A Note From Our CEO: The Treehouse Perspective on Today’s Job Market

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Friends & Partners,

I’ll cut right to the chase: this job market is nutty! I’m asked for my thoughts on the hiring landscape on a near-daily basis, but it’s been several years since I’ve felt compelled to send out a more formal communication. We are in unprecedented times, so I’d like to share some thoughts and insights that may help us navigate the current job market… and will hopefully allow us to be better partners to each other!

I’ll start by highlighting some very real Treehouse data: In 2021 we had 14 candidates decline new job offers. This is a 17% increase over last year, and a 180% increase from 2019. Ugh. In the history of Treehouse, we’ve never seen a market where candidates have so many options… and we know we’re not alone in seeing these trends. The “Great Resignation” had nearly four million Americans quitting their jobs every month in 2021. Whether we like it or not, it is decidedly a candidate’s market.

That said, folks, it’s critical we take a good, hard look at our hiring practices and flesh out any issues that might cause rockstar candidates to pursue a different path. Here are several critical considerations for your recruiting and hiring processes​.

This is no time for ego: Gone are the days when a household name, an exciting growth story, or a promising new product is enough to attract top talent. Not every candidate will need to be wined and dined, of course, but organizations need to take a more proactive “selling” approach earlier in the process… particularly for “A” candidates. We have numerous examples of candidates becoming disengaged in an interview process because they felt it was one-sided – with the burden of proof falling solely on their shoulders. Give more time for questions, provide more employee stories, talk about the importance of the role, share thoughts about the culture, and engage candidates in an authentic conversation.

Keep things movin’ and shakin’: A slow-moving interview process is hands-down one of the key reasons we’ve seen our clients lose out on top candidates. Try to ensure a 24-hour turnaround on scheduling, interviewing, feedback, and next steps. To keep high-potential candidates excited, engaged, and connected, offer a cadenced, structured, and intuitive interview experience… which brings us to our third point:

Design a process and stick with it: A less structured interview process can be okay, but don’t lose candidates to sloppiness. Organizations don’t need an overly-sophisticated interview process, but they do need an agreed-upon approach and timeline – Who is on point for scheduling, communicating, and managing the interview process? Who will be conducting interviews? What interview format will each interviewer use? How many stages of interviews? What are the decision-making criteria? Who has decision rights? (Side note – this is SUPER helpful for us to know too, as it eliminates a lot of back-and-forth and confusion around scheduling and other logistics!)

Make sure your offer is competitive: Don’t lose out on a great hire with nickel-and-dime strategies! It’s a safe bet your candidate is considering other options, so when you find the needle in the haystack, act swiftly, clearly, and competitively. We know, compensation isn’t everything, but it is a way to illustrate how much you value a new team member… and make sure to consider the very real cost of losing a great candidate.

Be as flexible as you possibly can with remote/hybrid work: This is a biggie, and the numbers speak for themselves! Response rates to in-person roles are noticeably lower and we consistently lose interviews when candidates learn that roles cannot be remote or hybrid. A recent Gallup study showed that 45% of Americans were still working remotely or partially remotely as recently as September of 2021 and that nine out of ten wished to continue to do so.    We get it, not every role can be remote or hybrid, but take the time to seriously evaluate whether it’s an option.

We know better than anyone that recruiting top talent is challenging, with so many variables outside of our control. In a market like this, there is no room for errors. Candidates have more options than ever, so we have to be at the very top of our game. I hope you’ll take a moment to consider these insights… and as always, I welcome any questions, thoughts, or reactions you may have. We truly value your partnership and look forward to working together to be the best team we can possibly be!

Many thanks,

Kate

How To (Honestly) Answer the Interview Question, “What’s Your Biggest Weakness?”

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The idea that “everyone has a weakness” has been woven into mythology, literature, and pop culture for thousands of years, from the legend of Achilles’ Heel to John Kreese’s spine-chilling speech in the recently released Cobra Kai series. It’s a theme that’s resonated with audiences around the globe since the dawn of mankind because to put it simply, it’s true.

Nowadays, the topic of weakness is most often used in the context of our skills. If you’ve had a job interview in the last 50 years, it’s a safe bet to assume that, at some point, an interviewer has asked you to talk about your greatest weakness or weaknesses. We’ve interviewed thousands of candidates over the years, and we’ve received quite an interesting array of answers to this question, but one of the most common responses we get is the classic strength-disguised-as-a-weakness: “I’m a perfectionist,” “I’m a workaholic,” and so on.

