Everything is an Interview…

Are you looking for a job?    Did you send your resume in to a potential employer?   Keep one thing in mind – Everything you do and every conversation you have – IS AN INTERVIEW.  Whether you are talking to the Manager, to Human Resources or to the Front Desk Receptionist, Everything is an interview.     

  1. Do not have a weird font or graphics on your resume
  2. Do not have an unprofessional voicemail
  3. Do not have an unprofessional email id
  4. When meeting someone for coffee to network, dress professional and pay for the coffee
  5. Be prepared – expect that person calling you to be an Hiring Manager
  6. Respect and professionalism
  7. Social Media – keep it professional.    Companies will search your social media, be prepared and delete the party pictures from college.

When being interviewed or considered for a job, you are under a microscope.   A lot of times the companies will look for a reason not to hire you instead of reasons to hire you.    Do not give them a reason.   The little things you do, do matter:   Hold the door open when walking into a room or building, have good eye contact when speaking, have a firm hand shake, sit-up in your chair and speak slowly and clearly and thank them for their time and consideration.

Your resume will get you in the door but how you portray yourself will get you the job.

Jobseekers: Research everything and be prepared…

You applied for a job and have received a call back to set-up an interview. Great!! Now what? It’s time for you to do even more research. As they say in Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared.” You need to learn and discover as much as you can about the Company, Job and even the Hiring Manager. Here are the 10 Things everyone should do prior to a job interview.

  1. Go back and print out the job description. Study it. What does it really say the requirements are? What are the qualifications? Start writing down examples of what you have done and match that up to what the Company is looking for.
  2. Google the Company. Have they been in the news lately? Are they a public company – can you find their last quarter report?
  3. Google the Hiring Manager. Have you visited their LinkedIn Page? How long have they been with the company?
  4. Read and Re-read the Company’s Website.
  5. Visit your on-line profile. (you should have done this before you applied) but do it again. When you Google your name – what comes up? Do you have a professional image on-line?
  6. Network – do you know anyone who works at the Company? Try to gain knowledge of the environment and atmosphere from current and past employees.
  7. Be ready for the tough interview questions. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Tell me a time when…?
  8. Review your resume – be prepared to explain any gaps. Do not talk negative about a current or former Company or Manager.
  9. Practice Interviewing with a spouse, family member or friend. People do not Interview daily. Even though you think you are ready, practicing will help you overcome some of the nervousness.
  10. Research and practice your closing statement. Why are YOU the best fit for the job?

What other suggestions would you give to someone looking for a job?

Recruiters: What is your First Impression, to Job Seekers?

Do you know what your first impression is on others?   When speaking with Job Seekers what impression do you leave?  

I believe first impressions are one of the keys to recruiting success.   Everyone we talk to has a problem that they want us to solve.      

If you are talking to a Job Seeker, for the first time, what is the impression you want to leave with them?    Are they applying to your job advert?   Were they referred to you from a friend?  Are they calling you back?    Why are they calling you and how can you help them out?   How can they help you?  Are you listening to their problem?   All Job Seekers are not the same – do not treat them that way.   You have to listen to what they are actually saying.  Why are they looking for a new job?  How can you help them?  When I am talking to a new Job Seeker, I want them to know that I am their partner and ally, their Trusted Advisor.   True, they may not be a fit for the job I am recruiting for but I want to give them some kind of advice or direction, to help them in their job search.   

Too many recruiters treat the job seekers like a herd of cattle.    Take the extra time (just a couple of minutes) and spend it talking with them.    A majority of my candidates are from referrals.   They reach out to me directly through LinkedIn, Twitter and Social Media.   I can’t help all of them find jobs – not even close – but what I can give them is some advice and hopefully Hope, in their job search.

Let them know up front, what to expect from you and as a new Job Seeker, what you expect from them.    Keep them in the loop the entire process.  Don’t be afraid to give them the bad news as well as the good.  Make them feel at ease while working with you and make sure they feel that they are an intimate part of this process.   The new Job Seeker should be involved throughout so they can start feeling comfortable with how you recruit.   As stated above, be their true Consultant and Trusted Advisor.  This is your one chance to put yourself in that category with them, versus just another staffing firm.

