Turning a Temp Job Into a Permanent Position

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

October 2019 – Issue 236

Turning a Temp Job Into a Permanent Position

For workers interested in making a temporary job permanent, here are some tips from author Karen Burns from an article published by U.S. News & World Report:

Treat the temp job like a long job interview. Do your best work. Always be punctual, cheerful, enthusiastic, and conscientious. This is your chance to prove you’re a star.

Temp where you want to work. Not only will you be an obvious choice when the company thinks of hiring permanently, you’ll also hone the skills you’ll need in that full-time position.

Adopt the company’s culture. You want to show that you already work there (for real). If you look and act like a temp, employers are going to think of you as a temp.

Be a team player. Offer to work overtime if needed. Be willing to do tasks outside your job description. Make friends with the permanent workers.

Dress the part. Even though you’re a temp, you don’t need to look like one. If you dress as though you take yourself seriously, others will take you seriously.

Keep your résumé on hand. Make sure it’s up to date at all times, in both paper and electronic formats. You never know when someone may ask to see it.

Make sure your employer knows about your skills. A temp job can be quite specialized. Look for ways to let your employer and your co-workers know that you can do so much more.

Learn as much as you can about the company. Temps often aren’t given in-depth instruction. Make an effort to learn about the company’s products, services and market.

Meet people. A temp job is great networking venue. Make yourself visible. Get out and about and meet department heads, HR employees, and anyone else with influence.

Be a self-starter. Pay attention, take notes, and anticipate needs. Bosses appreciate and value people who can work without supervision.

Let them know you’re interested in permanent work. A company may assume you’re happy as a temp. From time to time talk with supervisors about your goals and let your staffing agency know you’re interested in a full-time position. The agency has a good relationship with the company or you wouldn’t be there; the agency can be a strong advocate for you.

Make yourself indispensable. This is the key. The way to turn a temp assignment into a permanent job is to exceed expectations. Make yourself an employee the company can’t live without. If you’re such a stellar worker that employers start to “need” you, you’ll be on your way to a permanent paycheck


The 4th quarter is here and hiring not only remains strong but appears to be picking up steam.  We at Berman Larson Kane have new orders from clients that we have not heard from in many years.  This resurgent’s is being caused by companies need to get deeper into the talent pool to hire exceptional candidates.

As always it is our pleasure to assist these clients and continue to use our extensive ATS to isolate talent that is not listed in the public domains.

As for the remainder of the year, we are predicting continuous hiring strength from a wide assortment of industries and are very optimistic about the New Year.

We thank all for continuing to place their faith in Berman Larson Kane’s ability to staff challenging opportunities and look so forward to celebrating our 40 years of service in 2020.


Recharge Your Batteries and Love Your Job

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

September 2019 – Issue 235


Burnout is one of the biggest problems in the workplace, especially for older workers, and is a major reason many people retire earlier than they projected, according to an article in AARP The Magazine. But for people in their mid-to-late 50s and into their 60s, these are generally peak earning years, so staying on the job allows for continued retirement-account contributions and a delay in filing for Social Security benefits to qualify for a higher payout.

That said, with more people wanting—or needing—to work well past their 50s, generating new enthusiasm on the job is critical, the article pointed out.

“We are rewriting the map of life,” said Marc Freedman, the CEO of Encore.org, a nonprofit organization that’s building a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond. “In the past, if you were 56 or 57, it might be only a year or two before you were ready to slip into early retirement. Now you’re thinking about another 10- or 15-year working career. That changes the entire equation.”

Here from the article, adapted from the AARP book, Love Your Job: The New Rules of Career Happiness, are eight tips to help older workers reengage.

Seek Out New Duties — If you’re constantly doing the same set of tasks each day, the monotony alone can drag you down. Step things up. Scrutinize your current position to pinpoint a new responsibility you can add that will refresh your focus, and maybe even scare you a bit. Ask to be assigned a signature project you’ve always wanted to launch, or volunteer for a new role. At this stage, it’s easy to coast, but this is the time to try something different.

Get up to Speed — It’s easy to become complacent about staying current with the trends in your field. Set up a Google Alert to notify you when your employer is in the news or when a competitor is making waves or beginning a new venture. Follow industry thought-leader blogs, join relevant groups on Linked In, and participate in the discussion.

Connect with your coworkers — Subtle changes in your behavior each day can have a huge impact. For example, practice listening to coworkers and celebrate their successes. It’ll make you feel good and build esprit de corps. Reach out to new colleagues, or those you don’t know well, to grab lunch and learn about what they do and their backgrounds. Stop by someone’s office to talk about something unrelated to work. Instead of emailing a reply, have a face-to-face chat.