To be fair, these are indeed traits that may induce stress. Agonizing over minutiae and spending long hours at the office with little to no personal time can absolutely be detrimental to your mental and physical health. There’s also a lot of information out there that specifically instructs candidates to use the old strength-disguised-as-a-weakness method when the question arises. However, it’s highly unlikely that being a perfectionist or working too hard is your only weakness – and trust us, the interviewer knows it. The weakness question isn’t designed to weed out “weak” candidates from the process; it’s an opportunity to assess candidates’ self-awareness, humility, and willingness to improve. Treat it as an opportunity to show the interviewer what you’re made of!

So what’s a better way to frame your response to the weakness question? We’re not suggesting you wax poetic about all of your biggest flaws here, but there is a better way to give an honest answer about where you struggle and reframe it in a positive light. During your interview prep, think about challenges you’ve faced in previous roles. Perhaps you’re an accountant who dreads giving presentations. Maybe you’re a creative who can’t stand compiling and analyzing data, or a salesperson who loves face-to-face meetings but struggles with written communication. 

Whatever the case, the things you’ve found challenging can often be considered “weaknesses,” and chances are you’ve figured out a way to overcome them. Talk about it! Did you join a networking group to help with your public speaking skills? Did you take an Excel class to help you learn the magic of spreadsheets? Did you install Grammarly on your laptop and phone to help catch spelling and grammatical errors? 

Being truthful about the areas where you’ve had to work to develop a new skill or gain confidence comes across as up-front and humble in an interview setting (and is more likely to impress the interviewer than humble-bragging about how you work too hard, however true that might be). Businesses want employees who have triumphed over their insecurities and emerged, personally and professionally, better than before. The weakness question is the perfect place to demonstrate your agility, perseverance, and open-book attitude to the hiring manager.

Here are a couple of examples to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about:

Example 1:

“As an Operations Manager, being organized and efficient is crucial to my success – but funnily enough, I don’t have that hard-core instinct for organization that some people do. In my first-ever operations role, I was really struggling to keep track of everything and kept making little mistakes. I have a knack for quickly picking up new technology, and in an effort to keep myself on task, I started looking into project and task management software. Once I found a platform that worked for me, the mistakes plummeted. It’s worked so well for me over the years that I’ve successfully implemented it for the Operations departments at both of the last two companies I’ve worked for.”

Example 2:

“Like a lot of my peers who work in copy editing, I have a preference for written communication over verbal. I’m very comfortable speaking with my supervisors or peers in a casual setting, but when it comes to meetings and presentations, I tend to experience a bit of stage fright and struggle to present my ideas. A good friend of mine joined the local chapter of Toastmasters and when I mentioned my public speaking woes, she suggested I do the same. I was skeptical but I gave it a shot, and it’s dramatically transformed my approach to speaking before an audience. I still get butterflies in my stomach, but with a few mental exercises beforehand I’m able to relax and communicate in a clear, concise, and engaging way.” 

The weakness question has gotten a bad rap over the years because talking about the areas where we struggle is scary, but take it from us: As interviewers, we’re going to be impressed – not dubious or suddenly uninterested – if you provide an honest answer about where your weaknesses lie and how you’ve turned those struggles into opportunities for growth – much more so than if you tell us you work too hard and care too much. We’ll leave you with a final warning: Whatever you do, don’t say your biggest weakness is chocolate. Trust us. 

Changing Your Environment to Combat Work-From-Home Fatigue

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In the last year and a half, remote work has become the norm for millions across the globe… and one by one, companies big and small are announcing that work from home is here to stay. While the news has largely been greeted with enthusiasm by those affected, it’s no secret that remote work comes with a unique set of challenges. A few months after the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the internet became flooded with articles warning about the dangers of Zoom fatigue, depression, and productivity decline in remote workers. 

Here at Treehouse Partners, we’ve been working from home since our inception over a decade ago, so we like to think of ourselves as experts when it comes to remote work/hybrid models. Over the years, we’ve figured out some tried-and-true tricks to help combat work from home fatigue, and one of the most important things you can do as a remote worker is to change up your environment! Studies show that switching up your location, in general, stimulates positive brain activity and promotes overall well-being. You don’t have to visit a whole new location every day; simply working from another room in your house or apartment can be enough to combat the remote work blues. It’s all about perspective!

Here are a few suggestions we’ve come up with as a jumping-off point:

Work from another room in your house. The slightest change can give you a whole new perspective! If you usually work from a home office, try setting up a small desk or table in the living room. If you spend most of your time working from the couch, bring your laptop out to your balcony on a nice day. The possibilities are endless!

