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Frequently Asked Questions

Common Employer Questions:

If I list a job opening with you, will it cost me anything or obligate me in any way?
Why would Career Concepts have better qualified people than I can recruit on my own?
How do I know you won’t waste my time, sending over scores of unqualified people?
How can an outside agency improve our screening process, when we understand our company’s needs far better than they?
How is it possible, as you claim, that Career Concepts placements last an average of 3 to 4 times longer?
Do you recommend that the employer does the reference checking or Career Concepts?
Isn’t it more cost effective to hire on my own, rather than paying your agency a placement fee?
Why should companies with in house HR departments outsource to Career Concepts; isn’t that duplication?
Don’t the best job seekers show the initiative to find jobs on their own, rather than needing the help of an agency?
What kind of guarantees do I have if a Career Concepts placement doesn’t work out?
Aren’t all private agencies pretty much the same?
Why pay for a private agency when the State Job Service can do the same things for free?
Do you require an exclusive when I list a job order with Career Concepts?
How much must my own hiring procedures be altered to conform with Career Concepts?
Which is the better way to hire a permanent worker -- direct hire or temp-to-perm?
Is it a good idea for a company to call Career Concepts as a last resort, when nothing else has worked?
Do you offer “headhunting” services, and when do you recommend them?
Is Career Concepts a good choice for supplying temporary workers?
How long will you keep my job listing active?

Common Applicant Questions:

Is there any cost for using your placement services?
How does your placement process work?
What should I bring to my Career Concepts interview?
Am I restricted from using other services or working on my own?
What obligations am I under when I use Career Concepts?
Can Career Concepts really find me a job?
What makes Career Concepts different from the temp services and the unemployment office?
Can I find a temporary or seasonal job through Career Concepts?
What other services do you offer the job seeker besides referrals and job placements?

Common Employer Questions and Answers:

If I list a job opening with you, will it cost me anything or obligate me in any way?

With Career Concepts, it is always “free to look.” Indeed, we encourage employers to compare the qualifications of our referrals with people you may already be considering. Then hire the best candidate, regardless of the source. While there is no cost to list a position with us and no obligation to hire anyone we refer, you are required to sign our services contract, which obligates you to (a) consider and interview our referrals in good faith, and (b) pay a modest placement fee if you decide to hire our referral. As an alternative, you may place the new employee on our staffing payroll for a minimum of 480 hours.

Why would Career Concepts have better qualified people than I can recruit on my own?

Career Concepts finds unique candidates that traditional advertising misses. Serious career seekers seldom respond to help wanted ads or send their resumes to blind boxes. Many are currently employed and require the confidentiality a professional agency offers. Others are new to the area and seek professional assistance in finding the right career with the right employer. Most people who answer newspaper or internet ads fall into one of three categories: (a) the unhappy, (b) the unqualified, or (c) the chronically unemployed. Career Concepts penetrates the hidden labor market where the best candidates are found. We maintain a very large pool of pre-qualified candidates, generated by aggressive recruiting 52 weeks out of the year. When you call us, you immediately access these top-notch people -- the majority of whom you will not find any other way.

How do I know you won’t waste my time, sending over scores of unqualified people?

Since 1980, the Career Concepts pledge has remained the same: we will rather send no candidate at all than refer someone who is unqualified. Each referral is discussed with you before being sent, and a specific interview time is arranged. We won’t fill your fax machine with a blizzard of faceless resumes, and we will only refer a limited number of cream-of-the-crop applicants (typically, 3 to 5.) These candidates must meet not only your specifications, but ours as well, or they will not be referred. Our PDP job modeling and personality assessments provide an additional level of professional screening, that assures every person you interview will be well worth your time.

How can an outside agency improve our screening process, when we understand our company’s needs far better than they?

The answer is in our slogan: “Partners in Personnel.” We create a synergy between our areas of expertise (personnel recruitment and assessment) and your company’s expertise with regard to the specific and technical requirements of each job. We thoroughly consult with each company, drawing out the critical details, personality traits and “intangibles” that are so important to successful hiring. We make it our business to know your company inside and out, and to combine our strengths with yours. It is this partnership approach that is so unique to our agency, and produces such consistent results. Working with you, we take the guesswork out of hiring, and maximize your chances of hiring the best person every time!

