Archive for January, 2014

012514 minimum wage 1Next to the healthcare issues, the next hot topic among employers and employees is the minimum wage debate. Employees at McDonalds, Wal-Mart and other companies are asking, in some cases demanding, that minimum wage be increased. Of course, on the employer side of this debate, companies are saying they can’t afford to pay more than that current $7.25 per hour. They say they will have to either raise prices or they will have to close their doors,  which will hurt all of us, even those of that are making more than minimum wage.

There have been some instances that that government in a few states, such as Maryland, Nebraska, Washington State and Washington D.C., that have tried to force McDonalds and Wal-Marts, to raise minimum wage up to $10 to $15 per hour. Those companies have either threatened or have actually started the process of closing all their stores in those states.

As a teenager, when you get your first job, that minimum wage is pretty awesome. Even if you are having to help pay for your car insurance and pay for your own gas, that paycheck gives you a little bit of independence from the parents. We are happy to bus tables, answer phones, clean bathrooms, walk dogs, baby sit or deliver newspapers for that tiny paycheck, with the plans that this work is only temporary and one day we’ll be making more money.

We even can handle minimum wage, as we go through college, or even less if we’re waiting tables. With Dad, Mom and/or student loans footing the bill, we don’t need much to get by on. However, after we leave college, or if we don’t go to college and head right into the adult world with mortgage or rent, utilities, car payments and other expenses, that minimum wage just isn’t enough. Especially if you are one of the few that actually try to pay off those student loans.

The theory of the advocates for raising the minimum wage is that even those that are stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or taking your order at McDonalds have the right to earn a decent living just like anyone. That’s really hard to argue, right? Whether you have a GED, a PhD or anything in between those, you should be able to live comfortably. This is the land of opportunity and prosperity after all.

Of course the more educated you are and the better job you are qualified for, you should make more money, thus be able to afford the finer things if you so desire. Simply because you weren’t good at school though or you weren’t able, or choose not to, go to college, does that mean you should be forced to live below what the government has determined to be the poverty level?100413 Name Salary 2

Take just a moment to put on the shoes of a person that makes minimum wage. If they are lucky enough to get a job that will give them 40-hours week at $7.25 per hour, they will gross $15,080 annually. If that person is married with no children, or they are a single parent with one child, they won’t even make $15,130.00 which is what the Federal government determine is the poverty level.

Then when you take into consideration that most minimum wage jobs are only part-time, and that was before Obamacare went into law, approximately 70 percent of those making minimum wage work less than 35 hours a week. This means they aren’t even earning the $15,080 we just discussed.

Those against raising minimum wage say if you want to make more than minimum wage, then get the education or training needed to get a better job so you can. While that all sounds like good advise, there are three issues that need to be addressed:

1). How are they to afford going back to school when they aren’t making a poverty level income, while paying bills and especially if they have children?

2). Who is going to take your order at McDonalds or stock the shelves at Wal-Mart if they all went back to school?

3). Perhaps some people actually enjoy working fast food and big box stores. So shouldn’t they make a decent living?

Is there a fair middle ground on this debate? Is it really going to send McDonalds, Wal-Mart and other companies into bankruptcy if they increase the minimum wages a $1.00 per hour and increase pay by the same percentage that the federal Consumer Price Index rises. If you give employees that increase in minimum wage, will they want more later?

The advocates to increase minimum wage contend that it will put money back into the economy because those minimum wage employees will be able to spend more money. When a bread winner is bringing home more money, they become financially secure and are able to afford more things. Of course the more people spend, the more jobs open up. It is also said that with an increase in minimum wage, employees will be more prone to stay put, which will lower turnovers and that will lower training costs.

The flip side to minimum wage increase by those that oppose such believe that it will be a strain on employers causing many to cut back or go out of business, thus raise the unemployment rates. Thus they claim, those who are getting the minimum wage increase will be the ones that actually suffer more from the increase. They also claim that all the studies done have not shown any correlation between an increase in minimum wage and poverty reducing.

012514 minimum wage 3Which side is right and which side is wrong? Is there a common middle ground on this debate? From how it looks right now, there won’t be a win-win solution anytime soon. One thing for sure though, we all need an income and many of us have a need for something from Wal-Mart or crave a Big Mac from time to time. I’m heading to Big Boys myself!

It’s not an uncommon thing to happen, but certainly one you don’t need on a Monday morning, or any other day of the week. Biggest project of the quarter starts today and you find out that the manufacturing team is down one key player. Do you panic and just grab the first application that comes through the door? No matter if you have a permanent or temporary employment need, Clear Choice Staffing Solutions offers some key steps in finding great people – even on a short notice.

012514 Emergency Hire 1The Treasure Hunt

First step is to plan a strategy by listing the requirements and skills for the position you need to fill. Knee-jerk reaction will give you more pain and problems, so take your time and know your target then start your treasure hunt. The next step is determining if this is a temporary problem or a long term problem.