Find a work from home buddy. Chances are you have at least one friend who’s also working from home. Consider setting up a weekly “work from home date” and trade off working at each other’s houses or meeting in outside locations (coffee shops, bookstores, etc.) You’ll get some company on top of a change of scenery! Just make sure your work from home buddy is someone who knows when it’s time to cut the chitchat and focus.

Explore your city. Coffee shops, libraries, community centers, and the like usually offer free WiFi and are a great option for getting out of the house… Plus, in some instances, you get to support a local small business! Just bring a pair of headphones in case you need to hop on a call and you’re all set. Psst… We won’t tell on you if you want to bring your laptop to that new wine bar down the street on a Friday afternoon (wink wink!)

Check out your apartment building’s lounge or business center. Many city-dwellers are renters, and apartments these days have some incredible amenities. If you live in an apartment with a resident lounge, business center, or even a cool lobby with some comfy furniture, try bringing your laptop to one of these sites for a few hours a week. Who knows, you might even strike up some new friendships with neighbors who also work from home!

Consider a shared workspace. This one won’t be financially feasible for everyone, but coworking spaces like WeWork offer a place to both work and network. Membership costs vary by city, but you can also book day passes with access to amenities if you’re not ready to commit to a full membership. Most cities now have quite a few coworking options – it’s worth checking out if you’re missing the social aspects of working in an office!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home every day – sojourning out for a few hours at a time can do wonders for your psyche. Changing the location you work from improves mental functioning, allows opportunities for social interaction, and generally helps to keep things interesting. Give it a try today!

How To Use Your Service Industry Skills To Land A Job In The Professional World

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There’s no denying it: the Coronavirus outbreak has impacted the service industry in a major way. Service industry message boards, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts are abuzz with horror stories about customers slamming baristas online for wearing masks, cursing out restaurant managers for preventing large parties from sitting together, and worse. Navigate to the comments section on any COVID-19 related thread and you’ll find millions of voices echoing the same chorus: nothing will ever be the same

Many such commenters have gone so far as to say that, after years or even decades of service, they’re evaluating whether staying in the service industry is a viable option. After all, with current trends predicting that as many as 85% of independent restaurants could close their doors permanently by 2021 if conditions don’t improve, there may not be jobs to return to, even when it’s safe to do so. Naturally, that fear is striking a chord with service industry veterans–they have multitasking, teamwork, and customer service skills in spades, but how does one apply for a job in the professional world when restaurants, bars, or coffee shops are all they’ve ever known?

Here’s the good news: the basic skills one picks up in the service industry are highly transferable to the professional world. What boss doesn’t want an employee who can juggle fifty tasks at once, identify top priorities and act accordingly in times of crisis, and keep a smile on their face when dealing with an upset customer? Here at the Treehouse, we often look for prior service industry experience when hiring for our own team for those very reasons! Transitioning to a professional career is a huge adjustment, but absolutely possible to do. 

Service industry employees are expert multitaskers. Anyone who’s worked in a restaurant can tell you about a time they’ve had to fix an incorrect order with an angry chef, while also explaining the gluten free menu to table 25 and remembering to ring in a side of ranch for table 16. The ability to not only handle multiple tasks at once, but prioritize which items on the to-do list are most time-sensitive, is a highly sought after quality in the professional world. Careers in executive/administrative assistance, operations, resource management, and more are a great fit for those who thrive in a fast-paced environment where multitasking, quick thinking, and accuracy are critical. 

The best restaurants, bars, etc. are successful because their employees work together as a well-oiled machine. If you eat out at a fine dining establishment, chances are you’ll have a primary server for your table, but you could potentially interact with 2, 3, 4 or more people over the course of your meal (a busser may refill your water; a food runner will likely run your food and drinks, and other servers may stop by to clear plates and silverware in between courses). This isn’t by accident–employees at the best eateries and watering holes are trained to help each other out in every way possible, regardless of job description. The ability to work as part of a team is unbelievably valuable in the professional world, and going above and beyond one’s job duties shows a teamwork mindset, support for the organization, and a good work ethic. Baristas, servers, and bartenders who love being part of a tight-knit team may wish to consider a career in human resources, consulting, or in the nonprofit sector.

