Baseball season is nearing a World Series crescendo, and football season is well underway. Any pitcher or quarterback will tell you that the follow through after they throw the ball is critical to successful execution. The same holds true for you, the job hunter: Your follow through after the interview is just as important as the cover letter and resume that you submitted to get the interview in the first place.
In my latest USNews & World Report Careers blog post, I write about the importance of promptly sending individualized note to every person who interviews you for a job, from HR to the hiring manager. The note can do important things all at once. Click the link and find out more! Here’s the URL: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/10/16/4-things-a-well-written-thank-you-note-can-accomplish
Headhunters, or recruiters, are all about finding top-tiered talent to fill permanent, full-time positions for their client companies. But in order to do what they do well, they are in a continuous networking mode. As a job hunter there are ways that you can enhance your own relationship with a recruiter by understanding their needs, because like anyone else they enjoy helping those who help them. In my latest article published by USNews & World Report, I show why it is important for you to share what you have been doing to get a job, open up about your red flag issues, five other ground rules you should follow to make that relationship work for your benefit. Here’s the link: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/10/02/7-ground-rules-for-dealing-with-recruiters
There’s more to an interview than just answering questions. In fact, often the answers you give are less important than the inferences that an interviewer makes from them. If you understand this, you can demonstrate that you have the strong communications skills that so many people claim, but far fewer actually possess.
A good interviewer is trained to get to know a candidate’s personality, temperament, self-confidence, overall maturity, and more. These are qualities that can’t be ascertained directly, but make a key difference in hiring decisions. In my article which is published by USNews & World Report, I explain the questions behind the questions you are likely to be asked in an interview, and reveal what interviewers are really evaluating. Here’s the link: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/09/11/tricks-for-decoding-the-thorniest-interview-questions
“Do you have any questions for me?”
This is a very typical way for an interview to wind down a conversation. It gives the illusion of a level playing field, with each side having a turn to query the other.
The employer obviously understands you want to know where you stand in their priorities, how much compensation you will receive if you get the job, and other questions that relate to you and your needs/wants.
Don’t ask these kinds of questions! If you do, you will lose a precious opportunity to advance your chances for being hired. In my article posted on USNews & World Report this week, I’ll explain the very best things you can do toward the end of your job interview to close the deal.
Here’s the link: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/09/04/the-best-ways-to-close-a-job-interview
Baby boomers have a special concern when interviewing for a new position: how to deal with the issue of age discrimination. It is important to show that you are not only capable of doing the job, but passionate about doing so. In my article for USNews & World Report this week I offer key interview tips for how to make this happen. Here’s the link:
Every job hunter has the same question: What do employers look for, and how can I best show that I’ve got “it”?
A few days ago, I attended a panel discussion for career coaches led by three of the leading recruiters in Greater Boston. Each recruiter had the assignment of explaining their view of today’s hiring environment, what employers are looking for, and then to give a few tips for candidates. The recruiters deal with different specialties, including: Human Resources, Medical Devices, Information Technologies (IT), and Marketing. Nonetheless they agreed on one thing: Five years ago, if an employer listed a job with 8-10 bullet points of “requirements”, a candidate might have been hired if he/she only had 3-4 of them. But today, virtually every client of theirs wants “12 out of 10 requirements to be evidenced— just to get the initial phone interview.”
It comes as no surprise that they all report that both recruiters and companies are being inundated by resumes, as more people are chasing fewer and fewer jobs. In this environment, they report that employers have come to view job boards like Monster as counter-effective. When they advertise a position, they get SO MANY responses it becomes an overwhelming task just to sort through all the extraneous resumes to find the quality people who would be of interest. Result? They are utilizing alternative methods of identifying and recruiting top talent. It is more time efficient and effective for both corporate (in-house) and contingency (3rd party) recruiters to scour LinkedIn and other social media sites to find candidates worth pursuing. More and more, self-submitted resumes are not responded to because they aren’t even read!