 Fine-tune your relationship with a difficult boss — Lots of people quit their bosses, not their jobs. No matter how impossible your supervisor is, keep your side of the street clean. If your unhappiness with him or her affects your productivity, this will come back to bite you, not your boss. Most supervisors do want you to succeed; this reflects on their performance, too. You might just need to gently show your boss, by demonstrating that you’re engaged in your job, how you can help each other.

Find joy around the edges — Many companies provide the opportunity to do volunteer work right within the organization. Find a volunteer gig that can help build relationships with coworkers (even your boss) and forge bonds across departments that you might never have had otherwise. Get involved with a mentoring program. Participate in employee activities. Join or organize a company team sport. Or create a walking, biking or running group.

 Clean up your office — When people feel sapped of energy, often they’re not clearing out as they go. Their in-box is overflowing, their desk is a disaster, and their file drawers are bursting. De-cluttering is liberating and empowering. You’re saying, “This is valuable; this is not.” It’s a physical way to be involved in making decisions about your life and what you want to do with it.

 Be happy in your work — A recent Gallup poll found that the more that employees use their strengths at work and are engaged in their jobs, the happier and more enthusiastic they are. You’ll discover that your enthusiasm will not only trickle down to the quality of your work but that people will want to have what you have. You’ll be the one they seek to have on their team. To quote Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

 Upgrade your skills — This is especially true with new technology. Learn what computer programs your employer values, and take a class or a refresher course at your community college, or participate in a workplace workshop or training program. That hands-on approach can open doors to a promotion or lateral move. But more than that, it can ramp up your enthusiasm for your job and push it in new directions. Boredom is often at the root of unhappiness at work. If you persistently add worth to what you bring to the job, chances are your boss will notice and reward you for it, and that can do wonders for your attitude.


The summer is behind us and business and hiring should continue at a brisk pace for the immediate future.  As for 2020, although the US economy is strong,  projections and the likely hood of a recession linger in business leaders projections and world stock markets.  So 2020 hiring and unemployment is any one’s guess.   As for our local predictions, the aging of the workforce will keep unemployment low in the NJ/NY market place and the competition for top talent will not cool down.

We at Berman Larson Kane thank all for their continuous support and continue to honor the 40-year tradition of assisting hiring authorities and job-seeks with the best employment options.  Enjoy the cooler weather and hopefully not a cool down economy.


In Interviews Ask Questions

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report
August, 2019 — Issue 234


In Interviews, Ask Enough Questions

When interviewing, many job candidates don’t realize that the questions they ask are just as important as how they present themselves and the answers they give. According to an article published by CareerBuilder.com, failing to ask questions shows a lack of genuine interest in the job and asking foolish questions indicates that the candidate didn’t do enough research prior to the interview. Making either mistake can cost a candidate a job offer.

In the article, Heather Krasna, author of “Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service,” advises job seekers to prepare a list of questions before the interview, much like they’d create a list of talking points that address the value they offer the employer.

“Every interview is different” she told careers writer Selena Dehne who authored the article. “Some interviewers will only give you the chance to ask two or three questions. Others will ask again and again if you have any questions, so prepare more questions than you think you will need in case this happens.”

Developing a list of questions to ask can indeed be a challenge for many job seekers, the article noted. For guidance in the topic, Krasna offered the following suggested questions and explained why such questions can give candidates a much-needed edge:

What are you seeking in the ideal candidate for this position?

This question allows you to counter by adding any particular skills or qualities you have left out of the interview, but which the employer thinks is important.

Can you give me some examples of the types of projects I may be working on?

If the job description was a bit vague on the types of assignments you would be doing or if you are otherwise unclear on this point, this question is essential to ask.

What do you like best about working for this organization?

This question not only gives great insight into the culture of the organization, it also makes the person answering the question feel good. In addition, if the person answering can’t come up with something good to say, this is a red flag about the place you might be working.

How did this position become available?

This question is a bit pushy, but it is quite important if you do not know how the position opened. Is the organization expanding? Or did the last person leave, and can you subtly find out why?

What would you like to see happen six-to-12 months after you hire a new person for this position?

This question is akin to “How will I be evaluated?” or “How do you measure success in this role?” It can also clue you in on whether the expectations for the job are realistic.

What resources are available for this position?

This question addresses the technology, staff or budget resources you will have and gives many insights into whether the organization is being realistic about what you can accomplish given the resources available.