Working in the service industry is one of the very best ways to gain customer service and sales skills. A 2011 Aspen Institute survey found that around 50% of Americans dine out once a week or more. Almost everyone has had a dining experience where something went wrong, and regardless of who caused the problem, it’s usually the server’s responsibility to fix it. Much of the time, restaurant patrons are friendly and understanding (“We know you’re really busy tonight, it’s OK!”), but every now and again, servers run across a bad egg (“I don’t care that the kitchen is backed up, I want my food now!”). The best servers can keep a smile on their face, roll with the punches, and own up if a mistake was their fault. They know when to involve the restaurant manager, how to liaise with the kitchen staff if an order comes out wrong, and that every once in a while, the bartender will remake a customer’s drink exactly the same way, and that customer will say it’s much better this time, thank you (cue eye roll). Those who thrive in a truly service-oriented environment might gravitate toward roles in customer service, sales, or recruiting/staffing. 

All of that said, we’re not going to tell you that transitioning from the service industry into a professional role will be easy. It’s not widely known that front of house employees at certain restaurants earn 2-3 times the salary of an entry-level worker in the professional world, and that fact alone is enough to deter many service industry pros from making a career shift. Even if you’re willing to take a pay cut, most job descriptions nowadays define “entry level” as having at least one year of experience in a given field – an absurd catch-22 facing workforce-ready young adults everywhere. However, there are plenty of businesses that will benefit from the multitasking, teamwork-oriented, customer service pros that may soon be exiting the service industry in droves and are willing to take a leap of faith. If you’re a service industry worker looking to make such a change, hiring a resume writer or career coach can be extremely helpful in navigating the transition. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of servers, baristas, and bartenders go on to do incredible things in the professional world, and we hope to see more of the same in the years to come!

The Importance of Workplace Friendships

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Workplace comedies are some of the most watched series on television and streaming services – but the settings of these shows certainly aren’t exceptionally exciting, so what’s the secret ingredient behind their success? Shows like The Office, Parks & Rec, Scrubs, and so many more capitalize on the fact that it’s not where we are or what we’re doing, it’s who we’re with. Colleagues understand our unique positions within our organizations (and the struggles that come with them) on a level no one else can. Close coworkers provide safe spaces to share our professional triumphs and struggles, from the biggest wins to the pettiest of day-to-day gripes. Work friends are a key factor when it comes to career happiness, and for many of us, they’re the people who make work worthwhile – according to a 2017 study from OfficeVibe, 70% of employees say that workplace friendships are the most crucial element to a happy working life. 

Coworkers understand our unique situations better than anyone else can. You can have the best friends, families, or partners in the world, but unless they’re alongside you in the trenches, they’ll never understand the minutiae of your day to day to the extent that your coworkers do. As we progress down our chosen career paths, our jobs typically become more specialized–and in fact, there’s a good chance your family and friends don’t actually know too much about what you do outside of your job title (e.g., they might know that you work in hotel sales, but not that you specialize in luxury packages for large corporate groups). Colleagues, on the other hand, have an intimate understanding of our job specs, and are familiar with the ups and downs that come with them. 

Work friends will be there through the good times and the bad. It’s absolutely normal to vent when you find yourselves in a frustrating situation, but if you’re constantly complaining to the entire office, people will slowly but surely begin to view you in a negative light. Having a best friend at work (or a small group of trusted colleagues) means having a safe space to unload when the going gets tough. That’s not to say that you should take advantage of your work friends and unload every time you get the chance–nobody likes a whiner!–but colleagues will likely sympathize with your situation, and may be able to offer some words of wisdom. On the flip side, your work friends will also be there when it’s time to celebrate! They’re the first people you’ll ask to happy hour when you get a raise, earn a promotion, or win the office chili cookoff. Just be sure to have their backs when the tables are turned.

At the simplest level, work friendships help pass the time and keep us entertained. How does it feel when your best friend at the office takes the day off? Regardless of how well-deserved or needed that break might be, chances are time passes a little more slowly than usual. Think about some of the workplace comedies mentioned above. The Office takes place at a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania–which (unless you have a love of paper to rival Dwight Schrute’s) barely registers on the interest-meter. The Office became a smash hit by portraying the characters’ relationships at the most basic, human level; the ways in which ordinary people interact on a daily basis. It’s easy to see ourselves reflected in these characters, and that’s undeniably because workplace relationships are such an important part of work. As an added bonus, Gallup studies show that employees with close friends at work are twice as engaged as those without – so workplace bonding is really a win for everyone!

