February 23rd, 2015

By: Katie Klohs


How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?  Are you hanging in there? If you are like most people, the luster of resolutions have worn off.  If that is you, don’t give up just yet.  We want to help you put meaning behind your resolutions.  Resolutions that are not only meaningful to you, but also good life lessons.  Here are 5 to try out…even if it is the end of February.

VOLUNTEER : Giving of your time and talent.  The great thing about volunteering is it doesn’t have to consume your schedule, it can be as simple as one hour a week.  Out of 168 hours in a week, 1 seems manageable.  if you can commit to more than that, great.  But starting off small can seem less daunting.  I can guarantee just one hour a week will give you such an intense feeling of compassion and gratitude.  It will make your commitment worth it.  You will gain significant life experiences and who knows, maybe your kind act will inspire others around you to do the same.

MAKE AN EFFORT WITH CO-WORKERS:  Since you spend the majority of your time with them, try and get along the best you can.  Always put your best foot forward.  Effective communication is a good way to start.  Be good listeners.  Be positive.  Be supportive.  If something is bothering you, let them know how you feel in a calm and rational behavior.  Be courteous and respectful of their feelings.  Remember that there are two sides to every story and if the lines of communication remain open it is easy to resolve conflict in an easy manner should it arise.

BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT: This skill alone can help alleviate stress & worry, which in turn can make you a better co-worker.  Prioritize tasks.  Ask for deadlines when given projects so you are able to create order.  Focus on those that are most important.  Work in the moment, don’t worry about things that are due next week.  Avoid procrastination. If there is something on your plate that you are dreading, do that one first.  It will leave you with a sense of accomplishment to better able tackle the others without it looming over your head.

ATTITUDE: Probably the most important.  Make it a top priority to have a good attitude every day.  It is one of the few things we actually have control over.  Attitude is everything and can easily MAKE or BREAK a situation.  Be appreciative.  Start your day off with three reasons why you are happy to be at work.  Start with a positive and you will be surprised how such a little thing can make the rest of the day positive as well.

EXERCISE: Start small.  Then add on as you feel ready.  The whole point with exercise, isn’t to make you feel bad if you miss.  Exercise makes you feel good, which in turn makes you happy! Exercise creates more energy which will make you more productive both at work and at home.  Try and find an exercise that you enjoy!

Don’t be discouraged to start resolutions in February, July or December.    It’s never too late to start a positive lifestyle change!

Why Des Moines

January 20th, 2015

By: Linda Stober

Maybe you are interested in, have interviewed for, or better yet have been offered a position in Des Moines, Iowa.  You’ve hesitated considering Des Moines as your new home — wondering if the land of “cornfields and tractors” would appeal to you.  Here are a few points that may help change your mind.

“Location, location, location”

 Iowa’s capital city of 456,000 citizens is situated at the crossroads of 1-35 and 1-80 and has easy access by vehicle to a number of major cities:  Omaha (two hours away) Chicago (5 hours) Kansas City (3 hours) Minneapolis (4 hours).  An International airport is available for the vacationer as well as the business traveler.  The Central Iowa area is rich with agricultural, industrial, and professional opportunities and is one reason a number of major American companies call Des Moines home.

“When in Rome”

Living in Des Moines would allow you to take advantage of a variety of entertainment options such as a vibrant downtown area with a nightlife that includes a civic center and concert/sports arena that bring in world-class shows and a beautiful triple-A baseball stadium.  With miles and miles of trails connecting the city to the suburbs and countryside, it’s a guaranteed great workout for any biker, runner or walker.   The area sports many family-friendly parks to enjoy with the change of seasons as well.

Feeling hungry?  Des Moines is home to a wide variety of ethnic and nationally-known restaurants that would please any taste bud.  Des Moines boasts a top-ten nationally ranked farmer’s market and plays host to one of the nation’s top-five summer art shows.

“Home Sweet Home” 

Des Moines enjoys a strong local economy and has been named “#1 America’s Best Cities for Young Professionals” by Forbes Magazine.  Des Moines is well below the national average for unemployment at just over 4% compared to the nation’s 6% and the metro area enjoys a lower cost of living.  For example – if you relocate from Minneapolis, housing will cost you an average of 29% less, and groceries 11% less.  Utilities, transportation and healthcare are reduced as well.  The per capita average income is $45k and the city and suburbs support great school systems.

