Why Career Assessments Are Helpful to Your Job Search

By Rebecca Ferlotti/The Nelson Team

 Whether you are just entering the workforce or are a seasoned professional, career assessments are an important tool to determine what types of jobs to take and whether you’ll be a good fit for certain roles or even certain companies. Using these career tests can aid in your job search decision-making process, as well as proactively reassess your career trajectory.

What are career assessment tests?

Career assessment tests, also known as career aptitude tests, help determine your job interests and strengths (which can save you time and frustration when deciding on the best role for yourself). The effectiveness of these assessments depends on a person’s self-awareness; career tests can ask individuals to evaluate job situations, determine solutions to everyday problems, identify their personality traits, or any number of scenarios. The majority of the time, career assessments do not have right or wrong answers, as there are plenty of personality types that produce competent employees. Upon completion, career assessment reports can help you understand where to focus your efforts.

Aptitude tests do not provide job seekers with the name of the career they are meant to have; rather, the tests supplement the self-assessment process by identifying both your proficiencies and areas for development.

When can you use career assessments?

Career assessments can be used at any time in the job search – and they may even be used by employers during the interview process. Used in conjunction with interviews and performance reviews, career assessment tests will help HR departments understand their team members and potential team members on a deeper level. You can also take career assessments after you’ve been hired or at any point in your career to help you better understand how you fit within your current team and how to develop yourself in your current role or to prepare yourself for future roles.

Some common career assessment tests are:

There are many other career assessment tools available, both free and paid, that will highlight personality traits you might even realize your exhibit.

Career assessment strengths and weaknesses

Aptitude tests are commonly used and widely accepted; however, they sometimes face scientific scrutiny. To alleviate concerns, select a well-established career assessment tool backed by industry experts. Be clear with yourself about what you’re hoping to learn from taking this test – and either work with a career coach or recruiter to position yourself for roles that leverage the knowledge you’ve gained about your strengths and opportunities.

When you are able to pinpoint your interests, you can find professional environments wherein you will thrive. Through career assessments, you may discover that you are in the incorrect department or role for your skill set. Understanding your own personality can enhance your work performance and increase job satisfaction – you seek roles and tasks that suit your strengths and interests.

Career assessment tools can be useful for candidates seeking to gain a better understanding of their needs and desires of a future job or company during the job search. These tests illuminate personality traits that can impact employee effectiveness over time. Although aptitude tests are a time – and sometimes monetary – investment, using a career assessment can improve your effectiveness both as an employee and as a job seeker.



By Catherine Tansey

When it comes to emerging technology, none seem as poised for disruption in Human Resources as artificial intelligence, or AI. AI, the field of computer science that aims to replicate human behavior and includes machine learning and deep learning, is helping the most human-driven function embrace bleeding-edge technology in a big way. Tech-savvy CHROs and leading organizations are implementing AI-driven software to enhance their recruitment and onboarding processes, streamline operations, and improve the employee experience.

AI is helping improve HR analytics by helping teams extract meaningful insight and make recommendations in real time. Let’s take a look:

Smarter Recruitment

Recruiters have long harnessed HR technology  improve the pace of recruitment and the quality of candidates generated. Today, artificial intelligence is shaping a new landscape where workflows are automated and labor-intensive tasks, like scanning resumes and screening candidates, are reduced. In the years to come, AI is expected to produce the best candidates possible with human-like algorithms that can not only evaluate a candidate’s resume, but also assess general online presence, which can speak to hard to measure traits like drive, integrity, and ambition.

AI is also improving online applications. Recruiter databases already use data points like keywords and word flows to organize and prioritize the applications they receive online. As AI becomes more readily incorporated into the HR function, these tools are expected to grow better, faster, and more accurate, and be used not only for applicant processing but also for talent scouting as well.

Streamlined Onboarding Process

Onboarding is dreaded by most but needed by all. And as it turns out, many organizations have onboarding programs in need of a revamp — or no onboarding program at all. This can be hugely detrimental to an organization, as the correlation between a robust onboarding experience and retention is clear: with a “great” onboarding experience, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer for three years.

Organizations are coming to recognize that onboarding is not a singular event, but rather an ongoing experience. And they’re using AI-powered chat bots to help new employees have the best experience possible from day one. With chatbots, new hires can quickly get straightforward answers about things like employee benefits or how to submit IT tickets, freeing up the HR team’s time to deal with more complex issues or strategic planning.

(You can also read about how to improve your onboarding our recent whitepaper.)

Better Indicators of the Employee Experience

Did you know that engaged employees are more profitable? They’re also happier, more productive, and less likely to leave their organizations. And while engaged workforce are no longer a nice-to-have but a business imperative, the annual surveys used to measure this fickle and vital ingredient to a healthy workforce are inefficient, inaccurate, and dated.

HR analytics tools to measure culture, engagement, and experience are helping HR leaders understand how the workforce feels about the senior leadership’s performance and how well the company is delivering on the values espoused. With HR analytics, companies can ensure the right questions are being asked of the right people at the right time by using psychometrics and behavioral analysis.

Improved Predictions & Data-Driven Culture

The HR department is historically one driven by qualitative analysis. Afterall, prior to the digitalization of the workforce and the rise of big data, recruiters and HR professionals routinely made decisions based on gut feelings. Now, HR is not only expected to be as data-driven as any other mission-critical corporate function, but is also actually the analytics leader in some of the most forward-facing organizations. In fact, thirty-one percent of respondents to a recent Oracle survey noted they were already using machine learning and predictive analysis to identify flight risks, forecast high-performing recruits, and select the best candidates with resume scanning.

Clearer Answers to Questions about Employee Benefits

AI is demystifying convoluted employee benefits programs by giving employees human-like answers to real questions, fast with chatbots. Most companies offer three separate plans for health, dental, and vision insurance, and have policies for FSA, PTO, and wellness programs.

Finding simple answers to questions about these benefits can be costly to companies and frustrating for employees. Chatbots are changing this. AI-powered chatbots are helping HR teams answer questions about employee benefits—often complex policies or procedures, in easy to understand language about practical applications. Companies spend on average 30% of an employee’s salary on benefits, a number that’s only expected to increase with the rise of high-deductible plans as baby boomers age. Using chatbots to help employees quickly find simple answers to questions is an easy way to ensure benefits packages are being fully utilized.

Staying ahead of emerging technology today is no easy feat, but one thing is clear for HR leaders: it pays to discuss incorporating AI into your function today. From improving new hire onboarding to more accurately measuring the employee’s experience, as well as providing quick and easy answers to questions about benefits, AI is shaping the HR of the future.

For more information on events and webinars covering the future of work, visit Nelson Job’s events page today.


By Laura Bednar

The phone interview holds more weight in the process of landing a job than most potential employees think. The phone interview seems to have taken the place of the first in-person interview, at least as an introductory way to learn more about an applicant.

Aside from seeing if your skills on your resume really match the person on the other end of the line, a company uses a phone interview to narrow down a large list of candidates. This interaction can be your virtual foot in the door to earning a real face-to-face second interview.

51% of recruiters state that they will hold at least three interviews before companies make a job offer, meaning that speaking to someone on the phone is only the first step of the application process. To make it to the next phase, preparation for your phone interview is key.

Creating an Ideal Speaking Environment

When you are trying to listen and absorb what someone is saying on the phone, you will need a quiet area in which it is easy to focus on the conversation at hand. Be sure that there are no distractions in the background, such as other people or blaring televisions and electronics.

If possible, it is safer to use a landline because there is less of a chance that you will drop the call. If you are using a cell phone, ensure you are in an area that has strong service and have the device fully charged before you engage in the call. In some cases, it may be better for you to stand during the call to allow yourself to sound more confident and more enthusiastic than when sitting at a table or a desk. Find an area that is comfortable, but not so familiar that you lose a tone of professionalism.

Overcoming the Disadvantages of a Phone Interview

The major obstacle in partaking in a phone interview is that you cannot see the other person. Body language can generally give us an idea of how another person perceives us and what the comfort level is on both ends of the interview. Without any visuals you must rely solely on the interviewer’s tone to respond to their questions and comments appropriately.