Many of our adult friendships are formed through the workplace, and for good reason–even if your work friends aren’t your closest confidantes outside the office, having a group of trusted colleagues with whom you can share your triumphs and tribulations indubitably enhances emotional well-being at work. Think about everything your work friends have done for you; all of the emotional ups and downs they’ve helped you through, the days when they’ve put a smile on your face with a funny email forward, or the times they’ve stayed late to help you with a project. Take some time this week to thank your work friends for being there for you–write a thank-you card, ask if they need help with anything, or order a Drizly delivery to their house. They’ve earned it!

Keeping Your Mind and Body Connection Strong at Work

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Even before the ongoing health crisis broke out, the world was already filled with uncertainties and plenty of stressors. However, with half of the world going through some serious challenges such as unemployment, sickness, hunger, and loneliness due to isolation, the risk of developing serious mental and physical issues grows tenfold in light of current circumstances. Given this reality, it is then extremely important that professionals take the time to focus on their holistic well-being.

The mind and body connection

As a society focused on addressing physiological problems, it’s easy to see why a lot of people don’t realize that the mind affects the body just as much as the body affects the mind. Due to the growing consciousness surrounding mental health issues, Rosanna C. Rogacion explained that experts nowadays consider symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, weight loss, constipation, migraine, back pain and frequent colds as more than just symptoms attributed to outside stimuli, but also as probable physical manifestations of unresolved emotional upheaval. In fact, the modern world now recognizes a new line of diseases — called psychogenic or emotion-caused illnesses — which could possibly account for a large percentage of visits to doctors’ offices. This has successfully encouraged businesses to consider mental health just as much as physical health and has likewise compelled them to invest in office designs and equipment that improve both.

Unfortunately, now that much of the world is working remotely, the task of taking care of their well-being falls largely on the workers themselves. If you are one of those professionals who are working at home, here are some of the tips you can employ to keep your mind and body connection strong and healthy:

Tips for keeping your mind and body connection strong

A lot of people often forget that work efficiency and productivity heavily rely on how comfortable working conditions are. After all, discomfort, regardless of degree, can easily make one feel irritable, stressed and frustrated. Aside from making sure that your hands, wrists and fingers are always healthily positioned while working, an article by Pain Free Working suggests doing different stretching exercises that can prevent repetitive stress injuries. Try rotating your shoulders and wrists and stretching your fingers, arms and wrists every once in a while throughout your working hours.

Write about what you feel

Everything starts with the mind, and this very principle is also true when it comes to strengthening the mind and body connection. To be able to address issues that may affect both aspects of your well-being early on, consider keeping a journal where you can jot down everything that you are feeling. Thrive Global explains that doing so will help you become more aware of your thoughts and relieve some of the stress coming from cush thoughts. It would also be a good idea to change the way you talk to yourself and to dedicate some time to fully feel your emotions.

Watch what you eat

Working at home can make it tempting to eat whenever you feel like it. However, some of the things you snack on can have a direct impact not just on your work performance and productivity but also on your mood and emotions. To avoid feeling stressed and lethargic while working, stay away from foods that are high in sugar. Instead, opt for snacks that improve memory and concentration such as nuts, berries, avocados and salads made from green leafy vegetables. As explained in our previous post ‘Staying Healthy When You Work A Desk Job’, preparing your meals and snacks early on can be a great way to ensure that the food you eat boost your mood and physical health.

As a company that prides itself on having a unique vantage point and a creative and authentic way of looking at human capital, we strongly encourage professionals to take care of themselves, both mentally and physically, especially during these trying times. Keep your mind and body strong by taking the time to stretch, writing about what you feel and watching what you eat.

Written by Alisha Christina
Exclusive for thetreehousepartners.com

Remote Work: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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A question we’ve seen with increasing frequency in recent years is “Does this company offer the opportunity to work remotely?” Remote work is quite the hot topic these days, and for good reason: working from home or telecommuting offers employees a certain flexibility that allows them to thrive in the chaotic, fast-paced world we live in today. Here at the Treehouse, we’ve offered remote work from day one, and it’s worked wonders for our small business! That said, remote work comes with a unique set of challenges that run the gamut from time management to the potential for isolation. Here are some things to bear in mind if your company is thinking about making the switch.

