The partial federal government shutdown resulting from the fight over the best and most cost effective way to protect the US and its citizens from the threat of illegal immigration has effected hiring for any company that uses the E-Verify system in a highly ironic way. (This includes all companies in the state of South Carolina).

E-Verify, the government’s system for verifying a new hire’s eligibility to work and reducing unauthorized illegal immigration employment, has been shut down. So while bickering takes place in Washington over the funding of a wall, the ability to use E-Verify to protect american jobs and ensure companies hire a legal workforce has been disbanded in the desert without a horse.

Makes total sense, Right!

This is one of many shutdown paradoxes for sure, which is especially noticeable today as employers begin to onboard their newest batch of hires in 2019. As it stands now, potential options to reopen portions of the government are being sent through congress, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the parties can come to an agreement which will enable the government to re-open its doors, or simply the doors to the Department of Homeland Security.

Many employers may remember the last big federal government shutdown (in 2013), when the E-Verify system remained offline for 16 days – leading to a huge backlog of new hire cases and pending resolutions which had to be addressed when the government finally reopened and the system resumed operations. For those of you who weren’t involved with I-9s and E-Verify back in 2013 (including myself), here are some FAQs and best practices on how to manage your I-9 and E-Verify cases during this latest government shutdown.

It is important to note that the USCIS may change their current instructions for managing the E-Verify shutdown once the government resumes. With that caveat in mind, let’s begin!

(1) When did the E-Verify shutdown begin?

Contrary to what you might think, E-Verify did not immediately cease operations when the federal government officially ran out of money. The system actually continued accepting new cases throughout the morning and early afternoon on Saturday, December 22nd before coming to an abrupt halt.

(2) How exactly is E-Verify affected by this latest government shutdown?

In a nutshell, the E-Verify system is totally unavailable. This means employers (and E-Verify employer agents) will be unable to do any of the following:

  • Enroll any company in E-Verify
  • Create an E-Verify case
  • View or take action on any case
  • Add, delete or edit any User ID
  • Reset passwords
  • Edit your employer information
  • Terminate an account
  • Run reports

In addition, E-Verify Customer Support and related services will also be closed as well. This means:

  • Employees will be unable to resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs)
  • Telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable.
  • E-Verify webinars and training sessions will be cancelled
  • myE-Verify will not be available for individuals

(3) How do I manage my I-9 and E-Verify obligations for new hires during the shutdown?

The first and most important thing to note is that you must still complete the Form I-9 for all new hires, regardless of whether or not the E-Verify system is online, offline, or just taking a temporary break. As we often discuss, E-Verify is never a replacement for the Form I-9 process, and so the federal government shutdown should have absolutely no impact on your regular and routine I-9 obligations.

Once the Form I-9 is completed, however, you will be unable to create a case in the E-Verify system within three business days after the employee starts work for pay (as is required by the E-Verify system). This so-called ‘three-day rule’ for E-Verify cases will be suspended for cases affected by the shutdown, but employers will need to eventually submit these I-9s to E-Verify once the system comes back online.

In 2013, the USCIS provided employers with a limited amount of time to enter/create all of these cases, so employers will want to make sure to keep track of all new hires during the shutdown and maintain easy access to the I-9 files (as well as copies of required supporting documents for photo matching). Employers using electronic I-9 systems can benefit from automatic queuing and submitting of the E-Verify cases – saving a significant amount of time and worry.

(4) How do I manage pending TNCs that I received prior to the government shutdown?

If the federal government shutdown prevented your employee from contesting a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC), he or she will be allowed additional time to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) once the system resumes. According to the latest guidance, the number of days E-Verify is not available will not count toward the days the employee has to begin the process of resolving their TNCs.

Employers should be careful not to take any adverse action towards employees with TNCs during the shutdown, including terminating, suspending, or withholding training, hours, or pay.

(5) How will the government shutdown affect federal contractors or subcontractors with looming E-Verify deadlines?

Federal contractors and subcontractors will be unable to enroll or use E-Verify as required by the FAR (federal acquisition regulation) federal contractor rule. If your organization misses a deadline because E-Verify is unavailable or if it has an upcoming deadline for complying with the federal contractor rule, you will be instructed to complete your cases (following the same guidelines mentioned above) and to notify your contracting officer of these instructions.


