A Peak Inside JSG

At JSG, we love what we do, & we want to share that passion with you!

Articles featured here will take a look at our culture, community, and employees. (That’s the good stuff!)

interview process

Personal Brand: How to Promote Your Personal Brand During A Job Search

personal brand

There are so many aspects that go into finding a new job. Your job search takes you on a journey that goes through ups and downs but in the end, will help you find a position you enjoy. It takes time and patience to go through each step. And there is one, in particular, that could really help you stand out in front of those companies you interview with: your personal brand. Promoting your personal brand can seem intimidating but it’s all about using the resources you have to help you be successful, not only in your career but also throughout all your job search.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is all about personal brand. It can have an impact on you not only reaching positions you want but also improves your chances of getting an interview with a company you like. All because your personal brand is easy to see and shows companies that you’re a candidate they want. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to interact with your career, your company, and just get yourself out there, and in the end, that’s all you really want, especially on a job search.


Network with people in your career, school, and co-workers. This will help you gain more confidence in yourself and help you reinforce the personal brand you’re trying to create when looking for a new job. Most of the time when you’re on the hunt, you’re keeping it quiet because you have a current job. Networking is the perfect place for you to feel out what is out there in your career field and see if anyone knows of a job you just can’t pass up.

Keep Social Media Private & Acceptable

Don’t forget about your personal accounts! Which is easy to do in our society today. It’s rare to meet someone between the ages of 20 – 60 who don’t have a social media account. But you need to make sure that what you’re sharing personally is still professional. It’s necessary for you to keep your personal brand in tip-top shape! Future employers will and DO look at your personal social media account. And if you have something that can seem like a red flag, they’ll probably pass on hiring you.

Share Successes

Using your successes as a stepping stone for a personal brand is a great way to show your dedication to your career and the will to always want to get better. Your “reputation,” or personal brand as we’re calling it, is something that should be handled with care but also celebrated, especially on a job search and interviews. When sharing successes, talk about the hard work you did to accomplish it, praise the people who helped you get there, and always be thankful. This will keep you on the right track of being humble and showing prospective hiring managers that you’re a good fit!

Team Player

In my experience, I would say being a team player is instrumental to not only having a strong and liked personal brand but to nailing job searches, and most importantly, interviews. When you focus on what you can do to help others, whether that’s in a job or just your daily life, it says a lot about who you are. Focusing on what you get out of it and what you can do to help others will be a trait that will take you very far in your career. Which is something every company is looking for in a candidate, right?

Overall, when you think about your personal brand, think about how you want to be perceived. In business, your reputation is everything. So be a good person. Do your best to always be respectful, stay true to your word, and make it a point to try and be better every day. If you can follow these points, you’ll you be successful in your job search and reach your aspirations, too.

Johnson Search Group

Johnson Search Group 2018 Divisional Meeting Awards

Johnson Search Group

At the end of each year, Johnson Search Group holds a divisional meeting to celebrate the year, review our growth, and celebrate the wins, both big and small. Every year, JSG presents awards to our staff members congratulating them on their successes throughout the year. Here are this year’s JSG award recipients.

Employee of the Year: Nicole Clements

Here at JSG, we honor our employee’s every year. Out of all the awards we give out, the Employee of the Year is the only award voted on by everyone in the Johnson Search Group office. Help us congratulate this year’s winner, Nicole Clements, our Marketing Specialist, as the 2018 JSG Employee of the Year!

AE of the Year: Dana Belstler

Please help us in congratulating our Mining Manager and AE of the Year, Dana Belstler! Her hard work this year has led her and her team to amazing success! And JSG cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store for them. Congratulations!

JSG Team of the Year: Mining Team

Please help us congratulate our Team of the Year here at Johnson Search Group: The Mining Team! Ken, Jeremy, Alex, and Dana have worked so hard this year for their clients and candidates and it did not go unnoticed. Congratulations on being JSG’s 2018 Team of the Year!