To be an effective remote worker, you have to be a time management pro. It’s much less tempting to spend an hour scrolling through Instagram when your boss is sitting at the desk across from yours. When you’re working from home or telecommuting, no one will stop you from hopping on Tumblr, sneaking an extra-long lunch break, or calling your mom to gab about last night’s episode of The Bachelor. A good manager will notice if you’re not keeping up or if things start to slip, so it’s crucial to stay on task. Create a daily schedule and make sure you’re dedicating your work time to work, especially if most of your tasks aren’t necessarily time sensitive–it’s easier to stay focused if you have a report due at 3:00 every day, but if your job doesn’t revolve around due dates, allocating a set time to work on specific projects each day will help you manage your time efficiently. You don’t need a home office, but designate a clutter-free workspace in your home (or wherever you work from) to avoid distractions.

Working from home can be lonely. When you work in an office setting, you’re surrounded by people. Even if you’re not close friends with any of your coworkers, there’s a certain comfort in knowing that the guy in the next cubicle is experiencing the same struggles and triumphs as you, and will probably at least half-listen to you vent. Working remotely means spending a large portion of your time alone, and even introverts tend to experience loneliness from time to time. It’s important to maintain a support system when you telecommute, and getting out of the house for a few hours each day–even if it’s just to go work in a coffee shop–is a great way to combat feelings of isolation. The good news is that today’s digital world allows us to stay more connected than ever–here at the Treehouse, we’re constantly calling, texting, emailing, or messaging each other on Slack. Working from home doesn’t necessarily prevent you from forming friendships with your colleagues, but it can certainly make it more difficult to do so. 

Remote work (usually) means a more flexible schedule. Most people who work traditional 9 to 5 jobs have to jump through a few hoops to rearrange their schedule to accommodate things like dentist appointments, doctor visits, or attending the school play. If you work from home, chances are you can start a little late if you need to drop your second grader off at school at 8:30 every day or want to volunteer as the soccer team chauffeur on Tuesdays at five. You might need to squeeze in an extra hour of emails before bed, but the ability to work around your outside life is well worth the tradeoff. Remote work situations generally involve a certain amount of trust, and if you’ve been approved for telecommuting, it’s probably safe to say your manager is confident you’ll get your work done in a timely manner, even if you’re not in the office under constant supervision. The downside here is that you may need to be “on call” at strange hours, but any good boss knows that work/life balance is critical to employee success, and won’t call on you to check in on a client or spend an hour cold calling unless it’s an absolute emergency. 

The ability to work remotely is in high demand today, and if current trends persist, we’ll be seeing more and more employees working from home at least on a part time basis. It’s important to learn how to manage your time wisely, combat loneliness, and understand that remote work comes with its own challenges, no matter how convenient it may be for your lifestyle. When managed appropriately, working from home is an excellent solution for many people whose outside lives demand more flexibility than an office job–and even for people who could make a 9 to 5 work but feel stifled in a traditional environment. We at the Treehouse look forward to observing the way the world adapts to the phenomenon of remote work–as our lives increase in complexity, the way we work should evolve as well. 

Inside the Treehouse: The Summer Internship Experience

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If you’re familiar with Treehouse Partners or with our CEO and Founder, Kate Pletcher, then you probably know that we’re not your grandmother’s recruiting firm. We’re a wacky melange of personalities–yet somehow, we all click together fantastically. As such, working at Treehouse Partners is vastly different from working in a traditional office setting, and accepting an internship with our firm means you’re in for a wild ride!

This past summer, we were fortunate to on-board two sharp, energetic UCLA students,Tyler Cheng and Micayla Hook, as full-time interns during their summer break. Tyler and Micayla had each completed internships with other companies prior to coming to Treehouse Partners, so we asked how their experience with us differed from their previous internships. This is what Micayla had to say:

I began interning at  Treehouse Partners this past July. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I walked into the Treehouse (yes, it’s really a treehouse!) on my first day excited to learn about the ins and outs of the recruiting world. As an aspiring Human Resources professional, I believed that understanding the recruiting process would serve as an invaluable experience which would help me curate valuable skills I could use in my future endeavors. And as my internship is nearing its end, I think that I couldn’t have been more right!

What I’ve Learned

Before my internship here, I had a simplistic view of how the recruiting process worked. I knew, of course, the primary goal was to interview candidates and to place qualified candidates into relevant roles. However, I completely took for granted the amount of work it takes just to get candidates to that stage! While there are instances where candidates actively apply for open positions, more often than not, finding candidates involves reaching out to hundreds of candidates a day. Since interning here, I often find myself on my morning commute to work looking at the sea of other work-going individuals on the 405, wondering how many of them we reached out to this week.