How would you describe your management style?

When you are being interviewed by a hiring manager to whom you would report, that is a great question for gathering insight into whether you might get along.

What is the next step in the process? May I have your business card?

The final question can help relieve your anxiety after the interview because you at least have some clue about how long it will be before the employer gets back to you. Ask for business cards from each person interviewing you so you can send thank-you notes.

Krasna added in the CareerBuilder.com article that there are also questions candidates should steer clear of asking during the interview, such as inquiries about salary, scandals and office politics, and personal qualities about the interviewer.



As summer unwinds and we prepare for the fall season we at Berman Larson Kane have witnessed a steady job market with competition for top talent being extremely competitive.  Unemployment remains at record lows and employment numbers although lower for 2019 still are positive and strong.

So if you are a hiring authority or a job seeker we look forward to assisting you to meet these challenges.  We thank all the privilege of helping staffing needs and career goals for the past 39 years.  It is truly an honor.  Enjoy the final month of summer as we prepare for the anticipated after Labor Day acceleration of the job market.




Tips for Telephone Interviews

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

July 2019 – Issue 233

Tips for Telephone Interviews

A telephone interview is usually short — allowing just enough time for a recruiter to form a general impression of a job candidate — so the focus is on questions that help to evaluate someone quickly. The candidate’s goal is to turn the phone call into a face-to-face meeting, so answers to questions need to be concise. As a rule of thumb, keep answers to less than two minutes; if an interviewer wants to know more, he or she will ask.

Here are some are typical questions/discussion topics covered in telephone interviews, along with guidance and insight on making the interview successful:

  1. Tell me a little about yourself. Interviewers often pose this first. They don’t want your life story, but rather want to know if meeting you would be a good use of their time. Answer with a brief work history showing how each project and job helped prepare you for this job; then give a profile of the “professional you,” addressing your skills as they relate to doing this job well.
  2. What experience do you have?Make any discussion of your experience relevant to this job, and the specific skills you will bring to executing it well. At its core, everything you do professionally is concerned with the identification, prevention and solution of problems within your area of responsibility.

Your answers can show this awareness by saying that this is always part of your thinking and, by giving examples, of preventing or solving problems common to your area of responsibility.

  1. What are your strengths? Slant your answer toward the specific skill requirements of the job, your problem prevention and solution headset, and your possession of the transferable professional skills such as multi-tasking, critical thinking, and some key communication skills that can underlie success in every job.
  2. What are your weaknesses? You can safely, and honestly, say that your greatest weakness is finding time to stay current with all the new technologies/skills required in your work, because it’s a challenge everyone experiences. Then you can give an example(s) of how you have made time to develop an in-demand new skill.
  3. How much do you want? If the interviewer asks about money, say that at this point you don’t know enough about the company or the job to answer accurately, “I have no real understanding of the job, your company or the different benefits that could come from joining your team, so obviously my discussion of salary without this knowledge can’t be entirely accurate.

However, you can add that after an analysis of employment sites, salary calculators and talking with colleagues, you would be looking at a salary in a particular range (which you would provide).

The telephone interview comes to an end when you are asked whether you have any questions. The article pointed out that if you have not already been invited to meet the interviewer, now is the time to take the initiative by asking: “The most pressing question I have is when we can meet?”

In closing your conversation, take care to find out the correct spelling and pronunciation of the interviewer’s name for your follow-up email, which should ideally be sent the same day as the interview.


We are pleased to announce that our new phone systems has been implemented allowing for seamless communications for remote workers.  We thank all for your support during this transition.

As the stock market continues to lead in a positive direction, as international trade gyrates and as the job market continues to expand.  We are Berman Larson Kane continue to move positively as the market continues to improve for job-seekers.

We thank all for your support and having the confidence to allow us to assist wit h your hiring challenges and career enhancement programs.  Enjoy the Sumer Months.




It’s Important to Take a Vacation

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

June 2019 – Issue 232

It’s Important to Take a Vacation

If you’d like to take a vacation this summer but are concerned about a heavy workload or the prospect of falling behind, you should make every effort to get away from the office, even if it’s just for a short period. That’s the general advice from an article published by The New York Times, which points out that taking a vacation is usually like hitting the reset button — providing relief from stress, frustration and weariness that comes from any job and allowing you to become more creative and productive.

Careers columnist Eilene Zimmerman presents the following insight on the topic from the newspaper’s Q&A feature article, “Balancing a Vacation and a Busy Office”:

  1. You’d like to take some vacation time this summer, but you have a heavy workload and are worried about falling behind. Should you take time off anyway?

