Temp of the Month for July 2024: Ryan Foley

Ryan Foley has lived in the DMV his entire life and greatly enjoys the area. Outside of work, Ryan loves to root for all of the local Washington sports teams. He is a lifelong fan of the local teams, especially the Commanders and Nationals, and loves to spend his free time in the summer going to Nationals Park to catch a game with friends.

Ryan greatly appreciates the opportunities that Whitman Associates has offered to him because he has been able to work with some great people, making many professional relationships, as well as being a crucial part of the organization where he was placed.

Temp of the Month for June 2024: Shierra Houston

Shierra moved to the DMV area from Dubai, United Arab Emirates 6 years ago. She lived for in Dubai for 12 years working as an Event Operations Manager and organizing one of the world’s largest oil and gas shows and airshows.

Outside work, Shierra loves serving in her church community as a Mental Health Coach and a Prayer Minister, helping those who are hurting find comfort and peace in Jesus. She also loves studying the Bible and spending time with her family.

Through her work with Whitman Associates, she has met amazing people and has added value to the organization where she was placed.

How to Deal with Job Interview Rejection: Advice from Career Experts

Nobody likes to be rejected, whether by a potential job or otherwise. It’s normal for many different emotions to arise after rejection, from sadness to confusion to anger. However you may feel about your interviewer, it is most important to check in with yourself by doing self-reflection after an interview rejection. To avoid common pitfalls such as self-pity or self-deprecation, seeking guidance on the right questions to ask yourself after a job rejection is helpful. At Whitman Associates, we’ve been helping people in the metropolitan D.C. area navigate how to deal with job rejections and find their dream roles for over fifty years. Continue reading for some of our best tips to set yourself up for future success.

Three women working together at a conference table

Be introspective

It’s easy to blame the interviewer for a rejection. However, you can gain nothing from blaming the other party after being turned down for a position. Playing the blame game can mislead your focus and keep you feeling down about the situation. Instead, the best way to bounce back after a job interview rejection is to be introspective. This may sound paradoxical, but there’s a lot you can gain from rejections. In our experience, the best method of how to deal with job rejection is to ask yourself some key questions to spark self-reflection after an interview rejection.

Did I fully understand the position and requirements?

Job interviewers want to find the best match for their open role, which means candidates who don’t demonstrate an adequate understanding of the position and requirements will likely be rejected. How closely did you read the job description in the original listing? Did you gauge your suitability for the role? These are all critical questions to ask after a job rejection. It’s wise to allow the job description to guide your interview preparation. When asked interview questions about experience and skills, ensure your answers stay relevant to the responsibilities of this particular role. Asking yourself this question helps you deal with job rejection because it may inspire you to prepare differently for your next interview.

Did I thoroughly research the organization and understand its mission?

Companies want to hire candidates who are aligned with their mission. Similarly to how all your interview responses should be relevant to the specific role you’re interviewing for, your responses should also align with the company’s values. During self-reflection after an interview rejection, you should consider what answers you could have given that may have better reflected the company’s mission. Moreover, it’s vital to understand what the organization does before an interview. Employers prefer candidates who demonstrate a passion for the company’s work. Mentioning specific aspects of the organization that intrigue you is one way to show that passion in an interview, but it requires thorough research in advance.

How would my previous experience be valuable in this role?

This is one of the most important questions to ask after a job rejection. If you’re confident that you were an excellent fit for the role you interviewed for but were still not offered the job, the problem may not be your resume. Developing your communication skills is critical to your success in an interview. You were likely qualified but did not effectively demonstrate the value your previous experience could add to the role and company. Before your next interview, think about how you can discuss your experience in a way that’s aligned with the job description.

Was I professional?

Self-reflection after an interview rejection wouldn’t be complete without evaluating your professionalism. Think deeply about this question, as professionalism applies to several factors. This includes being punctual, dressing appropriately, maintaining good eye contact and keeping your phone off and out of sight. For virtual interviews, you also need a stable internet connection, an appropriate video background and a distraction free environment. Learning how to deal with job rejection isn’t easy, but it’s beneficial to challenge yourself to do better in the future.

Did I comment negatively about a previous employer when explaining leaving or the desire to leave a job?

Regardless of why you are looking for a new job, you must never comment negatively about a prior employer during a job interview. It doesn’t matter if you had the world’s worst boss in your last role. Your current interviewer doesn’t know the whole story, and hearing a candidate bad mouth their former company, team or manager raises red flags. If you’re guilty of this, the best course of action is to find a new reason to give your interviewer for why you’re seeking a new job. Otherwise, your interviewer may see you as disloyal or worry that you might struggle to work well with others on the team.

