interview

You sent the résumé – five questions to ask before answering the phone 0

  1. Have I researched the company? Are you ready for the phone interview, asks Joel Quass
  2. Are my notes available when the phone rings?
  3. Have I thought about what they might ask in a phone interview?
  4. Do I know why they should hire me?
  5. Do I have stories of success I can share?

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Still, I hear candidates say their phone rang before they had a chance to learn more about the job. Instead of hearing “you’re hired”, they got  ”we are interviewing many people for this position, don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

If this job is the one, take the time to do your homework. Then have a system for keeping your notes about each company.

A winning  résumé demonstrates to the reader why you should be hired. When the phone rings, be ready to build on the résumé with stories of success. Practicing those stories in front of a mirror or with someone will make you more comfortable.

Taking the time to prepare before sending your résumé will build your confidence. Confidence during the phone interview leads to an in-person interview which leads to those magical words “you’re hired”.

Don’t Post That! Manage Your Online Reputation to Get That Job 0

Two People are shocked before learning  from Joel Quass, professional speaker and branding expert

 

As a recruiting specialist for some high-profile companies, I have waded through more laughable job candidates than there are pigeons in Times Square. According to a survey by the social media monitoring service Reppler, up to 91 percent of companies use social networks to screen potential employees, and a whopping 69 percent of them have rejected candidates because of something they posted on a social media site.

With statistics like these, you would think that more applicants would think before they post, or at least make sure their on and offline behavior is congruent. This simply isn’t the case. I have seen impressive interviewees tweet about how stupid I (the interviewer) am moments after they leave my office, and worse. If you want to leverage social media to your professional advantage, these tricks of the trade are worth taking into consideration.

Build Your Backbone Smart

Dan Schwabel, author of “Me 2.0″ and founder of the personal branding agency Millennial Branding, believes people don’t get jobs through computers; people get jobs by connecting with other people. All of your social media outreach should take this into consideration. Use sites like linkedin.com and monster.com to connect with people you may already know. Don’t hesitate to drop the name of a respected professor who gave you a good grade, or ask one of your parents’ well-known friends for a recommendation.

Learn How To Post Right

There are entire blogs dedicated to the terrible things people post on social media sites: too much personal information, blatant examples of their stupidity, etc. If you’re reading this article, then you’re probably not one of them—but that doesn’t mean you aren’t guilty of breaking unofficial social media etiquette rules. Forbes reputation expert Davia Temin reminds us of some rookie professional mistakes:

  • Don’t eat and tell. No one cares about what you ate or who you had lunch with.
  • Be wary of anything emotional. Social media is not a place to share private feelings, sadness or outrage. Unless you are a professional political commentator, comedian or someone who is paid for your point of view, it probably isn’t very insightful and it doesn’t reflect well on you.
  • Don’t brag about anything. It’s always obvious or drug/alcohol related.

Back It Up in the Real World

Once you’ve populated your social networks with an honest resume and profile and mastered the art of the relevant post, it’s time to brave the real world. Spend some time putting together professional materials and perfecting your elevator pitch and handshake for the in-person meeting.

  • Business cards: They still matter a lot. A business card can leave a more memorable imprint than click-away digital content. Companies like PrintingForLess.com offer professional promotional material for a bargain price.
  • Appearance: You won’t be judged on what you look like, but you will be judged on what you did wrong. Iron your shirt. Brush your hair. Don’t have chipped nails, and don’t pretend like we didn’t already scope you out online.

Guest Post Jennifer Jones

Jennifer is a recent graduate who majored in finance. Next stop, the Wall Street Journal, Perth edition.

Can an employer make a left turn from your résumé? 0

All I wanted to do was pick up my new sport coat. I had ordered it on Sunday and was told it would be ready Wednesday morning. My route took me a different way than I traveled on Sunday as I was dropping off some printing down the street.

Joel Quass, Professional Speaker and Author, speaks on management and leadership topics trys to get to Ocean County Mall

Traveling north on Hooper Avenue, I saw the signs for Ocean County Mall. It seemed to be telling me to make a right before the Bay Avenue exit, taking me down an exit ramp.

Arriving at the bottom of the ramp, I noticed a very large concrete barrier between me and my intended route. I could not make the left turn into the Mall.

Forced to continue on Bay Avenue, my next thought was to make a right into the entrance of Pier One and then cross Bay Avenue into the Mall.

