Category Archives: Job Descriptions

What attracts talent and keeps employees engaged?

For the first time in history, the number of job openings exceeds the number of those who are unemployed.  The rate at which employees are leaving their positions is rising at an escalating rate and to keep up in this rapidly changing market, companies need talented workers to be more flexible than ever before to fill critical gaps and maintain lean operations.  In short, there are an overabundance of job opportunities, a meager supply of candidates and it’s critical for companies to fill openings as quickly as possible.

Savvy job seekers, however, can identify companies that are simply trying to fill open positions and ones that have a growth mindset. Talented workers want more than just a job to do.  They want meaningful careers, purposeful challenges, and to know that they have growth potential. They will balance short-term and long-term aspects of a job so the job itself represents the best career move among competing opportunities. Talent is just as interested in what the company has to offer them as they are in what they can bring to their potential employer.

When companies recognize this shift, they can present opportunities that articulate what an employee can become via formal career pathing, talent development and training programs.  With these components companies are much more likely to attract, secure and retain talented workers. Compensation is of course important too (companies need to provide competitive compensation in the market place), but it should never hold all the weight in a job offer.  Job decisions (not career decisions) are made when compensation becomes the dominant decision factor combined with the skewed perception about the job and what it’s going to take to be successful.
It is essential for companies to examine what their employee value propositions (EVPs) are and communicate them to employees and trusted business partners.  EVPs are an opportunity to attract talent and keep employees engaged. When job descriptions are presented with both EVPs and realistic career objectives and expectations, candidates are more likely to ask themselves “is this the job I want” so that they are not disappointed even though the pay may (or may not) meet their expectations.


At Nissen Staffing Continuum we consider all of these factors when we present our clients to candidates.  With this same thought process, we are also experts in coaching and mentoring candidates throughout their career search.  The synergy of this approach gets lasting results, but we’re not stopping there!  Watch for our next article after the 1st of the year where we’ll give you the inside scoop about our new proprietary assessment tool – you won’t want to miss it!


Where has all the talent gone? How to operate in a Talent Scarcity Market.

When it comes to talent, there’s no debate that demand is outstripping the readily available supply and most recruiters agree that we’re near full employment.  This combined with a degree of job dissatisfaction and workers who are mostly satisfied but not necessarily engaged, points to a passive job seeker environment.

The resurgence of job seeker confidence due to the high number of job openings and the low risk of making a job change gives talent a great advantage.  Passive seekers are watching for new opportunities with greater meaning, where they can use their gifts and talents and take their career to the next level.

To address this shift, employers must change their focus from talent acquisition to a talent attraction strategy.  It’s about targeting the right candidates and compelling them to take an interest.  As a result, many employers are asking, “how can we grow when there is a skill gap and we can’t fill openings with qualified workers?”

There is specific strategies and tactics to address the skills gap, but it is not necessary to focus on this alone. Talents and the motivation to use those talents abound under the right circumstances and with
the right staffing and recruitment partner.

Understanding the difference between the job description and the real job

Too frequently, recruiters, use the job description alone to assist in the hiring decision process.
That’s a problem.  The job description focuses on what employees have.  But, more important today is understanding what are the performance expectations and outcomes of the “real job” and why they’re meaningful to a greater purpose or outcome. This is a game changer!  We must define the “real job” and it’s meaning in the big picture.  That means building a job description with performance objectives that help achieve the company vision.

Concentrating on candidate performance and achievement

Recruiters need to put greater focus on the ability of candidates to achieve job performance desired outcomes (going) and less on qualifications and criteria (having.) A wise career consultant (Owner and President of Nissen Staffing Continuum, Scott Nissen) once said, “It’s what you do with what you have, not what you have that counts!”  The point is to hire someone who can deliver results and add value over someone who might possess the skill(s) to do those same things but never uses them.

Messaging real jobs to the right candidates

The “right candidate” will be able to consistently and successfully get the job done regardless of circumstances and with the least direction possible.  By messaging the real job with purpose and meaning, the “right candidate” will be compelled to apply.  And the right candidate in the real job will only add beneficially to the culture you’re seeking to create!

 Leveraging your brand

 Properly branding your company allows job seekers to match their needs with your employee value proposition. Your brand is the public face of your company culture. Passive job seekers are discerning and take employment decisions and changes more seriously. They research potential employers carefully and look for companies where they connect with the values and foresee being happy in their position. It’s time that we look past immediate gratifications, such as (pay, location, job title, duties) and concentrate more on the first year and beyond (real job focus, impact, visibility, learning, future compensation and rewards, growth) for effective talent attraction.