Hopefully you will keep these things in mind while employing your new hires during this impasse of government. I know it feels like a wall of paperwork is building up, but with planning and organization, eventually you will make it to the other side.

(all puns intended)


Temporary staff helps alleviate some of the burden that is caused when increasing production for a brief period of time. However, there are some issues that could arise if your company doesn’t go about this process the best way.


Sharing joint responsibility of a temporary staff member can be a little confusing when it comes to OSHA and other federal regulations. Every client’s circumstances can have little things that can change, so make sure the contract between the staffing agency and your company clarifies where responsibility lies.

The most common aspects of safety that you will be responsible for will be in regards to the workplace and any equipment/hazard training necessary in order to ensure that the employee is properly informed. Here are some other practices that will help with workers compensation issues and how to avoid injuries on your company’s premises:

  • Communicate thoroughly with the staffing agency that all necessary personal protections equipment is understood and who provides the equipment.
  • Check on the conditions of the workplace to ensure that their workers are in safe environment.
  • You must be aware of all existing hazards within your workplace, ignorance of these are not an excuse.


It is in your best interest to have a system created so you can be sure that you have covered all of the necessary bases with each new temporary employee. This system will be most effective if you:

Make sure you are fully assessing the amount of labor needed to accomplish the job you are hiring them for. It will be much easier for you to recruit 3 temps at once rather than to find yourself shorthanded and have to scramble to find a couple more as you discover a lack of progress. In addition, as mentioned before, you will want to be fully aware of the conditions of your workplace and any precautions or information you need to communicate to new employees to ensure their safety. This is to protect everyone involved.

Your new temp’s training should begin from the moment that they are hired on. They should be treated just as any regular employee would be and given training when required.

The most important thing is to know what your responsibilities are and how you best can prepare your temporary hire to do the job you require of them. Make sure you cover all of the bases by communicating with your staffing partner, creating awareness around existing hazards, and training each individual fully. If you have anymore questions about your personal responsibilities when hiring on temporary workers, please feel free to call Alternative Staffing at 843-744-6040.



The secret to effective management is finding the best in each of your employees and using it to everyone’s advantage. This involves leading a myriad of personality types and individuals. The old cliché rings true: It takes all kinds to make a world – or in this case, a workplace.

With this in mind, how do you best manage over and underachievers? Often, employees on the extreme ends of the achievement spectrum simply need a little extra guidance in order to maximize their potential.


  • Take on extra tasks without being asked, go beyond the boundaries of their job description and may become overly concerned with accomplishing tasks on or ahead of deadline.
  • Often avoid working in teams or don’t take the time to follow basic processes or job functions.
  • May forget to communicate information, take short cuts or leave job details to others.
  • May take unnecessary risks and don’t stay in one place – or one position – for very long.


  • May not truly understand the requirements and expectations of their jobs. And this may not be their fault. Perhaps they didn’t get the orientation or training they needed, or they simply need a refresher on what they need to accomplish.
  • May not have the resources they need to do their best work.
  • May have distractions that keep them from performing at peak level.

Help Them Succeed.
Chances are, you can identify both the over and underachievers on your team. Once this is done, your job as manager is to help them achieve their personal best.

Managing Overachievers.

  • Learn what motivates them. Completing tasks above and beyond expectations gives them a “high.” But, this sensation can be harder to come by as time goes on, so they may not be comfortable in one position for more than a few years. Be aware of this and keep them constantly challenged.
  • Give them a flexible environment. This includes involving them in planning and decision making whenever possible.
  • Provide emotional coaching. They may not seem to need a pat on the back, but they’ll respect you more if you acknowledge them. They may get bogged down in details, so they appreciate a manager who motivates, sets goals and provides solid direction.

Maximize Results With Underachievers.

  • Ask them to list their job duties. This will clear up any misunderstandings about expectations and give you an opportunity to take corrective measures.
  • Inquire about personal distractions that may hinder performance. When you ask, be supportive, but don’t pry. Asking specific questions about personal matters can lead to employment discrimination claims. But you need to understand the situation – and provide reasonable time off to deal with it, if necessary.
  • Monitor their achievement. Meet with underachievers frequently and keep communication lines open. Reward progress and provide constructive suggestions.