Jack Kelly, a Senior Contributor for Forbes, says that “all the interviewer can rely upon is your voice, phone demeanor and delivery.”

The challenge comes in finding the right tone, between sounding natural and maintaining a sound of professionalism. The best way to meet in the middle is through audible practice. While you may have written down points you know you would like to include, reading them off a paper and speaking the syllables from memory have completely different sounds.

When you speak, do so clearly and slowly so that the interviewer does not have to ask you to repeat yourself. Keep in mind that you are speaking to a potential employer and not a friend about weekend plans, so your demeanor needs to change.

Above all, not having any visuals can lead you to lose focus on the conversation. This can result in an embarrassing situation where you must ask the interviewer to repeat themselves, which is one of the red flags they look for when conducting a phone interview. Thoroughly listen to what is being said and take notes to keep yourself engaged in the conversation.

Heard but Not Seen

A perk to interviewing through the phone is that you can have materials in front of you, such as a copy of your resume and research about the employer and the person with whom you are speaking. Some companies may schedule more than one phone interview with you and the calls may be with completely different people. Find out who you will be speaking with and try to find some background information on them from the company website.

Though you may not be speaking to the CEO, a recruiter who found you via LinkedIn can be your only connection to speaking with those who have higher positions. Do not assume that a new person you talk to has read your resume already or spoken with the person who interviewed you earlier. Address them by their title unless otherwise told and firm up the details of who will be calling whom and when.

There are several general rules that can help you to ace your phone interview and most of these tips can translate into all aspects of interviewing, but one rules holds true: dress the part. Even if the interviewer can’t see you, wearing a professional outfit will put you in the interviewing mindset and keep you from falling into the trap of taking the call less than seriously.

Key Follow-Ups After the Phone Interview

If you were taking quick notes during the call, chances are your writing may be a bit chaotic. Organize your thoughts and answers to the questions you asked as soon as you hang up while the conversation is still fresh in your mind.

Following the call, wait a day or two and send a thank-you email or card in the mail to the person with whom you spoke. Staying positive throughout the call and afterward shows your determination and interest in the position.

Need help finding a role and preparing for your first phone interview? Nelson has nearly 50 years of experience matching talented and positive job seekers with opportunities that fit their abilities. Learn more about how our staffing agency can help you at https://nelsonjobs.com.

By Catherine Tansey

The new digital culture and economy in which we live and operate has forced a shift in the leadership landscape. While leaders still need to hone traditional leadership competencies like expert communication, the ability to inspire, and a capacity to foster collaboration, the digital era also demands skills centered around adaptability and technology. Moreover, to successfully implement and oversee digital transformation initiatives in an organization, leaders must be able to manage teams, projects, and programs with digital fluency and an agile nature.

Hiring for a leadership position, or vying for one yourself? Consider these five digital leadership skills needed today.

Technological Mindset

It has been said that today every company is a technology company. Proponents of this idea aren’t arguing that every company makes a tech product, but rather the digitalization of life has created a tech component for many functions in a given company. Whether running the website of a local brick and mortar shop, or using cloud-based enterprise resource-planning software, leaders in the digital age need technical aptitude and competence.

Agile Nature

The only constant is change itself. One of the top digital leadership skills to have is not a skill so much as an attitude, a mindset, and an ethos. Originating as an approach to organizing software development, the principles of agility have been adopted cross-functionally in enterprises to streamline productivity with frequent assessments to ensure the project and team are on track. With the accelerated pace of change that digitalization has enabled, leaders must be able to adjust pace and change course rapidly, all while leading a team.

Empathetic Communication

Several factors have contributed to the rise of global teams, but none more so than the open communication and exchange of information enabled by the internet. As such, leaders are finding themselves managing teams across global, cultural, and linguistic lines—challenges that can quickly become insurmountable without an expert communicator to facilitate team interactions. To be a leader in the digital age, individuals need empathy-based communication skills to foster collaboration, ease cultural differences, and support team members.

Project Management

As company hierarchies have grown flatter and more project-based, project management has become an increasingly necessary skill for leaders in the digital era. Whether overseeing digital transformation initiatives or managing projects to carry out the organization’s strategic agenda, project management is here to stay as a top digital leadership skill.

Disruptive Thinking

Leaders must be primed for transformation and change all the time. Enterprises are looking for people who leverage technology to upend traditional business models with creativity through disruptive thinking. It’s no surprise creativity is considered one of the most important traits for which to hire in 2020. Beyond the design-based roles we traditionally associate with creativity, the concept is more akin to imaginativeness, and in the context of critical thinking, extends to the ability to solve problems in a novel and insightful way—a must-have for any leader today.

Leaders need specific skills for the digital era to complement their existing approach to managing people, projects, and teams. With an emphasis on all things technical, leaders fare well in learning agile principles, having a baseline level of digital fluency, and understand the principles of effective project management. But staying in-the-know on the latest trends, research, and findings for leadership in the digital age can be challenging. Visit Nelson’s events and webinars page today for all the information you need to stay one step ahead of HR and business trends.




At Nelson, we care deeply about the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, everyone at Nelson, from individual contributors to community-based teams and even the company as a whole, is empowered to give back. We support the causes we care about through volunteerism, donation-matching, and corporate grants. In this series, you’ll learn more about Nelson’s philanthropic employees:  

Meet Joanna Trinh, Recruiter

A professional photo of Joanna Trinh, a recruiter at Nelson

Tell us about your favorite charity or volunteer gig.

Downtown Streets is a great organization that pays bills and gives gift cards to those who are homeless or who are in danger of becoming homeless. These people earn the stipends by cleaning up the streets around them: picking up trash and carrying out beautification projects for parks, as well as other areas. They support each other and have a weekly meal together.

The organization is located all throughout the Bay Area, including in Hayward, San Jose, and San Francisco.

Do you have a particular act of charitable giving or volunteering that stands out to you?

Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, I volunteered with the Downtown Streets organization to throw a picnic to show appreciation to its members who help keep the cities clean. It was wonderful to interact with different members of the community – they were friendly and had interesting but heartbreaking stories about how they arrived in their current situations. There was a man who couldn’t find a job because he was thrown into prison while being out-of-state and carrying drugs that he was prescribed, and another normal woman made some bad decisions in life and had kids, but the kids wouldn’t help her with her homelessness. The homeless people were just normal people in unfortunate circumstances.

I really enjoyed this volunteer opportunity (which I found through www.volunteermatch.org): I helped the organization leaders prepare and transport the food to a lovely park (with foxes, coyotes, and birds on display!), set up the tables, enjoyed socializing with the attendees, and cleaned up afterwards.

What is your “beCAUSE”?

I volunteer to stay in touch with the reality around me. It can be easy to get caught up in this lucky, employed life and forget that others may not have the same opportunities or money available to them. For me, it’s important to be informed about the community that goes on around me (and the homeless people of this organization are the ones keeping the cities clean!), and ,in California, that community is diverse. I love to see how I can help them in return. Additionally, we tend to have stereotypes regarding the homeless and it’s easier to solve this problem by interacting directly with the homeless rather than keeping them away.



By Emma Nelson

As an accounting and finance professional, you know that an impressive candidate has  experience and a strong education background. But you must also keep in mind the important soft skills needed to work and be successful in this field.

Soft skills are the skills that you don’t learn in technical schools and can only really be honed in practice. While a stellar resume will help you stand out when applying for accounting and finance jobs, to truly differentiate yourself, you must be able to clearly demonstrate your soft skills. What kinds of soft skills do accounting and finance professionals need? We’ve compiled a few of the top soft skills below:


Leadership is an important skill to have while working in this field. You must be able to step up and take control when needed. This includes initiating action and motivating fellow employees, as well as providing guidance to build confidence among your team members. You should have the confidence to suggest your ideas and feel certain that your opinions matter.


In addition to being able to lead, you must be able to work well with others. You should not only be able to implement your own ideas, but also be respectful of other employees’ ideas and keep everyone’s opinions in mind when making decisions. When employees can work collaboratively and as a team, it enhances the work environment and creates a creative and cooperative atmosphere.