Generally, yes. Vacations are good for you, professionally and personally. The stress, frustration and weariness that come with any job, inevitably build over time. Because a balance between work and life is healthy, it’s important that work doesn’t always take precedence.

“We have day-to-day distractions and also longer-term, ongoing concerns that sap our creativity and efficiency, like paying the mortgage, career advancement and life goals,” said executive coach Jeffrey Cannon. Vacations help “sort through these and find solutions,” he told the newspaper.

Yet, the article does point out, that there are indeed times when it may be necessary, even if not ideal, to skip the vacation. Involvement in a time-sensitive project with a firm upcoming due date might be one example.

  1. You’ve decided that you want to go away for a week, but others in your department are also planning vacations. How can you get the week you want when others want it, too?

The further ahead you plan, the more likely you are to get your preferred week — though some workplaces have rules that grant time by seniority only.

Vacation planning is most effective when it’s a team effort, says Leslie A. Perlow, a professor of organizational behavior at Harvard Business School. Team planning should involve you, your colleagues, direct reports and your immediate manager working together to arrange vacation time. “The team commits to making it a shared responsibility,” said Perlow, author of “Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work.”

If there is an important event that you feel you must attend, like a wedding or a college graduation, map out how your responsibilities will be covered during that time and then propose that to your boss, she added.

  1. How can you enjoy your vacation without worrying about the office?

Make a plan that covers what you intend to finish before you leave, as well as tasks that will be handled each day you are gone and by whom, so everyone knows their responsibilities, said Dawn Fay of the staffing firm Robert Half International. Make sure to inform customers that you will be away and give them a contact person in your absence.

If you are a manager, your vacation could actually be a boon for high-potential employees in your group. By letting them take on some of your duties, Fay added, they become more visible to your manager and have a chance to show they can handle more responsibility.

  1. Is it O.K. to disconnect electronically while on vacation?

If you do work that’s time-sensitive or where people must be able to contact you, make yourself available for a certain period a few times during the week or for a short time frame each day, Fay said. After all, it won’t be much of a vacation if you’re tied to your cell phone.

If everyone in your firm is reachable around the clock, you have to decide how much you’re willing to buck that trend, said Carol Sladek, a work-life consulting leader at the human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt. Limiting accessibility to specific periods during your vacation may be the best compromise.

  1. How can you make the post-vacation transition back to work less stressful?

Before leaving, schedule a transition meeting for the morning you return with those who covered for you, Fay said. They can tell you what happened in your absence. If you work in a fast-paced environment, Sladek added, it may be wise to clear voice mail and e-mail the night before you return: “This way, you are ready to dive back in first thing in the morning.”

News from BLK

June is an exciting month here at BLK as everyone is looking forward to Eric Larson  appears  as a contestant on Jeopardy Friday,  June 14th.  We are all looking forward to his appearance and wish him the best of luck.

We are also looking forward to a busy summer as clients’ plan to add to staff during the summer months.  As we enter the 2nd half of 2019 competition for top talent continues to be extremely heated.

Enjoy your summer and the warm weather …..GO ERIC!!!




Learn the Culture of a New Employer

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

May 2019 – Issue 231

Learn the Culture of a New Employer

Switching jobs can be exciting, but new hires must be prepared to learn the unwritten rules of a new corporate culture. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, learning a workplace’s customs can indeed be a major challenge, and regardless of prior work experience, people often struggle to discern protocols, etiquette and culture when they change employers.

“It’s like going to a different country,” said Michael Kanazawa, chief executive of Dissero Partners, an Oakland, Calif., management consulting firm. “There are cultural norms of behavior that go way beyond what anybody would have the capability to write in a job description.”

One big issue is tolerance for questioning the boss, the article pointed. Some companies encourage it, believing that confrontation can generate sharp, creative thinking; others consider disagreement disrespectful. Even mundane issues, such as how to lean on administrative support, can present hazards.

Ben Dattner, a principal with Dattner Consulting, an organizational-effectiveness consulting firm, cautions that there can be lasting consequences to breaking unwritten rules. For example, co-workers may label the newcomer as an outsider who doesn’t fit into corporate culture and is “not meant to be taken seriously,” he said.

Career experts urge newcomers to take advantage of their “grace period” by asking lots of questions in their first months on the job. It may feel embarrassing, but it’s worse to remain ignorant a year later, according to the article.