I also learned to appreciate how rewarding and exciting the world of recruiting can be. For example, with every new job we accept, we are given an inside look into the personalities, ambitions, and cultures that comprise a company. Getting to know companies on this level allows us to find qualified individuals who align themselves with our clients’ missions. Therefore, when you find a qualified candidate who fits these criteria, you can’t help but feel like you are actively contributing to the overall health and success of the company itself! 

Inside the Treehouse

Working at the Treehouse was an enormous contrast to the highly corporate internship I had last summer. The laid back environment of the Treehouse fostered a relaxed, comfortable work environment, and has ultimately allowed me to really get to know and learn from my colleagues in the office. Our office “Alexa” is always going with some great tunes (some playlists are better than others) and our office dog (Kirby) is always there for a needed afternoon smile.

All in all, I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at Treehouse Partners this summer and look forward to seeing all of the great things they accomplish in the coming year!

Staying Healthy When You Work a Desk Job

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In 2016, I started my first office job as a Customer Service Representative for a shipping company and gained about fifteen pounds in the first six months. I knew exactly why–I’d waited tables for ten years previously, and the transition from a job where I was constantly on my feet to a position where I sat at a desk for eight hours a day meant I was burning significantly fewer calories (not to mention the Friday donuts, potlucks, and bake sales that were a constant temptation in my office). I knew I needed to make some adjustments to my sedentary lifestyle, but I hate going to the gym…and I really love Ben & Jerry’s. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last few years of working a desk job.

You have to exercise. Seriously. It doesn’t have to be at the gym, but if you’re not getting in some type of physical activity every day, your health will deteriorate. Health professionals recommend adults take at least 10,000 steps per day and incorporate 120 minutes (three hours) of moderate aerobic activity per week. Americans, however, average between 5,000 and 7,000 steps per day, and only about 23% of us actually squeeze in three hours of aerobic activity every week–not surprising when we consider the huge population that spends the day in an office chair. A few months after starting my first office job, I joined a gym and went fairly regularly in the beginning, but like many others, I fell off the wagon after a few months. 

After canceling my gym membership, I started going for an hour-long walk every night after work–and running two or three days per week. Walking and running outside, free from the fluorescent lights and stifling, sweat-scented confines of the gym, is something I’ve kept up with and look forward to every night. It’s a chance to breathe fresh air, feel the sun on my skin, and catch up on the latest My Favorite Murder podcast. If you’re already a gym rat, so much the better, but it’s important to keep in mind that exercise can happen almost anywhere–many communities offer free or cheap exercise classes like yoga in the park, pilates at breweries, or kickboxing classes at the community center.

Watch what you eat. Offices are prime settings for junk food–team members bring in donuts, share candy, and load up their coffees with sugar-heavy creamer. My old office held monthly charity bake sales, which were a huge hit with everyone in the office, but didn’t help our waistlines! Meal prepping is a great way to save time and money and avoid the temptation of a lunchtime trip to McDonald’s. You work lunches don’t have to be boring; there are millions of fantastic options online for mason jar salads (check out 18 killer recipes from Buzzfeed here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/carolynkylstra/mason-jar-salads), work-friendly stuffed veggies, and more. If you’re a snacker, plan ahead and bring in some carrot sticks and hummus to munch at your desk, rather than a bag of potato chips from the vending machine. Beverages can be a detriment to your health goals as well. Many of us rely on coffee to get going in the morning, and most people aren’t on board with drinking it totally black. Try using stevia or other natural sweeteners in place of the Sweet ‘N’ Low, and experiment with the wide variety of non-dairy creamers that have hit shelves in the last few years.   

Of course, there will be days when you’ll forget to bring lunch, or a colleague will invite you out for a quick meal during your break. If your office is in an urban area, there’s a great chance that you can find a healthier alternative to the drive-thru or Applebee’s within a mile or two of your office. Many grocery stores offer build-your-own salad bars and grab-and-go takeout options, which are perfect if you’re crunched for time. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, seek out diet-friendly cuisines like Mediterranean or Japanese. Eating a greasy, carb-heavy lunch leaves many of us feeling bloated and sluggish when we return for the second half of our workdays, so do yourself a favor find something healthy!

Take advantage of health and fitness programs offered by your place of business. My office job had one of the best health care programs I’ve ever seen, both in terms of coverage and incentive programs. My organization regularly partnered with local gyms and fitness centers to offer a free fitness class once per week. Attending these events was a blast, and a wonderful chance to get to know my colleagues outside of the office. Not every business is so invested in their employees’ health, but if you’re interested in health workshops or a gym membership through work, it’s worth a conversation with your office manager. Even if your office isn’t able to offer anything, you might find coworkers who are up for trying out a krav maga class or going for a thirty minute bike ride at lunch.