Communication skills

Accounting and finance professionals need to be able to clearly explain information to other colleagues in their department. Numbers and charts can get confusing and complicated, and you must possess the skills needed to explain data to your coworkers clearly and concisely without leaving out important details.

Technically proficient

Accounting and finance jobs also often require workers to be skilled in a wide range of technology. You must feel confident in using the software and other tools that are necessary for creating and analyzing data. You also should not only have the skills required to perform their job but also the ability to expand these skills and feel comfortable using new technology.

Critical Thinking

Lastly, it is important for accounting and finance professionals to be able to think critically when working in these fields. They must have analytical and problem-solving skills in order to analyze data and get through complications that come up during work. They should also be able to think strategically and focus on both short- and long-term issues.

Do you have what it takes to be an accounting and finance professional? Find a job with Nelson in your area today!!


One of the largest independent staffing firms in the U.S. also named 90th overall

Today, Nelson announces that it has been named to Forbes’ 2019 list of America’s Best Professional Recruiting Firms. Nelson, which is based in Sonoma, California, has been ranked 15th for its presence in the Golden State, as well as 90th out of 250 firms overall in the United States.

As a family-owned firm, Nelson is especially honored by this recognition: for the past fifty years, Nelson has been a strong presence in the California’s employment market, connecting highly-qualified candidates across roles, levels, and industries with Nelson’s valued partner companies. Nelson recruits for roles in specialties like technology and engineering, accounting and finance, office and administrative, wine and beverage, and manufacturing; the company also provides general staffing and executive search services.

“Nelson is committed to offering high quality services to both our clients and our candidates,” said CEO Joe Madigan. “We are honored to be recognized for that commitment, and as we approach our 50th year in business, we look forward to continuing to make connecting talent with great jobs our priority.”

To evaluate and rank America’s best recruiting firms, Forbes partnered with Statista, a market research company. Through Statista, Forbes surveyed HR Managers (who were clients of recruiting firms), external recruiters (as a form of peer review), and candidates (who worked with recruiting firms to land a job). The rankings are based on these three groups’ ratings of quality – from communication and process to roles and/or candidates offered. To view the list, visit Forbes.com.

For nearly 50 years, Nelson has been more than a workforce solutions firm, connecting companies with the resources they need to efficiently build and manage their teams: we’ve been a neighbor and an invested member of your communities. Nelson’s deep knowledge of and involvement in California’s job markets allows us to serve companies and organizations of all sizes in nearly all industries by collaboratively identifying and constructing flexible, scalable programs in staffing, recruiting, and payrolling to help our partners adjust to shifting workforce needs and priorities. Our mission is to help employers seize on golden opportunities in the Golden State while putting California to work.

As a family-owned business and one of the largest independent staffing companies in the U.S., Nelson is committed to involvement and investment in the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE corporate philanthropy program and our partnerships with companies and candidates throughout the state, we’re not just matching talented, hardworking people with the companies who need them, we’re also building a better California. For more information, visit nelsonjobs.com.

By Catherine Tansey

Today’s HR department is very different from that of yesterday’s. Once simply referred to as “Personnel,” the Human Resources office has evolved from a “keeping-the-lights-on” function to the strategic business driver it is today. In the era of advanced analytics and powerful human capital management systems, it’s easy to overlook the importance of HR soft skills needed for success. But it’s soft skills, the ability to communicate clearly, think critically, and work collaboratively that help keep us ahead of machines. Additionally, improving soft skills also helps you develop meaningful relationships in the workplace and increase overall fulfillment in your job. For HR, these soft skills are not nice-to-haves, but business imperatives.

Teamwork and Collaboration

HR team members do a lot. Beyond the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring processes, HR members are tasked with making the workplace the best it can possibly be. With businesses becoming increasingly global, cross-functional, and collaborative, HR leaders are being called on to work with teams to improve their tactical execution of strategic initiatives. But to do so, HR professionals must be well versed in teamwork and collaboration themselves.


Because we communicate with others every day, most people tend to believe they are effective communicators. But communication and effective communication are very different things, and the majority could improve on the latter. As a people professional, communication should top the list of soft skills for HR to master. It will help you resolve problems, build lasting relationships, adeptly interview prospective clients, and boost your overall performance.

Organization Skills

HR is responsible for keeping track of a wealth of information on employees, candidates, and the organization. HR professionals handle a lot of digital paperwork and need to remain highly organized to access it with ease. And as the business’ first point of contact with prospective candidates, organization helps HR professionals keep track of scheduling and candidate qualifications and create a positive first impression of the company.

Ability to Build Relationships

In the quest to source top talent and foster a healthy workplace, HR professionals must be able to make meaningful connections with prospective candidates and current employees alike. Maintaining relationships with both candidates and employees helps build trust in the organization’s leadership, enables HR to successfully launch strategic initiatives, aids the securing and retaining of top talent, and supports better cross-functional collaboration and communication.


Empathy is increasingly considered a trait in short supply in our modern world. But it’s empathy—the willingness to understand where another is coming from—that helps us communicate effectively, collaborate on complex projects, lead by example, and develop fulfilling professional relationships. HR professionals are people professionals, and their dynamic and human-centric roles demand individuals who can work cooperatively with others from very different backgrounds while helping others do the same. Any HR soft skills list would be incomplete without empathy.

Change Management

Today there are five generations in the workforce. Task forces and teams come together and disband quickly. Organizational hierarchies are shifting. All of which is to say: there is a lot of change happening in the workplace. And as creatures of habit, change can be difficult, and almost always is at work. But as we all know, change is inevitable and “if you dislike change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” HR leaders are increasingly called on to help mediate the changes in the workplace, making change management a top human resource soft skill for any HR professional today.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

With a wealth of information only a few keystrokes away, we’ve become accustomed to finding answers with ease. But searching for answers on Google and critically thinking through a problem are very different. Human Resources professionals are tasked with diverse responsibilities that range from people management to problem management and beyond. Those who can see holistically and think critically to solve a problem are bound to be some of the most in-demand HR workers out there.

 As an HR professional, you know the depth and breadth of your skills. You’ve mastered not only the skill required for various HCM technologies, but also the soft skills necessary to deliver on the other dynamic aspects of your job. As an expert communicator, organized professional, and master collaborator equipped with critical thinking skills and the ability to oversee change management, you want a role that allows you to apply and maximize these hard-earned skills. But finding the right role at the right organization is easier than it sounds, and the search can be frustrating—but it doesn’t have to be. With nearly 50 years of matching the best candidates to the best jobs, Nelson can help. Contact us today to find out how we’ll work to help you find the best fit for your HR background today.


By Emma Nelson

Over the years, advances in technology and modes of communication have led to an increase in companies’ ability to hire remote employees. Working from home, a coffee shop, or a different branch of the company has become increasingly prevalent, as employees are able to communicate via new technology. This phenomenon has been incredibly useful to companies all over the world, because it is now easier to find skilled employees of various backgrounds that enhance the company’s diversity and skills, without limiting the search to the company’s immediate area.

However, it can be difficult to manage remote employees. Communication is essential when it comes to the workplace, and companies must have the skills necessary to manage employees who are working out of the office and potentially in different time zones. Here are some tips to avoid the challenges that may appear while working with remote employees.

Stay open to new technology

While technology is helped facilitate the growth of remote employment, it has also created new ways to manage these employees from the workplace. By using programs such as Skype, Zoom, and GoToMeeting, remote employees can video chat in groups, share their screens, and instant message other employees. There are endless programs to help employees to stay connected throughout the day, and staying open to all options will help better manage the company.

Stay organized

Organization is critical when managing employees in different work spaces. It is important to make sure that everyone is on task and aware of projects, meetings, etc. Use a communal calendar or project management tool that all employees can access, to clearly lay out the tasks, meetings, projects, and deadlines for the week, month, and year.

Communicate on a regular basis

It is important to make sure that you don’t go days or even hours without communicating with your remote employees. Although they are remote, they can still be kept in the loop. Make sure that you are staying in touch by checking in, sending out emails, and asking questions throughout the work day or week. This is key to ensuring that your employees are staying on task and are aware of important updates, tasks, and projects.