Incredibly, there was that concrete barrier again. Now I am forced to make another right, continuing once again down Bay Avenue. The next cross street is Oak Avenue. Oak crosses Bay with large NO-U-TURN signs plastered around the intersection. So I made a left and turned up Oak Street. Now I can see the mall again in the distance.

The first entrance into the Mall from Oak is guarded by a large No Left Turn sign, propelling me forward to the next intersection with a traffic light. Once on the Mall property, I must now traverse their outer perimeter roadway to get to my final destination. Had I not needed the jacket for a conference presentation Friday morning, I would have abandoned my effort several turns ago and headed home.

After picking up my jacket, it dawned on me that I having read hundreds of cover letters and résumés that follow a similar path. I know where the author wants to end up, but I can’t get there from what they have written. Just like the first sign instructing me to turn right to get to the mall, the next transferable skill is hidden in the résumé  behind a concrete barricade.

Make your résumé and cover letter easy to navigate. Do not hide the good stuff behind No-U-Turn signs and concrete restraining walls. Arriving at the store was necessary for me. An employer thwarted by a hard to follow résumé will likely toss it and move on.

Organize and clearly mark the directions. Keep the employer from turning around and taking another road, another résumé, that is easier to follow. If an employer can follow your résumé’s traffic pattern and make that left turn easily into how your skills will benefit their problems, then it has done its job.

Want a job? Four reasons you must follow-up 0

Recently I presented my “You’re Hired” keynote for the New Jersey Department Of Labor’s Jersey Job Club

Interview, job search requires thank you notesThere were many excellent  questions both before and after my presentation. One stood out in my mind. Tim (not his real name) asked:

“Why should  I spend money to send a thank-you card if I felt the interviewer was not interested in me?”

Several audience members almost jumped out of their seats. Each said the cost of a stamp and five minutes of their time was minimal compared to the potential of a job offer. One person told of getting a call after sending a thank you note. In the note,  she had offered several suggestions to a problem the interviewer had told her the company was facing. She ended up landing the job.

Tim’s question reminded me of a job offer I once received after sending a thank you card and later following up with a phone call. I was immediately asked to come to the office and was hired  when I walked in the door. I was actually told by the interviewer  that my follow-up was the reason I was offered the job. It was the final test.

Back at the Jersey Job Club, I spoke with Tim.  He was missing the point about what a thank you note is about.

  • Tim did not see the chance to add value by sending the note.
  • He did not see the chance to separate himself from other candidates by highlighting an aspect of the interview.
  • He did not see he could share additional information about something the interviewer asked.
  •  Tim did not see that he could include information about a shared hobby, his answer to a company challenge that was discussed or an idea sparked by the interviewers questions.

A few days later, I received an email from Tim. He had re-thought the ideas we had discussed. He saw the value of consistent, specific, follow-up. Tim said he is now investing in his future when he mails a card.

Following up with a snail mail card is more than an obligation. It is a chance to stand out, to show your value to  an employer. Done right, the next thing you sign after the thank you card will be all of the forms during your new hire orientation.

Do you really want a better job in 2013? 0

 

The more I hear from recruiters, the more I believe some people really don’t want a new job. Sure they say they want a better job, they say they are looking, they say they are serious, but… they do not want to do the work required to land a new job.

It reminds me of the verse in Choo Choo Ch’Boogie by Asleep At the Wheel

I need some compensation to get back in the black,

I take the morning paper from the top of the stack,

I read the situation from the front to the back,

the only job that’s open needs a man with a knack,

so I put it right back in the stack.”

In 2013, if you really want a better job, resolve to do the work to get it.

Job Seeker Tip #32 – Never Chew Gum During An Interview 1

Recently I was asked for tips on acing a job interview. After giving the matter some thought, I came up with 101 Job Seeker Tips.

Today I want to tell you about tip #32 – Never chew gum during an interview.

I’m sure you will see why.

Six Reasons You Don’t Need To Know How To Do the Job To Land The Job 4

When I interview, one of the first things I look for is common sense. If the candidate does not possess a basic understanding of how things work, I have a very hard time visualizing them working for me. I always feel I can teach someone to say, sell diamonds or drive a forklift, but I can’t teach them common sense.

Today, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) published its 2013 Outlook Ranking Candidate Skills. These were ranked in the order of importance to the interviewer. Guess where Technical knowledge of the position came in?