At Treehouse Partners, we encourage all of our employees to take care of themselves, both mentally and physically. We recently brought in a yoga teacher for a pre-work yoga class, and many of us delight in exercising on our own time. Our CEO, Kate Pletcher, works out every morning and tries to book her lunch meetings close to our office so that she can bike or scooter to meet clients. Think of your health as an investment: exercising for just thirty minutes a day drastically reduces your chances of myriad health issues, and healthy eating can make a huge difference in your psychological and physical well-being. Working at a desk job doesn’t need to be a detriment to your health if you’re able to figure out a diet and exercise system that works for you!

  • Sarah O’Phelan, Recruiting & Social Media Coordinator for Treehouse Partners. 

Sources: 

https://www.popsci.com/american-exercise-guidelines-charts/

Office Happy Hour Do’s and Don’ts

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Here at Treehouse Partners, we like to sit back and enjoy a glass of California cabernet or sip on local craft beers at the end of the day from time to time. Casual office happy hours have become fairly standard in office culture. It’s a great way to unwind and reward yourself after a hard days’ work; employees get the chance to socialize in a laid-back setting, meet colleagues outside of their own department, and have time for longer conversations that can’t be squeezed into work time. Drinking can be a dangerous game, however, so it’s important to keep a level head at any official or unofficial work function where alcohol is involved. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind the next time your work pal drags you to Applebee’s for Dollaritas:

Do: Make an effort to get to know your coworkers

Forming relationships with coworkers takes time, and, at the office (especially if you work in a fast-paced job where there’s little time for socialization), it can be difficult to get a sense of who your colleagues really are. Is there someone you’d like to get to know better at work? Offer to buy him or her a beer, and start a conversation! Ask thoughtful questions–how long have they been with the company? Where did they go to school? Many adult friendships are formed in the workplace, and it’s easier to get to know someone when you’re not stressing about handing in a report on time or trying to schedule a meeting.

Do: Take advantage of introductions to employees outside your own department

In large offices, many people don’t get the chance to spend time with employees from other departments. Office social events are a great place to introduce yourself to people you haven’t had the chance to meet yet. This is particularly helpful if you’re considering making a move to another department down the line–being on a first-name basis with that department’s head will give you a leg up should you elect to switch gears later on.

Do: Feel free to share work-friendly information with your colleagues

You’ll probably get fired if you spend the entire work-day showing your coworkers photos of your six-year-old’s Batman pajama party–but it’s more than OK to share details about your personal life with your coworkers outside work! Talking about your pilates class, passion for cooking, or books you’re reading will help you to discover common interests pave the way for friendships with your team members.

Don’t: Over-share personal information that should be kept private or might endanger your job.

The flip side of sharing personal details is that you need to be cautious about which information you choose to share. A group setting with people from work is not the best place to ruminate on your divorce or discuss the best strip clubs in your area. Watch your language, too–dropping f bombs in every sentence won’t win you any points with the boss.

Don’t: Use the time to gossip or complain about your boss, coworkers, etc.

Similarly, work functions are not an appropriate setting for whining about the people you work with. Office gossip has a way of getting around, so even if you think you’re having a quiet laugh with your friend about Linda in accounting’s fashion choices, there’s a good chance someone could overhear. Refrain from making negative comments about others at any work event–not only do you run the risk of your statement coming back to bite you in the you-know-what, but people may start to wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.

Don’t: Get too drunk!!!

This should absolutely go without saying, but unfortunately, having one too many at an office happy hour is not uncommon. Keep your wits about you to avoid some of the “don’ts” we’ve outlined above. Don’t make a fool of yourself; the image of the Head of Marketing dancing on a table after seven shots of Patron is difficult to shake–not to mention the hangover that’s sure to follow. It’s a good idea to give yourself a drink limit and stick to it–and if you do happen to find yourself a bit more intoxicated than you’d planned, make sure to call an Uber or friend to come pick you up.    

Whether you’re cracking open a cold one at your desk or meeting up with your team at the Mexican restaurant around the corner, office happy hours are a fun way to relax and catch up with your teammates after work. Just make sure to keep your head straight and your mouth shut when it comes to certain topics–no one likes a whiner or a gossip. Take advantage of opportunities to socialize with your existing work friends, and branch out and get to know people outside of your department. Sit back, relax, loosen up, and have a good time! Cheers!