In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Regular, open communication between coworkers is critical for workplace success. It strengthens interpersonal relationships, which leads to enhanced job satisfaction, efficiency and engagement. Effective communication builds trust and mutual respect.

So how can you make it happen?

Actively Listen
Hearing is not the same thing as listening. Too often, we get caught up in getting our own point across and hear the words a person is conveying but don’t really understand or listen to what they’re trying to say. Like all good communication skills, this one takes practice.

  • Know when it’s your turn to speak. In the meantime, while it’s their turn, give your coworker your full and undivided attention. Don’t interrupt or be mentally preparing your response even before they finish their statement.
  • Restate what you hear. Don’t be a parrot, but rephrase a person’s message and state it back to them. This shows you were listening and understood what was said. you’ve been successful.
  • Pay attention to body language – yours and theirs. It can tell just as much about what someone says out loud, if not more. Observe how people act while they talk. For instance, if your colleague is reassuring you they’ll meet a critical deadline but nervously wringing their hands at the same time, remember that actions really can speak louder than words.

Communicate with People as Individuals
Communication doesn’t have to be cold or matter of fact. Rather, it should be as friendly and caring as possible and it should be part of your daily routine.

  • Interact on a personal level. Ask about a coworker’s new car or their child’s dance recital. This goes a long way toward building trust. And, when the time comes, it makes it easier to discuss important or touchy issues.
  • Consider their communication preference. Email works for some people, while others prefer to text or talk on the phone. Respect your colleagues by using the communication method that they prefer.
  • Keep criticism constructive. If you comment on a coworker’s performance or contribution to a project, be sure that what you say is not emotionally charged. Think before you speak, so that your colleague grasps what you’re saying. And above all, keep it positive, even if it’s a suggestion on how to improve.

Learn – and Practice
Becoming a good communicator is like becoming a good piano player or golfer. You have to learn the basic skills – and then practice. In order to improve:

  • It’s all about continuous improvement. Take note of how others respond to your communication efforts. Look for ways to improve. Think of it as communications CI!
  • Focus on clarity and conciseness. Before you speak, take time to organize your thoughts. If you’re put on the spot, it’s perfectly okay to respond with “Let me think about that and I’ll get back to you.” Once you’ve thought through your response, you can communicate it more effectively. And keep it as brief as possible. Your coworkers don’t want to sift through a lot of jargon to get to the point.


How to Recognize and Avoid Burnout in Your Staff

ThinkstockPhotos-160611067We often hear about burnout in the nurses, therapists and aides we place on short-term assignments. Healthcare providers in particular suffer from higher rates of burnout due to many factors including long shifts, high-stress environments, or not addressing one’s own needs.

With known burnout in the field, we often overlook the possibility that the recruiters in high-stress sales roles who work with these healthcare professionals could suffer burnout as well. Sales roles tend to have a high turnover, but when we lose our best recruiters to burnout it takes its toll on both our business and our healthcare consultants. Here are a few ways to spot burnout in your salespeople and what you can do to prevent it.

Exhaustion and tiredness

Maybe an employee worked extra late, has a side job or stayed up late with a sick child and is noticeably tired the next day. As long as it doesn’t become a problem, we chalk it up to life happenings — until that tiredness becomes a pattern of exhaustion. This, combined with lack of motivation and negative attitude at work can be signs of burnout.

Lack of motivation

Most staffing companies have goals for their recruiters — a set number of calls, temps on assignment or other metrics each recruiter should meet. While some salespeople will always be more motivated than others to exceed their numbers, the goals we set for employees can also be helpful in monitoring motivation. A sudden dip in motivation from an employee who consistently over-performed in the past? Time to check in with that employee.

Negative comments or frustration

While employees will experience some negative emotions from time to time, it’s important to recognize when it becomes unusual or persistent for employees. Some employees won’t be overtly negative though. Best workplace and satisfaction surveys can be great ways to gain insight. The results often come with a price tag but when it comes to workplace insight it’s worth the investment twofold.


Recognizing burnout is essential to happy recruiters and a dynamic workplace. Here are just a few ways to prevent burnout before it occurs.