Think back, on your last Job Seeker.   What was your first impression, on them?  Can you do better?

Recent College Grads and An Award Winning Resume…

How ready is your candidate’s resume that recently completed college?  How can you spice up a resume that doesn’t have much history? 

It’s possible, I promise!

There are a few points to pay close attention to: Length, Format and Font.

Although the “one page rule” can be overridden in some cases, for college students and recent graduates, a single-page resume should be substantial to list their achievements and experiences.  Employers want to see a snapshot of their work, coach them to be thorough but =concise.

I always suggest using a font size between 11 and 12 point.   Avoid filling the page with non-necessities and large font, it appears juvenile. They will also want to make the page look like there is history and is a complete picture of where they have been and are now.

If they are struggling to fill the page, consider coaching them to add an executive summary at the top of the page. In a short paragraph, ask them to explain experience with meaningful activities (tutoring, keeping the books for your fraternity), schoolwork (relevant coursework, GPA), and personal qualities.

Even if a company has a laid back culture, the experts caution against using wacky fonts, symbols, or anything that suggests lack of professionalism. They will not want employers to think they are still in college-mode and unprepared for the business world.

I will caution candidates from including a hyperlink in the resume for a web site or a LinkedIn profile as most employers don’t have the time to reference this, the resume should hold the majority of the candidate’s background on that one page and should avoid external links.

Also, this is often difficult for recent grads but only include experiences that are relevant to the job they are applying for.

Depending on the position the candidates are interested in, they may be able to highlight past experiences to show their skill development, even if they are volunteer activities or hobbies.  I actually recommend including a skills and/or volunteer section for recent grads as that shows that the candidate takes the time to go above and beyond to participate in the community versus party in their free time.

Beyond the Resume

They can also include letters of recommendation from teachers or former employers/internship opportunities or take it to the next level by asking their references to make a phone call on their behalf to a potential employer. Submit all references on a separate page; the candidate can have one academic reference, but keep them mostly work-related.

Finally, the biggest mistake that a new college graduate can make on their resume is attempting to fill the white space with elaborate information that doesn’t exist.  Employers that are willing to hire new graduates are already aware of their graduation date (it’s on their resume) and will quickly see the B.S.  This is great news and will save everyone some time on getting to the facts.
Finally, providing employers with supplemental pages  can further substantiate qualities and experience as long as they are relevant. Supplemental pages can show that the candidate is responsible and is serious about the position in question, this may mean a custom cover letter for each job the candidate applies for or even a list of awards received during the candidate’s academic successes.

Powerful Words in Job Search

Many times, I’ll have my clients ask me what are the “magic words” or “key terms” they need when they start on their job search. While I do go over their career history with them and determine what themes and terms that they have had over their years, there are no more powerful words to offer than a simple “Thank you.”

When someone reads your cover letter, looks over your résumé, and determines that they want to pursue you further as a candidate in their company, they are taking time out of their day to consider you. Furthermore, should you go in for an interview, you’ll be taking even more of their time in everything from the preparation they need to assess your skill set and fit, to making room in their schedule to see you. Think of the last time you had to stop what you were doing in order to prepare for a meeting or task. How much of your time did it take?

By sending a simple note to say “thank you,” you are distinguishing yourself to that employer. You’re thanking them for putting whatever they were doing on hold, in order to speak to you about working with them. You are thanking them for the preparation, the time they may ultimately take checking your references, and their consideration of you.

This may sound like a simple step to you, which might be easy to overlook. I cannot stress to you how important this is. By taking this gesture, you are now going beyond the minimum, and displaying your ability and drive as a future employee to that candidate. Taking the 15 minutes it takes to write “thank you” on a card and throw it in the mail may very well make the difference between you being the competition, and you being another interview for the position.