Another good strategy is to watch others and follow their lead. Newcomers should also try to enlist a friend or office assistant from whom they can seek guidance. That’s what Lyria Charles did after discovering many unwritten rules at her new employer, a technology company in Virginia.

Her new post was a vice president job, directly supervising about 12 project managers. During her first week, she asked her assistant to set-up meet-and-greets with staffers. She was surprised to see that her assistant arranged the meetings at the subordinates’ cubicles – not Charles’ office. “That’s how it’s done,” Charles recalls her assistant telling her; she was grateful for the guidance. “If I had done the reverse and insisted they come to my office, that would have set a tone of, “You don’t really understand how things work here and you’re not a team player.’”

Charles learned other mores through careful observation, or trial and error. For example, she noticed that co-workers preferred to send instant messages to colleagues before calling them. She also learned she was supposed to check email over the weekend after missing an email about a project task.

Kevin Hall, a mortgage banker, said he learned cultural nuances partly by observing others. About three months into a new job, while finding himself bogged down making his own travel arrangements, he noticed some higher-up executives asking the receptionists if they could help with travel booking. So he approached some of the administrative staffers to ask for help too. “You feel your way as you go,” he told the newspaper. “I’m still learning new things, but the learning curve has slowed down.”

Here from Forbes.com are some additional tips for employees to consider during the first 90 days at a new job:

  • Do your homework. Learn all you can about your new employer and its industry through careful research. This way you’ll be knowledgeable in your initial assignments and in your daily contact with colleagues.
  • Know your strengths. By focusing on what you’re good at, you can use your strengths to quickly make an impact in your new position.
  • Say it right. It’s important to know what to say and how to say it. If you’re not a good speaker, practice or get a coach. With good speaking skills, you can seek out opportunities where you can gain visibility.
  • Get in shape. Because the early days of any new job can be a grind, it’s important to be physically prepared. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, do anything you can to keep your energy level up.
  • Get a mentor. Besides forming early relationships with a few knowledgeable co-workers who can help bring you up to speed, it’s vital to have an ongoing dialogue with somebody who knows the company very well and can help you navigate the organization.
  • Understand how things work. Find out about office policies, how to weave your way through politics that predate you, and how most communications occur in the company. Most importantly, though, find out how the company operates before you start trying to change things.


We have launched a new phone system during April and will continue with the 2nd phase during May.  We thank those who have lived with some of the disruptions and look so forward streaming lining the voice process.

As for the job market we continue to see an increase in hiring with some niches experiencing a real shortage of talent.  We at Berman Larson Kane continue to utilize our extensive ATS system to recruit the best talent and dig deep into the talent pool for our clients.

Enjoying this spring weather is so welcomed and we continue to enjoy assisting our clients with their growth plans and matching the jobs-seekers with these exciting opportunities.  Enjoy the good weather and job market and all the good times and celebrations that go with the season.



Staying Fit in the Job Search

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

April 2019 – Issue 230

Full Feature Stories

Staying Fit in the Job Search

Exercise is clearly a key for handling everyday stress, but many of us are working more, trying to find a job or shifting in a new career direction — often paying less attention to staying fit. Lifestyle experts say, though, that it doesn’t have to be this way, according to an article published by the McClatchy Newspapers.

“Fitness should be something that is a habit, something that can’t be negotiated,” Marta Montenegro, editor-in-chief of SOBeFiT Magazine, told the syndicated news organization. Here, according to the article, are some simple steps that experts say can help balance work and fitness and some examples of how people are keeping exercise and healthy lifestyles part of their daily routines:

Create new habits. Montenegro said people often are too ambitious in their fitness goals. She started out small, making one change at a time. Whenever she feels stressed, she takes a 10-minute walk around the office or her neighborhood. “In just 10 minutes you can break a pattern.”

To create a habit of eating healthier, start with breakfast, she said. “Instead of having a muffin at Starbucks, order oatmeal.” Or fill your desk drawer, purse and car with healthy snacks. It’s easy to give excuses about why you didn’t exercise or eat right, she added. “The key is to make it a habit, a priority.”

Get moving. Walking and stretching are the easiest ways to cram exercise into a busy schedule. Both are something you can do with your spouse, friends or children.

Donna Marie Seffer, a schoolteacher, wears a pedometer to work every day and aims for 5,000 steps. While teaching, she walks around the classroom. During breaks, she walks through the halls. When she gets home she walks around the block. “When I walk, it releases my stress because I can just put my mind somewhere else,” she said.

