If you are tackling your job transition simply by uploading resumes and contacting recruiters, you probably have time on your hands while you’re waiting—and hoping—to be invited in for an interview. When you rely only on this approach to your search, it can take quite a while—and you may be missing additional opportunities for which you would be better suited than what actually materializes.
Incorporating an additional approach—by going on information interviews—opens up many more possibilities as you move forward. Consider the following:
1. What Are Information Interviews, And How Do They Work?
2. Action Steps
3. Dos And Don’ts
What Are Information Interviews, And How Do They Work?
Information interviews are appointments you initiate that enable you to tap into the hidden job market—those job openings that have not yet been published—where approximately 80% of jobs are gotten. It differs from the more formal job interview in many respects—the tone is informal, and it is a soft-sell approach to the job search. The payoff is generally not immediate—but other benefits of using this approach can be immeasurable.
These appointments need to be treated just as seriously as job interviews because they are part of your marketing campaign. Indirectly you are always trying to make a good impression, so that you will be kept in mind and referred to job openings that could be a good fit. Wear good business casual dress, even if you are meeting in a coffee shop. Communicate that you are a person who goes the extra mile.
Contact people who are doing the job you might want, and ask for 20 minutes of their time. Your stated purpose is that you are looking for information, advice, suggestions, and feedback. Take the pressure off people from the start by making it clear that you do not expect them to have a job for you. Do not use the information interview to ask the person if they know of specific openings. Instead, ask for the names of others you might talk with for additional information. It’s best to do this at the end of the appointment.
Information interviewing is a relational process, not a series of one-time events. Continue to follow up after each appointment, letting people know that you have followed through with their suggestions. Look for ways to be helpful. Approach the process with a spirit of reciprocity. This will help with the discomfort you could feel when asking for a favor.
Information interviews have many benefits. They give you an opportunity to create more choices for yourself. Because you initiate them, knowing how to manage the process well gives you an opportunity to take more control over the job search so that you are not continually in a waiting mode. It is also beneficial to be expanding your network of contacts for the long term.
Set up a spreadsheet to track your appointments, including names and contact information for each person. Continue to track the dates of each contact, what was discussed, and the next follow-up date.
Starting with people you know, add names to the list. You can include former colleagues, alumni, friends, and family members. Even if the people you talk to initially are completely outside your field, they may know exactly the right people for you to talk to.
Begin by practicing these appointments with people who are “low risk,” and where you don’t have to worry if you make a mistake. Hold off on sitting down with your top contacts until you have experience and are comfortable with the process. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, but be willing to look at what you need to be doing differently going forward.
Prepare carefully for each appointment, including researching the company and the person with whom you will be meeting. Develop an introduction about your work history that makes your experience come alive.
Because you have asked for the appointment, it is up to you to have an organized agenda for the meeting. Be prepared—in the event that the person you’re meeting with starts asking you questions, and allow the meeting to turn into a job interview on the spot, in case that opportunity presents itself.
Dos And Don’ts
Structure the appointment carefully
Research for each appointment
Exercise discretion and say positive things about your current situation, boss, and colleagues
Take pressure off people to find you a job
Show up as a whole person rather than trying to establish connection in a formulaic way
Approach each discussion as an exchange rather than as a transaction
Approach the process reciprocally
Wait until the end of the appointment to ask for introductions
Ask for a job
To Sum Up: When you approach the information interview in a thoughtful and organized way, you can create choices for yourself that might surprise you. And pausing to understand the fine points of the process at the start can save you having to go back and work twice!
Nonie Potocki is the owner of her own private practice in New York City.
Originally Posted on Linked IN by: Nonie Potocki
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
This quote from Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who helped to develop an early computer, invented the compiler making possible higher level computer languages and helped to define the design of the programming language COBOL got me thinking about the adoption curve of new processes in business.
"We've always done it this way..." - The question is why - when there are better, more cost effective, efficient and productive ways? A great example is to look at how you and your company source, hire and build project teams.
Discover what can be accomplished another way...
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Todd Brinegar
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
It’s truly fascinating how successful people approach problems. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to embrace and obstacles to overcome.
Their confidence in the face of hardship is driven by the ability to let go of the negativity that holds so many otherwise sensible people back.
Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania has studied this phenomenon more than anyone else has, and he’s found that success in life is driven by one critical distinction—whether you believe that your failures are produced by personal deficits beyond your control or that they are mistakes you can fix with effort.
Success isn’t the only thing determined by your mindset. Seligman has found much higher rates of depression in people who attribute their failures to personal deficits. Optimists fare better; they treat failure as learning experiences and believe they can do better in the future.