Determine If Short-Term Problem

It may be a panic right now, but clarify if this staffing shortage is a long-term or short-term problem. It may be to your best advantage to hire on a temporary basis. With the services of a company like Clear Choice Staffing Solutions, you can hire a highly-specialized replacement on a temporary basis that will allow the company to complete the project on time without having to offer benefits. Now the question is, where do you start looking for the right people?

Good From Good

They say that “like attracts like”, meaning that if you have a good employee and they recommend somebody, you’ve got a good chance of getting somebody just like them, or close to it anyway. By using connections and references of your existing employees, it can save you a lot of money and a lot of time.

So in addition to working with an agency like Clear Choice Staffing Solutions,who has a network of highly-specialized, trained candidates, ask your staff if they have anyone they would like to refer. Just as you would with us, make the prerequisites required clear.012514 Emergency Hire 2

Social Media To The Rescue

We are smack in the middle of the digital age now and using the social media has proven to be efficient, far-reaching and fast which makes it probably one of the most effective ways of recruiting. Starting with LinkedIn and then spider out to all the other sites, it is said that 9 out of 10 job seekers have created a profile on one or all of the social sites and one 1 out of every 6 have been successful in landing employment.

Sometimes A Pro Is Needed

When time is short and the stakes are at risk, it may be time to call in a pro. It is times like these that having a relationship with a staffing agency like Clear Choice Staffing Solutions can be priceless. We hare professionals that have been trained and have the experience in finding those candidates that are highly skilled in all facets of all industries. We can save you both money and time by having a network of candidates that we have already interviewed and screened.

Think about it for a minute before you decide that a staffing agency will cost you more than its worth: Forbes released the results of a survey they took of 2,700 employers. Just over 40 per cent of those that completed the survey said that one bad hire can cost them as much as $25,000! Even worse though … 25 per cent said a bad hire has cost them as much as $50,000.

A Different Interviewing Technique


A ‘working interview’ has proven to be effective in narrowing down candidates for a permanent or temporary position. Having a prospective candidate work one or two hours at the job they are applying for can often help you assess their abilities and skills. Especially in a manufacturing environment when one position is a crucial step to the next position.

If they have what you are needing, its a winner. If they aren’t however, you haven’t spent too much time on them and most likely, you and them both will know that right away. A working interview also will tell you if that person is somebody you may want to offer a permanent position if the need arises.

110913_learn_to_fire 1Always Be Prepared

Now that you have a plan of action and have resolved your immediate crisis problem, get a plan of action in place so that when it happens again, and it will, you’ll be better prepared. Stay in contact with those candidates you selected for the temporary position. That way if you have that need again, you’ll have a contact that you know you can trust. Have a staffing agency like Clear Choice Staffing Solutions in place and get a solid relationship built so that the next time, they will know you, your business and your expectations.

Most important though, don’t sit back and get cozy that all is well. You never know when that next staffing crisis will hit again.


022514 recruiter specialized 1When the building materials and manufacturing industry needs to fill a position, they often turn to a professional recruiter to help them. As we’ve covered here recently, using a professional recruiter helps you save time which saves you money.

If you have never worked with a professional recruiter before, you may not know what to look for in a recruiter. Clear Choice Staffing Solutions has some pointers here to help you choose the right recruiter and make sure you are getting what you need in a recruiter:

Connected and Experienced – You should look for a recruiter that has not only staffing experience, but experience in the building materials and manufacturing industry. You want a recruiter that has a good, firm contact database with contacts in your industry. This isn’t just a list of names and numbers either. They should have a current, working list of contacts.

Insight and Understanding – You should look for a recruiter that understands your specific needs. It is important that they have the experience we mentioned above, but they should a clear understanding of the candidate you’re looking for and what will be expected of that candidate so that you get the right match. Your recruiter should be able to dig and research beyond the information you have provided them so that they can find the best solutions for your employment needs.

Reliable and Responsive – You want a recruiter that responds to your needs immediately and follows through with the placement. A smaller agency is more able to turn on a dime than the bigger corporate agencies. Whether it is your first call to them or the 1000th call for placement, you want the agency to be prompt, quick and thorough.

022514 manufacturing plant 3Ethics and Trust – Trust is the cornerstone of any good relationship, personal or business. You need to be able to trust your recruiter and know beyond a doubt, that your recruiter is abiding by all the rules and polices of a staffing agency and conducting themselves with the highest level of ethics, honesty and integrity.

You would like to believe that any staffing agency and their team of recruiters are going to be each of these things. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case and doing your research before you sign on with a staffing agency is a must these days. Clear Choice Staffing Solutions

It is common knowledge in the manufacturing industry, the turn-over rate is fairly high. Whether its a seasonal thing for the company or just the nature of the beast so to speak, the jobs in manufacturing come open without much notice.