 So with all that Des Moines has to offer, maybe the better question should be – “Why Not Des Moines!”

First Impressions Are Lasting

November 20th, 2014

By Linda Stober


This is a phrase my sixth grade teacher, repeated over and over and if I’ve forgotten everything else from that year, I’ve remembered those words.  When introducing yourself for the first time to a company (and this is what you are doing), a good first impression is paramount.


To accomplish this — be prepared.


Make sure you know the name of the business and location where you are interviewing.  As attached as we are to technology, don’t rely on checking last-minute with your mobile app or devices to get you there.  Know exactly where you are to be.  Arrive fifteen minutes early and if you think you will run late, call ahead.  They will appreciate the courtesy call.  And, if you are calling a business for any reason – ALWAYS identify yourself.  The person on the other end of the line should not have to ask who they are speaking to.


Upon arrival, turn off or silence your cell phone.  You don’t want it to ring during your meeting and there are very few calls worth ruining your chance at a good job opportunity.


Know the name of your interviewer.  You may already be nervous and nothing will be more unsettling than when you are asked at the receptionist desk who you are meeting with and all you can offer is a blank stare.  If you are unsure, call the day before and verify the time and person you are to meet.


Do not arrive carrying a large soda, coffee or water in hand.  Leave those items in the car.  Generally a water fountain is available on location or a beverage may even be offered.  You should have a notebook to write in along with plenty of copies of your resume with you for the meeting, that’s it!


Attire is an important decision as wellBe professional.  When in doubt:  err on the side of play-it-safe.

Guys – while those cargo shorts and t-shirts may be comfortable for summertime — unless your interviewer specifically states otherwise, your best foot forward is a suit and tie.

Ladies – if you are wondering if your skirt is too short – it probably is.  If you are questioning if the cut of your blouse is too low – always err on the side of caution.

Colognes and perfumes that are too strong are a big distraction in a small interview room or even a group setting.  You never know when someone may be slightly allergic or simply find a fragrance distracting.  You don’t want the end result of the meeting to be the lingering scent of a popular fragrance.


Simply use common sense during the process and you’ll be successful in your job search!



Accountability: What You Need To Do To Get A Job And Keep It!

October 23rd, 2014

By: Danie Gohr


Are you wondering why you haven’t landed your dream job yet? What are you lacking? What are the company leaders and hiring managers looking for? You would think it is the specific experience and knowledge you already possess right? Well, that is only one piece of the puzzle. The biggest and single most important attribute that you need to showcase is accountability.  Accountability is what drives this economy, gets you the promotion you want and keeps  your boss happy! It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Well, it can be simple but it takes effort to express where you have been accountable and how you have made an impact to your previous and/or existing roles. You may think you are accountable, but what matters is that the interviewer and powers to be think and believe it as well! Perception is reality and it is your responsibility to make sure you are perceived as a hard working employee and not the opposite!

Take a second and imagine this scenario. You are sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room. While sitting there, you notice two receptionists behind the front desk. When a new patient comes through the doors to check in, one of the receptionists is sitting there, messing with their phone, looking down at the ground, and not even acknowledging the patient. The other receptionist, greets the patient the second the door opens, is quick to check them in and quick to let the doctor know they are present. Furthermore, you see that same receptionist walking all over organizing the magazines in the waiting area, dusting the furniture and opening the blinds. Each and every small gesture adds up and doesn’t go unnoticed! This receptionist shows accountability. Below, I will show you how you can explain your accountability in an interview and ultimately get the job


In The Interview

Interviewers want to be able to have something to grab onto. They want something that not only sticks out but gives them something to remember you by.  You can do this by explaining you have been punctual, have went above and beyond the typical duties and helped the company work towards a certain goal.

If you want to let them know you are accountable, go beyond the bullet points on your resume and dig into how you’ve specifically went above and beyond the duties assigned to you. You can do this by first stating what your designated duties are/were, but then explain how you have specifically made an impact outside of those duties. To refer back to our previous example of the receptionist, she might explain that she checked in and greeted customers. She would then go further and showcase that in addition to those duties in her job description, she was a self-starter and created efficiencies for the entire company. The more specific the example the better impact you will have.