Jeremy Worthington | Buckeye Resumes

Help Your Client’s Ace the Interview (tips you have permission to steal!)

Potential candidates are going to be nervous so set them up for success!

Look Sharp 

Before the interview, select your outfit. Depending on the industry and position, get out your best duds and check them over for spots and wrinkles. Even if the company has a casual environment, you don’t want to look like you slept in your clothes. Above all, dress for confidence. If you feel good, others will respond to you accordingly. 

Be on Time 

Never arrive late to an interview. Allow extra time to arrive early in the vicinity, allowing for factors like getting lost. Enter the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview.  I worked at P.F. Chang’s in college, their motto is “Chang’s time”, 15 minutes early will never hurt you.

Do Your Research 

Researching the company before the interview and learn as much as possible about its services, products, customers and competition will give you an edge in understanding and addressing the company’s needs. The more you know about the company and what it stands for, the better chance you have of selling yourself. You also should find out about the company’s culture to gain insight into your potential happiness on the job. 

Be Prepared 

Bring along a folder containing extra copies of your resume, a copy of your references and paper to take notes. You should also have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview.   Review your resume if you haven’t lately, some interviewer’s ask questions regarding what’s on there, you should be ready to answer these.

Show Enthusiasm 

A firm handshake and plenty of eye contact demonstrate confidence. Speak distinctly in a confident voice, even though you may feel shaky. 

Listen 

One of the most neglected interviewing skills is listening. Make sure you are not only listening, but also reading between the lines. Sometimes what is not said is just as important as what is said. 

Answer the Question Asked 

Candidates often don’t think about whether or not they actually are answering the questions asked by their interviewers. Make sure you understand what is being asked, and get further clarification if you are unsure.

Give Specific Examples

One specific example of your background is worth 50 vague stories. Prepare your stories before the interview. Give examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness. Your past behavior can indicate your future performance.

Ask Questions

Many interviewees don’t ask questions and miss the opportunity to find out valuable information. Your questions indicate your interest in the company or job.  Make sure though these are not about benefits, pay or anything related to HR.

Follow Up 

Whether it’s through email or regular mail, the follow-up is one more chance to remind the interviewer of all the valuable traits you bring to the job and company. You don’t want to miss this last chance to market yourself. 

 

JobSeekers: Be prepared. That next phone call could be me…

Job Seekers – Did you know that the first conversation I have with you is probably the most important?     This is where I do my initial screening in and decide whether we are going to continue our conversations.   If you are looking for a new career or job, then be ready for that phone to ring.   You never know when the person on the other line is a Recruiter trying to contact you about a job.  You should:

  • Be Professional
  • Not use slang or profanity
  • Not talk bad about a past employer, manager or co-worker
  • Answer the phone in a professional manner
  • Be honest
  • Show enthusiasm and excitement
  • Drop what you are doing and make this call a priority.   If you can’t, then apologize and ask when is a good time for you to call the recruiter back. (within 24 hours)
  • Print off the jobs you have applied for and be ready for a call.  
  • Have a professional voicemail message and email id.  (NOT:  Yo, you reached Smitty leave a message and I’ll call ya back.)

Reminder:  As recruiters we talk to candidates all day long and we are on the phone all day.    We have goals and SLAs we need to meet.   Our time is also precious.    Let’s make the first conversation count.   Impress me!  

 

 

Fear of the Invisible

In all my experience with preparing candidates for interviews, the hardest interviews that people have are with phone interviews. And understandably so – phone interviews are a lot harder than the face-to-face interview. Not only are you dealing entirely with verbal cues as to the interviewer’s interest, but you are also on the self-timer when it comes to answers. Go too long, and you’ve lost the interest of the person on the other end of the line. Go too short, and you can be interpreted as lacking experience and credibility for the job you are interviewing for.

You know the saying “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure?” Nothing could apply more directly for the phone interview. Preparation is the key to getting to the next step in the hiring process, and being passed over by the recruiter for the next candidate.