022514 manufacturing plant 1However, they also can be filled just as quickly. Then, they can take what may seem like forever to fill and it definitely seems as if they will never be filled permanently. When a manufacturing company uses the normal process of hiring, it can take just a few days or it can take weeks to fill those openings. This is the reason why a manufacturing company needs to establish a good, solid relationship with a staffing agency like Clear Choice Staffing Solutions.

In the business world, especially in the manufacturing industry, time is money. Recruiting and hiring take time, thus money. By the time a potential candidate answers an ad from the news paper or one of the many online job search sources, time has already lapsed. Then there is the application process, the interviewing process, the screening process and sometimes a second interview is needed. Now more valuable time has passed and the position is still not filled.

As you go through the standard channels and company protocol, the position has been opened long enough that the department manager has had to reassign and redirect responsibilities for others. Sometimes, certain segments of the manufacturing line have been placed on a back burner, thus productivity is loss and in the end, an inferior product may be the result.

That inferior product will create more problems down the line with customer complaints. Those complaints lead to repairs, replacements all of which entails shipping cost. More time is lost, more money is lost, all affecting the company’s bottom line. That one missing spot on the manufacturing line has cost you money.092913_careers_future 1

The usual lengthy turn-around time can be shortened when using the services of a staffing agency such as Clear Choice Staffing Solutions, whose focus is recruiting, interviewing, screening and hiring. This is not only what they do, but it is all they do. They recruit, interview, screen and check backgrounds. Your company has many more things on your plate related to HR and running the business in general.

Recruiters that are industry-specific have learned your business. They know what it takes to make it run smooth and bring you the best candidates possible. An industry-specific staffing agency will have a proven on-boarding process with steps that insure they are sending you prospective clients that aren’t going to be a waste of your time and fill that opening you have unexpectedly efficiently and quickly. By working with a recruiting firm that knows your business, you have an extension and teammate for your HR department. 


Feb 2014 Calendar 1February 1

Monster Jam 

One Reliant Park

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam part of the Davis Chevrolet Houston Monster Jam Series returns to Reliant Stadium. 

February 2

Houston Symphony

615 Louisiana St

America’s foremost composer – John Adams – will take you on a musical adventure through shadowy urban streets and blazing hot nightclubs in his own City Noir. The incomparable Gil Shaham will then join for a performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto. 

February 5 – February 9

50th Annual Houston RV Show

One Reliant Park

Don’t miss the 50th Anniversary of the largest RV Show in Texas! With over 600 units on display, you are sure to find the perfect RV! Feb 2014 Calendar 2

February 6 – February 9

Sesame Street Live

One Reliant Park

Don’t miss your favorite Sesame Street characters when they come to Reliant Arena!

February 6

Franchise Expo South

One Reliant Park

Join thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners at the FRANCHISE EXPO SOUTH, the premier franchise expo serving the Southwestern US, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

February 7

Ron White in Concert

520 Texas Street

Bayou Music Center

Feb 2014 calendar 2February 7 – February 9

Texas Home & Garden Show

One Reliant Park

Houstons’ Premier “One Stop Shopping Opportunity” for all your home & garden needs. From Windows and Doors to Ceilings and Floors over 700 experts, products, services and ideas all under one roof. 

February 14

Passion Conference

1510 Polk St

At Toyota Center. Led by a stirring in the heart of Atlanta-based pastor, Louie Giglio, Passion was birthed in 1997 to see the 20+ million college students across the globe awaken to the reality of an omnipotent and glorious Creator.

February 14

Complete Brandenburg featuring Richard Egarr

501 Texas St

Wortham Center — Mercury Baroque’s — Join Richard Egarr in the Complete Brandenburg Concertos as the versatile harpsichordist and conductor brings these Baroque classics to life. 

February 14

Katt Williams in Concert

One Reliant Park

KATT WILLIAMS returns with a brand new stand up show that is selling out across the country.

February 15

The Official Blues Brothers Revue

2020 Post Office St., Galveston, TX

At The Grand Opera House in Galveston. It’s been more than 30 years since the Blues Brothers emerged as Saturday Night Live characters and became worldwide cultural phenomenon following two 1980s hit films.

February 21

The Eagles in Concert

1510 Polk St

At Toyota Center. The Eagles – Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit

will perform hits from their more than 35-year career 

February 24

Elizabeth Strout

501 Texas St

Wortham Center — Inprint Houston — A nonprofit organization founded in 1983, Inprint fulfills this mission through the nationally renowned Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, the Cool Brains!Feb 2014 Calendar 3

February 25

Simone Dinnerstein, piano

1515 Sul Ross

At Menil Collection — American pianist Simone Dinnerstein is a searching and inventive artist who is motivated by a desire to find the musical core of every work she approaches. 

February 27 – March 1

World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest

One Reliant Park

The World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest is three days of cooking, competition, eating and dancing. .