When a high-quality hire happens, a powerful connection is made between an employer’s mission and a candidate’s career aspirations.  The day of talent acquisition is gone. We’re no longer filtering out candidates in a surplus talent market.  The day of talent attraction is now and it’s here to stay. We must target and build a call to action for quality talent in order to be successful in this candidate scarcity market.

At Nissen Staffing Continuum we work with discipline and focus to successfully leverage all of our brands (Staffing Continuum, TechRecruiters, Staffing Continuum Managed Services, Workforce Optimization) to benefit our clients and our associates.  Call us, partner with us, and bring us into your reality because we have a true consultative solution for you. Placing the right candidates in the right jobs for the right reasons!  This will be the mark of a successful organization in the 21st century.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in finding great employees in Wisconsin for both your short-term and long-term needs. As your strategic partner in a tight employment market, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing. Our recruiters are supported by a sourcing department dedicated to finding great employees for our clients. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

Battling in the War for Talent

April’s Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development report shows unemployment at 3.2%, the lowest point in 30 years. Area employers are quickly reaching a point of pure frustration as they try to fill open jobs throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, and especially in highly populated markets in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. But before you throw in the towel, we urge you to start thinking proactively. At Nissen Staffing Continuum, we are constantly looking for new and creative ways to strategically recruit for our clients. As the saying goes, “the best defense is a good offense.”

Today’s job seekers are looking for VALUE and view jobs as opportunities. They are trying to understand their purpose in a job and how they can contribute with their own unique gifts and talents. They are looking for belonging and a greater purpose, and want to feel like others care about them and their success. And once they understand their value and greater purpose, they are looking to become masters in their roles and apply that mastery through to a promotion.

As employers, we urge you to look at things like benefits and job descriptions and incorporate the needs of today’s job seekers into every step of your hiring process. Ask yourself the tough question of “Why would someone want to work here?” and then incorporate those things into your descriptions, postings and interview questions. Sell it. Make them understand not just the job, but the FEELING behind the job and the vibe of your business.

Staffing experts say that a performance-based job profile is essential to an effective hiring system. This type of job profile helps to define what success is on a job by spelling it in specific and measurable terms. According to Lou Adler, CEO and Founder of the Adler Group, an ideal job profile is a one-page document and includes some important items:

  • The 5-7 most important deliverables required to be successful in the job.
  • The qualities of a successful person in terms of knowledge, skills & abilities.
  • Specific short- and long-term performance expectations that define success.

We will talk more about performance-based job profiles in a future blog, and provide some examples and success stories we’ve had by utilizing this philosophy.

While helping an employee define success is imperative, it’s important to remember that today’s job seekers have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. Websites like GlassDoor, Google, Yelp and social media applications give employees (current, future and former) the opportunity they want to both give and read feedback. Own your feedback and respond to it. Build your own brand in terms of job satisfaction and employee engagement. What you don’t share, someone else will and it is in your best interest to make sure that your message is on point.

To find the best people, you will need to be a best in class employer. Sometimes, this means making changes to your work environment. While these changes may be simple or complex, they are always worth the effort. Making these changes and increasing your ability to recruit talent has an added perk:  retaining the great talent you already have. Understanding your own current and future workforce is the first step in ensuring your company’s success for years to come.

You only get one chance to make a first impression; make sure the first impression you make is a positive one. An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum can help you make your next great hire. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing with our team of recruiters that are supported by a full-time sourcing department. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!


Can you answer YES to the following questions about workplace safety?

  • Does your company pride itself on keeping your workers safe?
  • Are you committed to implementing safe workplace practices, implementing training and decreasing your workers’ compensation costs?
  • Do you make sure that ALL of your staff, including your contingent staff, are part of your safety programs?

If you are like most companies, you easily answered yes to the first two questions, but hesitated before answering the last question.  You may assume that your staffing partner has provided safety training to the individuals that are working in your facility.  If this is your assumption, you are both right and wrong.

OSHA has stepped up its enforcement associated with the 2013 Temporary Worker Initiative to protect temporary employees from workplace hazards.  Penalties for workplace violations have ranged from $700 up to $60,000 depending on the number and severity of violations identified during the on-site inspection. OSHA has emphasized that temporary workers must receive the same protection as other employees covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and should receive the same safety and hazard recognition training that all permanent employees receive.

As your staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin, we can assure you we are committed to providing basic safety training to our employees that we send to your business.  We have discussed things like PPE, lifting guidelines and basic workplace safety guidelines.  But every business is different, and your safety-related practices and protocols that are specific to your business cannot possibly be shared in detail by us as your staffing partner.  While our employees are our responsibility, we share the responsibility for a safe workplace with our clients.