What JSG is Thankful for this Year


While the question, “What are you thankful for?” may be overused this time of year, its relevance has never been more on point. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we are thankful for. And this year there’s been many reasons to be grateful.

We took the time to ask each person in our office what they are thankful for this particular year. If you are anything like us at Johnson Search Group, your reasons might include a hot job market, good health, the opportunity to be around family, or the chance to go to work every day and do something you love.

Perry Paden, Johnson Search Group’s SVP, is thankful for the great men and women who selflessly serve or served our country, especially his daughter who is currently serving in the United States Navy. He also reminds us we should thank them for these sacrifices year-round, and not just during the month of November.

Shahna Jacks is thankful for the health and employment of her family and, of course, her new recently finished patio.

Mining Team


Dana Belstler is thankful to be a part of a great team at Johnson Search Group, and for the opportunity to work with such great clients and candidates every day.

Jeremy Johnson is thankful for his family and a job that gives him the opportunity to positively impact people’s lives.

Nick Crider is thankful for starting a new career he loves, and the recent success of the mining industry.

Ken Heller is thankful for his relationships, both personal and professional.

Alex Price is thankful for his family, fiancé, and his dogs.

Banking Team


Krista Portolesi is thankful to work for a company that offers her the flexibility to spend quality time with her family.

Tracy Isakson is thankful to have all his kids home for Thanksgiving.

Healthcare Team


Tracey Smith is thankful for her own family and the opportunity to be a part of the Johnson Search Group family, where she gets to work in an industry that she is truly passionate about and makes a difference in the lives of people and communities. She loves connecting candidates to hospitals where they have the chance to save lives in rural communities. She’s fortunate to help keep hospital doors and services open, who truly have a passion for people.

RaChelle Pederson is thankful for her family and for the opportunity to build new relationships in her job, within the healthcare industry.

Michelle Smith is thankful for her friends, family, and a job that allows her to be a part of such a great team.

Selah Phelps is thankful for her co-workers and great management that drives her personal growth.

Marketing Team

Matthew Bennett is thankful for the opportunity to help all the hardworking recruiters at JSG put great candidates to work. He’s also extremely proud of his fiancé for recently passing the bar exam and officially becoming an attorney. Way to go, Meagan!

Nicole Clements is thankful for a job she is passionate about that allows her to try new things, her family, and the happiness her life brings every day.

Gaige Baisch is thankful for his friends, family, and the opportunity to begin working in marketing at a company as awesome as JSG.

As you can see, we have a lot to be thankful for this year. Regardless of what you are thankful for, there is no better time to step back and evaluate what you are grateful for. Whether it’s your family, a community, or a great opportunity, remember to acknowledge this with a simple thank you. From all of us at Johnson Search Group, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

industries in review

JSG’s Industries in Review: Looking Towards 4th Quarter and Beyond

industries in review

It’s officially the 4th Quarter of the year. The labor market is as strong as it has been in almost two decades. With current projections of 3.1 percent growth for the U.S. economy for 2019, it doesn’t look like the job market will be slowing down anytime soon. We sat down with Johnson Search Group’s divisional managers to hear their thoughts on our candidate-driven market and the challenges their teams face moving into 4th Quarter and even 2019.

Mining in Review

Dana Belstler, Mining Divisional Manager

What trends do you see in the Mining industry as we approach 4th Quarter and 2019?

The mining industry is on fire. The Permian Basin is expanding faster than talent can be brought in and mining companies across the U.S. are growing. Frac sand companies are opening multiple new plants across the country. Even the gas and oil companies are getting into the frac sand business. Since October 2016, the Mining industry has added a total of 104,000 jobs; 6,000 jobs were added in the month of August alone. It’s a good time to be in mining, and I see this growth trend continuing into and throughout 2019!

What challenges is your team facing in this tight job market and how are you addressing them to help your clients find qualified candidates?