Surround sales pit in motivation

Positive attitude can be contagious but it can’t be forced. Some highly motivated employees won’t show it with the veraciously for which they experience it. Creating a positive sales environment where employees are allowed to express their ambition is key. One of our offices stretches as a group to both connect as a workplace and to energize — although this might not work for all organizations. Taking just a few minutes to connect and motivate one another is essential in keeping the momentum.

Extra training and continued education

Empowering your employees with more knowledge, tips and guidance can energize and ignite a new enthusiasm in an employee’s same position. Training sessions don’t have to be costly or time consuming — even one hour per month spent on new technologies and techniques can do wonders for morale. Upper management doesn’t have to lead education seminars; get to know your employees strengths in different areas and you’ll probably be surprised what they can teach your team.

Lateral moves or differentiated tasks

Burnout can also crop up from from repetitious tasks. Enabling your employees to move laterally within their department or take on new tasks can prevent burnout as they learn new tasks and help the company grow. In staffing, than mean allowing recruiters to branch out into new specialties. Differentiating tasks may require training but the outcome will be employees who take ownership over their role and are happier in the workplace.


Jennifer Fuicelli


Your successful workday starts long before you pull into the parking lot. Rather than arriving at your job rushed, hungry, and/or still half asleep, why not take a few simple measures to set the tone for a productive and satisfying day ahead?

Not every one of these ideas will work for you. Take this from someone who is so not a morning person! But pick and choose … and maybe try a few of them. You may just surprise yourself!

Start the Night Before
If morning is not your favorite time, then make the evening work in your favor.

  • Prepare and lay out clothing, pre-pack lunches, backpacks and briefcases, and have your morning checklist ready.
  • Pre-set your coffeemaker and while you’re at it, leave out any non-perishable breakfast items, as well as dishes, bowls and silverware.
  • Go to bed early. And try leaving your blinds slightly open so the natural light of the rising sun will signal your brain to slow production of melatonin and bump up production of adrenaline. This is a signal that it’s time to wake up.

Get a Jump Start on the Day
Get enough sleep – about seven hours on average – so your body and its internal alarm clock adjust to getting up in plenty of time to avoid a stressful morning rush. Then you can:

  • Have a good breakfast. It doesn’t have to be large or elaborate, but it should be healthy and filling. It’s not just a cliché – it’s the most important meal of the day as you fuel your body and mind after an extended period without nourishment.
  • Stretch. Even before you open your eyes, lift your arms and stretch each finger, hand and wrist. Do the same to your toes, feet and legs, and then your neck and back. This propels you out of bed, limbers up your muscles and joints, and enhances blood flow throughout your body.
  • Exercise some more, after you get up. Hop on the treadmill, practice early-morning yoga or take a brisk walk. Physical activity produces endorphins, which boost your energy level and mood for a good part of the day.
  • Drink eight ounces of water. You’ve been fasting all night, so your body is dehydrated.
  • Take five. Or ten minutes to listen to some music or sit on your deck or porch and just think. This allows ideas generated during the night to gel and grounds you into action for the day.

For many people, the first 20 minutes of the day is the most stressful, draining their energy and causing disarray for the rest of the day. Don’t let that happen. All it takes are a few simple lifestyle adjustments – and you could be the next morning person!

Contact the team at Alternative Staffing or read our related posts for more ideas on your career and work/life balance. And wake up with a smile tomorrow morning!


Do you remember the Golden Rule?

Also known as the “Ethic of Reciprocity,” it teaches a simple, but profound life lesson: Treat others the same way you want to be treated. It’s one of the best guidelines to remember – and practice – from preschool on. And your workplace is no exception.

When you show up for work each day, you have a job to do, results to achieve, tasks to check off your “to do” list. And while all these things are extremely important, it’s just as critical to maintain relationships, practice courtesy and common sense, and contribute to a sense of teamwork and well-being among your peers.

Here are three tips to maintaining proper workplace etiquette:

Be Respectful.

  • Use courtesy when utilizing shared areas including offices, kitchens and break rooms. For instance, if you expect others to clean up after themselves, you need to do the same.
  • Knock before entering another employee’s area. Even if it’s an open cubicle or similar configuration, make an attempt to announce your arrival without being loud or obtrusive.
  • Never criticize coworkers in front of others. Settle differences privately and quickly, before they escalate.
  • Rise above gossip. There is no good side to being the office busy body.