Establish guidelines

Be sure to establish guidelines in order to keep employees on track. Make sure that emails are answered on a regular basis, hours are logged regularly, and meeting invitations are sent and accepted according to schedule. By establishing a set of guidelines for employees to follow, information will be sent and received promptly to further increase productivity.

Consider weekly reports

A good way to offer feedback to employees about their remote productivity is to send a weekly report. Make things simple by referring to your calendar or project management tool to compile a list of what was completed, what remains outstanding, and what is coming up for the following week. Weekly reports make it easy to have conversations about productivity, because employees can directly refer to the report. They also help you spot challenges sooner – if you notice a trend of work going unfinished or deadlines being dropped, you can have productive conversations to discover what obstacles are standing in employees’ way and what resources or processes need to be implemented so that the work gets completed on time.

Make sure you are readily available

If you’re not going to be sharing the same workspace as your employees, it is important to make sure that you are still readily available to them. Avoid cancelling meetings or video chats, and stay active on email throughout the work day. This way, remote employees will still be in contact and know that they are part of and have access to the team, even if they are working remotely.

Still be sure to meet face-to-face

While there are many benefits to having remote employees, it is still important that you make time to meet with them face-to-face. Whenever possible, set aside days to make visits or meet at a convenient location for both parties. Even if employees are located in other states or countries, many employers will hold company meetings, sales summits, or even holidays parties to give employees a reason to and support for travel to the main office. In-person interaction will ensure that the remote employee feels like part of the team.

At our recent webinar on the new EEO requirements for California businesses, our audience had a lot of questions about the intricacies of the law. Our host Jennifer Shaw, of Shaw Law Group, graciously answered those questions, as well as took the time to answer the questions she did not have time to address during the call. We have provided a lightly-edited transcript along with the answers to the questions that were taken offline. Please note that this content is for educational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as professional legal advice.

Question 1 

Our workforce is 100% remote in CA. Are there in special considerations for us?

Jennifer Shaw

No considerations. You’re probably going to do a webinar. You would do a live webinar, where you would see the slides, you would be on the phone, and then on the screen if you have the ability to do some video conferencing, and then that would allow you to do that interactivity.

Question 2

Got it. So we have employees who talked to employees in California who traveled to California for a day or two to interact with the California team, but not as supervisors who asked for information from employees in California. Do they all need to be trained as well?

Jennifer Shaw

Probably not, so long as they’re not meeting that definition of supervisor in California. But most of the time, these folks who travel from out of state to California, they’re usually relatively high level. And that doesn’t mean they’re in quote management. But, you’re generally not going to take the receptionist and say, “Okay, we’re going to send the receptionist to California to see what’s going on in California,” right? It’s usually something to do with workflow, project management, that sort of thing. So, that’s just something to think about.

Question 3

Gotcha. Another specific one. We’re an event center and hire many seasonal employees who may only work for a two-week period for an event. In some cases, we hire people who may only work for one day or a specific assignment. Do we have to train those people as well?

Jennifer Shaw

Yes, you do. Yep. Now, keep something in mind because this is a little trick that the legislature didn’t think about. They have to be trained within six months of hire, okay? And then the temporary seasonal employees have to be trained within the first 30 days or before they’ve completed 100 hours of work. So, you know, for example, if you’re Pebble Beach and you’re hiring people to work the AT&T Pro-Am classic, right? You’re going to hire people to work 24 hours in a weekend, you’re not going to train them, because they’re not going to work 30 days, and they’re not going to do 100 hours. Here’s your problem: You use them for the Pro-Am in November and then the next April you use them for another tournament. Now you may have an issue. The others way that this gets complicated is using temporary employees through an agency. You may have the same temp come out six different times during the year that are tracked. I think it’s important to tell the agency to do the training.


Well, it should be, since they’re on their W2, wouldn’t it be their responsibility?

Jennifer Shaw

It shouldn’t be, but if they don’t do it, you’re on the hook: joint employer. So, you make sure I mean, we represent temp agencies to and we tell them, You know what that’s saying don’t rely on the employer to do it. You do it. And we tell the employer: have the temp agency do it. They’re the ones with the W2. They’re the ones dealing with the record keeping; they should be doing the training.

Question 4

For supervisors, if I’m in HR, and I’m recommending this training to California employees, do I need to do the supervisor training? If they’re the HR professional, telling everyone else they have to do it?

Jennifer Shaw  

Not necessarily, because sometimes the HR professional who’s doing that could be an HR generalist who is not at a level where they would be considered a supervisor. I will tell you, I think every HR person should go through the supervisor training, because if they’re going to be dealing with equal employment opportunity issues they need as much help as they can get.

Question 5

And in the training, can the questions on the e-learning platform be pre-loaded? Like multiple choice questions?

Jennifer Shaw

Yes, they can be absolutely pre-loaded. All you have to make sure of is that there’s a chance for live Q&A or Q&A within 24 hours of the end of the session?

Question 6

I had previously been told that is only employees, not supervisors who need to be trained in 2019, if supervisors were trained in 2018. Is this an interpretation difference or an incorrect statement of fact?

Jennifer Shaw

I hate to say that’s an incorrect statement of fact. Yeah, I’m sorry. A lot of people have misunderstood this, and they’re getting it wrong.

Question 7

I’m training as an HR professional, if I’ve done investigations all across the board, including EEO compliance for four years, but not in California, does that count?

Jennifer Shaw 

It does not.


Okay. So. they still need to get — ?

Jennifer Shaw   

Yep. Let me let me clarify that for a second. I want to be very precise. They could be outside of California, they can be in Pennsylvania, so long as they’re investigating something in California, so long as they’ve done something under the Fair Employment and Housing Act for two years. It doesn’t mean they have to be physically located in California.

Question 8

Can I use the videos from California Chamber of Commerce?

Jennifer Shaw

Yes, you can use the videos as a teaching tool. In fact, I helped them with those videos. But you still got to have all of the other content. And you’ve got to be able to have that Q&A.

Question 9

And can we assume that the online training materials that the DFEH makes available this year meets the criteria of being individualized and interactive? Or should we still do a follow up Q&A session?

Jennifer Shaw

You’ve got to do the follow up Q&A, because the requirement is that they have the opportunity to ask questions. We also recommend that if there’s anything in the DFEH training materials that is inconsistent with what you’re doing in your organization that you fix that because the DFEH has a PowerPoint presentation that you can modify.

Question 10

What if I have done investigations that don’t turn into DFEH complaints they are settled internally?

Jennifer Shaw

That experience likely still counts towards the trainer qualifications, but only if the investigations are EEO-related.

Question 11

We have 75 employees in CA.  We conducted an ALL employee harassment training in April 2018. Non-supervisor employees stayed for 1 hour, supervisors stayed for the 2nd hour.  Do I still need to retrain everyone before January 1, 2020?

Jennifer Shaw

Unless SB 778 becomes law before December 31, 2019, yes.  I know it’s crazy…

Question 12

What if we hire temp-to-hire and they receive this training by their agency? Do we have to re-train once we convert the employee to full time?

Jennifer Shaw

Yes, because at that point they are your employees.

Don’t miss our next webinar. Find out about all of Nelson’s upcoming events here.

By Catherine Tansey

A career in the wine industry has long held romantic allure for many. Imagining elaborate lunches with fellow wine professionals or days spent at renowned châteaus, it’s easy to see why. But in reality, the wine industry and the roles that make it work are as varied and complex as the grapes used in the process. The hands-on type often prefers winery or oenology work, while those with a penchant for sales thrive in distributor or hospitality roles. Let’s take a look as some professions in the wine industry and how to land one today:

Winemaking Jobs

With a keen sense of smell and taste, a talent for critically solving problems, and deep reverence for wine, wine makers are the ones behind your favorite every-day brand and those special occasion bottles you’ve been reserving for years. Many winemakers head to university for a degree in viticulture, oenology, or wine science to grasp the complex theory behind turning grapes to wine. From there, aspiring winemakers do well to seek out internships or work harvests at various wineries around the globe. The key here is diversity. The world of wine is diverse and to avoid a one-dimensional approach to one’s own wine, it’s beneficial to gain as much varied experience as possible.