First, start by doing your research on the company and the position. What are they looking for? What deficits does the company have that you can immediately fill with your skills and experience? How do you fix their problem, and fill in the needs of the company?

Next, research the individual you will be interviewing with. Put their name in on Google and see what comes up. Check out their LinkedIn account to view their background. If you can draw parallels with them and find common ground by which you can both work, your conversation will go that much easier on interview day.

Finally, prepare your answers to the interview. Brevity is key on this one: Don’t go so long that you lose their attention, but don’t give too little detail that you don’t answer the question. Try to have your answers prepared for thirty seconds or less. If you have more to share, you can always ask if they want you to continue, or if you have answered their question.

The phone interview does not have to be as intimidating as it sounds. With the right preparation, you can be ready to sound like the competition, instead of a competitor.

8 Phrases that Describe a Successful Recruiter…

A Good Recruiter is:

  1. Having relationships with a side of good timing.
  2. A partner/advisor.  
  3. A candidate and client ally.
  4. A person you need most when you least expect it.
  5. An interview coach/job coach.
  6. A salesman and negotiator.
  7. A cyber sleuth.
  8. A networking expert.

What would you add or delete from this list?

 

See also my post on top traits of a successful recruiter.

Social Networking’s Guide to Finding Employment

Social MediaWith the unemployment rates at an all time high, it is essential, now more than ever, to tap into alternative ways of getting noticed—and getting hired. Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Specialists have relied mainly on the job boards for their pool of resumes. Sites like CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Dice.com, and many others are over-flowing with resumes from every industry and educational level. With such a large pool of competition, how can anyone become noticed?

Many recruiters rely on a well-crafted Boolean search string and wait for the website to spit out a handful of resumes that match their job description. But this method can only give recruiters a list of skills, completely overlooking the essence of who these job seekers really are. Most job seekers do not understand the processes recruiters use to find talented professionals, and as a result, become overlooked. The use of social networking creates a new layer for job seekers. The power of sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are drawing attention. There are millions of users on these sites. This is no longer a want-ad kind of world—this is a world of cut throat competition based on who you know and who you impress. Social networking can bridge the gap between a nameless resume to a memorable meeting with executives and recruiters ready to put you to work.

LinkedIn is a networking site geared toward professionals. This site has over 135 million members with the majority over the age of 25 making an annual income in the six figure range. LinkedIn members are serious about their professions by linking up with other professionals in and out of their industries. LinkedIn members conduct themselves in a more professional matter than members of Facebook which is geared more towards casual contact. LinkedIn also comes up in the top 5% of all Google.com searches. It is a key site to present your best professional face to the working world. Connecting with co-workers and friends on LinkedIn is appropriate; however, the key is to not limit yourself to those you know. By expanding your LinkedIn connections, there are more opportunities to network with professionals working in companies you might be interested in. Also, joining LinkedIn groups can give you an inside view of company news.

LinkedIn is not the only social networking site that can help land jobs. Facebook and Twitter also have a huge web presence. Many potential employers scan your Twitter feeds and Facebook posts in an effort to get to know you. Updating your statuses to reflect that you are job hunting will get attention. People are more than resumes and companies recognize that. In fact, recently a company posted an advertisement for an investment analyst but instead of receiving traditional resumes, job seekers were asked to provide their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook links along with a video message as to why these candidates wanted this job. They are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think. By utilizing social media, hiring companies can get a better feel for potential hires and avoid the jungle of faceless resumes.

If you are still not convinced that social media can help you land a job, try these statistics on for size. For every six people, one gets hired using social media. Over half of job seekers use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find jobs. When polled 18,400,000 people say that Facebook got them a job, 8,000,000 give Twitter credit for their jobs, and 10,200,000 people credit LinkedIn with their current positions. And remember, the average LinkedIn user makes over $100,000 in annual income. Do I have your attention?