Take advantage of employer wellness programs. More companies are embracing the wellness trend, realizing it’s less expensive to prevent rather than treat most medical conditions. Even as employers cut benefits, a growing number are offering on-site yoga classes or weight loss programs — some even offering incentives to participate.

Learn to relax: David Posen, a stress management expert, said in his “Little Book of Stress Relief,” that unlike the stress reaction, which is involuntary and triggers automatically, the relaxation response has to be brought forth voluntarily and intentionally.

Jodi Cross, who works from home as a director of a women’s organization, starts her day triggering the relaxation response by reading for 30 minutes by a pond in her backyard. She alternates with walking for 45 minutes around the neighborhood. Cross admits it takes discipline: “If I don’t do it first thing in the morning, and just figure that I will read a few e-mails first, the next thing I know it’s late afternoon and I’m much more stressed.”

Stop sacrificing sleep: Karen Koffler is a busy working mom. She’s also the medical director at a luxury hotel and health spa. Koffler often gets up early and rides her bike to work. But she also makes sure she goes to bed early, tucking herself in by 9 p.m. Koffler believes adults should get seven to 10 hours of sleep a night. “If you are shaving time from sleeping to get things done, you’re going to be less efficient in your day-to-day life.”

Consider fitness part of your job description: Exercise helps you take a global view of a situation or conflict. It can spur creativity and even help you find solutions that wouldn’t occur to you when you’re in front of a computer. Tadd Schwartz knows this all too well. That’s why he makes sure he takes time to run, even though his clients want more of his time because of the economic downturn. As a reminder, he puts his running shoes next to his bed to ensure he uses them each morning instead of gravitating toward his computer.

Check out the deals: The upside of the recession is that fitness professionals and health clubs are responding to new budgets — offering discounts and showing more willingness to bargain. Some fitness centers are offering free classes and short-term memberships for the newly unemployed.

“The best anti-depressant is exercise,” Cheryl Patella, a fitness expert, told McClatchy. Patella has been working with small groups of women at parks who come to exercise with their children. “Just do whatever your time will allow you to do,” she advised.




To better serve hiring clients and job-seekers we are in the process this month of upgrading our phone system.  So if your calls are not routed properly or you experience difficulty reaching your contact please be patient.  Our new vendor assures us all will go smoothly so please standby.

As for the job market we have experienced some cross currents this past month.  We are experiencing for the first time in along time some caution by hiring clients.  Don’t get this wrong the market remains strong for job-seekers with record low unemployment numbers.  So as we enter the 2nd quarter we remain positive for job prospects.  As for the hiring  several niches remain challenged to fill job openings.  Enjoy the spring and we will keep you posted on developments.




The time-worn adage that nice guys finish last isn’t exactly true, according to an article in USA Today. In fact, growing research shows that likable employees may have more success on the job and that likability can even trump competence.

A study in the Harvard Business Review found that personal feelings toward an employee play a more important role in forming work relationships than is commonly acknowledged, the article pointed out. The study also indicated that this is even more important than how competent an employee is seen to be.

“We want to work with people that make us feel good to be around them,” said Tom Sanders, author of The Likeability Factor, which explores how having an appealing personality can positively influence life and careers. “Likability is the tiebreaker in almost anything.”

Likability is hard to define, but Sanders said people gravitate toward others who deliver psychological benefits. In other words, likability is the ability to produce a positive emotional experience in someone else, such as making co-workers feel good about themselves.

The Harvard Business Review study also found that employees don’t want to work with someone who is disliked, and it almost doesn’t matter how skilled they are. Indeed, co-workers who work with a likeable colleague are more comfortable with them, so work tends to be more collaborative.

“Organizations have traditionally focused on competencies and thinking ability of their staff,” Susan David, a psychologist and researcher at Yale University, told USA Today. “There is growing recognition, however, that job effectiveness can be undone if an employee is not likable. Being proficient at job tasks is of little comfort to the organization if an employee alienates clients or other staff.”

Research has also found that customers’ perceptions of the employees they deal with can influence their overall feelings toward a company. Nearly 60 percent of customers say that, when faced with rudeness, they take their business elsewhere, even if it means going out of their way or paying a higher price, according to a study by Eticon, a Columbia, S.C.-based provider of etiquette consulting for business.

Further, likable employees–especially those with skills in relationship building–are also more likely to get bigger pay raises and promotions, the article pointed out.

Some employees say likable employees are so important that they won’t hire anyone they think may have an attitude. Richard Laemer, chief executive of New York-based RLM Public Relations, said “no matter how experienced someone is, if they’re mean to people, they’re pretty much useless. I can’t work with someone who isn’t nice.”

