Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Behavioral Interview

Tell me about yourself.
Why are you looking to leave your job?
Why do you want to work for our company?
Tell me about a professional conflict you've had.

These are all very common questions asked by recruiters and hiring managers that every job seeker should be ready for. What exactly are employers looking for when they ask you behavioral questions that aren't necessarily related to your skills or the role?

Employers are looking to see if they'd want to work with you and if they'd like having you on their team.

When listening to your answer, employers are evaluating you on a few core areas.
1) Is this person excited about this position at this company or do they just need a job?
2) Can this person play well with others and solve problems or could they disrupt the current team dynamic?
3) Is this person aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and will they take criticism well?

The best way to prepare for a behavioral interview, in addition to doing mock interviews, is to do some soul searching. Have your resume in front of you and take notes about each job you've had, specifically what did you like/dislike about the job, what did you do well/accomplish, what did you learn, and how did you work with others. Being aware of these factors will help you understand what responsibilities you don't like, and more importantly what duties and roles you do like.

After you've analyzed your work history and are more aware of what you're looking for in a career move, it's important to come up with examples and stories that can be used in an interview. If you have a handful of specific examples with detailed stories at hand, you can use them for a wide range of questions. The types of examples you want to have should address the following:

  • An accomplishment/success
    • What are you proud of? Have you won any awards or received a promotion?
  • Conflict resolution
    • How do you work with difficult people? What would you change about your manager? When have you disagreed with a colleague?
  • Challenges
    • What has been the most difficult responsibility or project you've tackled? Have you spearheaded a new project/program? How did you successfully complete it? Did you exceed expectations?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Job searching, again? What now?

By: Marché Howell
For one reason or another you’ve come to the point where it is time to look for another job. Let’s be honest. Searching for another job is quite comparable to dating after being in a long-term (or sometimes short-term) relationship. You find yourself asking questions like ‘how do I update my resume?’ and ‘where should I search?” You’re questioning the value of LinkedIn or even rethinking going back to school or getting that certification renewed.  Whatever the case may be, you are looking to advance yourself to the next level in your career – or looking to start one altogether.

Here are a few things to consider when placing yourself on (or back on) the job market.

Invest in a quality resume.
Your resume is the first thing a hiring manager, employer, or recruiter sees and you want it to reflect you in a positive light.

Find the role you that you want and add the qualities of an individual that works in that role to your resume.Now, use discretion here, of course. You want to be honest, yet purposeful in the things that you highlight within your resume. So, if you are looking for a role in customer service, be sure that ‘customer service – like’ skills are within your resume. Lookup key words or buzzwords that coincide with the role that you want and find a way to incorporate that into what you are currently doing.

Not sure how to improve your resume? Utilize a professional resource like Inside Recruiter to get a revision consultation and other tips on things to do when job hunting.

Use sites like LinkedIn to display your resume as well as job hunt.
According to a recent study on LinkedIn usage, LinkedIn has over 433 million users with 128 million residing in the US alone.

Facing the facts, we live in a digital age where everything is done electronically and digitally. Social and grassroots media has taken over by storm and changed the way we do every day things – including looking for a job and sourcing for employees. Employers are using LinkedIn to post positions; and recruiters and HR managers are going there to recruit talent. Wouldn’t you want your information to be seen by employers? How are you supposed to get noticed by that hiring manager, director, partner, etc., if you don’t put yourself out there? Use your resources!

Practice your interview etiquette!
To the more seasoned job seekers, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve being doing ‘x’ for so long and shouldn’t have to practice…but that’s not the case at all. You’d be surprised by how difficult it is to tell an individual who didn’t work along side you what you did, how you did it and the impact or affect it yielded your department/team. These are things to practice telling a friend who works in a different industry, to be sure they understand you and can repeat back to you what you’ve said. Simple things like articulating your strengths can make or break your interview and either make you look sharp to a potential employer or unprepared.

It seems like a full-time job in itself to look for a new job, project to join, or next career move, so the more that you can do to be prepared, the better. Doing the little things like updating your marketing materials, investing in a quality resume, and practicing communicating your strengths are the very things that will make you stand out to employers and prove how serious you are about advancing yourself professionally. 

Just remember, employers want to know what YOU can bring to the table, so TELL THEM! Be confident and diligent in your search and that next position is yours!

Happy Job Hunting!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Staying Positive After Interview Rejection

Rejection is hard, but it's a part of life. As a recruiter, one of the most heart breaking things is desperate and depressed candidates.  This is because they won't get hired, making it a horribly vicious and unfair cycle.  This is why your internal monologue is so important.  If you have been rejected or are having a difficult period in your life, do everything you can to find a way to stay positive and optimistic.

I saw a great YouTube video, and the message about accepting your feelings and controlling your thoughts really resonated with me.  Identify what you're feeling and allow yourself to feel it, but control your thoughts and think positively.  If you didn't get that dream job, it's ok to be upset and disappointed, but it's important to remember that there could be a million reasons you didn't get the job, most of them having nothing to do with you.  So let the emotions take their natural course in and out of your system and don't let them control your attitude or take over your life.

You are good enough!
  • Don't let rejection make you feel unworthy or lesser than others, everyone gets rejected. Instead of being hard on yourself, that job just wasn't the right fit for you.  Everything happens for a reason and the right job for you will come along.

Be realistic!
  • There is always room for improvement.  If you got a rejection, look at it as an opportunity for improvement.  Do you need to revise your resume? Brush up on your interview skills? You are not perfect, no one is, so take rejection as an opportunity to test your resume and practice your interviewing skills, and then adjust accordingly.