Another way to illustrate you are accountable is by simply showing up. Sounds like common sense right? Well, it is! If you want to prove that you would be a good hire for a company, then it is important to explain that you are punctual, took limited sick time, and made sure to be present for the entire shift.  If you can honestly say that you showed up early or stayed late whenever needed to get the job done, then all the better!

Finally, if you want to demonstrate accountability in an interview, then it is important to show that you have worked alongside your co-workers towards a goal at your previous  or current employer. For example, you may have initiated a process change or helped the company reach a sales goal. The only thing you want to keep in mind is that your examples should relate to the position you are interviewing for.

Whether you are trying to get a job or prove you are an asset to your existing team, possessing the qualities discussed in this article are pertinent to proving you are worth it!

For additional information on this topic, please contact one of the employment professionals at Palmer Group. / 515-225-7000

Consulting 101

August 28th, 2014

By: P.J. Amys

As the unemployment rate declines, many are taking a look out the window to see if the grass is really greener elsewhere.  Certain skill sets in the Midwest and across the US are in high demand.  Information Technology, Engineering, Accounting and other highly educated or skilled trades are at the top of the list.  People within these occupations may not only consider positions at other companies, but also how they will enter into their next chapter.  For most, leaving a full time (permanent or perm) position and going to another perm position is the only method they’ll consider.  However, in several industries, it is possible to make more money by working as a consultant or contract employee.

More money?  How?  Let’s look at IT for example.  The IT market is pretty much at a negative rate of employment right now.  In other words, there are more jobs than unemployed, qualified people.  Does this economic situation ring a bell?  Are you flashing back to your high school economics or business teacher?  Ah yes.  The law of supply and demand!  Many companies are so tight on their project deadlines, because they don’t have the necessary resources, they will consider hiring expert consultants on a project or temporary basis to move their work forward.  That’s where you come in.  If you break down your annual salary to an hourly rate (52 weeks X 40 hours per week = 2080 hours per year), you should make more per hour consulting than in a permanent position.  Sound too easy?  Well, there are a few more things to consider.  Insurance, taxes, PTO and holiday pay need to be taken into consideration. As a consultant, you are responsible for handling or negotiating these aspects yourself.

Independent consultants:  As an independent consultant (also known as 1099 or Corp to Corp) you are responsible for withholding your own taxes and holding insurance to protect yourself and your client.  Your tax agent can help you set up your business withholdings and expenses.  As far as your insurance, talk to your insurance agent about picking up Commercial General Liability and Errors & Omission Insurance.  To work with most companies, you’ll need to carry a $1,000,000 policy for each.  The last certificate you will need is Workers Compensation.  Requirements for this vary from state to state, so your insurance agent will be able to educate you about what’s required in the state you’ll be working in.  The last and most important piece you’ll need to know about working corp to corp is how to get paid.  This falls on your shoulders as well.  You will be responsible for creating your own invoices to send to the person or place you are doing work for.  Your tax agent may be able to assist here, but there are quite a few templates for free online.  As an independent consultant, you’re not on anyone’s full-time payroll, so holiday pay and PTO are not included.  After figuring out your hourly rate from the equation I outlined above, figure out how many hours of PTO and holiday pay you want or think you need and add those dollars per hour into your rate.  It sounds like a lot to figure out, but once you do, you’ll easily be able to tweak your hourly billing rate as needed from job to job.  If you’re worried about finding your next project, it never hurts to be connected to a recruiting/consulting agency.  They will partner with you to find projects and still honor your independent status.

W2 Consultants:  If working 1099 sounds a bit too independent for you, consider working with a consulting agency, who will incur these responsibilities and costs for you.  They will engage you as their employee, withhold your taxes, carry you under their insurance and depending on the project, you may even receive PTO and/or holiday pay.  Keep in mind as they are incurring these costs and burdens for you, they will also pay you a little less per hour for the trouble.  Honestly though, if financials are not your strong suit, those few dollars less per hour to have an agency handle your insurance and billing may be worth your time and effort.   One of the big advantages of working with an agency is their knowledge of the employers in their market.  Their job is to be on top of all companies with their hiring needs.  They are paid by their clients for resources, so their efforts for your employment are free.