But there can also be a downside, the article noted. Likable employees who lack skills or are seen as pushovers can lose out on management opportunities or can be seen as a liability, said Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World.

For example, managers who are too likable can get too social with their subordinates, blurring the line between boss and friend. And younger Generation X or Generation Y employees can also try so hard to be liked that they come across as overly enthusiastic.

“There’s a tendency of young people, and even midcareer people, to say ‘yes’ all the time. In an effort to please, they do get pushed around. They get assigned too many tasks,” Levitt said. “Likability can be dangerous. Young people can be too enthusiastic, and it can irritate management. You can be too ‘rah rah.”

Overall, though, most employers agree that likability is a very important attribute and that it can clearly help employees when performance is lacking. “You can provide training to compensate for missing skills, but it’s almost impossible to compensate for personality,” added Tory Johnson, CEO of New York-based Women for Hire, which provides career fairs for women. “ It’s never worth hiring someone you dislike, or someone who’s likely to be disliked among staffers.”

Be Alert for Signs of a Bad Boss-to-Be

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report
February, 2019 — Issue 228

Full Feature Stories

Be Alert for Signs of a Bad Boss-to-Be

Many job applicants ignore warning signs about their boss-to-be. Yet recognizing the type of person you will be working for is one of the most important factors that should be considered when deciding whether to accept an offer, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

In today’s buoyant job market, “you have the choice of picking your boss as much as your boss has the choice of picking you,” observed Beverly Kaye, a retention consultant in Sherman Oaks, Calif. So keep a sharp outlook during a company’s courtship for hints that your hiring manager will morph into Ivan the Terrible Boss. According to the article, here are some common warning signs:

Easily Distracted: He arrives late for your twice-postponed interview. He can’t find your resume in his huge pile. He frequently interrupts you to take calls, check email or glance at his watch. Clearly, you or your coveted position isn’t his highest priority.

Poor Interaction: She offers a limp handshake, scant eye contact and shallow answers to your detailed questions about business. She stays seated behind a huge desk, arms folded cross her chest, and relegates you to a lower couch. This isn’t exactly someone committed to collaboration.

Me, Me, Me: The hiring manager talks solely about herself, giving current and former associates no credit for their accomplishments. The head of one major Philadelphia non-profit group spent much of his 30 minutes with a prospective fund-raising manager bragging about his feats there. When the newly-hired employee began work at the organization, she found the boss abusive. “He would scream at me in the middle of meetings in front of board members,” she told the newspaper. “I went into a very bad depression while I was working there.”

Negative Buzz: The fund-raising manager had checked out her would-be-boss with other community groups, but ignored their hesitant responses. She now believes that “if references aren’t effusive, that’s a warning sign.” It also helps just to look around the office. If no one appears happy, think twice before pursuing the job any further.

Wrong Line of Inquiry: Your interviewer wants to know your marital status, but he doesn’t ask much about your relevant skills. Intrusive personal questions could signal problems ahead with discrimination or workplace harassment. Meanwhile, a lack of serious talk might mean an aloof boss.

Stress Overload: How well a boss-to-be copes with stress during your interview speaks volumes about what it would be like on the job. Melissa Payner once turned down a middle management post with a New York retailer because the frazzled hiring manager repeatedly barked orders to his assistant, the article noted. “I felt as if he was looking to me to be the solution to his stress—almost to be his savior,” recalled Payner, president and CEO of Bluefly.com, an online fashion, accessories and home furnishings concern in New York.

Melissa Dantz, an advertising professional, missed signs twice that a hiring manager would be a bad boss. She accepted a job at a Boston-based ad agency, even though the owners failed to divulge their marriage to each other until after her job interview. She left after nine months, largely because she was expected to cover for the owners when they fabricated staffer names to show potential clients the tiny agency was larger than it was.

The following year, Dantz took a job with a suburban Boston event-production firm even though the officer interviewing her disparaged the prior incumbent. At work, that supervisor acted condescending toward everyone. Dantz quit after seven months. “The toll on my self confidence from the bad boss experiences was tremendous, and in retrospect avoidable,” she told the newspaper.

Despite the difficulty at times in recognizing bad-boss types, there are ways to hone your bad-boss detective radar. If job seekers “were just a little more attentive, they could save themselves a lot of grief,” suggested Dory Hollander, president of an executive-coaching firm in Arlington, Va. The Wall Street Journal article offered the following guidance issue:

  First and foremost, prepare a list of ideal traits you would want in your next supervisor, and a second list of what bothers you most about your current one. Keep both in mind while quizzing present and past staffers about the boss-to-be. During your hiring interviews, ask direct questions about the boss’s leadership style and philosophy.