How is it possible, as you claim, that Career Concepts placements last an average of 3 to 4 times longer?

Actually, now that we have the additional screening tools provided by Professional Dyametric Programs (PDP), we believe that number is significantly higher. Two key factors produce these results. First, we attract a better, more stable, more qualified pool of job candidates than an employer’s own advertising brings in. Second, we screen and evaluate candidates as third-party professionals, independent of your company’s hiring process. Applicants reveal to us a ton of information that will never come out in a typical job interview. Why? Because as clients of Career Concepts, they are not interviewing for a job with our company. They are instructing us on how we can help them fulfill their own career goals. Thus, we can determine exactly what kind of work they will commit to long term, and what kind of jobs they will only take “until something better comes along.” These permanency factors vary greatly from one applicant to the next, and employers, acting along, cannot gain this kind of insight. They end up hiring people who have interviewed well, and then wonder why they’re gone in six months. Career Concepts provides the solution to this problem, by closing the information gap and referring only people whose permanency can be reliably predicted.

Do you recommend that the employer does the reference checking or Career Concepts?

Generally, we recommend both -- and then compare notes. The employer will often have a deeper understanding of the specific skill requirements of the job, and be able to pose questions that are more technically revealing. Nobody knows your business like you do -- any agency that claims otherwise is being disingenuous. But as a matter of policy, Career Concepts always does our own reference checking on our referred candidates. We are skilled in that process and ask questions from a personnel recruiter’s “dig, dig, dig” mentality. Furthermore, the dynamic of an agency reference check is different, and often reveals much more candid information. We approach the former employer not as a prospective employer, but as a professional who is trying to help the individual become situated in the most appropriate employment. References are generally much more willing to volunteer information (including negative information) when they see it as part of a process to help the person be properly placed.

Isn’t it more cost effective to hire on my own, rather than paying your agency a placement fee?

We heartily encourage you to calculate the costs -- all the costs. How much is your time worth, and that of your managers, pouring over resumes and interviewing scores of unqualified candidates? By scheduling a tightly controlled number of pre-screened candidates, your time will be spent seeing only people who are qualified for the job. We reduce the average employer’s interview time by 50 to 80%. More importantly, count the costs of turnover. Studies show those costs to range between 35 and 250% of the person’s annual wages. Career Concepts’ referrals last an average of four times longer on the job, at a one-time cost of 8%. Cost effective? Yes, by a factor of approximately 100! Your company will never make a better investment.

Why should companies with in house HR departments outsource to Career Concepts; isn’t that duplication?

Career Concepts prides itself in our “partnership” approach, and the cooperative human resource manager support services we offer. We do not “replace” HR functions, but concentrate on those specific areas where an independent, outside professional can help a busy HR department become more time-efficient and effective. Through our pre-screening and recruiting process, we can guarantee that HR managers are devoting their precious time to in-depth assessments of worthwhile candidates, rather than taking on “all comers” and wasting valuable resources. Among the other services we offer to HR professionals are executive recruiting, temporary staffing and payrolling, management consulting and training, and a broad range of support services using the highly accurate and integrated assessment tools of Professional Dyametric Programs. Our PDP-based services include sophisticated job modeling, employee profiles, trait charts and data sheets, applicant ranking and matching, interviewing and advertising guidance and much more. Working together, Career Concepts can enhance the work on any HR manager, through a trusting professional relationship.

Don’t the best job seekers show the initiative to find jobs on their own, rather than needing the help of an agency?

When you talk to serious-minded, high caliber career seekers, you find that most of them are very concerned about the productive use of their time. Rather than casting out in every direction, they are more comfortable with a well-planned and highly focussed approach to their job search. Career Concepts offers them valuable professional career counseling, access to the area’s best employers, and efficient use of their time. The best job candidates often are currently employed, but wanting to advance their careers. They do not have the time to be out searching for jobs, so they retain Career Concepts to search for them. Confidentiality is also a major factor. Career Concepts can discreetly approach employers on their behalf, and market their skills in strictest confidence. At the same time, top-notch candidates are highly selective about the positions they will pursue. Thus, Career Concepts plays an important role in pre-qualifying job opportunities and screening potential employers, for these “top drawer” candidates.

What kind of guarantees do I have if a Career Concepts placement doesn’t work out?