Do your homework.  There are a lot of employment agencies out there.  Talk to people you know who have worked with agencies before either hiring from them or being placed by them.  They are a large part of today’s employment field and believe it or not, you will know someone who has worked with an agency.  Find out how long the agency has been in your local market.  The longer they’ve been around the larger their network of clients.  As long as you’re researching, take a look at the tenure of their employees.  You want to work with recruiters who are happy with the company they work for.  Low turnover equals happy employees, right?  Naturally, more tenured recruiters also have larger networks in the market to assist them in finding your next employer.  You will undoubtedly be recommended to one or two agencies more than any others, so start there.  The last thing you want to do is meet with every recruiter in town and have your name and resume spread all over without your knowledge.  Stay in control of your situation and make sure the recruiters you work with know they must have your permission to share your resume with any employer.  You’d be surprised how many firms don’t bother to educate a candidate about a position before submitting them as a candidate.  You will know you’re working with a good recruiter when they explain this won’t happen when working with them.

There’s a lot of opportunity out there now.  You owe it to yourself to do some research.  You may find your dream job or realize you’re already in it.   For additional information on this topic, please contact one of the employment professionals at Palmer Group.

Palmer Group – Who Are We?

August 19th, 2014

By: Danielle Gohr


Are you considering coming into Palmer Group to search for employment? Are you curious to find out what our employment firm is all about? Are you new to the concept of utilizing an employment firm for your career desires? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you have come to the right place. From who we are, to setting proper expectations, this article is going to give you a good idea of how Palmer Group operates and what you can expect when you walk through our doors.



Palmer Group is a full service employment firm that offers a wide variety of positions ranging from temporary, temp-to-hire, contract, and direct-hire positions. We specialize in the areas of Accounting and Finance, Banking and Mortgage, Customer Service, Engineering and Manufacturing, Human Resources, Information Technology, Office Administration, Sales and Marketing. Palmer Group is here to add value to your job search and we want to assist you in finding a great opportunity. While we cannot guarantee to find a job for everyone, we are committed to helping you advance your career. We offer career advice, resume tips, interview tips and ways to improve your professional ability and image throughout our process.



Typically, you will visit our website to complete an online application prior to coming into our office.  If that has not been done, we will have you complete an application upon your arrival into our office.  With this application, you will explain your industry of choice and/or specific position(s) you desire. If you are a fit for the types of positions that we work on here at Palmer Group, you will be contacted by one of our great recruiting coordinators who will then ask you a few basic questions in regard to your search. At that point, we would look to set up an interview. We strive to meet face to face with any person who may represent Palmer Group in the future as a way to connect and ensure it is the right fit for our clients. When you walk into suite 200, you can expect to be greeted by an awesome receptionist who will let your recruiter know you are there to meet with them. If you are not local to our office, we would look to set up a detailed phone screen along with a Skype Interview.  A typical interview could take anywhere from 20-45 minutes depending on the role and the recruiter(s) you meet with. Upon completion of the interview, you may be asked to do computer testing if it pertains to the client’s job functions. A representative will then go over your test scores. This will conclude your initial visit to the Palmer Group.



From this point on, you are now an active candidate in our database. If your skill set, along with desired position(s), match up with one of our client’s needs, we will be in touch to discuss the job opportunity. Our clients set very high standards as to what they are looking for and we are committed to finding the right candidate(s) for each job opening we work on. If and when we discuss submitting you to one of our clients, you can expect the selection process to be a resume review, phone interview, Skype interview or in-person interview. At that point, it is up to the client on the next step of offering a role.  Please know that Palmer Group will not submit your resume to any of our clients without first getting your approval to do so.  This should be very important for you to know as you want to make sure that you are keeping an accurate record of every place your resume has been submitted.



To succeed with an employment firm you need to be reliable and punctual. You will also need to possess those specific skill sets our clients are looking for.  A lot of our positions require you to be able to learn new tasks and policies quickly and flexibility is imperative. A reputable employment firm is a great supplement to your job search. With employment firms being experts in their field, they have the industry knowledge and connections that may help you get your foot in the door to the career you have always dreamed of.