Candidates are in the driver’s seat, without a doubt. With 6.7 million job openings and only 6.3 million people to fill them, the disparity is glaring. The mining team at JSG has noticed that candidates are becoming more selective with the opportunities they will consider. They are sticking to their guns on salary requirements and many are choosing to not relocate. This is where our partnership with our clients and our understanding of who they are and their vision for the future, comes into play. We take the time to educate the candidates on the companies; My team shares the company’s vision and helps them visualize how their career could grow. We are truly matchmakers, and our goal is to make both our client’s and candidate’s happy with their mutual decisions.


Tracey Smith, Healthcare Divisional Manager

What trends do you see in the Healthcare industry as we approach 4th Quarter and 2019?

Technology is being integrated more often to meet many of the challenges faced with additional patient load and regulations; that includes addressing organizational planning, patient outcomes, and protection of health information. Technology has become a huge part of healthcare and I see it continuing to be this way. Although, this can be both good and bad and it may create unforeseen challenges when there aren’t enough people to address the need. And this is especially true when we are so reliant on technology to fill this need. One example we addressed in a recent blog discusses the human difference compared to the technology of applicant tracking systems. This illustrates how technology differs from the human touch, but it’s certainly needed because of how rapidly the Healthcare industry is growing!

What challenges is your team facing in this tight job market and how are you addressing them to help your clients find qualified candidates?

With Healthcare becoming the number one employer in the U.S., hiring managers are becoming busier than ever. Finding time for interviews is a huge challenge for many hiring managers. Which is why now is the best time to be working for a recruiting firm whose process is concise like ours. This includes us doing all the initial interviews, so we can get to the very best talent. This helps to not waste hiring managers’ valuable time, that could end up taking away from patient care.


Tracy Isakson, Banking Divisional Manager

What trends do you see in the Banking industry as we approach 4th Quarter and 2019?

All things are looking very busy. The fed rate will rise again, but the economy appears so good, it will most likely only create a small hiccup in the future. With that being said, banks and financial institutions are busier than ever. We will also see more mergers and acquisitions activity as institutions are looking for strategic growth.

What challenges is your team facing in this tight job market and how are you addressing them to help your clients find qualified candidates?

We are seeing candidates who are ready to make a move today. When a candidate is ready to find a new career opportunity, they are getting in contact with three, four, or even five institutions that are all wanting to hire them. Some banks are not making hiring a priority which is causing them to lose great talent. When they take weeks to ask great candidates for an interview they are leaving the door open for another institution to move in on the candidate. This creates a problem for banks who need to fill their critical roles quickly because they lose out on great candidates to the competition. It’s essential that financial institutions are moving quickly in this tight job market.

Let’s work together

4th Quarter is among us, and many organizations are looking to add talented candidates to their teams. If you are struggling to fill open positions in this tight market, you’re not alone. Reach out to us and let’s have a conversation. We can help you find the talent your organization needs as we quickly approach the new year.


3 Reasons Why Banks and Financial Institutions Should Use Recruiters


Okay, let’s just get this out of the way first. If you’re a hiring manager, a human resources director, or even a talent acquisition superstar, you cringe at the thought of asking a recruiter to help you find top talent for your organization. You’re probably thinking “that’s my job! I don’t need some outside recruiter who doesn’t even work for our institution coming in and making me feel like I don’t know how to find the right people for my department!”

Well, I have good news for you, that’s not what I do. That’s not even the reason recruiters exist. I wanted to share with you three reasons why it’s helpful to YOU to use someone like me.

Reason 1: YOU’RE BUSY!

You and I both know your world doesn’t revolve around sifting through hundreds of resumes. No matter what title you hold, you weren’t hired solely to find and place talent in your organization. Nope, that’s what I do. So, while you’re going through your day putting out fires and making things happen to excel your own career, leave it to me to weed out the people that simply do NOT check off the boxes of who you’re looking for to add to your team.