The driving force behind this OSHA initiative was the high number of temporary workers that were severely injured or killed on the job. Moving forward, when OSHA inspects a client facility, the inspectors are directed to determine if temporary workers are being utilized and if they are exposed to workplace hazards. Below are a few excerpts related to the initiative for OSHA from Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Labor.

Here are some things to consider to help keep all of your workers safe:

Consideration 1:  Include Your Contingent Workforce in Your Safety Training

Any time your company reviews safety practices, your contingent workers should be included.  If there is a change in your safety protocol, your contingent workers should be included in the training.  Not only is it important for their OWN safety, it is also important to the people working around them.  Dr Michaels commented that

  1. Staffing agencies and their client companies who host temporary workers share the legal obligation to provide workplaces free of recognized hazards. This includes providing required, documented safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
  2. OSHA inspectors will determine, in every inspection, if every temporary worker on the site has received the safety training and protection required by law for the job. If they haven’t, OSHA will hold their employer accountable.
  3. OSHA expects that documentation is maintained by the EMPLOYER for all safety related issues, including documenting any temporary employees’ workplace injuries on their OSHA 300 log.  It is not the responsibility of the staffing company to record injuries on this log.

Consideration 2: Keep Your Safety Standards the Same for Everyone

According to OSHA, “staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers.”  This means that what applies to your own employees applies to your contingent employees as well.  Dr. Michaels noted that “common temporary staffing violations that are being identified are: failure to conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace, undocumented training that occurs by the staffing agency and host employer, exposure to chemical hazards, unguarded machinery, and/or lockout/tag out violations.”

Consideration 3:  Spell It Out in a Job Description

Be sure to provide your staffing partner with an adequate job description that correctly outlines job duties, including physical requirements.  Too often, employers do not want to share these job descriptions and end up frustrated when an employee is not able to complete the work.  Job descriptions are vital in making sure that an employee is capable of safely doing the job.  In addition, most staffing firms function under strict workers’ compensation guidelines.  Sometimes, they are not able to fill specific orders and complete specific tasks because their insurance simply will not allow it.

Consideration 4:  Be Open to Feedback

If a temporary worker reports a safety concern to you, listen and act on the report just as you would if it were your own employee.  In addition, report the concern and your response to your contact at the staffing company so they can properly document and follow up with their employee.

Workplace safety is everyone’s obligation.  Our goal, as always, is to provide workforce solutions to our clients and opportunities for our employees that are mutually beneficial and, above all, safe and meaningful.  Dr. Michaels states, “Whether temporary or permanent, all workers always have a right to a safe and healthy workplace.”  We concur.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum is proud of our commitment to safety. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing. Our recruiters are supported by a full-time sourcing department dedicated to finding great employees for our clients. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

How to Create a Workplace Your Employees Love

smiling call center workersFrom high retention rates to elevated employee productivity, a workplace your employees love is essential to establishing a thriving business. And while images of a party-like, idyllic workplace atmosphere come instantly to mind when you hear this Valentine’s Day-like concept, clear those preconceptions. Replace them with these guidelines that create a workplace your employees love—and a thriving business positioned for the future:

  1. Set clear expectations for your employees as a whole, and write them down. Your expectations for your employees, and how your workplace should operate, should be delivered in verbal and written form (beyond job descriptions). Don’t neglect the written format of expectations, as a clear written policy saves you from misunderstandings and distortions.
  2. Show them they matter. Every company differs on how they show their employees they value their contributions. Keep in mind that signs of appreciation should be daily instead of periodic. A simple “thank you” or other appreciative words go a long way in your employees’ eyes. Your everyday actions and those of your managers—even the behaviors you tolerate among your employees—create a culture of respect.
  3. Listen. While you might not agree with everything you hear from your employees, an employee feels love—and appreciates a workplace—where they feel listened and valued.  If you want to create a company culture focused on listening, train your human resources staff and managers to listen and respond appropriately to employees.
  4. Set the standard. This is a concept that comes from the top down. Set clear expectations for your employees, and role model those expectations in your behavior, as well as other managers and supervisors.
  5. Use best-practice hiring practices. Review your hiring practices to ensure you are attracting those keystone employees that can manage, supervise and implement excellent workplace practices. Every aspect of the hiring process, such as job descriptions and interviewing protocols, can make the difference between bringing on those key or unwanted employees. If you need assistance creating and implementing those hiring protocols, contact Nissen Staffing Continuum for information and resources.