How do you stop the negative emotions from taking over your thoughts? Share your tips in the comments below! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why Handshakes Matter to Your Career

One of the most important things in an interview is a good handshake.  It sets the tone for the entire interview and believe it or not, you will be judged on your handshake. Perception is reality and if you have a great handshake you are most likely perceived as confident and trustworthy, making you more likely to be hired - if you're qualified of course.  A great handshake should be firm, use your whole hand (not this finger-tip handshake similar to royal ladies of medieval times), and consist of 2-3 shakes.

To avoid sweaty palms as much as possible, watch your breathing when you're in the lobby and try to stay calm; don't let your nerves get the best of you.  If you typically have sweaty palms, place your hands on your lap while you wait, don't clasp your hands together because that will just make the situation worse.  Maybe even have a napkin in your hand that you can easily put in your pocket or purse when the interviewer comes out to get you.

First impressions really do matter and the handshake is part of that.  A strong and confident handshake won't get you the job, but it will help people have a positive first impression of you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Congratulations You're A Grownup! Now What?!?

So you're graduating from college, old enough to drink, smoke, and and fight for your country. Congratulations!! You're now entering the workforce, possibly for the first time ever. So what the hell are you supposed to do now?!

Step 1: Create a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile.

  • Make sure this is reviewed by someone else and free of spelling and grammatical errors
  • Post your resume to the job boards: CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, etc.


Step 2: Get a Wardrobe!

  • Whether you were the best dressed in school or liked to experiment with fun and crazy styles, Corporate America wants a specific look.  You can still keep your individuality and style, but in most cases it needs to be toned down or made a little more conservative.
  • Natural make-up and hair color is preferred. Cover up your tattoos for the interview

Step 3: Network!

  • Stay in touch with your classmates, professionals, and other people you've met in college, they can be excellent resources for you down the road. 
  • Attend local organizations' chapter meetings as a guest, see if it's of value for you and if it is, join!

Step 4: Accept Internships or Entry Level Roles

  • You have to get your experience somewhere, and most jobs want 1+ year of experience.  
  • The best thing you can do is intern while you're still in school.  If it's too late for that, look for paid internships and entry level positions, a lot of companies offer room for advancement if you prove yourself.

Step 5: Be Realistic

  • So you graduated from college along with millions of other students nationwide.  You are not alone, so stay positive, accept that you're probably going to get a few rejections, and be realistic about money.  
  • Unless you are a computer programmer, you are not going to make $60k+ right out of college.  You have to work up to that.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Employment Gap

A lot of candidates have gaps in their employment, especially with the recent Great Recession. While this is very common, you should fill the gap if possible.  Did you volunteer or go back to school? Were you a stay at home mom/dad? Travel the world? Did you care for an ill family member? It is better to list these things on your resume than have a 1 year+ gap.

If you did freelance/contract work, be as specific as possible! If you were a freelance writer or contractor list the publications/companies you worked with and projects you worked on.  If you don't do this, employers will assume you just put that on the resume to fill the gap and didn't actually have any clients.

The cover letter is a great place to explain employment gaps.  If  you were laidoff, say so.  If you survived 3 rounds of layoffs but got let go on the 4th, say so.

Show that you made use of your time and did more than just sit at home during your gap in employment.

Do you have any helpful tips for how to pass the time when you're not working? Share them in the comment section below!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Big Lie Colleges Tell

Get this degree or certificate and get a job no problem! 
Start making $60k+ after college! 
We'll help you find a job!

Whether you're going to a private, public, vocational, or for profit school, they always tell students these lies.  I won't go as far as saying that all counselors and professors intentionally lie, chances are they're just out of touch with reality.  However the reality is, that just having that degree or certificate won't get you very far.

As a student, you need to take your career in your own hands and utilize every resource out there. Visit your campus' career center and talk to a counselor about your career path.  Write your resume and include all your clubs and volunteer work. Go to career fairs.  Even if you're a Freshman or Sophomore, go to career fairs.  Figure out what to wear and what to say, how to present yourself to the companies that attend.

Find an internship in your field. This is the most important thing you could possibly do while in school.  This will be your experience when you graduate.  That part-time fast-food or retail job is not going to count for your professional experience. Don't get me wrong, it's good that you've done that, it shows some level of responsibility and work ethic, but it's not enough.

This applies to all industries. Recruiters don't care if you just graduated with your degree in business, marketing, communications, or nursing.  How does that separate you from the other graduates that year? How does that make you stand out? It doesn't, it only meets the basic requirement of the job.

Fun fact: for the 2013-2014 school year, US colleges and universities are anticipated to award 943,000 Associates Degrees and 1.8 million Bachelor's Degrees.

Mom and Dad don't want you to work, you need to focus on school? That's great, but a 4.0 GPA and no relevant work experience will not get you a career, and you'll stay living with mom and dad probably for a lot longer than any of you would like.  College is supposed to help prepare you for the real world.  What better way to do that than start applying what you've learned to the real world?  Still not buying it? Have them contact me.

What about all the young professionals who decide school isn't for them and don't go or end up dropping out?  How do they find jobs? Experience. They might struggle because a lot of jobs require some kind of higher education, but experience in many cases will trump the degree.

I'd love to hear from you! What are your success stories?  Tell me in the comments any internships or experience that helped you start your career or land your dream job!