Only rarely does a Career Concepts placement end prematurely, but there are times when factors beyond our control result in a person leaving. To cover those contingencies, we offer “shared risk” placement guarantees that far exceed those of other agencies. Choose from our exclusive one-year guarantee, that provides for half-priced replacements during the first 365 days of employment, or our 90-day guarantee, that reduces the original fee in proportion to how many days the placement lasted. Our staffing contract, of course, involves no fees.

Aren’t all private agencies pretty much the same?

Definitely not. Most of the agencies you encounter these days are temporary staffing services, that do permanent placement as more of a sidelight. Their files are primarily filled with unstable temporary workers. The interviews they conduct are very brief, and their screening process is superficial at best. It’s not that they are “bad” businesses; they just have a different orientation. Their specialty is rapid, high volume “temp” assignments, not career development and permanent placement. Career Concepts, from its inception, has focussed on aggressive recruiting, professional screening and lasting career placement. We devote the time and expertise to doing the job right. Now with the added enhancements of PDP, we specialize in great employment matches and the highest levels of employee productivity and retention. We also offer professional consulting, HR outsourcing, management training and much more, with the goal of building strong, multi-dimensional relationships with our client companies.

Why pay for a private agency when the State Job Service can do the same things for free?

Occasionally, this question still comes up, from folks that either aren’t familiar with Job Service or aren’t familiar with the work of a good agency. To them, we would ask this simple question. Have you ever known of any government bureaucracy that can do as good of a job as private enterprise in the same situation -- or do that job as cost-effectively? The reason for this every businessperson understands. Private enterprise has the incentive (called profit) to serve the customer with excellence, while always striving to improve. Government employees, by the nature of the system in which they work, have no such incentive. They get paid regardless of what they produce -- or don’t produce. We all know, of course, that agencies like the Job Service are far from “free”. In Montana, it costs the taxpayers almost $50 million to maintain their elaborate offices and well-paid staff, resulting in actual costs per permanent placement of approximately 8 to 10 times what a private agency charges! As a practical matter, employers will never get the kind of personal, professional attention from Job Service, nor the aggressive recruiting and screening that they can expect from a private agency like Career Concepts. Listing with Job Service, most employers will agree, is a frustrating waste of valuable time, resulting in few if any qualified referrals. Furthermore, as a matter of principle, feel that if you believe in private enterprise and practice private enterprise, you probably shouldn’t be going to the government for so-called “free” services. Please give that some thought.

Do you require an exclusive when I list a job order with Career Concepts?

Career Concepts never requires an exclusive arrangement when we take your listing. Indeed, we would counsel employers to be wary of those agencies - public or private -- that push for exclusives. They are not necessarily acting in your best interests. Career Concepts is not afraid of competition. We’re confident that we will prove our worth, whether you call other agencies or not. Eventually, many companies conclude that multiple listing is unnecessary. And often a confusing waste of time. They come to choose Career Concepts as their first and only source of hiring, because we have earned their confidence through hard work and excellent results. That’s the way we accept exclusives!

How much must my own hiring procedures be altered to conform with Career Concepts?

Some employers fear that Career Concepts will disrupt their normal hiring process by placing various demands on their company. In fact, our agency is extremely flexible, with the goal in mind to serve and accommodate your needs -- not impose our own system over the top of yours! Being an independent, non-franchised company, we are able to be very innovative, and to flex to other companies’ procedures and policies. We are truly the “no hassle employment agency,” and we get results.

Which is the better way to hire a permanent worker -- direct hire or temp-to-perm?

There is no pat answer to this -- it depends a lot on the client company’s philosophy, and the nature of the position being filled. Career Concepts will accommodate companies either way. As a rule, our agency tends to buck the current trend of starting every new employee as a “temp” worker. This approach has been heavily promoted by temporary staffing services in recent years because, frankly, they can anticipate high levels of turnover and are continually cycling new workers into the positions -- making it a real “cash cow” for these agencies. Because our emphasis is on retention instead of turnover, Career Concepts strives to make a one-time placement that will truly last. In most situations, retention is enhanced by making the new worker your own employee right from the start, instead of keeping them at arm’s length through a staffing contract. It communicates commitment, and engenders commitment in return. As one employer put it, “it’s the difference between getting married and living together.” Exceptions to this might include traditionally high turnover, low pay positions where little training is needed. “Revolving door temps” might work satisfactorily in those cases. Certainly, seasonal positions or jobs with an uncertain future are also good candidates for temporary staffing, but generally, we recommend hiring permanent people for permanent jobs.