This success mindset requires emotional intelligence (EQ), and it’s no wonder that, among the million-plus people that TalentSmart has tested, 90% of top performers have high EQs.
Maintaining the success mindset isn’t easy. There are seven things, in particular, that tend to shatter it. These challenges drag people down because they appear to be barriers that cannot be overcome. Not so for successful people, as these challenges never hold them back.
Age. Age really is just a number. Successful people don’t let their age define who they are and what they are capable of. Just ask Betty White or any young, thriving entrepreneur. I remember a professor in graduate school who told our class that we were all too young and inexperienced to do consulting work. He said we had to go work for another company for several years before we could hope to succeed as independent consultants. I was the youngest person in the class, and I sat there doing work for my consulting clients while he droned on. Without fail, people feel compelled to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do because of your age. Don’t listen to them. Successful people certainly don’t. They follow their heart and allow their passion—not the body they’re living in—to be their guide.
They follow their heart and allow their passion—not the body they’re living in—to be their guide.
Negativity. Life won’t always go the way you want it to, but when it comes down to it, you have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else does. Successful people make their time count. Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, they reflect on everything they have to be grateful for. Then they find the best solution available, tackle the problem, and move on.
When the negativity comes from someone else, successful people avoid it by setting limits and distancing themselves from it. Think of it this way:
If the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke?
Of course not. You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with all negative people.
A great way to stop complainers in their tracks is to ask them how they intend to fix the problem they’re complaining about. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.
Toxic people. Successful people believe in a simple notion: you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Just think about it—some of the most successful companies in recent history were founded by brilliant pairs. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple lived in the same neighborhood, Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft met in prep school, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google met at Stanford.
Just as great people help you to reach your full potential, toxic people drag you right down with them. Whether it's negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people create stress and strife that should be avoided at all costs.
If you’re unhappy with where you are in your life, just take a look around. More often than not, the people you’ve surrounded yourself with are the root of your problems.
You’ll never reach your peak until you surround yourself with the right people.What other people think. When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own destiny. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to hold up your accomplishments to anyone else’s, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.
Successful people know that caring about what other people think is a waste of time and energy. When successful people feel good about something that they’ve done, they don’t let anyone’s opinions take that away from them.
No matter what other people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.
Fear. Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination. Danger is real. It’s the uncomfortable rush of adrenaline you get when you almost step in front of a bus. Fear is a choice. Successful people know this better than anyone does, so they flip fear on its head. They are addicted to the euphoric feeling they get from conquering their fears.
Don’t ever hold back in life just because you feel scared. I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you...
The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.
The past or the future. Like fear, the past and the future are products of your mind. No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. Successful people know this, and they focus on living in the present moment. It’s impossible to reach your full potential if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment.
To live in the moment, you must do two things:
1) Accept your past. If you don’t make peace with your past, it will never leave you and it will create your future. Successful people know the only good time to look at the past is to see how far you’ve come.
2) Accept the uncertainty of the future, and don’t place unnecessary expectations upon yourself. Worry has no place in the here and now. As Mark Twain once said,
Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.
The state of the world. Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time and you’ll see it’s just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It’s easy to think the world is headed downhill fast.
And who knows? Maybe it is. But successful people don’t worry about that because they don’t get caught up in things they can’t control. Instead, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power—their attention and their effort. They focus their attention on all the things they’re grateful for, and they look for the good that’s happening in the world. They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them, because these small steps are all it takes to make the world a better place.
They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them...
Bringing It All TogetherYour success is driven by your mindset. With discipline and focus, you can ensure that these seven obstacles never hold you back from reaching your full potential.
What other challenges do successful people overcome? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.
If you'd like to learn how to increase your emotional intelligence (EQ), consider taking the online Emotional Intelligence Appraisal test that's included with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book. Your test results will pinpoint which of the book's 66 emotional intelligence strategies will increase your EQ the most.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
Interviews are not stereotypically fun. In fact, a lot of candidates will feel anxious beforehand, and a sense of relief when it’s over. In my experience, they will often seek out a lot of advice about how to ensure they have a positive interview experience. Whilst this is partially their responsibility, I feel that the interviewers also have this duty to both the company and the candidate.
Why do I believe this? First and foremost, you will get the best out of a happy and relaxed candidate who wants to be there, thereby ensuring a truly meritocratic selection process and an efficient use of both of your time.