Need assistance with creating a workplace your employees love? As a premiere staffing firm in southeastern Wisconsin and human resource partner for top Wisconsin companies, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist your company with questions and staffing and human resource solutions that your business needs to create a workplace your employees love—and make your company thrive.

5 HR Staffing Resolutions for a Successful 2015

welderIt’s never too soon to review business staffing policies and practices, and take measures to improve them. Don’t address your business HR issues and staffing challenges when it’s too late; outdated HR policies can leave your business in crisis, and not knowing where you stand as an employer can and does impact your business bottom line. The answer for a successful 2015: designate the time and resources to fulfill these five HR and staffing resolutions:

  1. Know your staffing options and staffing solutions.NOT knowing your staffing options costs your business time and money. Most businesses have ebbs and flows; having adequate staffing to address your business cycle is essential to minimizing costs and ending the fiscal year with a robust bottom line. Don’t be a business that blindly follows traditional hiring practices without researching other staffing options; a business’ staffing approach can mean the difference between a mediocre and record-setting business year.
  2. Review and update your HR policies. Once you understand your staffing options and solutions, implement your plan with a reviewed, updated and revamped set of human resources policies appropriate for your business and hiring policies.
  3. Plan ahead.You can’t control that sudden call from a customer for an astronomical amount of product ASAP, but you can anticipate and implement a staffing plan based on your business record. Doing so ensures you have an accurate number of permanent, temporary, temp-to-hire, seasonal and on-demand employees when needed, so you can fulfill customer orders timely and accurately.
  4. Review and update your job descriptions. Job descriptions are the front line of your business’ hiring practices; they are the words that attract potential job seekers. Don’t keep reusing old job descriptions. Review them to ensure that you are communicating clearly your expectations, and catch the attention of the ideal candidates that your business needs for a successful 2015. Need tips to create effective job descriptions? Read our recent blog post about writing an effective job description.
  5. Know if your staffing partner is Affordable Care Act compliant.As a business, knowing whether your preferred staffing firm will “play or pay” in 2015 is essential for every employer utilizing a contingent workforce to meet their staffing needs. Partnering with a staffing company not in the “play” mode and not taking the necessary precautions to protect you from the Common Law Employer clause can leave your business open to unprecedented consequences and penalties that come with this new legislation—and your business will be the one to pay.

Don’t feel your company is taking on the task of finding staffing solutions for the New Year alone; select a staffing company with a proven record of successful partnerships with employers throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Contact Nissen Staffing Continuum to research staffing options, policies and solutions, and turn those New Year’s resolutions into accomplished goals that improve your business bottom line and make 2015 the most successful year to date.

Ten Tips to Writing an Effective Job Description

Have you ever heard the expression, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?”  Writing an effective job description must follow the same principle.  Things like spelling, grammar, format, length of the description and even word choice can make all of the difference in whether or not someone reads the ad and applies for your open job.

Here are some tips to be sure your posting is effective.

1.  Keep it simple.  Imagine what happens when you receive a resume that is written in paragraph form and is multiple pages long.  Do you really read it?  No, you likely do not.  Keep this in mind when you write you job descriptions.

  • Use bullet points.  A bullet point is quick, and to the point.
  • Do not list EVERYTHING.  Just list the most important things.  The posting is just a way to get someone interested enough to apply.  Think of it as a Real Estate Listing.

2.  List required and desired qualifications separately.  Every job has a “Need to Have” and a “Nice to Have” list of requirements.  Know what they are and list them separately.

  • Use bullet points.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, keep bullet points to 3-5 items.
  • You do not need to tell them EVERYTHING about the job, just the most important things.
  • Be Specific.  Is there a specific machine they need to know how to operate?  List it by name.  Is there a specific qualification, like a certification to drive a Fork Lift or knowledge of specific software?  List it by name.

3.  Keep it legal.  Make sure your job posting does not violate any laws.

  • Do not say that your job requires a background check.  Did you know that typically you cannot request a background check or drug test until you have made an offer?  And that in some cases, doing a background check or drug test may not even be legal.    You MAY say that you are a drug free workplace.  People usually get the hint.
  • Make sure your posting follows the rules covered in the Fair Employment Act and meets all EEOC/ADA guidelines.  Take the time to educate yourself.  Seek legal counsel if necessary, and don’t try to “guess” what is legal and what is not.

4.  Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.  It is incredibly important that when you post a job on a website, or on a recruiting site, that you use proper English.