Wine Sales Jobs

Wine sales jobs come in all shapes and sizes. Sales reps, or wine sales representatives, are the people responsible for getting the wine from the winery or distributor to the restaurant, wine shop, and ultimately to the consumer. Wine reps often work either directly with wineries or with distributors where they’re tasked with moving large quantities of bottles. For a wine sales job, it’s important to have better-than-average wine knowledge (for example to know the difference between a California Chardonnay and one from the Mâconnais) but the imperative here is to know more than your client. Which brings us to our next point: sales chops. Those working in wine sales jobs are salespeople first and foremost, and they need to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. Brush up on your wine knowledge and people skills if you’re hoping to land a wine sales job.

Wine Taster Jobs

In reality, just about every job in the wine industry requires some ability to taste and talk about wine, but there are some roles where this is more prominent. For those blessed with an especially perceptive palate, a professional wine tasting job could be for you. Wine tasters work in a variety of settings to ensure quality control, educate others on the nuances of wine, or work as professional sommeliers. Individuals with the ability perceive flaws as well as describe characteristics of a wine—body, acidity, sweetness, tannin, and alcohol—are in-demand at multiple steps throughout a wine’s lifecycle. Needed on location to ensure the desired outcome is being produced, wine tasters work at wineries during the vinification process. They’re also often on staff to help educate and aid guests visiting the winery in uncovering the special subtleties of the wine produced on-site or in tasting rooms elsewhere.

Wine Writer Jobs

Earned your stripes for years in restaurants taking about and selling wine? Sat for the WSET or Court of Master Sommeliers tests and passed? Have a knack for written communication and want to share your love and knowledge of wine with others? A wine writer job may be for you. Wine writers do everything write copy to create marketing campaigns to publish journalistic deep dives in the wine world. With experience and years of dedication to the job, some become true thought leaders who taste and talk about wine publicly, ultimately influencing the production, distribution, and consumption of wine globally.

Wine Production Jobs

Want to get hands-on? While you probably won’t be living your Lucille-Ball-wine-making fantasy, you will gain valuable experience in production. Wine production jobs include everything from working on the bottling line and running forklifts to maintenance and shipping and receiving. Production and warehouse roles are essential for ensuring that wine is correctly and safely bottled, shipped, and delivered. If you’re organized, efficient, and excited about using your warehouse, back-of-house, shipping and receiving, or related skills to keep the wine industry moving, then these are the roles are for you.

Wine season starts in late summer, so now is the time begin your search. At Nelson, we’ve been placing top talent with across all roles and functions in the wine industry for nearly 50 years. For more information on how Nelson can help you find your next wine role, search our jobs today.

Today, Nelson announces that it has been ranked 36 out of 100 on the San Francisco Times’ 2019 Bay Area Corporate Philanthropists List, which was published in a San Francisco Business Times’ supplement on July 19, 2019.

Each year, the San Francisco Business Times recognizes for-profit companies and non-profit health care organizations that made cash giving contributions to charitable organizations in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Over $300 million was raised for charities in these counties by the top 100 corporate philanthropists on this list.

Although Nelson has been known for corporate giving for nearly 50 years, last year, Nelson codified that giving in their “beCAUSE” philanthropy program, a corporate philanthropy program that offers a variety of options for non-profit organizations interested in obtaining support. Already, in 2019, the beCAUSE program has raised $41,000 in grants and matching and provided many opportunities for employees to volunteer with their favorite charitable organizations.

“A company-wide ethos of giving is one of the unique qualities that sets Nelson apart,” said CEO Joe Madigan. “We have made corporate philanthropy a priority, especially in the Bay Area, but throughout California, because we know that, while the economy is doing great, there are still plenty of people and organizations in need. We are proud to be recognized among these organizations that are doing their part to uplift our communities for the 5th year in a row.”

A complete list of winners is posted online here.

By Emma Nelson 

So, you’ve graduated college. Now what? Finding a job after college can be intimidating, stressful, and all-consuming. Whom do you talk to? Where do you go? To help you reduce some of the stress that can be associated with this time, here are some tips for landing a job after college.

Visit Your Campus Career Center

You can do this while still attending college, as well as when you’re on the brink of graduating. The services offered at your school’s career center are right at your fingertips. You can touch up your resume, write a cover letter, network with graduates of your college, and so much more. Take advantage of the easily accessible and incredibly helpful services offered at your college career center to get a head start on the job search before you don your cap and gown.

Create Accounts at Online Employment Websites

Creating accounts on recruiting sites like LinkedIn, SimplyHired, and Glassdoor will make your name and face known to an entire network of people who are also utilizing these sites. Attach your resume, your skills, and personal information to gain access to an abundance of opportunities. You will be able to see job listings, contact employers, and show off your skills to employers who are searching for someone like you.


Over the past four years, you’ve had the opportunity to meet many professors, alumni, and speakers who could be very valuable to your job search. Make sure to stay in touch with past professors whose classes were related to your chosen career. You can even reach out to professors from whom you haven’t taken classes, but whose specialties are aligned with your career interests. Connect with speakers via LinkedIn (but make sure that you send a concise and relevant message and a reasonable ask when you do!). And don’t forget to stay in touch with alumni – they, along with your professors, could very well have research opportunities, internships, and jobs that would interest you and kick off your career.

Contact a Staffing Agency

It might be beneficial to look into joining a staffing agency. You’re still at the beginning of your career and might not be sure what specific job interests you. Or, you may know what you want to do, but you don’t yet have the experience on your resume. Staffing firms like Nelson help you find a job that suits you and that you could either stick with for a short period of time or potentially turn into something bigger. With its network of employers throughout California, Nelson knows where the best jobs are and does its part to match you with the right role in a convenient location. Even better, by working with a staffing firm like Nelson, you may be eligible for benefits in addition to getting a paycheck!

At Nelson, we care deeply about the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, everyone at Nelson, from individual contributors to community-based teams and even the company as a whole, is empowered to give back. We support the causes we care about through volunteerism, donation-matching, and corporate grants. In this series, you’ll learn more about Nelson’s philanthropic employees:  

Meet Sarah Barnett, Recruiting Coordinator for Google Onsite

Recruiting Coordinator Sarah Barnett

Tell us about your favorite charity or volunteer gig.

I volunteer weekly at the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. Our adoption center where I spend most of my hours is located in Burlingame! You can usually find me on the adoptions floor on Monday evenings.

I started volunteering at PHS in October of last year. Since then I have been going in once or twice a week every week to “Cat TLC” shifts. TLC volunteers spend time socializing animals that are ready to be adopted. They have a few different TLC opportunities, from dog walkers to bunny cuddlers, but I have a soft spot in my heart for cats—so that was the most natural opportunity for me to take on.

As you spend more time with the animals, and you hit certain total hour milestones, you have an opportunity to work with animals that have different behavioral needs, and more complex personalities. I am currently working with the behavior department to make my way to the top tier of the volunteer chain, as these cats need the most help, and they have the least number of qualified volunteers for them. I am one step away from being able to test for that opportunity, and I hope to be able to do that by the end of the year!

I say by the end of the year, because it is kitten season. My latest adventure at PHS is an additional weekly shift at the kitten nursery. And, while that doesn’t mean I will be giving up my behavioral shift every week, it does mean that most of my focus will be on the orphaned kittens and making sure that I am helping them grow big enough to be adopted! Kitten nursery volunteers work the kitten season annually and bottle/syringe-feed kittens that are too young to be out on the adoption floor. Last year, PHS cared for nearly 400 orphaned kittens between April and October. These guys require a lot of careful care and attention, being as young as they are. When you are in the nursery, you will see kittens being fed, weighed, cleaned, cuddled, and monitored by our onsite veterinary team. Once kittens are big enough to be adopted, they are moved out to the adoptions floor with the other cats!