Please contact the professionals at the Palmer Group to learn more, (515)225-7000 or check us out online at

Managing Social Media for Your Present or Future Job Search

May 23rd, 2014

Today the usage of social media has expanded from simple personal use to professional use for networking, job hunting, recruiting, and more. Knowing that perspective and current employers alike may be checking out your social media profiles, here are some tips for keeping things professional and helping you land that next job, whether or not you are even currently looking.

1) Create a profile! Today recruiters are searching social media regularly to find new talent, and if you don’t have a profile, you can’t be found. You will be missing out on opportunities to share your professional background and skills. Additionally, keep things up-to-date. For example, if you take a new job, update your LinkedIn profile to reflect the change in your career.

2) Have a picture, and a professional one at that. While you may have looked extra cute at that wedding last weekend or want to show those abs on the beach during family vacation, employers are going to be more impressed with a professional image. Your picture doesn’t have to necessarily be a formal head-shot, but make sure you are smiling, well covered, and using a clear photo.

3) Know where to draw the line on followers and friends requests. First, determine which social media outlets are for personal and professional use for you. For example, LinkedIn was created for and meant for professional use. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and others may be better forums for keeping in touch with friends and family. Once you decide what’s what for you, be cognizant of that when accepting friend and follower requests. Not everyone will have made the same decision as you about how to use that social media site, but you have to draw the line and stick to it if you’re keeping certain forums for personal usage.

4) Lock your privacy settings for your personal social media. You need to control what can be seen by those who are outside of your network as well. Far too often candidates leave their personal Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts and more open to some degree for public viewing. Anyone who knows much about social media and wants to learn more about you is going to find those public accounts, and thus see any public photos, tweets, status updates, and more. If you don’t know how to lock this information for your approved connections viewing only, dig into the site’s privacy settings page. It may take a few minutes of work to do this, but it is worth it to protect your professional dignity and image.

5) Search yourself every now and then. Employers will often simply search your first and last name using Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Do you know what they would find? Did you forget that MySpace account from college may still be active? While you may have left some things in the past, perhaps the World Wide Web hasn’t forgotten yet. If you find something you don’t like, research how you can take action to have it removed or cancelled if possible. Better late than never.

Social media can help you in a job search just as much as it can hinder you. At the end of the day, use your best judgment when creating and adding to your social media presence. You want to be sure you are putting your best foot forward before you even walk in the door of your future employer.

5 Tips To Help You Land The Job

April 29th, 2014

5 Interview Tips To Help You Land The Job

So, you made it past the resume and application process. Now, it is time to do a face-to-face interview with a potential future employer. Here are five things you can do to help increase your chances of impressing the interviewer and ultimately land the job.

Make Sure There Are No Distractions - You have made it to the interview because of your prior work experience and accomplishments and this is what you want the interviewer to focus on. Don’t let anything get in the way of showcasing your abilities such as a ringing cell phone, offensive tattoos or piercings, glittery hair, too much perfume/cologne, excessive jewelry or a wrinkled outfit. While all of these attributes may be acceptable to the employer, it often leads to the inability to concentrate on what the interviewee is actually saying because there is so much else to pay attention to. A business professional outfit, such as a dark suit, is a great way to ensure that you and your personality will be the center of attention.

Check Social Media Prior To The Interview - If the employer has not already checked, now is the time that they will typically take a peek at what you do outside of work. Facebook, Twitter and any other social media avenues for discussion and pictures will be the primary target of the employer. Make sure you use good judgment prior to ever posting any information online.  If there are questionable items, it would be prudent to take off inappropriate comments and items you would not want a potential future employer to see. What you do and say on these sites will be a good indicator for the employer of your workplace professionalism.

Write Down Accomplishments and Give Specifics - Whether this is your first professional opportunity or a career change, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed and easily forgetting the basics. While you never want to read verbatim from a resume, it may be helpful to write down three to five accomplishments from your previous positions so you are better prepared during your interview. When have you taken the lead on a project or when were you part of a team and why was your role important? After looking closely at the job you are interviewing for, try and think of specific accomplishments that would prove to be solid reasons for why you would be an asset to the organization.

Research The Company Online – Every interviewer will ask what you know about the company and the position. If you know nothing, chances are you won’t make it past the first interview. If you come prepared with how long the company has been around, understanding what their company does, and what the company’s greatest achievements have been, you are sure to leave the interviewer impressed.