Secondly, interview processes are always a two way street. You may be assessing whether this candidate is a good fit for you, but don’t forget - they are doing the exact same thing. If the person is particularly talented, chances are they will have more than one opportunity lined up. If they enjoy their interview with you, it will stand out amongst the others and you will remain the employer of choice.
Thirdly, regardless of desirability, you still want to keep your company image intact and ensure the candidate walks away saying only good things about your organisation. Therefore enjoyable interviews should be part and parcel of your employer brand and internal recruitment strategy.
I believe that the key to an enjoyable interview boils down to making the interviewee feel at ease during the interview, particularly a sense of being listened to, respected, and excited about the opportunity ahead.
Here are a few simple tips to ensuring that this is the case:
1. Remember your mannersJust because you are the one doing the interviewing, doesn’t mean you should keep the candidate waiting too long. Typically, a good candidate will arrive at least ten minutes early. Once you get the phone call saying they have arrived, make your way over as soon as you can.
Welcome them with a warm smile and a handshake, ask them how they are, make informal conversation about their journey, offer them a drink, basically do all you can to make them feel welcome.
By being punctual and welcoming, you will set a standard of mutual respect, show that you are just as interested in them and that they are worthy of your time. In addition, the candidate may be nervous. Waiting around for you in reception, just to be greeted coldly, will do everything but put them at ease.
2. Sell the opportunity to themOpen the interview by talking about the company, particularly its major achievements, unique selling points and overall purpose in its sector. What are the strengths of your company culture? How inclusive is it? Is everyone equally aligned to practices and goals? Do people share ideas and collaborate? Are the people friendly and welcoming? Is the office environment talkative or quiet? Do you socialise outside of work?
Provide an overview of the wider team and outline the possibilities within the role, whether they include training and progression programmes, reward schemes or exciting projects. Use personal anecdotes and talk about your journey within the company to bring these to life.
Again, this will show that you are just as keen to sell yourselves to them as they are to you - which will make them feel respected. By starting the interview by talking about the company, you are also able to ease the candidate in.
Most importantly, you enable the candidate to envision being part of such a great, well-oiled machine, and actually make them feel a sense of excitement.
3. Be encouragingAs the candidate starts answering your questions, listen carefully. Under no circumstances interrupt them. If they happen to stammer or trip up on their words don’t finish their sentence. Just be patient, nod and wait for them to finish.
If you are particularly impressed with an answer that the interviewee gives, say so. Praise will only bring out the best in them.
If you are unclear on one of their answers, ask them to elaborate or give examples for clarity. If nothing else, this will make the candidate aware that you are actually engaged and interested in what they have to say.
The days of old-school interview interrogation are over. By being constructive and encouraging, you can make the candidate feel respected and at ease.
4. Close the dealAs you reach the end of the interview, the candidate should feel positive about the company and the opportunity. However it is important that you “close” them in the same way you expect them to “close” you. Ask them what they are looking for from a new role, a new company; do they have any reservations about joining your organisation? Be sure to check whether they have any other questions as this could give you a chance to counter any doubts or further sell the opportunity.
Whether you are interested in hiring the candidate or not, this practice is important. Not only will you get some feedback on any shortcomings of the role, the candidate will feel that you respect their opinion.
5. End on a good noteLastly, end the interview by thanking the candidate for their time and letting them know when they can expect to hear back. Provide constructive feedback to the recruiter straight away, even if they aren’t successful.
This will ease the candidate’s mind as they aren’t left in the dark wondering when the phone will ring or how the interview went. Furthermore, it will cement a positive interview experience in the candidates’ memory.
In summary, by exhibiting behaviour that demonstrates interest, engagement and encouragement from beginning to end, you can help a candidate feel respected, at ease, and excited, thereby enjoying their interview. Crucially their experience is also a positive confirmation of your employer brand, which is important when candidates subsequently talk about it with others.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Nick Deligiannis
Proponents of online learning often use train metaphors to describe its growing impact on the educational landscape. Those of us who teach at two-year colleges, especially, are constantly encouraged, prodded, hectored, cajoled—and sometimes even ordered—to get on board. Otherwise, we're told, we're likely to be run over.
As one who is skeptical regarding the long-term benefits of online learning, I would attest that the train metaphor is pretty apt. I sometimes feel as though I'm standing on the tracks, signaling "proceed with caution," while the online locomotive bears down on me, air horn reverberating.
I suspect others share that vivid nightmare. But what makes it especially sobering now is that, with the advent of MOOCs, the train is picking up steam and we're no longer alone in its destructive path. These days entire departments, disciplines, and even institutions potentially stand in the way, at risk of being pulverized along with the rest of us.