Employers are looking for the following:
- Candidates are expected to clearly articulate their accomplishments as part of their personal brand. LinkedIn profiles must highlight an individual successes and results! Skills are important – but only insofar as candidates use them to attain results. Never lead with: “XX years of experience doing….”! Each resume bullet point should tell a story: “Accomplished X by doing Y, resulting in Z”.
- Clear branding: know who you are, what you offer, and what you are after. Be comfortable with your own story, and have that story down pat. Convey it consistently in your resume, LinkedIn profile, on Facebook, and increasingly on Twitter. Tip: get all those references to partying, and anything that wouldn’t well represent an employer’s brand off your own Facebook page – NOW! LinkedIn is seen as a way screen people in, and Facebook is viewed as a means to screen people out – even before an individual knows that he or she might be considered.
- Fit, Fit, & Fit! It’s the buzzword of the decade, but it means different things to different companies. Fit goes beyond the job requirements and speaks to an individual’s experience working in a similar type organization in size, product/service, marketplace or geography. Questions of “fit” go to the concerns: would a given candidate be happy working as part of this company/team… and would the people here be happy to work side by side with this individual? If hired, would the person last? Commonly, employers are utilizing behavioral interviewing to determine if a candidate is a “fit”.
- One recruiter put it this way: The length of time [companies are taking] to fill openings is increasing. Companies are increasingly picky about who they hire. But they are hiring people who have “bull’s eye” skill sets, have industry experience, and are a fit for their particular corporate culture. More and more, you have to have all three to be hired, and candidates should adjust their job search accordingly.
Recruiters are looking for the following:
- People who can show that they volunteer to do more than is required of them in the workplace
- People who “know what they don’t know”, make no bones about it, and constantly strive to learn to fill in the gaps of their knowledge and experience.
- People who can explain what they did in a past job that makes them valuable to a future employer.
- People who can understand that recruiters are professional service providers who deserve respect. (If you are dealing with a recruiter who doesn’t deserve your respect, move on to another one!). Understand that recruiters work with candidates, but ultimately for companies.
- People who make an effort to establish a mutually beneficial relationship, by addressing them personally, offering to help find other candidates for positions if they aren’t the right fit themselves.
- People who recognize that it is counterproductive for both themselves and the recruiter to do the “end run” around the recruiter and deal directly with the company that they represent.
All of this goes to show the importance of seeing the search for a new position as a “hunt” which requires a coherent strategy and a consistent message. Getting a job is a job! For more information about what recruiters are advising job hunters, don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly. I offer an initial free consultation to any job hunter. Happy hunting!
Abby Kohut of AbsolutelyAbby.com had some pointers for job-seekers on how to make the interview work to their best advantage. Here are three:
1. Know your accomplishments and be able to articulate them confidently. “Most people develop amnesia on an interview, and when we ask for examples of successes, they can’t think of any,” she said. “Preparing a list of them in advance and memorizing them will enable you to think on your feet and answer practically any question.”
2. Demonstrate your passion for the job and the company that you are interviewing for. “Recruiters” – and employers – “want to know that you are excited about this job, not just a job. You should research the company for at least an hour and then figure out why you truly want to work there.”
3. Ask intelligent questions at the end. “Typically, the question I am asked at the end of an interview when I ask for questions is, ‘What are the next steps in the process?’ If that is the only thing you can think of to ask after an hour-long conversation, it may be perceived as a lack of interest in the job” by the interviewer. Kohut advises job-seekers to prepare a list of 20 questions on topics like the corporate culture, the company’s mission, the work environment, and the managers and management style, that can be used on any interview to indicate genuine interest in and excitement about the job one is interviewing for.
Abby is dead on correct with all three points! I’ve made these same points over and over at the presentations I’ve been providing for years, and help my clients role play in advance of every interview to refine their jobhunter skills. If you know of a group or audience in New England looking for a speaker on any aspect of the job search from creating a strategy, effective social networking and interviewing, all the way to the final negotiations, don’t hesitate to call on me!
Job hunters: Share your comments and suggestions below! My readers and I would love to hear from you.
Arnie – Head Coach, Jobhuntercoach.com