Don’t dwell on the rejection

Taking the time for self-reflection after an interview rejection enables you to turn your rejection into a learning experience. Not all people are the right fit for all roles. When figuring out how to deal with job rejection, it’s best to learn what you can improve on and move forward confidently. Don’t dwell on job rejection without taking the time to ask yourself these questions. The job market is highly competitive– don’t let a few rejections disrupt faith in yourself.

If you are still looking for a job, consider partnering with a staffing agency. Whitman Associates proudly offers expert guidance, insights, and full service to talented job seekers like you in the D.C. area. We take the time to understand our candidates’ needs, ensuring high-quality matches. Instead of navigating how to deal with job rejection alone, email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.

What to expect from entry-level secretarial & receptionist jobs

Are you looking for work as a receptionist or secretary but aren’t exactly sure of what the job description entails? Or, maybe you aren’t sure what type of role you want and are still exploring the options. Either way, we hope this guide discussing entry-level secretary and receptionist jobs help you with your interview preparation and offers you more direction. Once you’re ready to apply to positions, check out our job board for secretary and receptionist jobs in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Woman smiling who fits the secretary job description.

Are secretaries and receptionists the same?

Secretaries and receptionists often need clarification and are usually the first point of contact for visitors, clients, and employees. While secretaries and receptionists frequently employ the same skillset, these roles are still unique. Perhaps the secretary’s job description calls to you more than work as a receptionist. It’s not unlikely that you are better suited for one role over the other, so pay close attention to the responsibilities of each position.

What do secretaries do?

Secretaries provide administrative and clerical support within an organization. They can be dedicated to an individual manager, a department or team, or the organization as a whole. Secretaries ensure company operations run smoothly, offering support across diverse positions. An entry-level secretarial position may suit you if you enjoy working with different departments. A secretarial job description may include:

  • Responding to messages and phone calls
  • Keeping track of documents and files
  • Communicating with stakeholders, both internal and external
  • Helping out with events and projects
  • Setting up appointments and meetings
  • Drafting and revising reports, presentations, and other copy
  • Planning travel and related expenses

What do receptionists do? 

A receptionist position is much more client-oriented. Receptionists are the first point of contact for assist visitors, clients, and customers. Often, that means they will have a desk set up in a lobby or entrance of the office or building they work in. Contrary to the secretarial job description, the responsibilities of a receptionist include:

  • Checking visitors in and out
  • Giving instructions, directions, and information
  • Responding to and transferring phone calls
  • Receiving and forwarding messages
  • Addressing questions and concerns
  • Handling mail and parcel deliveries
  • Maintaining a neat and inviting front desk and reception area
  • Making reservations and booking meetings and conference venues

Critical differences between secretaries and receptionists

Secretaries focus more internally, supporting employees or the organization. On the other hand, receptionists are more client-facing, assisting guests and customers more than their other team members. Having the role of a secretary, makes you more likely to be in a private office or a shared workspace with other administrative staff. Due to the nature of the work as a receptionist, your workspace most likely be in a public area at the entrance of your office or building.

Sometimes, secretaries may need specialized experience in the industry they’ll be working in, whereas receptionists rarely need industry knowledge before entry. The company will likely be prepared to provide industry training for entry-level secretarial positions. That being said, if you have experience in a particular field, it’s helpful to review secretarial job descriptions for the secretary’s office that relate to your experience.

Overlapping skills

Both of these roles require skills that overlap. If you’re looking for an entry-level position related to interpersonal and communication skills, applying for receptionist and secretarial job openings makes sense. The skills required for both roles include:

  • Excellent communication both written and verbal
  • Solid interpersonal skills
  • Strong customer service skills
  • Ability to organize
  • Technical skills
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize

Receptionist skills

Working as a receptionist requires some very specific skills. To obtain work as a receptionist, you will need to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Manage difficult situations and people
  • Operate in a fast-paced, high-pressure work environment
  • Follow protocols and procedures

Secretary skills

Meanwhile, the secretarial job description involves more of the following duties:

  • Prepare documents and reports
  • Conduct research
  • Perform problem-solving tasks
  • Work with a variety of software programs
  • Manage projects and events
  • Carry out data entry and analysis tasks

Open the door to a variety of possibilities

This guide provides a general overview on the difference between receptionists and secretaries, though every job will look slightly different. However, they all offer a great starting point for any career, as the skills you acquire in these roles broadly apply to various positions. Plus, working as a secretary or receptionist can help you earn industry experience based on the company you work for. Having experience as a receptionist or secretarial job looks good on any resume.