  • Keep the tense consistent.  Stay in the present tense or in the past tense, but don’t mix up the two.
  • Keep it in the 3rd person.  The word “I” should not appear in a job listing.  “I am seeking an experienced machinist” is not appropriate.  “Company name” is appropriate.
  • Spelling:  This may seem unimportant, but it is very important. According to a recent article, these are the most commonly misspelled words on both resumes and job postings:

• applying (not apllying)
• recently (not resently)
• assembled (not assembeld)
• commensurate (not commiserate)
• oriented (not orientated)
• maintenance ( not mainteance)
• efficiently (not efficently)
• preparation (not prepration)
• distinct (not distict)
• excessively (not excessivly)
• judgment (not judjement)
• accurately (not acurately)
• schedule (not schuele)
• variable (not varible)
• facilitate (not faciltate)
• accountability (not accontability)
• eligibility (not eligiblility)
• environment (not enviroment)
• packaging (not pacaging)
•  following (not folllowing)
•  employees (not emploiyees)
• industry (not inidustry)
• preferred (not prefeered)
• graduate (not gradutate)
• competitive (not compettive)
• preparation (not prepearation)

And some personal favorites:

  • A Lot is TWO WORDS –it’s not alot!
  • Receive (not recieve, remember….i before e, except after c…. )
  • Their, They’re, There (“their” is possessive, “They’re” means They Are, “There” is a place)
  • Your, You’re (Your is possessive (“your job offer is attached…”) , You’re means You Are (“You’re being offered the job”)
  • Possess (not poses)
  • To, Two, Too (“to” is referring to a destination…”I’m going TO the bank”; TWO is a number… “the TWO of you please discuss and let me know your decision”; TOO is also, or as well ….”I’m happy you got an offer too.”)
  • Watch possessives (adding an s (or es) is plural, adding an ‘s is possessive, adding a s’ is plural possessive.

5. Keep it action oriented.

Your job should sound like an ACTION.   List the responsibilities, whenever possible, leading with ACTION words.


  • Manage production process for two assembly lines.
  • Maintain inventory counts for production team.
  • Lead a team of warehouse associates to assure inventory accuracy.
  • Answer a 10 line phone system.
  • Support a customer service department.

 6.  Drive traffic to wherever you are going to process the applications.  It might be to your email, or to an online job application on your website.  But whatever you do, be sure to reply to the applicants.

 7.  Be honest.  Don’t be dishonest in the job description just to get people to apply.  Don’t say the salary is negotiable if it is actually NOT negotiable.  Don’t make a job location sound easier to get to than it is.   Not being upfront just wastes everyone’s time and gives you a bad reputation in the marketplace.

 8.  Keep it consistent.  Keeps your job posting formats consistent.  Here is a suggestion:

  • Begin with a general statement:  ABC Company in City Name is looking to add 3 machine operators to our growing business.
  • Include the hours and terms of employment:  This is a second shift, full time position, with hours from 2pm-10pm, Monday through Friday.   Frequent overtime may be required. 
  • Include a few bullet points about what they will be doing:  In this role, you will:  (Bullet point one, two, three, four and five)
  • Add the qualifications:  Required Qualifications for the position are: (Bullet points one to five)
  • Add the Desired qualifications:  Desired (but not required) Qualifications include:  (bullet points one to five)
  • Add any physical requirements:  This position requires you to stand for long periods of time and also do some light lifting of up to 25 pounds. 
  • Add the pay:  This is an hourly position, with a starting pay of $12/hour. 
  • Add any benefits info.
  • Add HOW TO APPLY information:  To apply for this opportunity, please visit the careers page on and fill out the online application. Or, you may send a resume with cover letter to

9.  Think about keywords. Remember that many employees search our jobs online.  Think about key words to use in your posting.  Use city names (state too if it if’s a common name), industry, specific machines, etc.  Here is a great article about using key words.

  • If the title of the job is weird (ie, you company calls a Customer Service Representative a “Advocacy Concierge” or a Custodian a “Facilities Cleanliness Specialist” or something!) think about using the more common name for the title (or at least in parentheses or the job description.)  Seriously, no one searching for a customer service job types in a key word search “Advocacy Concierge.”

10.  Make It Interesting

Your job is one of millions posted online.  Make it interesting.  Be creative, but appropriate.

Above all, put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes.  If YOU were looking for a job, you would want to read a brief, accurate and correctly written overview of the opportunity.  You would want to know how to apply.  You would want to be confident that what you are reading is accurate.  You would want a prompt and consistent follow up.  Walk the Talk!


You can always contact Nissen Staffing Continuum  to help you manage your hiring process.  If you would like more information about this, you can contact Scott Nissen at

Other Resources:  Check out these articles!