Why would you waste the perfectly good productive hours of your day reading about a background of someone who is only qualified for underwater basket weaving when you’re looking for a 20+ year banking executive? I know you’ve seen those people apply for that exact job… I don’t get it either but leave it to me to save you the time and agony of having to deal with that headache.

Reason 2: I talk to people in your market daily

As someone who recruits for only banks and financial institutions, I have the advantage of diving deep into the candidate pool daily. Why is that? I talk to many qualified candidates every day who are both actively and passively looking to make a move. I know, you can do the same thing, right? What’s so special about me? Well, let me tell you. Part of the advantage that I have is that I get to talk to people in your competition that are producing and helping their current organization have a fantastic year! We both know that even if you’re having a good year financially, that doesn’t outweigh a great work-life balance and an organization that makes you feel like more than just a number. Those people want to move, and it could be to the spot that helps you bring on your top producer.

Reason 3: Stuff still gets done your way

We have a process here, sure, but part of my process is making sure that I support your process. You have an established timeline of who, what, when, where, and how. I get that and I’m not here to try to fix something that isn’t even broken in the first place. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m not here to tell you how to do your job or to make you feel inadequate. I’m simply here to link arms with you and help add value to your organization.

I just read that 80% of turn-over is reported to be from impulsive hiring decisions. I’m here to help your turn-over stay low and to ensure that your people aren’t getting burned out by filling in for open positions. Let me, an Executive Recruiter, help take a little bit of stress off your plate. It’s a win-win for you because I take my job seriously. I am not in the business of sticking a round peg in a square hole. I’m on your side and I am eager to partner with you today!

JSG Spills Our Favorite Interview Questions

Our team talks to thousands of candidates day in and day out. It’s our job to have conversations with and evaluate hundreds of people for each position to get to the one or two candidates that will make an immediate impact into an organization. From this process, each one of our Account Executives has narrowed down a favorite interview question that really helps them get to know who they’re talking to. We’ve asked them to spill the beans and share those favorite interview questions (and some even gave the answers they look for!)


Jeremy Johnson: Can you do the job? Would you do the job? Will you relocate?

Ken Heller: Tell me about your background.

Jill Pittmann: What makes you passionate about mining?

Alex Price: Why did you join the mining industry?

Dana Belstler: Where do you see yourself going?

Jeremy Johnson: Explain your job in layman’s terms.


Lukas Winslow: What position have you carried with you?

Krista Portolesi: Why are you looking for a new opportunity?

Mike Muglia: What does your next opportunity look like?

Tracy Isakson: Doesn’t really have a specific question – asks a series of questions to really understand each candidate on a deeper level.


Michelle Smith: What do you like to do for hobbies?

Dallas Williams: What does relocation look like for you?

Tracey Smith: Why should I submit you?

JSG managers

Movin’ on Up: Meet JSG’s Newest Managers!

JSG managers

Johnson Search Group is continuing to grow! The job market is hot and there are no signs of slowing down. To better accommodate the candidate-driven market we’re operating in, JSG is excited to announce the promotions of Dana Belstler (mining) and Tracy Isakson (banking) to divisional managers!

Let’s hear what they have to say about their new roles:

Dana Belstler – Mining Manager

I am the Manager of the Mining and Heavy Industrial team at JSG. I cover the Southeast and have been fortunate to have worked here for the past three years. My path at JSG has been a hard road, but I would not trade the time or experience for anything!

Why do you like working at Johnson Search Group?

This is hard work, and at times it can wear on you emotionally and physically. But the support and great people I work with make it all worth it… that includes JSG management; they are people, after all!

What challenges do you believe you’ll face in your new role as a manager?

That is a tough question and I really don’t know how to answer it, but let’s try. As a manager, I have been mentoring an incredibly talented bunch of people: Alex Price, Jeremy Johnson, Ken Heller, and our newest member, Jill Pittmann are incredible! I think to be able to be there for them when needed; continuing to help them grow, identifying their needs while balancing my own responsibilities, will take focus.