To succeed as a receptionist or secretary, remember you are an integral part of any operation. Your job is to ensure operations run smoothly, whether by steering clients in the right direction or organizing the company’s files. Receptionists and secretaries serve as the backbone of every successful organization. If you want an entry-level role that is fundamental to any thriving business, apply for receptionist and secretarial positions.

Plus, due to the dynamic nature of the receptionist and secretarial job descriptions, you’ll be able to network with other employees throughout every department. If you are just starting your career and are unsure of your long-term goals, entry-level secretarial and receptionist positions are an intelligent way to learn about your options.

A staffing agency can help job seekers like you find work in both the receptionist and secretarial fields. Whitman Associates has been delivering expert guidance, insight and career placement services to Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for over fifty years. If you’re interested in permanent or temporary positions in the DMV that are aligned with  receptionist or secretarial job descriptions, we encourage you to email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.

Temp of the Month for May 2024: Jennelise Hafen

Jenne is a recent transplant to Washington, DC.  A San Diego native, she spent her career in California in public libraries. She is passionate about the public good, creating community and ensuring access and paths to success for all.

Through working with Whitman, Jennelise has been able to lend her expertise in event management, program management and more to organizations she feels passionate about, while exploring the DC and getting to know folks in all types of organizations.

She studied Art History, Photography, City Planning and Library and Information Studies, and sees the values of a city through built environments and celebrated artists.  You can find her in one of the many free museums in DC, in one of the parks or exploring the DMV on long walks, usually with a book or podcast in her ears.

Upskilling, Reskilling, or Replacing: What’s the best option in HR management?

A woman interviewing another woman for a position

Replacing, upskilling, and reskilling are all hiring trends in response to job vacancies within an organization. Additionally, upskilling employees can offer high-performers a path to company advancement.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling refers to training and development programs offered to an employee to improve their current skill sets. Reskilling is similar– instead of providing training on skills relevant to their current role, reskilling is training on an entirely new skill set. This type of training is best for hard-working employees who may be suitable for a position in the company that is different from their current one. Upskilling and reskilling are intelligent tactics to improve an employee’s standing in the company, but they only work if the employee is willing to put in the effort. Additionally, upskilling employees show them the company is willing to invest in them, demonstrating their value.

If an employee isn’t meeting job expectations due to a lack of effort, it’s time to consider replacing them. It’s only worthwhile investing in training and development programs for employees who will take advantage of the opportunity to better their skill set. However, sometimes, employees come across as lacking effort when they feel defeated because they lack the skills they need. Upskilling and reskilling in these scenarios do work– it will involve a few serious conversations with the employee and their supervisors to make this decision.

Sometimes, upskilling employees is relevant when considering rehiring or promoting current employees. Rehiring may be a good fit if:

  • The former employee left the company voluntarily because of a temporary life condition (moving, marriage, pregnancy) that will no longer be a barrier to their work at the company;
  • The former employee expresses pleasure and hope at the idea of being able to return;
  • The former employee has gained valuable experience in other related vocational areas before applying to return;
  • The current team will welcome the former employee back with open arms.

Upskilling and reskilling a rehired employee is especially helpful when the employee wants to return to a new or slightly different role.

Determining whether to fill a role internally or externally

When determining whether to upskill a current employee, rehire a previous employee, or hire from the outside, evaluating the organization’s current goals is essential. Is your company undergoing an evolution or revolution? In other words, is your company trying to change progressively or make a more radical or comprehensive

change? Unless the open position requires particular experience or skills, offering upskilling and reskilling to current employees is more effective than hiring new employees.

Why is upskilling employees more effective?

The answer is simple: it displays loyalty to the organization’s employees. Investing in your good employees makes them more likely to invest in the company. Plus, rehiring or upskilling fills an open position with someone who already understands the mechanisms and culture of the company, allowing for quicker integration into the new role. This creates a positive feedback loop that cultivates a healthy and positive company culture. Often, people can get bored in their roles, leading them to seek new responsibilities, professional development, and more ownership of tasks. Upskilling and reskilling promote a positive working environment.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between upskilling employees, rehiring, or hiring someone brand new, there are a few factors to consider. For example, your current staff must be willing or able to commit to upskilling. If they are not excited about it or not technically able to grow into new roles, it would be necessary to hire externally. 