Do you have a particular act of charitable giving or volunteering that stands out to you?

I have many stories about volunteering at PHS but the best part is that each story ends in animals finding a forever home. That in itself is rewarding enough!

If people would like to watch the stories unfold, I have an Instagram account for people to join me in my journey!

Millie, pictured here, was one of the cats I have had a chance to work with, and she was featured in the news! More pictures and videos can be found on my Instagram!


Tell us about your involvement with the Nelson beCAUSE program.

My entire team went to volunteer at a soup kitchen of sorts over the holidays last year, and that was a great bonding experience for all of us. I think it is wonderful that Nelson encourages and highlights the philanthropic spirit of their employees! We all truly enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to doing it again!

What is your “beCAUSE”?

I am an animal advocate, plain and simple. I have been inspired in particular by Hannah Shaw and Jackson Galaxy over the last few years, and finally decided to put my passion into action.

While excuses tend to get in the way, if you find yourself able to jump in and take even two hours out of your week every week, the fact is, it just feels good. There are plenty of different organizations out there that thrive off of the passion of their volunteers, and it is absolutely a win-win opportunity for both the organization, and for the volunteers themselves! I find that being active in my community and advocating for those who do not have voices if their own, has, without a doubt, been one of the most rewarding decisions that I have made to date.

You can learn more about the Nelson beCAUSE program here.  

By Rebecca Ferlotti

If everyone looks the same in your annual company picture, it might be time to reassess your HR practices; sameness is detrimental to your company’s bottom line. People want to see themselves within your company (both your customers and your employees), and when you have a workforce that reflects your diverse target market(s), you have access to the full marketplace.

Whether your company is starting from scratch with a brand-new diversity policy or you want to build on your existing inclusion initiatives, here are three ways to increase diversity within your workforce.

Evaluate your workplace culture

Write down the driving forces of your hiring and retention practices. What are your non-negotiable candidate qualities across the board? Identify how people interact within the office, how they speak to each other, and how they resolve conflicts. Once your workplace culture is in front of you, think about what facets of your culture are a hindrance to inclusivity.

Develop a diversity policy with your company’s diversity obstacles in mind. Put steps in place to improve any team behaviors that might go against the policy through cultural sensitivity training. Get the word out about your diversity policy by hosting an official launch with your team. Be intentional about your marketing materials, showcasing your diversity policy in practice to continue inclusive trends within your business.

Recruit outside of your backyard

If you aren’t getting many diverse candidates, it may be time to cast a wider hiring net. Advertise in areas outside of your typical range – within magazines that have a reader base different from yourself and on websites that reach a diverse range of people. Attend networking events that might attract a wide variety of candidates such as events hosted by cultural organizations and women’s groups. Reach out to local colleges and universities for information about their job fairs; prime young employees to rise through the ranks with a mentorship program.

When you’re looking to fill a position, ask your team members for referrals. Not only does this build trust, but you might end up with a bunch of talented candidates who may not have otherwise stood out in an application pool.

Embrace flex time

The workforce is becoming more virtual in part because that flexibility grants workers time to spend with their families. Single parents are seeking out work-life balance; when your company steps up with a policy that promotes flexibility, you have the chance to attract a more diverse group of applicants. Flex time also is helpful for individuals who take public transportation and college students seeking out internships – being able to complete work virtually opens up your business to additional diversity options.

Flex time benefits everyone. Employees who opt to work from home are typically more productive and, with less people around the office at times, team members who prefer to drive in to work each day may have extra quiet time.

The current labor force seeks out diversity when they are weighing their job options. By implementing diversity and inclusion practices, you are setting up your company for long-term success.

Freelancer. Temp employee. Independent contractor. Gig worker. These words all seem to have a lot in common, and yet, what do they mean? For a workforce that is increasingly leaning towards flexibility, these terms carry a lot of weight.

Understanding what it means to be independent is important before you take the leap – so we’ve broken down flexible and temporary work so you can make an informed decision.


Are you an industry expert ready to strike out on your own? Have years of experience or a strong portfolio?Value flexibility and have an impeccable sense of organization?

Freelancing is a type of independent and flexible work where you run the show. Not only must you be the CEO of your sole proprietorship, you also have to do the marketing and communications to make sure you get found, run billing to make sure you get paid on time, do your accounting to ensure that you’re in compliance with the IRS, become your own human resources and pay for health care and other “benefits,” and also do the work your client hires you to do.

Freelancers can work in a number of industries, although you’ll typically find freelancers in “creative” roles, like copywriting, editing, graphic design, and even software development.

If you choose to become a freelancer, you will need to build referral networks, get comfortable with cold calling and pitching, and potentially join freelance platforms like Upwork (although there are a number of considerations, including rate, fees, and competition that can interfere with success on those platforms). You’ll also need a stellar portfolio so you can pitch yourself effectively.

Freelancing can be a great option if you value flexibility, have a large network, and are proactive about finding jobs and getting your work done. Keep in mind that freelancing can be precarious, as you’re not guaranteed work and you may encounter issues with individual clients’ billing departments. 

Gig Work

Gig work, as we conceive of it today, has become a blurry category. Gigs work can include:

  • On-demand performance of tasks, through companies like Uber, GrubHub, and Postmates.
  • Making and/or selling your own products or used items, as on Etsy or Poshmark.
  • Offering services, which can be selected by a customer, as with TaskRabbit, Airbnb, and Care.com.


Gigs, like freelancing, require you to do a lot of your own leg work – you often need to be in charge of your own supplies, manage your time effectively, and do the work; however, because gig platforms and companies often mediate between you and your potential customers, you may not have to do your own marketing or billing – and you definitely won’t have to be your own CEO.

With gig work, you often don’t get to set your own rates (or, when you do, you may find yourself competing with lower-cost items or services offered on the same platform). Gigging is often seen as a good way to fill in the gaps in your current income or make extra money while you are job searching, but many people find that it’s not a substitute for a full time job.

While there are now on-demand platforms that combine gig work, freelance, and consulting for higher-level work, most gig work is about completing tasks or selling your crafts or old items, not necessarily about building a career.    

Temporary Employment

Although we can consider temporary employment “the original gig economy,” temporary work through a staffing agency combines the best of freelance and true employment: you get flexibility and stability. While no job is guaranteed, staffing firms like Nelson work hard to place the right candidates in good, well-fitting roles across industries and levels. Some jobs are short contracts and others are paths to full-time hires.

Staffing firms do the billing for you, so you get paid on time, regardless of where you work and with whom you work. While you will still need to apply for jobs and provide your own resume and portfolio, recruiters like those at Nelson often work with their candidates to improve their resumes before submitting to a good role, and as the recruiters at your local staffing firm get to know you, they can advocate for you to employers and suggest great roles for which to apply. They can also offer their employees benefits and perks, so that temporary workers have even more incentive to seek and hold employment.

Temporary work can be done in nearly any industry, and with the country at full employment and employers looking to fill their open jobs, there is a great opportunity to find nearly any type of role. (In fact, lots of employers are hiring through Nelson – you can check out our open jobs here!)

Temporary work may be less flexible than freelancing or gigging, but it comes with a built-in network, more transparency about pay periods, and the possibility of benefits after a certain tenure. Temporary work can also be a pathway to salaried work, if that’s a desired career goal.

Ultimately, how you decide to work depends on your lifestyle, work habits, career goals, and needs. When you do decide to work with a staffing firm, Nelson has been helping job seekers like you find great roles in their industry and at their level for almost 50 years. Connect with your nearest Nelson branch to get started today!

Even though the U.S. unemployment rate is reaching historic lows, and employers are struggling to find workers for their full-time roles, the gig and freelance economy continues to loom large in our collective consciousness.

Since it’s hard to find the right talent for your open reqs, should you be turning to freelancers, gig workers, and temporary employees to fill in the gaps? Here’s what you need to know before you start hiring on-demand talent and temporary employees:


A freelancer is an independent worker who essentially runs their own business. Freelancers are responsible for their own marketing, billing, and communication; they are both CEO and front-line worker.