Is it a good idea for a company to call Career Concepts as a last resort, when nothing else has worked?

No, it’s actually a pretty bad idea. Career Concepts will rarely accept a job order extended in the 11th hour, out of employer desperation. For us, it’s a losing proposition, because we are not afforded the time to do a thorough and professional job. It’s also unfair to our applicants, who may be interested in the position but may never be given full and fair consideration. Employers need to realize that Career Concepts is more than an applicant data base that you can peer into at the last minute! We seek a serious, professional relationship with our client companies that respects our system, the time we invest and the work we do. Please call us at the beginning of your recruitment process, and you will be very pleased with the results. If you call us after things are just about wrapped up, we will probably say, as graciously as possible, “thanks but no thanks.”

Do you offer “headhunting” services, and when do you recommend them?

Career Concepts has both a national search division (Integrity Personnel) and a local recruiting department that is able to professionally “headhunt” specific, hard-to-find employees who are currently working for other companies. Recruiting assignments are especially appropriate when you are seeking skill sets and experience levels that are very narrowly defined and rarely found. The key to good, effective recruiting is ethicality. The recruiter must discern the critical needs of both the client company and the targeted employee, and only proceed if they feel the match is in everyone’s best interests. Career Concepts follows a strict code of never recruiting an employee out of one of our contracted client companies, and needless to say, we never recruit someone who we had previously placed, unless the company has ended its client relationship.

Is Career Concepts a good choice for supplying temporary workers?

Although it isn’t our primary emphasis, we feel that Career Concepts staffing division (Personnel Leasing) is the best choice you can make for high quality, dependable temporary help. There are two reason for this. First, we attract a higher level of worker into our temporary pool. Many of our temps are top-notch employees who came to us seeking primarily permanent positions, but who are available for temporary assignments while their search is in progress. These folks tend to be much better skilled and much more reliable than the “typical temp” that fills the files of the temporary services. Second, the temporaries we assign out have been much more thoroughly screened and evaluated than other temp workers, because the majority of them have gone through our Career Concepts interviewing and evaluation process in connection with their permanent job search. The result: temporary placements that almost always do better than expected, with the caliber of individuals who will commit for the duration of an assignment, not walk off and require an untrained replacement!

How long will you keep my job listing active?

It is our experience that for most job openings, two weeks of dedicated work on our part should be enough time to recruit, screen and refer qualified candidates worthy of filling your position. If good progress is being made, we will usually agree to a one-week extension. However, we advise our client companies that if they are not prepared to move this quickly, they should probably hold off in activating the job order. The problem with taking a month or more to fill a position is that the originally recruited candidates will often no longer be available, while those who are still available are getting a bad impression of your company. Far better to wait until you can devote yourself to the interview process, with a commitment to hiring the right person without costly delays.

Common Applicant Questions and Answers:

Is there any cost for using your placement services?

Career Concepts never charges an applicant fee. All of our placement costs are borne by the hiring employer.

How does your placement process work?

First, you will need to make an appointment to interview with one of our career consultants. At that time, we’ll have you to complete a thorough application, asking for detailed information on work history, education, specific skills, references, etc. You will also fill out a PDP personality assessment. You will then meet with your consultant, at which time your personal job requirements, career goals, etc., will be thoroughly explored. We will check your references right away, and begin referring you to appropriate positions we have on file. At the same time, we will actively market you to other employers in the community through a very pro-active job search process exclusive to Career Concepts. Once a job interview is lined up, we will again meet with you, to prepare you for the interview itself. Your consultant will then follow up with the employer in your behalf, and advise you on your own follow up efforts. We will work with you every step of the way, to maximize your chances of landing the job you truly desire! Once you have been placed, your consultant will conduct a post placement counseling session with you, giving you valuable advice for making the most of your new employment opportunity. Should any problems or questions arise once you are on the job, your consultant remains available for you to talk with and derive professional advice that will enhance your success.

What should I bring to my Career Concepts interview?