What are the goals for your team going forward?

To establish a reputation for honesty, industry knowledge and credibility, and to build lasting relationships. I never want our team to lose a client or candidate due to bad rapport or miscommunication. Building lasting relationships of trust is a very important goal for my team. If we have that, everything else will fall into place.

How do you see yourself growing as a recruiter?

Wow! I don’t think we ever stop growing in this industry. We deal with people and that is the greatest challenge. Honing “people skills” is really going to be an ongoing lesson and path of growth. We are dealing with Baby Boomers, Generation “X”, “Y”, “Z” and the infamous “Millennials.”  The movie “Sybil” comes to mind (The BB’s and X’s and maybe Y’s will get that joke).

Why do you think you will be a successful manager?

I can only hope that I will be. Everyone likes to think highly of themselves and our faults are often brushed aside. I have faults, but I know I have good attributes as well. I’ve had an interesting life with incredible adventures and experiences. I have dealt with so many different personalities, lived in different cultures, and am proud to have dual citizenship as an American and Canadian. My experiences have given me tools to help me succeed in life and understand people. This along with the incredible mentorship I am receiving at JSG can only stack the deck in my favor – I hope. (Okay- that was redundant; one of my faults!)

Connect with Dana on LinkedIn!

Tracy Isakson – Banking Manager

I manage the Banking/Credit Union Division for JSG. I work primarily in California, Utah, and Arizona.  I’ve been with JSG for 3 ½ years.

Why do you like working at Johnson Search Group?

We have the ability to truly change lives and impact communities throughout the country. The banks that we help are impacting communities, businesses, and individuals with growth. That really helps all people in the community, not just the banks.

What challenges do you believe you’ll face in your new role as a manager?

I think the only challenge is that of time. Time is always the most precious commodity and being able to allocate the right amount of time into my job and into the team that I lead will always be the hardest part.

What are the goals for your team going forward?

Our goals are pretty simple. We want to be the leader in recruiting for the banking industry. We want to be the top division within the company and see growth through tough times as well as great times.

How do you see yourself growing as a recruiter?

Being able to share with my team is the best growth. Watching my team grow from where they are to what they can be is going to be the best part of my new role.

Why do you think you will be a successful manager?

I’m a leader. I prefer to think about this new role as one of leadership, not just managing people. I’m looking forward to helping motivate and empower my team to do the best they can is where I see my strengths. I lead by example first and foremost and learn from my team how to help them grow.

Connect with Tracy on LinkedIn!

Word’s of advice from Tracey Smith, Healthcare Manager

Never forget the basics and continue to stick to the JSG process. Keep it fresh, keep it real, and for heaven’s sake, keep having fun! The ‘fun factor’ that we all start out with while we are establishing new client and candidate relationships, can be stretched with the challenges and responsibility of being a Manager.

However, it is that foundation that is contagious and will encourage, strengthen, and empower our teams to truly make a difference in the lives of our clients, our candidates, and now our team member and their family members who are counting on them to be successful.

Connect with Tracey on LinkedIn!


work hard play hard

At JSG, We Work Hard and Play Hard

work hard play hard

JSG is one of the most unique places to work. From morning meetings to team lunches, we’re a tight-knit group here in Spokane. As a member of the marketing team, I get the perfect outsider’s perspective on why the recruiters in this office are so good at what they do.

It all comes back to our culture. Both company-wide and right here in Spokane, the ‘work hard play hard’ mentality is one that not only fosters success, but also growth. It makes the entire team want to succeed, not just the individual. We truly are a team, and that comes in handy in numerous ways. Whether it’s help in our personal lives or help on establishing and relationships, the team here at JSG is unlike that at any other office.

Culture of success

Last month we celebrated a strong first quarter with a hockey game. Last Friday we took off a little early and headed out of the office a little early and went to a local bar & grill for happy hour. We shared delicious appetizers and had some great conversations with a couple of cold ones.