So, how exactly do sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn help you network and land a great job? First, it is common knowledge that having an inside contact is incredibly beneficial for finding a great job. That’s how I got my current job, but not everyone has a second cousin or friend of a friend that can give inside information or push your resume to the top of the stack. This is where savvy networking can educate you and bring attention to your profile with the big bosses. For instance, searching LinkedIn for company employees can bring you to the person that might end up interviewing you. This is the time to send a private message to connect—only. Pushing your resume during this first contact is ineffective and will most likely get you nowhere. Begin by asking questions about his or her job and develop a relationship. Your contact will be more likely to endorse you if you begin this way—trust me. Also, use groups to connect with people. You will most likely link up with someone in the same group verses going straight for the HR person who will delete your Inmail. And don’t stop there, find out about the person doing the interviewing. Pointing out commonalities goes a long way in relationship building and elbow rubbing.

Using social media has its advantages for getting you noticed. Millions of members take part in professional websites. It is a bridge that fills the gap between an anonymous resume and your professional presence. Recruiters and hiring managers alike troll these sites for potential hires. Introduce yourself and you will get that virtual handshake—that’s a promise.

The Job Search Marathon

One of the biggest misconceptions by candidates that I’ve seen in my years as a job search coach is that they do not view the job search process as a competition. Many of the candidates that come to me for the first time are content to send out their resumes, and wait for a response.

What they don’t realize is that they are not the only one putting out their resumes for those same positions. According to CareerBuilder.com, for every one position a company opens, an employer will receive, on average, 75 resumes. With all that paper, not to mention the contacts and keywords to swim through, it is very easy for a potential hire’s information to get lost in that shuffle.

Job search is absolutely a competition! One of the quickest ways a candidate can jump from being a resume to being a hire is by being proactive in a job search. Think of it as a marathon: everyone starts at the starting line; the point where you consider applying for the job. One the shot fires, everyone starts. And, ultimately, there can be only one winner.

What makes the difference between the candidate who finishes first and the one who finishes in the middle of the pack? How they train for the marathon is a big step: you can’t go straight from the couch to the marathon. Why would one try the same for a job search? Further, think of what a marathon runner goes through when training: their diet changes, and their exercise routine gets more focused. So should a job seeker make similar changes to how their resume plays to the needs of the employer, and focus on how to get connected to the companies they want to be at.

By looking at the job search like a competition, a candidate can easily go from being glazed over to being a star candidate. And that perspective adjustment can mean the difference between accepting the job one wants, and merely accepting a job.

Don’t be scared to speak up.

I know there are a lot of people out there that have had at least one, if not multiple bad experiences with a recruiter. Heck, I have and I am one. (Not you Bruce Rowles. You are the best!) So, I understand if you get another call (probably your 3rd of the day if you’re a Java Developer) and you aren’t overly optimistic. But, if you do decide to spend time on the phone with one, and agree to being submitted to a job, keep in touch.

Now, I realize this is a 2-way street and that there has been a time or 2 in the past where you never heard back from your recruiter. But, there are some of us out there that actually enjoy helping people get jobs. We like calling you with updates about your interview times and preparing you with tips on what works in an interview.

We take pride in helping you re-arrange your resume’s format to make it “pop”. Enjoy telling you how to best learn about the company and person you’re meeting with and providing you with details about the job/company Monster’s hyperlink to HR fails to give you. These are some of the benefits of working with a top-notch recruiter.

So, with that being said, why would you entertain the initial phone call, talk about your job history, goals and desires, ask to be submitted for a job, dress up pretty for an interview, accept the job offered, take a drug test, get fingerprinted for the background check, fill out paperwork and then NOT show up for your first day?!?

No longer are you answering the phone when I call. You have decided to not respond to emails. Text message are no longer reaching you. You have officially disappeared from planet Earth. But why? Magic? Probably not.

More likely is that something just wasn’t quite right for you. You had a bad feeling in your gut. “Instinct”. We all get those feelings and it’s completely normal. What you DON’T want to do is ignore that recruiter who helped you get the job. Who taught you about interviewing and provided insight into processes and procedures that increased your interviewing effectiveness and led to an eventual job offer.