Thank Everyone Involved – If you want to stand out, then take it back to the old days when you used to hand write a thank you note. It is the most sincere way to show appreciation for the opportunity to interview. Furthermore, make sure you thank everyone you encounter along the way. For example, thank the front desk receptionist that greeted you on the way in, the manager(s) involved in the interview and any other personnel that took part of the interview process. A hand written thank you note resonates well and may just be the icing on the cake to an interview well done!

Next time you get an opportunity to interview, following these simple steps will help you feel prepared and increase your chances to land that job you’ve always wanted. For additional interview tips, you can check out our website

Is Your Salary History Hurting Your Chances of Getting an Offer?

January 24th, 2014

You’ve been on the market for a while now, and you’re starting to notice a pattern. Employers love your resume, and you’ve been called in for several interviews, but somewhere between the interview process and the appearance of a formal offer, things tend to fall apart. Are you simply being edged out by more qualified candidates? Or is there something off about your salary expectations? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for answers.

Salary History versus Salary Range

If your potential employers ask you to provide an expected salary range, do just that. Present the highest and lowest salary you’re willing and able to accept. Calculate this range based on what you need to pay your bills, what you think you skills are worth, and what similar salaries look like in your industry and your geographic area (a little internet research can help). This range will NOT depend on your salary history.

Your salary history is a different number altogether, and unless you’re a public employee and this number is published on the web, your salary history is your own private business. Employers will sometimes ask you to provide this history, but you’re by no means obligated to offer a correct answer or any answer at all.

Make Sure Your Range is Reasonable

Of course, as a Junior Account Manager with less than a year of experience, it would be wonderful to make six figures as soon as you step in the door. But there’s a reason why a “range” includes both a minimum and a maximum. Annual salary increases are often calculated by percentage, so if your employers agree to overpay you during your first year, they’ll be locked into this pattern for the duration of your tenure. They know this, so as they weigh your expectations, they factor in the cost to the company over the long term. They also factor in the cost of annual bonuses and benefits like health insurance.

Don’t undersell yourself, but before you present your desired salary, be prepared to negotiate, and expect your potential employers to make a counter offer that’s close to or below the bottom of your range. Rely on your research and don’t allow yourself to be talked down below the average salary for your job, at your level, in your area, in your industry. And don’t let your salary history become part of this discussion—The past is past. The only thing that matters now is your financial future and the future growth of your career.

For salary negotiation tips and other job search guidance, make an appointment with the Des Moines staffing and career management experts at The Palmer Group.

Four Time Management Techniques to Increase your Productivity

December 20th, 2013

At some point in our lives, we’ve all had a chance to work side by side with someone who faces the same tasks we do, but who manages to complete them with time to spare. While we’re still wrestling with an overflowing inbox and leaving the office at 7:00, he or she finishes their final tasks, gathers their things, and steps out the door at five. What do they know that we don’t? How do some people manage to get more out of the day than others and still have time to relax with family and friends and get a full night of sleep? Here are a few productivity secrets that can help you crack the code.

1. Start the morning right. Turn off the TV and go to sleep early so you can face the day with all your cylinders firing. Eat a small, healthy breakfast of whole grain carbs, fruit, and lean protein. Stretch. Make sure you have everything you’ll need for the day before you leave the house. And try to step into your office at least five minutes early.

2. Make lists. Relying on lists can help you divide your available time into sections that match your required tasks. If you have an hour free, don’t launch into a chore that will take three hours of unbroken concentration. If you have five minutes free, lists can help you quickly identify a five minute task that you can knock out within this period.

3. Folders are your friends. Folders—both real life manila folders and their digital equivalents—are underappreciated magical time savers. If you aren’t making full use of your folder functions (or you don’t know how to use them at all) then it’s time to start. Every single piece of paper, digital document, and scrap of data in your life should have a folder it calls home. If you see a homeless item with no folder, make one.

4. Be mindful. Engaging in an hour long water cooler chat with your coworkers isn’t necessarily a waste of time. After all, your social connections can often do more for your career then the hours you spend toiling at your desk. But while you’re chatting, recognize that you’re chatting. Don’t let these precious minutes simply disappear from your day unnoticed and unaccounted for.

For more on how to get the most out our your working day, reach out to the staffing and career management experts at the Palmer Group.