Be Sensitive.

  • Monitor the volume and nature of your in-person and telephone conversations. This is especially important if you work in a cubicle or shared area, where you can’t “close the door” to avoid disturbing others.
  • If you overhear a private conversation, practice “selective hearing.” Shut it out of your mind and pretend it never happened. If a coworker repeatedly carries on conversations that put you in this uncomfortable position, speak to him or her about it and if the problem persists, speak to your supervisor.
  • Discuss personnel matters only with appropriate individuals. These include human resources staff and, in most cases, your supervisor.
  • Be aware of scents. Save heavy doses of cologne or perfume for social occasions. Ask your coworkers before bringing in heavily scented flowers, and avoid foods with strong aromas, as well. Limit them to the cafeteria or break room.

Be Professional.

  • Keep personal conversations, phone calls and emails to a minimum. Use similar discretion when displaying personal items such as photographs or mementoes. Don’t overdo it or cause obstructions for others in your work area.
  • Practice “netiquette.” When emailing, practice common courtesy by saying “please” and “thank you.” Monitor your tone to make sure you come across as respectful and approachable. Avoid using all uppercase letters, which implies shouting.
  • Make sure your voice gives a good impression. Voice mail messages should be short, polite and easily understood. And when leaving a reply message, speak clearly and leave your full name. Repeat pertinent information if necessary.
  • Look and act like a pro. Dress appropriately for your work setting, and act professionally. Avoid behavior such as chewing or popping gum, which is perceived as undignified.


Got a job interview? This is a significant milestone in your job search, as it means your resume and any other initial contact made with a prospective employer scored you a spot on the short list of final candidates. Now for that critical step: your first face-to-face meeting and opportunity to personally sell yourself as the best person for the job.

There’s a lot to think about as you get ready for the big day: researching the company and the position, the right outfit, mapping out the location so you get there in plenty of time, and physically and mentally preparing yourself, right down to getting a good night’s sleep beforehand.

With all this running through your mind, don’t forget the key paperwork you need to bring to your interview. Having this organized will be a further asset as you present yourself – and it will make you feel less stressed and more confident, knowing you haven’t forgotten anything essential.

Pack all these items into your new or newly-polished briefcase. This means hard copies of all paperwork to augment any electronic versions that may have previously been submitted:


  • Be prepared to provide copies of your resume. Even though your interviewer certainly has already seen it, you may meet other people during your interview session and should be prepared to offer them a copy as well.
  • In addition, if you’re nervous going in, you may be able to skim over a copy yourself to remind you of your strengths and message points you want to convey during the interview.

List of References
It’s a good sign if your interviewer asks for this list. It’s a “buying signal” indicating your prospective employer’s interest in pursuing you as a candidate. So, have copies on hand to provide if asked.

Recommendation Letters
Like your list of references, these are strong supporting tools. If appropriate, you may want to supply copies to your interviewer or other company representatives at some point.


  • Bring your driver’s license and Social Security card. You may need these if you’re asked to complete an employment application.
  • Also, some employers may ask for identification as you enter their facility, for security purposes. If that’s the case, you literally won’t get in the door without proper ID.

Examples of Your Work

  • Organize a binder or portfolio that highlights your best work and bring it with you as part of your interview presentation. It should be neatly packaged and readily accessible.
  • If your materials don’t lend themselves to print, create an electronic portfolio on your laptop or iPad.
  • Portfolios are particularly critical when vying for creative professional jobs, in fields such as advertising, communications, public relations or graphic design.

List of Questions

  • Make a list of four to six insightful questions on the company and the position. This is another document you can refer to in case your mind goes blank, which can happen in stressful situations.
  • Be sure to incorporate your questions into your interview. This shows your focus on adding value to the organization.

For additional resources to prepare for your interview and your job search process as a whole, read our related posts or contact the expert recruitment team at Alternative Staffing.


The holidays are a busy time for everyone in the business world. Whether your organization is a service, product, retail, or industry, the volume of work can be high during the holidays. To keep up with the business demand and alleviate some stress off of employees, temporary workers can be a successful fix.

