company Adecco told The reason, according to news reporter AnnaMaria Andriotis, is that "this holiday season has coincided with gradual increases in personal spending on everything from gadgets to appliances to homes." Companies from loan-processing businesses to computer manufacturers are "starting to respond" and fill in the personnel gaps created by layoffs over the past few years. The article adds that many of the jobs being filled with temporary employees now could ultimately turn into permanent positions.

ASA president and CEO Richard Wahlquist agrees. During a recent interview with CNN about seasonal hiring, Wahlquist said, "We know that these people who are working in temporary jobs are going to be at the front of the line when it comes to making permanent hires."

To automatically receive updates about staffing news and media coverage of the industry, visit the ASA newsroom at and subscribe to the RSS (really simple syndication) feed. You can also follow the association on Twitter at