Seeing the way everyone interacted was a great sight to see. There were smiles all around as glasses clinked and stories were exchanged. After a great month of hard work and a few new additions to our team, it was finally time to play. It’s the little things like happy hour on a Friday or donuts in the morning that help create an attitude and culture of success in our office.

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, we’re working harder than ever to place top candidates into roles that will allow them to succeed. As the seasons change, our culture stays the same – and there’s no doubt that our hard work will lead to more play.

A Little Luck Can Go A Long Way

A Little Luck Can Go A Long Way

A Little Luck Can Go A Long Way

As a member of the JSG team, I see the ups and the downs of recruiting. I see some planned successes and some lucky ones. I see the time and effort that our recruiters put in to help both clients and candidates fill and find the right spots for them.

I’ll be the first to admit that I got pretty lucky holding the position I do here at JSG. Speaking of my own experience, and those that I see on a weekly basis, finding a job or filling a position requires a bit of luck. Trust me when I say, a little bit of luck can go a very long way.

It starts with the job description

The job description may have one phrase or even one word that strikes a candidate a certain way. It makes them see themselves working at your company for a very long time. The more time you put into your job description, the better your chances are of getting lucky with a great candidate.

Partnering with JSG

Next comes your partnership with JSG. I don’t mean to brag, but we have some excellent recruiters who really know what they’re doing. Not only do they care about you as the client, but they care about the candidate. They would never fill a position for you with a candidate that doesn’t fully fit or want the position. They know what to ask, which means you don’t have to. Partner with JSG, and see your luck increase over the next few months.

Closing the deal

The last bit of luck comes once the deal has been done. Once the candidate starts with your company, watch them blossom. We pride ourselves in vetting our candidates to give you the best ones available. Our work will turn into luck for you, as you see the candidate succeed in their role. Don’t be surprised when they exceed your expectations.

As St. Patty’s Day approaches, expect a little bit of luck coming your way on behalf of the JSG team. We’ve got you covered for your next open position.

Now I just need a little bit of luck to stop slipping and falling on ice.

Teamwork JSG Spokane Chiefs

Being a Team Really Matters


Teamwork JSG Spokane Chiefs

Last week our team was treated to an exciting hockey game. We went down to the Spokane Arena and saw the local Major-Junior Hockey League team play a great game. From happy hour a few hours before to the final buzzer, the night was one to remember.

Being at the game with the whole office got me thinking about the great team we really have. As the marketing intern, I have never felt like an outlier with the rest of the office, which is something that’s extremely rare. Looking back at not only this fun night, but my entire time at JSG got me thinking about why being a team is so important.

They’re your support group

Let’s face it: the people you work with are your biggest support group right behind your immediate family. They want you to succeed and they want to help you through your failures. If your coworkers aren’t there for you, then that makes work a lot more stressful.

When you have a whole team behind you, support will always be present. Personally, that just makes me feel good. If you ever need help, you won’t be afraid to ask for it. Support and success go hand-in-hand, which is why a work team is so invaluable.

They’ll hold you accountable

This can be overlooked in many offices, and it may seem scary at first. However, being held accountable for the work you’re doing makes it much easier to stay on task. If the people you work with don’t care about how fast and accurate you’re being, then chances are you won’t be producing at your highest level.

Teammates rely on each other, so they have to hold other teammates accountable. If they see you slacking off, they’ll say something and you should do the same. Your work team is crucial for not only the business’ success but also your own success.

It just makes you feel good

This was exactly what I was feeling the other night at the hockey game. Being a part of a close team just makes you feel good. We laughed, talked, and had a great time, which in essence is a huge win for the office.

Good feelings lead to great work, and great work leads to great success. When your office is a team, you can take on the world. The energy is positive and work becomes a lot easier to go to every day.

The cliché saying, “teamwork makes the dream work” is not a lie. Regardless of if you work together with the people in your office or not, it’s important to build the team. Once you do that, success might start to come a little bit easier.