Springbrook is proud to be one of the area’s best and largest employers. As our regional economy continues to evolve with national trends, we wanted to share tips and tricks for job seekers, as well as share some patterns, which we feel demonstrate the climate of the current job market. Of course, we hope that if you are on the job search or know someone who is, that you will consider a career with Springbrook!
Springbrook has offices and operates houses in six counties across central NY. From Tompkins to Otsego, Madison to Delaware, and Chenango to Broome Counties, we are the provider of choice for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. We love the beauty and history of our region and are proud to be a part of it for the past 95 years. Unfortunately, the population for most of our counties continues to decline:
|County||2010 Population||2018 Population||Percentage Change|
Source: World Population Review
The good news, particularly for job seekers, is that there are career opportunities available in most industries. The New York Department of Labor estimates that there has been a 4% growth in available jobs in the Ithaca metro area in the last year, and that non-metropolitan counties (such as Otsego, etc.) have expanded job opportunities by an aggregated .8% in the same time period. State-wide data indicates that the largest expansion has come in the education and health service fields, two hallmarks of Springbrook’s continuum of services.
On the surface, a higher wage might seem like the deciding factor in choosing a position or an employer. However, according to a recent article on CareerCast.com, the complete compensation package should be considered. “Although most of us look at a starting salary and get big green dollar signs in our eyes, benefits boil down to more than just being able to afford a doctor. Believe it or not, benefits are actually a better predictor for enjoying your job than salary alone.” Springbrook is pleased to offer some of the area’s best benefits to full-time employees, and part-time employees are eligible for some benefits. Additionally, applicants should consider the long-term value of non-traditional benefits, like the Springbrook Scholars program.
Cheryl Rotyliano, Assistant Director of Career Engagement and Education at Ithaca College reminds job seekers of the value of these types of programs: “Professional development is an important consideration as people evaluate employment opportunities. I encourage everyone I work with to consider, ‘How will I grow in this position?’ As competition among employers increases for high-quality candidates, the employers that rise in desirability are those who offer benefits such as tuition reimbursement programs. Organizations like Springbrook who offer tuition reimbursement are committing to investing in their employees. There is extra intentionality for organizations that offer tuition reimbursement in saying ‘Let’s work together; let’s make you better; let’s make us better’- all great things!”
There are a number of resources available in our area. Organizations like Broome-Tioga Works, Tompkins Workforce NY, or Chenango-Delaware-Otsego Workforce (CDO Workforce) use comprehensive online databases to share job opportunities. They also have offices in their local communities to help job seekers. There are also regional offices for the NY Department of Labor, which works diligently to connect potential employees to career opportunities every day. These organizations can help job seekers in a number of ways. Helping to develop a resume, offering tips for cover letters or statements of intent, and coaching applicants in potential interview questions are just a few of the services available. Additionally, they will help with questions like the ones posed in this article to get you prepared. Ms. Rotyliano further reinforced this idea: “Career support is all around you. The power of human connection cannot be emphasized enough in the world of exploring and finding satisfying work. Put yourself out there and let others know your interests. Be open to having conversations, asking questions, and inquiring about what interests you..”
Once you have applied for a position and receive a call from our hiring managers for an interview, here are some pointers to help you stand out from other potential applicants.
First Impressions Count
When you arrive, dress appropriately for the interview. It might not be necessary to wear a business suit, but it is essential to project a clean, well-groomed portrait of who you would be as an employee. Introduce yourself and shake the hand of the hiring manager, along with any other staff or program participants who might be present upon your arrival.
Arrive on Time
Hiring managers might have several interviews back-to-back. If they have an open position, it likely means that taking time to interview potential employees is putting further strain on their existing staff. Do your part by arriving five minutes early to your interview, so you are ready when they are.
Everyone has a past; the most important thing is to represent your employment and relevant personal history in an honest and forthright way. People who have learned from previous experiences will easily be able to show how they have grown personally and professionally as a positive attribute.
Do Your Homework
Hiring managers want to know about you, but they also want to know if their position fits into your career goals. Spend some time researching your potential employer, the type of work that you would be asked to do, and ways you could continue to advance your career.
Though you should know about your new potential employer, knowing everything about a position, your responsibilities, and the organization is an unreasonable expectation. Come prepared with a few questions, some that you hope will be covered in the course of conversation in your interview, some that might be specific and you can raise at the end of the interview. Find out what THEY like about working here. What are some of THEIR favorite parts of being on that team? “How much does this job pay?” or “How much vacation will I get?” are questions that need answered before accepting a position, but those are not questions for the first interview. Instead, save your compensation and benefit questions for a second interview, or once a job offer has been made.
Send a Thank You Note
Mailing a thank you note puts your name in front of the hiring manager another time once you have left your interview. You can reiterate a positive quality that you felt was essential to the position, follow-up on a question asked of you, or reflect on your experience during the interview. If at all possible, send the note on the same day of your interview, so it will arrive within one or two days.
Residential Manager Erin Branigan has interviewed dozens of candidates and hired multiple staff members during her seven years working at Springbrook. “We start interviews by explaining aspects of the job, staffing needs and expectations. After this, we move into a few questions about the applicant, their teamwork, and communication. We then talk about the activities that the residents enjoy and make sure that the applicant would be comfortable supporting those interests. Then, we get into questions of work ethic and reliability.” Erin noted that successful applicants show flexibility, a helpful demeanor, and the ability to stay calm in potentially difficult situations. They know their working style, recognize that not all of their colleagues will share that same style, but remember that the team is all moving in the same direction. When asked about a common trait that successful applicants in the past, she said, “they take time to think and consider a question when asked, then give a thoughtful answer. Nine times out of ten, if you stop and think about your answer, it will be much better than if you start talking and hope your mind will catch up!”
Seize YOUR moment
Jobs are plentiful; if you are looking for work, you have many choices. At Springbrook, competitive wages, substantial benefits, access to continuing education through the Springbrook Scholars program, and opportunities for advancement are just the beginning of what makes working here great. The chance to do meaningful work keeps dedicated employees satisfied with their career each day. Jeff Wilbur, Teaching Assistant at the School at Springbrook, had this to say: “I realized that the people I was working with genuinely wanted and needed help. It is great that I have been afforded the opportunity to make a positive difference in their lives.” When asked what she liked about coming into work at the South Broad St Community Home in Norwich, Jessica Vondauber said, “Every day is different so, although it’s the same house and the same people, it’s different every day.” The connections that are made each day only further strengthen the ties staff members make when they come to work at Springbrook. “The other day Connor came into my class and we put on a song he likes. I got on his level and I was talking to him, and suddenly he just looked so happy. Seeing the joy he was feeling really touched my heart and it reminded me why I started working here in the first place” recalled Sam Judd, Certified Teaching Assistant at the School at Springbrook. These are just three examples of the countless ways a job at Springbrook can fulfill much more than just a paycheck every two weeks.
Seeing the joy he was feeling really touched my heart and it reminded me why I started working here in the first place.