Sometimes, this is where rehiring is especially beneficial: they may be more willing or able to return to a new role, but they also already understand the company culture. They are also likely to view upskilling and reskilling opportunities as a show of loyalty. Just be sure that the official job offer is clear on whether the previous time at the company will be honored, whether this will count as a new term, and what that decision means for employee benefit waiting periods and tenured employee perks. Like new hires, rehires should receive clear offer letters and job descriptions.

You should also determine the ability of the organization itself to provide adequate training for upskilling employees. Can the training be conducted entirely in-house? If not, do you want to send employees elsewhere for upskilling and reskilling, or

bring in a consultant in the field of expertise?. Finding innovative people excited about creating something new is vital to a successful evolution.

Assessing the right approach

Again, it’s essential to determine whether this is an evolution or revolution for the organization. For example, if your company is preparing to pivot into a non-adjacent market or radically changing the company culture, bringing in outside talent is the better choice. When making a revolution, you want to act quickly and efficiently, and hiring externally fits that bill. However, if your organization is evolving and growing into an adjacent space, rehiring, upskilling, and reskilling will be more effective.

Logistically, there are benefits to rehiring and offering internal promotions or role changes. Rehires and current employees won’t require as much training before starting handling their new role. Onboarding is often much more straightforward with rehires than with new hires. Rehires are already familiar with the company’s culture and policies, meaning training can focus on upskilling employees. Rehires and current employees may also have strong relationships with many coworkers and be ready to get to work. Upskilling or reskilling also delivers a positive message: the employer is generous, people-oriented, and focused more on the future than the past.

Upskilling and reskilling also make for innovative retention strategies, especially regarding rehires. Ceridian’s survey of 850,000 employee records found that “boomerang” employees,” or rehires, had a turnover rate of 35% as compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which found a 57% average overall; in their findings, rehires were almost twice as likely to stay through their first three years back.

It’s critical to take a holistic approach to rehiring and upskilling. Employees retaining negative feelings toward the company or any current employees who left on bad terms should be replaced entirely. Regardless of the quality of a company’s upskilling and reskilling programs, a positive attitude toward the company and its job is vital to employees’ success. Upskilling employees only benefit the company if the employee is eager to learn.

How to replace an employee

Suppose your company determines no employees are willing or technically able to grow into a new role or that the ultimate goal is a revolution that requires utterly new talent. In that case, it’s better to hire externally. However, recruiting a hard worker suited for the position can be difficult. You must ensure the new hire is a good fit for the company culture, which can influence the speed of adapting to the change. Yet, if upskilling and reskilling genuinely aren’t a good option, one of the best ways to replace an employee is to hire a temporary worker via a staffing agency like Whitman Associates

In a temp-to-perm position, you can see how potential employees perform before committing to them. This includes reviews of their performance, culture fit, and excitement for the company’s mission. By partnering with a staffing agency, you can find the best replacement for your business while cutting down time and effort in finding qualified candidates for the role. 

The benefits of temporary staffing don’t end there; you could also invest in upskilling and reskilling another current employee for the role while a temporary worker fills in for a few months. Complete a staffing request form to get started hiring with Whitman Associates.

Temp of the Month for April 2024: Emmett Cochetti

WAI April 2024 Temp of the Month

A native of Washington D.C., Emmett brings a unique blend of interpersonal skills and a robust foundation in computer science, enriching the impact of his contributions wherever he is. With a strong background in customer service, he is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in computer science with a focus on the ever-growing field of AI and machine learning. Currently holding a 3.92 GPA, Emmett is on the way to graduate summa cum laude in May of this year. He also dedicates his time as a part-time teaching assistant at UMBC, embodying an ongoing commitment to both personal growth and communal enrichment.

Outside of his academic pursuits, Emmett can often be found engrossed in coding projects or escaping into the imaginative worlds of science fiction literature. On weekends, he takes pleasure in the art of cooking, particularly Italian cuisine, as a means of staying connected to his cultural roots and heritage.

Temp of the Month for March 2024: Christelle Bananas

Christelle is a “citizen of the world” as she calls herself.  Born and raised in France, she moved to the US almost a decade ago. Her degree in international business led her to work in different fields, but mostly in events coordination.

Apart from her work experience, she enjoys spending time her husband and 2 children. Christelle also enjoys traveling, music and dramatical movies.

Christelle’s motto is “Age ain’t nothing, but a number!”

Temp of the Month for February 2024: Sofia Timina

Sofia is a highly motivated and enthusiastic young professional passionate about social justice, community bridge building, and Russian literature. She graduated from Gordon College with a BA in Political Science and International Relations in May 2022.