Thinking about that phenomenon has led me to wonder, lately, just who is at the throttle. I think that's a question well worth asking, and the answer ought to inform our response as faculty members. It seems to me that there are only a handful of possibilities:
Students. Supposedly everything we do in higher education is for the students, and we tend to be especially insistent on that point whenever we fear people might question our motives. Online learning is a perfect example. The reason we keep offering more and more classes online is that students are demanding them. Right?
Well, maybe. It's true that during the past decade, the number of students enrolled in online courses grew at a significant rate. But according to a recent study, that growth started leveling off in the fall of 2010, when about 31 percent of all postsecondary students were taking at least one online class. Researchers concluded that "the slower rate of growth ... compared to previous years may be the first sign that the upward rise in online enrollments is approaching a plateau."
Moreover, a survey conducted this year by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University found that students at two-year campuses, in particular, prefer face-to-face over online instruction, especially for courses they deem difficult.
So while some students want, need, and benefit from online classes, the argument that students in general are clamoring for them doesn't exactly hold up.
Faculty members. Are they driving the train by demanding to teach more and more classes online? After all, faculty members are often faulted for putting their own scheduling preferences ahead of students' needs and desires. Is this simply another case of professorial self-centeredness?
I don't think so. Speaking anecdotally for a moment, I've talked to literally scores of people who teach online, at my institution and others. Hardly any of them prefer it. Oh, they might prefer it in the sense that teaching online allows them more flexibility or reduces their commute. But the overwhelming majority of them tell me that, all things being equal, they would much prefer to teach in a traditional classroom, because they enjoy the personal interaction with students.
According to a 2009 report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, only about 36 percent of faculty members have any experience developing or teaching an online course—a number that conforms closely to the roughly one-third of students who take classes online. Moreover, according to The Chronicle's report, the study also found that professors' general attitude toward online courses remains unfavorable—even among those who teach online: "70 percent of all faculty members believe the learning outcomes of online courses to be either inferior or somewhat inferior, compared with face-to-face instruction."
When it comes to MOOCs, even fewer faculty members are on board. In fact, as we saw during the recent exchange between San Jose State University's philosophy department and the Harvard professor Michael Sandel, for every faculty member developing a MOOC, there appear to be dozens who object to using such courses in lieu of more traditional offerings.
More telling, perhaps, is the recent Chronicle survey that found that 72 percent of faculty members who teach MOOCs don't believe their students should receive college credit. In other words, even supporters of MOOCs don't think they're as good as face-to-face instruction.
So it's not our colleagues at the throttle of the monstrous locomotive threatening to squash the rest of us.
Employers. Maybe it's the end users, the companies that hire our graduates, who insist on more and more—and bigger and bigger—online offerings. Certainly, if you listen to the administrators and politicians (and yes, I'll get to them in a moment), that would seem to be the case.
Unfortunately, that theory doesn't wash, either. Another recent survey conducted for The Chronicle found that employers have a favorable impression of all types of colleges and universities—except for online institutions. And while there's certainly a difference between students who complete their entire degrees online and those who just take a few online courses, the findings clearly suggest that employers don't trust online instruction as much as traditional methods.
Just a few weeks ago, in "Giving Employers What They Don't Really Want," Robert J. Sternberg, president of the University of Wyoming, tackled this issue directly. He noted that most of the employers surveyed by The Chronicle said they were looking to hire people with "a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems" as well as having "ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; and the capacity for continued new learning." The problem, Sternberg said, is that "those are not skills optimally developed through passive learning ... including MOOCs."
Whatever we've been told, I don't believe employers are demanding that students take more online classes or sign up for MOOCs. Which brings us to ...
Administrators. Since the "online revolution" began in the mid-1990s, I've taught at three different two-year colleges, visited many others, and sat through countless conference presentations trumpeting the latest technological breakthrough. My observation is that administrators, along with a handful of true believers among the faculty, have always been the primary proponents of online learning. On campus, at least, they're the ones driving the train.
Why? The main reason, I believe, is money. Online courses enable colleges to enroll students and "deliver content" inexpensively, since they don't require classrooms, parking spaces, restrooms, or, in some cases, even faculty offices. I've heard people argue that, done well, online courses can cost just as much as the face-to-face variety. That may be true, but I dare say that at most two-year colleges, they are offered as cheaply as possible, and that is one of the reasons, if not the main reason, for their existence.