  Trust your gut. If your stomach aches throughout the interview with your boss-to-be, share your feelings afterward with a coach or friend so you can separate bad-boss anxiety from routine job jitters.

  And finally, don’t let job-hunt desperation cloud your radar screen. Melissa Dantz, now an international marketing manager for a shoe manufacturer, vows to never again let financial pressure “dictate the necessity of accepting any job offer.”


Hopefully the robust job market of January 2019 will continue for the remainder of  1st quarter and for the rest of the year.  Clients are adding to head count and ramping up their technical staff.

This heated hiring pace has increase the competition for top talent and increasing the need to dig into the passive job market.  We at Berman Larson Kane have experienced a downturn in unsolicited job applications as the general market remains at full employment.

Our talent acquisition team strategies have pointed us to direct competition recruiting efforts to service our growing client’s needs.  We are very pleased to have an ATS which allows us to match and discover hidden talent deep within the talent pool.

As president of Berman Larson Kane I thank everyone for their business as we work diligently to offer the “Best Staffing Options” and celebrate our 39 year.




Stephen Covey Wonderful 2019 Principles

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report
January, 2019 — Issue 227

Stephen Covey Wonderful 2019 Principles 

Author and self-help pioneer Stephen Covey left us with a wealth of ideas and resources for changing and improving behaviors. As we begin a new year and look forward to the days and months ahead, we would be wise to regularly keep in mind Covey’s timeless principles such as “Be proactive,” “Think win-win,” and “Begin with an end in mind,” to name a few.

All part of his groundbreaking book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” these concepts still sound so simple, yet they made Covey a force of human nature and have been woven into the emotional well-being of millions in almost any walk of life, from self-help to corner offices of Corporate America. Former President Bill Clinton once cited “7 Habits” as one of the three books every worker should read to help boost productivity and Chief Executive magazine chose it as the most influential book of the 20th Century.

Covey once told USA Today that he developed the “7 Habits” after studying hundreds of books and essays on success written since 1776. He said he noticed that the literature of the 20th century was dominated by gimmicks or “social Band-Aids” to improve the personality. In contrast, the writings of Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin, for example, were based on character and principles such as integrity, courage and patience.

Here from an article published by BusinessInsider.com is a summary of Covey’s “7 Habits,” presented with the hope that they contribute not only to improving your success in the workplace but in your personal life as well:

Be Proactive — As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. We have the independent will to make our own choices and decisions, and the responsibility to make the right choices. You have the freedom to choose your own fate and path, so having the independent will, imagination and self-awareness to make the right move make you a proactive, and not a reactive, person.

Begin With The End In Mind – Mental visualization is extremely important. Covey said that all things are created twice: first, the mental conceptualization and visualization and then the physical actual creation. Becoming your own creator means to plan and visualize what you’re going to do and what you’re setting out to accomplish and then go out and creating it. Identifying your personal statement and your principles will help.

Put First Things First — With your power of independent will, you can create the ending you want to have. Part of that comes with effective time management, starting with matters of importance. Then tasks should be completed based on urgency after you deal with all of the important matters. If you deal with crisis, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects first, your life will be a lot easier.

Think Win/Win – If you believe in a better way to accomplish goals that are mutually beneficial to all sides, that’s a win/win situation. “All parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan,” Covey wrote. “One person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.” If you have integrity and maturity, there’s no reason win/win situations can’t happen all the time.

Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood – If you’re a good listener and you take the time to understand a concept, it will help you convey your opinions, plans and goals to others. It starts with communication and strong listening skills, followed by diagnosing the situation and then communicating your solution to others.

Synergize – Synergistic communication, according to Covey, is “opening your mind and heart to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options.” This applies to the classroom, the business world and wherever you could apply openness and communication. It’s all about building cooperation and trust.

Sharpen The Saw – Last but not least, sometimes you’re working so hard on the other six habits that you forget about re-energizing and renewing yourself to sharpen yourself for the tasks in front of you. Some sharpening techniques can include exercise and nutrition, reading, planning and writing, service and empathy, and study and meditation. Indeed, taking the time to focus on some of them can be a big help as you plan for achieving future goals and objectives.

News from BLK

As we enter into 2019, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. We are pleased to report that our office is buzzing with activity and we are busy matching qualified candidates with new job orders. We are optimistic that the activity level will continue at this fast pace throughout the year.