If you have a well-prepared resume, that’s always helpful. If you are seeking a creative position (e.g., writer, illustrator, designer, etc.) please bring a portfolio or other examples of your work. Letters of reference are appreciated, although we will be conducting our own reference calls. A friendly tip: if you dress well for the interview with Career Concepts, you are bound to make a positive impression on your consultant!

Am I restricted from using other services or working on my own?

You are perfectly free to search on your own, or try any other employment service, private or government. Our only requirement is that you keep us fully informed of your activities, including any job referrals you may have received, ads you may be answering, etc. We do not wish to waste our time duplicating your efforts, by calling employers you have already seen or intend to see through a previous referral. This is very imporant. If you don’t keep us advised, we may be forced to put aside your file.

What obligations am I under when I use Career Concepts?

Your primary obligations are communication and honesty. We are prepared to devote a large amount of our professional time to finding to a career position. In return, we need to know that you will (a) represent your qualifications and work history truthfully and completely, (b) keep your consultant fully informed of all positions you are applying for on your own or through another referral service, (c) return to our office immediately after each interview for discussion, (d) communicate with us throughout your decision-making process, (e) return all of our messages promptly, i.e., the same day whenever possible, (f) tell us immediately when you have accepted a job, whether through us or not, and (g) make an honorable and serious commitment to whatever job you accept.

Can Career Concepts really find me a job?

Yes! With your help, hard work and cooperation. Think of us as a team, that must work closely together in order to succeed. Unlike government agencies and temporary services, Career Concepts establishes a professional relationship with the job-seeker. If we can count on you to work with us in good faith, we will do whatever it takes to help line you up with the right opportunities. We are not just job fillers -- we are job finders, who will actively promote you to the business community, opening doors and making things happen. Through our interview process and PDP personality assessments, we can help guide your career in the proper direction, and create an employment match that makes great sense for you and your new employer. We’ll go to bat for you when those great matches appear, and give you the kind of professional advice that will help you have a competitive edge. Only at Career Concepts will you receive this kind of personalized, aggressive service -- all at no charge.

What makes Career Concepts different from the temp services and the unemployment office?

Temp services generate mostly temporary positions. That’s the area in which they concentrate. It’s far less likely that a temporary service will have quality, career positions on file because employers are less likely to seek permanent employees from a temporary agency. They will call Career Concepts first. Temp services also tend to be job fillers, not job finders. They have neither the time nor the orientation to make “cold calls” in your behalf to local employers. They survive on a high volume of low paying temporary jobs, and seldom show job applicants the personal attention or provide the career counseling that you’ll get at Career Concepts. There’s nothing “wrong” with temporary services; they just fill a different niche. If you want personalized, professional help with your career search, Career Concepts is the only show in town. The state unemployment office is, realistically, a step below the temp services. Some companies list permanent jobs with them (usual low end stuff), but there is virtually no serious effort made to find you or even match you with the career of your choice. You are expected to prompt their system by looking over their listings and contacting them! You have a better chance responding to blind ads in the newspaper than getting aggressive action out of the State Job Service. Most people conclude it’s not worth their time.

Can I find a temporary or seasonal job through Career Concepts?

Absolutely. Our temporary help division - Personnel Leasing - is the oldest temporary staffing service in the Gallatin Valley. Personnel Leasing is somewhat more selective about the positions we handle. We avoid casual labor ”day jobs,” and won’t accept assignments that are insultingly low pay. Almost all of our temporary positions last for a minimum of one week, and pay higher-end wages. We are also more selective in the quality of workers we send out. We check references and hold out temp workers to a high standard of performance. If you stand up or walk off a job assignment, you don’t get a second one. Our temporaries have a reputation for being the best and most reliable. We intend to keep it that way!

What other services do you offer the job seeker besides referrals and job placements?

We provide advanced career planning services with a professional career counselor (available in the evenings). A wide range of assessment tests are also available, including Strong Interest Inventory, Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, and our own PDP ProScan that produces a sophisticated 18-page report of great help to the serious career-seeker. Through our Preferred Client 5-star program, we are able to market you to the local business community in a variety of innovative ways, including on the homepage of our website, at exclusive Career Concepts candidate fairs, through targeted promotions and in prominent newspaper display ads. Contact us for the specific costs of these optional services.