California's higher-education leaders basically admitted as much when they considered, a few months ago, the possibility of "outsourcing" some of their course offerings. The problem as they saw it was that they couldn't afford to offer all the classes students wanted; and the solution, they thought, might just be MOOCs, which would enable them to provide those courses (in a manner of speaking) at comparatively low cost. Fortunately, that idea fell through.
Another reason that campus leaders—especially at two-year colleges—seem so anxious to embrace online learning is that it's "innovative." If there's one thing every community-college president wants carved on his or her tombstone, it's that he or she was "an innovator." (That, and maybe a "transformational leader.") Ironically, for many of those presidents, being innovative seems to mean doing exactly what everybody else is doing, only more of it.
Clearly, the online train that threatens to roll right over us has an administrator at the throttle, gleefully pushing the handle toward "full power."
Politicians. On the other hand, administrators are not alone. Joining them in driving the train is a politician (or two, or a dozen) shouting encouragement, or perhaps threats.
Administrators, after all, especially at public institutions (which nearly all community colleges are), serve at the pleasure of politicians. And what is it that pleases politicians? Apparently, it's for as many students as possible to take as many online classes as possible.
Exhibit A is an opinion essay by Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and Randy Best that ran in Inside Higher Ed back in May. Entitled "Higher Ed in 2018," the essay foresees an educational landscape in which "more than 80 percent of professional degree programs [sic] ... will be earned online." Why? Because "rising tuition, declining government subsidies, stagnant endowments, and increased competition are challenging higher education like never before."
In other words, it's all about the cost. As the friend who sent me that essay noted, nowhere does it say anything about the quality of education people will be receiving in this brave new world. That's because all too often politicians, like administrators, aren't concerned with quality; they're more interested in the bottom line. And it's not just Republican politicians, like Jeb Bush, who fall into that category: The state senator in California who originally proposed outsourcing to MOOCs is a Democrat.
I understand that politicians have a duty to be good stewards of public money, as do college administrators; and I certainly don't have any objection to cutting costs where we can. But when our primary objective becomes making degrees as cheap as possible, rather than providing the best education possible, we're missing the mark as educators and doing no good for the future of our students or our nation.
That's why it's so important for us as faculty members to realize who's driving the online locomotive. It's not students, only about a third of whom take any online classes. It's not our colleagues, the vast majority of whom still aren't fully on board with online learning in general, much less with MOOCs. And it's certainly not employers, who over all seem to prefer that students take most of their coursework in traditional classrooms. It's the administrators and the politicians, whose priorities—let's be honest—are not the same as ours.
I sometimes wonder if the train is so big, and moving so fast, that it's just going to derail itself due to basic physics. But unless that happens, and until it does, the only way to slow it down is for enough of us to refuse to get on board and instead line the tracks, signaling "proceed with caution" with all our might.
Originally Posted On: Chronicle.com By: Rob Jenkins
By Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick
It’s never been harder to lead a team, what with five generations now in the workforce, some of whom work remotely and others globally, some of whom are engaged and others not so much.
One skill used to effect to by just about every great manager we study: They get to know the individual stories of each employee who works for them.
It may sound simple, but there’s wisdom in the practice.
Here’s one example: We recently met John Pray, who is CEO of Operation Homefront, a charity that provides emergency assistance for U.S. military troops, the families they leave behind, and wounded servicemen when they return home. This former brigadier general builds great teams wherever he goes. With the majority of his 120 employees spread all over the country, he has still taken the time to get to know something personal about every person on his team.
Pray told us recently: “Everyone has a story. What are they proud of? What are their aspirations? When we know their stories, we better understand how to engage and motivate each person.”
Finding a person’s story doesn’t have to take an ordinate amount of time. Usually these discussions take only a few minutes. Pray asks people about their families and hobbies, what they like to do in their spare time, if anything is new in their lives, where they’ve worked in the past and what they learned there. He also asks: “Where do you want to be in five years?” “What gets you excited when you come to work every day?” “What does our mission of serving young military families mean to you and why is it so important?”
Pray said, “As a non-profit, we can’t pay people what they’d be worth in the open market, so we need to do everything we can to make the work experience engaging and motivating. If I know their stories, I can do that!”
In addition to Pray’s great questions, here are another dozen questions to help you get to know the people who work with you. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but a few ideas to get you started:
Your challenge for today: Ask a few of these questions to someone on your team.
Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick are the New York Times bestselling authors of The Carrot Principle, All In and What Motivates Me. They are also co-founders of The Culture Works, an innovator in employee engagement and leadership training solutions.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Chester Elton
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