Sofia moved to the Washington DC area after graduation to participate in a 9-month Fellows program. Shortly after, she started working with Whitman Associates and has greatly enjoyed the multitude of experiences and diversity of new skills temping for Whitman brings. Sofia is beyond thankful for the support, commitment, and professionalism of Whitman’s team.

Aside from work, Sofia enjoys reading, traveling, riding horses, and spending time with friends.

Upcoming Hiring Trends of 2024

Take your career to the next level with these recruitment trends we’re expecting in 2024. Competition these days isn’t easy, with growing numbers of qualified candidates seeking the same job openings every day. Recruiters are looking to hire someone who fits the job criteria and goes above and beyond. Moreover, modern day recruiters must review so many candidates and resumes that they are constantly finding new ways to discover the best candidate for the job. Keeping up with the latest recruiting trends means you’re putting yourself on these recruiters’ radar and highlighting the traits their organizations want to attract. Let’s explore the most important recruitment trends for 2024.

Business professional sitting at a desk with a laptop

Candidate Flexibility

First and foremost, candidates need to remain flexible. In recent years, employers have become more flexible with hybrid work environments. Even with fully onsite roles on the rise, hybrid work will remain a noteworthy hiring trend of 2024. In 2024, it is now the candidates’ turn to show increased flexibility, particularly for onsite roles.

The workforce is changing, and forthcoming recruitment trends for 2024 indicate that carefully defined job roles may be on their way out. Organizations are seeking candidates who are willing to take on additional duties that may not necessarily be in the job description. For example, someone hired to the internal communications team may be asked to assist on projects alongside the marketing team if needed.

The latest recruiting trends expect employees to have a more diverse range of skills. Following 2024 recruitment trends, you should be cross-training to ensure you know how to fill more than one role. Becoming a well-rounded professional is key to getting hired in 2024. If you’re currently employed but preparing for a career change, consider talking to a coworker from another team if they’d be interested in collaborating with you on an upcoming project. This will allow you to put more diverse responsibilities on your resume, which will help you stand out in 2024.

Additionally, if you’re unemployed or struggling to build a 5-star resume that presents you as a well-rounded professional, keep up with 2024 recruitment trends by considering temporary work. By taking on short-term roles at various organizations, you’ll learn a variety of skills and how to be flexible – which is exactly what recruiters will be looking for. Partner with an experienced staffing agency to get personalized guidance and support navigating temporary or temp-to-hire work.

LinkedIn Networking

The latest recruiting trends indicate that LinkedIn networking is key. While LinkedIn has always been a great resource, with an overwhelming pile of qualified candidates, employers only notice the profiles that really stand out. As one of the first places a recruiter will evaluate a candidate, your LinkedIn profile must be up-to-date. Judging by the recent recruitment trends for 2024, if you don’t have a current and accurate LinkedIn presence, you risk being passed over.

Even if you’re not actively seeking a new role just yet, following hiring trends for 2024 will set you up for success if you do decide to make a career change in the future. For example, many professionals go above and beyond merely keeping their LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Some professionals are also building their own personal brand by reposting articles, commenting and showing their unique qualities and personality.

Additionally, LinkedIn recruitment trends for 2024 indicate the importance of doing your research. Many recruiters can only be putting a select few words into LinkedIn’s search function to find candidates, and you want your profile to top the list. Figure out which keywords are most important to the job descriptions of positions you’ve been applying to, and include those keywords throughout your profile. You can update your headline, bio and posts to reflect the most common recruitment searches.

To keep up with the recruitment trends of 2024, professional staffing experts can assist with coaching and development to candidates based on their expressed desires and career hopes. Whitman Associates follows the latest recruiting trends and provides employment services across various industries in both nonprofit and for-profit the sectors, allowing us unique insight into what employers are looking for in 2024.

Skill Set Certifications

It’s expected that hiring individuals with professional certifications will be a trend  for 2024. These certifications are credentials earned after meeting certain criteria and passing an exam. Although you may already possess these skills from responsibilities in previous roles, with so many qualified candidates out there, employers want to hire someone with proven expertise. These certifications are treated as industry standards, and recruitment trends for 2024 show they’re becoming necessary to be hired for specific roles.

For example, earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification before working as a project manager is becoming an industry standard. This certification assesses the candidate’s ability to fulfill the role, such as establishing business priorities and managing other people. The best part? Often, employees with these certifications will get paid more in their roles.

Working with a staffing agency like Whitman Associates can boost you above your competition. It can be a challenge to keep ahead of the various recruitment trends for 2024 on your own. Our staffing experts can recommend improvements and give you informed job-search advice, including how you can take advantage of the latest recruiting trends like gaining relevant certifications. Email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.