To get your holiday staffing needs put into place with these key steps:

Take it back a year

To figure out your organization’s unique holiday staffing needs are, take a look at the previous year’s holiday figures. Examine your financial gains and losses, and where you need to put your focus this holiday season. Did you hire the right people for the right job? Did you place your temporary staffers in the right positions, or were there positions that needed more attentions? Is there anything different this year than the previous year that you will need to account for when hiring seasonal staff?

Make a plan

Once you know the lacking areas that can be improved, things that worked in the past, and new office endeavors that must be filled, it is time to put a plan into place. Now you can narrow down the ideal candidate skill sets and traits for your holiday temporary staff. It’s a myth that temporary workers are not as skilled as permanent employees. However, the most reliable and qualified temps will typically be recruited well before the holiday season is underway. So making a seasonal staffing plan as soon as possible will increase your likelihood of snagging the best temps for the job.

Bringing the temps on board

Make the transition as smooth as possible for holiday temps and for your permanent staff by creating a unique training process designed specifically for the seasonal staff. Decide exactly what the expected duties will be, rules and limitations, and who is responsible for temp worker productivity.

Prepare Current Staff

It is important to communicate with your current team, whether full time or part time, the temporary staffing plans for the holidays. Make sure that your employees know what to expect: (1) how many temps will be working seasonally, (2) how long they will be working, (3) what the temps responsibilities will be, (4) who the temps will report to, (5) and then finally address any potential concerns.

Some employees may feel threatened by temporary staffers. Just ensure them that having temp workers will not take away from permanent staffers jobs, but will help make everyone’s job easier, increase productivity, and keep the holiday spirit high!

The process of finding the right talent to fit your holiday staffing needs can be more efficient and effective with the partnership of a staffing firm, like Alternative Staffing. Give us a call at 843-744-6040


When you first wrote your resume, or had a professional craft it for you, you listened to those “in the know” who told you to review and update it once or twice a year. And, you said to yourself, “I’m going to do just that!”

Fast forward five or even 10 years. You’ve been working and life has been buzzing along when, wham! You’re blindsided by a restructure or downsizing. Or even if the situation is less drastic, you find yourself in the job market, either passively looking due to growing dissatisfaction with your current position, or actively in need of work, once again. And the words “resume” and “update” have not appeared in the same sentence since you ran off copies of that original document. Well, take heart; it’s never too late and always a good idea to make this happen.

These tips will help make your resume more professional and eye-catching and breathe life into it as you forge ahead on your career path:

Add Relevant Accomplishments and Professional Achievements.
The operative word here is “relevant.” Courses you’ve completed, degrees you’ve earned, organizations you’ve joined and conferences you’ve attended are all good examples, as long as they’re pertinent to the new position or career you’re seeking. Remove the accomplishments that are no longer important. Create a concise document that tells a compelling – and current – story of the added value you can provide to an employer.

Think in Terms of Keywords.
Chances are, when you last updated your resume, keywords were not a major consideration. But this has changed, as a growing number of companies utilize electronic scanning and searching methods. Study sites like Monster and note which keywords appear in postings for jobs similar to yours. Then, incorporate these keywords into your resume.

Survey and Freshen up the Skills Section of Your Resume.
Make sure your proficiency levels and years of experience are current. In fact, proof the entire document with the same thought in mind.

Start and Update a “Kudos File” to Keep Your Resume Fresh and Sell Yourself.
Make a bulleted list of recent projects you’ve completed, impressive performance reviews and emails or other documents complimenting your work. Include quantifiable detail expressed in terms of percentages of improvement, dollars saved, revenue earned and before-and-after comparisons. Recording this valuable data while it’s fresh in your mind means you won’t have to dig and search for it later on.

While refreshing the content of your resume, it’s also a good time to put it into a new file format such as plain text or PDF, which makes it more user-friendly and accessible to a wider audience. Also, keep in mind that once you’ve completed a general resume update, you’ll need to produce tailored versions of it for every job you apply for.

With just a little planning, organization and creative thinking, you can turn yesterday’s resume into today’s highly effective job search tool.


For more help with constructing resumes, interviewing, networking and other advice during your search process, Contact the experts at Alternative Staffing Today.