You can typically find freelancers in the knowledge work industries – from software engineering to copywriting and graphic design. Freelancers set their own rates, and there are no real set-in-stone standards for pay rates – and because freelancers don’t get benefits or a salary, their rates may actually be much higher per hour relative to a salaried employee.

Freelance workers are great for when you need specialized help on a short-term or ad-hoc basis. It’s up to you and your department to make sure that you handle communications and billing in a timely fashion, however – because freelancers often live paycheck to paycheck, especially those in the creative industries, it’s up to you to make sure that they are paid on time!

Freelancers receive a 1099-misc form if they earn more than $600 from you in one year.

Looking for freelancers? Because this is a decentralized industry, you may have to do some digging. Google searches often turn up the workers with the best SEO, but not necessarily the best fit; you may want to turn to informal networks, like the Binders, or else to websites like Upwork, where you can compare freelancers based on ratings and rates.  And, of course, referrals are your best bet, as many of your employees may have friends and family members who are freelancers – and whom they know are reliable, responsible, and capable of quality work.

Gig Workers

Gig work is technically freelance; however, a “gig,” as it’s defined today, is usually mediated through a specialized app or platform. Gig workers are classified the same way as freelancers – they’re earning money independently – but they do not entirely run their own business. Their marketing is usually done for them via the company that runs the gig platform, and jobs are often routed to them at random.

Take Uber, for example: an Uber driver is responsible for providing a car, paying for gas, doing maintenance and upkeep on the vehicle, and doing the work of driving passengers to their destinations, but that driver does not get to decide on their rate, whom they pick up, or how the company markets their service.

Traditionally, you’d hire a gig worker to do a task for you – deliver lunch to the office, pick your boss up from the airport, haul boxes, etc. – but over the past several years, companies have taken gig work to the next level. Now, with the advent of platforms and apps for every industry and job level, there’s a fuzzy line between gigs and freelance. You can find someone to code your next digital product or offer expert advice based on their doctoral dissertation. In those cases, both gig workers and your organization have some control over whom you work with.

The main difference between gigging and freelance is that gig work, because of the ways in which the platforms are built and the companies that run them are structured, tends to drive the price and the profit to the worker down. That means you might get a better deal working with a gig worker, but the workers themselves often make much less than a traditional freelancer because there’s another company taking a cut of their earnings. While this is cost-effective, it may also mean that you’re compromising quality for price – and because anyone can sign up for a gig platform (in most cases), the marketplace is crowded with low-skilled people who are willing to do mediocre work for less than their higher-skilled peers (and they are often rewarded for it, to the detriment of both the higher-skilled workers and those who end up paying for their services).

Gig work, like freelance work, is largely unregulated, so you have to rely on other people’s ratings as a guide to choosing the best workers for your jobs – if you have a choice at all.

Temporary Workers

Between full employees and freelancers, temporary workers offer you the best of both worlds. Temp work is often engaged through a staffing agency, where knowledgeable recruiters work with both the hiring manager and the candidates who apply to understand both need and fit.

Because temporary hires are made through the staffing agency, and temporary workers sign up to work for the agency, workers have a little more protection – and hiring managers have better control over rates. And since payments are made through the staffing agency, you don’t have to worry about submitting invoices at random points in the pay cycle and following up when the contractor doesn’t receive payment on time – they just get paid on time!

Temp workers run the gamut from highly specialized knowledge work to manufacturing and warehouse roles. What separates them from freelancers is the intermediation of a staffing company during the hiring process and throughout the employee’s tenure with the company. What separates this from gig work is that the employer has a choice – and the staffing company does due diligence in reviewing resumes and suggesting the right candidates for each role. With a staffing agency, unlike with freelance and gig platforms, workers are also subject to drug tests, reference checks, and skills training, which means that those candidates who are ultimately presented to your hiring managers have been vetted.   

When to Use On-Demand Talent and When to Work with a Staffing Agency

While technology, globalization, and the changes in employment models continue to blur the lines between different types of independent workers, you can still make informed decisions about when to use freelancers, gig workers, and temporary employees:

  • Are you looking for someone to perform a one-time task, especially one that doesn’t have high stakes or require special skills? Use a gig worker.
  • Are you looking for someone to perform tasks on an ad-hoc basis, with whom you can engage quickly and pay as needed? Use a freelancer.
  • Are you looking to fill a necessary role in your organization, whether short- or long-term, and want to control for candidate quality and fit? Use a temporary worker.

You can learn more about the different types of on-demand platforms that exist in our recorded webinar with Sean Ring of Fulcrum – and when you’re ready to work with a staffing agency to find great temporary employees, get in touch with Nelson!

At Nelson, we make philanthropy a part of our jobs — beCAUSE we care! Each quarter, we celebrate “beCAUSE Day” to celebrate our involvement in the Nelson beCAUSE philanthropic program and to give employees the opportunity to give back while still in the office.

This quarter, we held a Spare Change competition to see which Nelson branch could raise the most money for a charity of their choosing. Every Nelson branch had a “beCAUSE Champion” leading the charge for spare change throughout the day.

While the Nelson Sacramento branch “won,” with the highest donation amount to the Greater Sacramento branch of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, we all won – because Nelson matched each of our contributions dollar-for-dollar, allowing us to double our impact to each of our selected charities.

Here’s what our beCAUSE Champions had to say about their selected charities:

Nelson Sacramento: Make-a-Wish Foundation of Greater Sacramento

Champion: Jennifer Murray

“We chose Make-a-Wish Greater Sacramento because we are participating in Sacramento Make-a-Wish walk in August and have a team goal to be able to fulfill at least one child’s wish.”

Pleasanton/Fremont: Small Hands with Helping Hearts

Champion: Taylor Andres

“The Pleasanton branch chose Small Hands with Helping Hearts because it was founded by a 10-year-old girl who wanted to make a difference in her community. Her current fundraiser is a back-to-school drive for Family Giving Tree. We believe all children should be able to have the supplies needed to be successful in school regardless of their financial status.”

Napa: Legacy Youth Project

Champion: Maria Lira

“Our team decided to raise funds for Legacy Youth Project because we want to focus on supporting our community, starting with our kids. Also, two of our recruiting managers are familiar with the program and know some of the kids that receive services. Our branch really wants to focus on helping nonprofit local organizations that provide services for our youth.”

Corporate: Friends In Sonoma Helping

Champion: Monique Jervan

“A few of us here in the Corporate office that are on the beCAUSE team were discussing what charity to select, and Megan Lendo suggested F.I.S.H. Once we read what they did for our community, we were in. The best part was when we announced it to the office, we had a great response of enthusiasm.  In fact, one of our employees, Jessica Scott, was so enthusiastic that she donated funds to make sure we reached the $250 mark. The Spare Change drive might seem like a little thing, but it is a big thing in the lives that it helps. We hope our efforts here at Corporate make a difference in the lives of the people that F.I.S.H. supports everyday here in our community.”

Petaluma: North Bay Animal Services

Champion: Mary Lynn Bartholomew

“Since we have a passion for pets in Petaluma, we have chosen to support the North Bay Animal Services, a non-profit no-kill shelter under new management.  The new management is taking dogs from kill shelters and providing them an opportunity for adoption.

San Mateo: Life Moves/First Step for Families

Champion: Lisa Souther

“We chose Life Moves/First Step for Families in San Mateo.  Life Moves supports families with interim housing as they return to stable housing. We have volunteered with them and found them to be a wonderful organization helping families in need. Not only do they provide shelter for families, but they also teach them life skills and competencies needed to maintain long term sufficiency.  We chose to purchase three awnings for the children’s playground.  We were super proud of what we collected and were excited to share them with the children of the shelter.”

Orange County: Time for Change Foundation 

Champion: Richard Davis 

“We chose Time For Change Foundation because, since 2002, they have been dedicated to helping homeless women and children achieve self-sufficiency.”

Santa Rosa: The Living Room

Champion: Floyd Given

“The Living Room takes in homeless and at-risk women and their children to an environment that is safe and promotes stability in their unstable lives. We have had internal employees volunteer their time on-site and got to see how the donations impact their lives.”