So here are the TOP SIX Skills/Qualities employers are looking for:

  1. Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization
  2. Ability to work in a team structure
  3. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
  4. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
  5. Ability to obtain and process information
  6. Ability to analyze quantitative data

Seven was technical knowledge related to the job. So the first six skills employers are looking for sound to me like NACE Qualities and Skills Employers are looking for in JOB searchescommon sense. In fact, if you look at the definition of common sense:  sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts (Merriam-Webster dictionary) these first six skills are all about common sense.

I’m not saying a solid technical foundation won’t land the job, but remember there are many applicants who have the technical skills. This survey, and my years of interviewing experience, suggest that there is more to the interview than just presenting your skills. If your future employer can’t see that you have common sense, they will have a hard time seeing you as a part of their team.

“this job” vs. “I’ll take whatever” – Three ways to focus 1

Resume must match Job listing, management position

Is your resume specific enough?

As the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, it is easy to say “I’ll take whatever job comes along”. This then changes the tone of your cover letter and resume. You start to show yourself as a jack-of-all- trades. The downside to this is you may be perceived as a master-of -none.

The more you tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job listing, the more likely someone reviewing your information will see a connection. Being one of several hundred generic applicants, you will not stand out. Some recruiters would say that the more generic the résumé, the more desperate the job seeker. So stay the course and focus on the following:

1. Take the time to read the entire job listing

2. Craft your cover letter and resume to specific, measurable requirements for this job

3. Do this for each listing you apply for; never just copy and paste your resume

Doing this you may feel you are limiting your possibilities for employment. But how many generic resumes and cover letters have you sent out? How many have resulted in a call for a first interview?

Focus on the key requirements for the position and highlight them in your cover letter and resume. Then be ready to talk about them because the phone will be ringing soon.

Have You Given Yourself Permission To Succeed? 0

The Atlantic

Are you uncomfortable bringing up salary during an interview? Do you assume that the employer will let you know when to talk about compensation? During the hiring process, did you negotiate your starting salary?  Do men and women approach this differently?

Take a look at today’s article, Negotiate,  in The Atlantic by Eleanor Barkhorn.  In it she documents work done on salary negotiation by men and women . One of the key requirements is permission.

In March I wrote a blog post  about successful job applicants. 1.3 million jobs created – Five reasons why you did not get one In it, I talked about permission.

I give you permission to re-read this entry and be successful in your salary negotiations.

The Three C’s of Interviews – Two land the interview, the third lands the job 5

Has this ever happened to you? You hear about a job and review the posting. The job description reads just like your resume. You have done everything that the company is looking for. Your references and your on-line presence confirm you are that person. You apply and get a call for an interview. The job seems destined to be yours! But something goes a little sideways during the actual interview and two weeks later you learn they hired someone else. What happened?

Employers really are only looking for three things.  The first two are what get you into their office for the interview. The third is what actually gets you the job. 

The Three C’s of Interviews are:

  1. Capability
  2. Character
  3. Compatibility

First, they want to know if you can do the job. Some major employers now use keyword software to sift through on-line applications looking for specific skills. Make sure you read the posting completely and include references to the exact skills being advertised.

Second, employers want someone they can trust.  Be sure to coach your references so they know what position you are applying for. Remind them of specific projects that you were involved in so they have a positive story to tell about your abilities. And review your on-line presence. Know what an employer will see when they Google your name.

The third C is the hardest to measure. Before the interview make sure you have done your homework about the company, the industry and the major players in the organization. As you enter the building, the office or the conference room, you must be observant. Look at the posters and pictures on the walls. How are the employees interacting? Are there clues you can pick up about the culture?

Years ago I had an interview for a management position.  The Executive I was to speak with was seated at his desk. Behind him was a huge photo of a sailboat. I was the Commodore of our sailing team in college and had lived on a sailboat for a year between high school and college. It was very easy to find a mutual interest that showed the interviewer I was compatible. Conversely, at another company the poster behind the interviewer said “we are going to have a sales contest, the winner gets to keep their job”. That was a very different kind of interview.

In the end, you can feel pretty confident that you have gotten past the first two C’s when they call you for an interview. Your job during the interview is to make them “C” you fitting in. Do that and you will be sitting in a new hire orientation for your new job.