Don’t be scared to speak up regarding ANYTHING! Good recruiters are like agents. We represent you the way you want to be represented. If you have a question, just ask. If it’s not an answer you want, that’s okay. Now I know exactly what you want/think/feel so the next time we work together, the job I present you with will be more in-line with what you want and you are happy as a pig in…..

Relocating – It doesn’t have to be an uphill battle!!

Positive story….related back to getting the recruiter to take you seriously about moving back to Michigan when you live out-of-state.

I have a consultant coming back to Michigan/his family and starting at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services on Monday Feb 13th!!!!! He’s a Mainframe Developer that beat out many candidates for the role. It wasn’t just because of his technical background but also the way he was presented to the client and his positive and enthusiastic demeanor that set him apart from the others….he simply had a great attitude throughout the process. It’s the way your relationship should be with your recruiter. It’s a 2 way street that needs to meet each other’s expectations and be on the same page. Clear and honest communication from the start will get you everywhere, remember we are in business to get you the offer/job!!!

On another note, don’t forget you have one (1) chance to make a first impression with our clients. That comes from what we(recruiters) are telling our clients about you i.e.: why you are a fit and how you presented yourself in person when we met and so on plus YOUR RESUME. Take the time to work with the recruiter on what needs to be in your resume because if those buzz words aren’t literally in your resume you will sometimes get passed over. But never, ever misrepresent yourself. Good luck to those aggressively and passively looking.

Feel free to take a look at my current opportunities at www.experisjobs.com. I am in Southfield, Mi if you would like to meet and discuss what you are looking for in your next role. Have a productive and fun day! monica.dejager@experis.com 248.226.1366

11 Reasons the grass is not always greener…

Have you ever heard the saying – “The grass is not always greener”?   Basically I think this means – look at what you have before you jump into something new.

Are you looking for a new job or career path?   Before you start searching, you should first ask yourself:  What do you currently have?  What are some tangible and intangible reasons on what is positive about your current job?    What are some items that might not be available at your new job?  If you want to leave for more money, my advice is:  Salary should not be the only item.

 

11 Positive Items about your current job to consider (no specific order):

  1. Do you have cheaper insurance premiums?
  2. Current location is closer to home?
  3. Flexibility in hours?
  4. A good 401k match and retirement plan?
  5. Good working relationship with your co-workers and/or boss?
  6. Promotion and career opportunities?
  7. Do you love what you’re doing?
  8. Company outings and trips?
  9. Bonuses/profit-sharing?
  10. Do you have tenure?
  11. Does your job offer you the ability to sustain a good quality of life?

If you are truly unhappy and want to find another job – Good luck and I wish you the best in your career.   If I can help you, as a recruiter, find your Dream Job then I want to do that.  I enjoy helping candidates find their next job and career. 

Please consider the grass and where you are standing before you start your search.   Do not waste the company’s time, your time or mine – if you have not thought it through.    Also if you do get another offer – now you get to think about the “Counter-Offer.”  

 

 

A bird in the hand…

Have you ever heard the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.”?   Simply put, this means a definite thing is still better than 2 maybes.   The same goes with Job Offers.

If you are actively looking for a new career then you are probably interviewing and applying for jobs.   Some of these opportunities are probably AWESOME.    They would offer a pay raise, a chance to work close to home and to work at a job that you have dreamed of doing.

However you have also interviewed and applied for jobs that are like your most recent one and have true experience doing.    After a couple of interviews they come back and offer you the job.    Is it your dream job?  Maybe not a dream job but a very good job that you are qualified for.   Now comes the dilemma.   Do you accept or hold out for what is the dream job.

I have heard of this scenario many times.   What do you do?    That is when I always go back to this saying.   “A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.”     I am not saying you should accept it just to accept it.   But if you have a good feeling about the job and feel you can be successful there – then YES – ACCEPT IT.     Do not stall or wait to see if you get the other jobs.   There are 100’s of people applying for those other jobs too.   If you do turn down the job offer and do not get the dream job then you are exactly where you started – Still looking.

 

Bruce