Fairfield/Pleasant Hill: Opportunity House

Champion: Holly Conse

“Homelessness is a huge issue in Solano County and Opportunity House has an awesome program for single parents and families to get back on their feet and find employment, while providing housing.  Located in the town a lot of our team members live in, it’s a big part of the community.”

San Francisco: Muttville

Champion: Jennifer Maxson

“San Francisco chose to donate to Muttville because we are all animal lovers and wanted to focus on a local charity that doesn’t get as much attention as it should since it helps foster and care for elderly dogs.” 

Los Angeles: One Simple Wish

Champion: Jenna Lippert

Modesto: Children’s Crisis Center

Champion: Christine Lambert

“Every child deserves to grow up feeling safe and loved”.

San Rafael: Operation Blankets of Love

Champion: Morgan Manning

“For the Nelson San Rafael branch, we picked Operation Blankets of Love because we all care about helping shelters and homeless animals. Every little bit donated means more blankets and beds and food for shelters and, hopefully, a comfortable and happy animal that will be adopted! I donate to them monthly as well, so I was already familiar with their organization.”

You can learn more about the Nelson beCAUSE program here

By Catherine Tansey

Staffing your hotel, guest house, restaurant, or café with top talent has never been more important. The internet has increased transparency and led to enhanced consumer awareness—and a willingness to voice frustrations publicly. At the same time, the rise of the gig economy and hyper-consumerism in all markets have increased short-term employment and a need for business owners to stay abreast of rising trends. These rapid changes come with many challenges, but finding, attracting, and retaining quality employees top the list.

Recruitment challenges are not unique to the hospitality industry, but simply put, people matter a lot in the business of making others comfortable. While today’s biggest hospitality recruitment challenges are nothing new, creative approaches are needed to find solutions in the modern era.

Top Challenges with Hospitality Recruitment:

  1. Finding Candidates

The skills gap is affecting all industries and hospitality is no exception. Today’s challenges with hospitality recruitment begin at the first stage: finding qualified or highly trainable candidates.

  1. Attracting Candidates

You’ve searched far and wide, scoured hospitality job boards and reached out to individuals on LinkedIn. You’ve finally found the perfect candidate for the front office manager position at your boutique hotel, but can you entice this individual to work for you? Today is a candidate-driven talent landscape and, more often than not, the power remains with the job seekers.

  1. Retaining Candidates

High-turnover has always been a part of the hospitality industry. But today’s online culture has enhanced customer awareness and expectations, and providing a consistent guest experience can be difficult with regular employee turnover. The cost of losing an employee is more than the time required to find a suitable replacement. Loss of institutional knowledge and the hit to company morale are costly considerations as well.

Overcome Hospitality Recruitment Challenges

Overcoming hospitality recruitment challenges comes down to strategy. To solve for the problems in the recruitment and selection process, your organization must take a holistic, candidate-centric approach.

  1. Focus on Employee Value Proposition

The employee value proposition is a way for employers to communicate the benefits and rewards of working for their organization. A strong EVP in the hospitality industry may include a flexible schedule, advancement opportunities at the company, benefits like 401K matching and health care, a warm and inviting company culture, and a sense of purpose in one’s work. According to Gartner, strengthening your EVP can reduce turnover by nearly 70% and increase new hire interest by almost 30%.

  1. Offer Training and Development

The current workforce places a premium on advancement opportunities when considering employers, but the hospitality industry historically hasn’t been well known in this regard. Offer your staff training and development to show employees you’re serious about preparing them for other roles in your organization. For businesses in lodging, training about communication and body language can be simple and effective, while restaurants can reap impressive returns through basic food, beer, or wine training. Businesses benefit from the elevated staff knowledge and employees feel invested in – which is a win-win.

  1. Prioritize Employee Referrals

Referrals from existing employees are one of the best ways to overcome hospitality recruitment challenges. Your current employees are well-versed in the workplace environment, expectations, and company culture. A referral from an employee—especially a top performer, communicates that a candidate likely shares the same core values and commitment to excellence as your organization.

  1. Incentivize Top Performers with Rewards

Rewards come in many shapes and sizes, but they’re all an effective way to counter hospitality recruitment challenges. Salary bumps and monetary performance-based incentives (read: bonuses!) first come to mind, but there are other ways to make employees feel valued, especially in the hospitality industry. Is your organization a hotel or guest house? Consider offering a weekend for two in a coveted suite or a chance to dine on the house at the hotel restaurant.

  1. Lean on Professional Help

Still struggling to find, attract, and retain the help you need? Professional staffing agencies exist for a reason—to make your life easier. Nelson has nearly 50 years of experience helping companies in the hospitality industry source superstar talent. If you’re interested in a hospitality recruitment agency, let us help you find the help you need today.

The business of hospitality is a uniquely personal one. Finding the right people to put your guests at ease is one of the surest ways to differentiate your business from others. Find out how we can help you today.



While the phrase “summer job” may conjure memories of working as a camp counselor or taking an unpaid internship as a teen, there are plenty of reasons to take a job for the summer as an adult.

While unemployment remains low, more employers are in a pinch to find talented and dedicated workers for their open seasonal roles – which makes now a great time to start looking for a temporary summer job.

Who Can Benefit from a Summer Job?  

Temporary summer jobs can benefit a large number of people. For example, educators and administrators who work during the academic year can’t commit to full time roles with no definitive end-point; however, a temporary summer job can help supplement income, without requiring an awkward conversation about end dates and notice.

If you’re a job seeker, a temporary summer job can help supplement income while also filling gaps on a resume. A temp job while job seeking can also help you develop skills to prepare for a transition into a new role or augment skills for a role similar to the one you recently left.

Seasonal work can also augment your income if you already have a job, whether part-time or full. With the rising cost of living, regardless of your role or industry, a seasonal summer job can help you provide for your family, pay off debts, or save up for a life milestone or vacation.

Where Should I Look for a Summer Job?

Yes, there’s more to summer jobs than serving ice cream at the boardwalk or teaching little ones to swim. Many employers across industries are hiring to cover roles from the warehouse to the cubicle.

When deciding where to apply for a temporary job, consider the following factors:

  1. What kind of time commitment can I handle right now?
  2. How much of my projected income do I need to supplement?
  3. What skills am I trying to nurture?

Time Commitment

Are you looking for a part-time job to supplement your current job? Are you a job seeker who needs to spend several hours a day working on the full-time job search, but can spare 10-20 hours per week? Are you in need of a full-time gig in between graduation and the start of school? Do you want to have flexibility for child care? Will you need extensive time off for pre-planned vacations?

Make sure you can clearly answer these questions. Knowing how much time you have to offer an employer will not only help you narrow in on ideal roles, but it will also help you communicate to a staffing firm or in-house recruiter as you work your way toward landing the right role for you.


While temporary jobs do not typically come with salaries, knowing how much income you will need to make can help you home in on the right jobs to which to apply.

Some people like to use the “spray-and-pray” method of job searching, which often results in poor matches and lots of wasted time and effort. By being honest with yourself about what kinds of roles you’ll be willing to accept, you will be able to build a much more targeted list – and have more productive conversations with recruiters.


Are you using your summer to fill a gap in your resume? Are you trying to transition into a new role? Are you hoping to advance your career?

A seasonal job is a great way to try out a new skill set or reinforce your current skills. While you may not get to dive deep into career development and training in just a few short months, you will be able to work your way toward proficiency in a new role – which can make transitioning into a new industry or line of work much easier. You can also keep up with trends and skills in your current industry or at your current level while you search for a more permanent role for September and beyond.

How Do I Find a Seasonal Job?

While job boards are a great place to start, the closer we get to summer, the sooner you’ll need to start applying and interviewing. We recommend partnering with a staffing firm, like Nelson, which is plugged into your local business community and has deep expertise in your specific industry. Whether you’re able to take on vacation coverage in an administrative capacity or you’re hoping to find a seasonal job in retail, production, or hospitality, Nelson can help you quickly zero in on the right jobs for you.

You can check out our open roles here or connect with a Nelson branch in your area.