How to Win a Recruiter’s Heart & Mind

28 03 2017

A very common, and often accepted piece of wisdom in the world of recruiting is that you should follow your gut.

Some of the most respected minds in HR and recruiting advice using intuition to help guide who they hire.

At the same time, there is a real, measurable skills crunch out there. There are more jobs going unfilled in the U.S. than ever before, and it’s because there’s a lack of workers with the right skills to fill them.  

Many recruiters believe strongly in using their hearts – their intuition – to make hiring decisions, but at the same time, they’re having to use their minds to evaluate who has the right skills for important positions.

Want to land your dream job? The one that everyone’s going to apply for the second it comes up? You’ll need to prove you have the skills and pass the intuition test with recruiters and hiring managers.

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Winning a Recruiter’s Heart

Is it possible to win over someone’s intuition? Can you intentionally give someone a good gut feeling about you?

I believe you can.

According to studies on the job interview process, most interviewers make a snap judgment the moment they see you about what kind of candidate you’ll be, and then spend the rest of the interview confirming that judgment and ignoring things that don’t agree with it.

I know, that sounds terribly unfair.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do about this. The main take away is that the first impression is the impression.

Now, you can bet that if we make snap judgments during interviews, we make them throughout the hiring process.

For example, recruiters spend just 6 seconds looking at resumes.

So first impression matters at every stage of the hiring process, and you can expect it to be even more important if you’re after a desirable job.

Here’s a checklist to go through at each stage of the process to make sure you make the right impression.

The Resume

Generally speaking, recruiters and hiring managers check resumes for sloppiness, usually in the form of glaring typos and grammar errors. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your resume is error-free.

  • Run it through a spell-checker.

  • Read the entire resume out loud to yourself (it’s one of the best ways to catch errors).

  • Have a friend read through it.

  • Look for these common grammar mistakes.

The Phone Interview

Phone interviews are generally used by recruiters and hiring managers for screening. A few tips to keep you from getting screened.

  • Don’t talk negatively about previous jobs or bosses.

  • Don’t talk about money too much.

  • But be prepared to answer questions about expected salary – know what the going rate is, and why you’re asking for your rate if it’s different.

  • Make it clear that this is the only type of role you’re interested in doing.

The Face-to-Face Interview

You’ve come so far! Don’t blow it in the final phase.

  • If you’re not early, you’re late. Be 15 minutes early, minimum.

  • Use a couple of those extra minutes for a final appearance check.

  • Use a couple minutes to take a short walk once you’ve arrived. It’ll help calm your nerves.

  • Use the bathroom one last time.

  • Smile and be friendly to everyone you meet.

Winning a Recruiter’s Mind

As I mentioned, employers are having a terrible time finding candidates with the skills they need.

The problem has gotten so bad that the time to fill a position is at 27 days, the longest ever.

I talk to recruiters and hiring managers every day at Betterteam, and they almost always mention the lack of qualified people applying to jobs.

I worry that companies get so used to unqualified people applying for jobs that they just expect them to be unqualified, and so miss great hires because they passed by the qualifications they were looking for during the whole 6 seconds they spent with the resume.

So, here’s a quick checklist to help make sure you don’t get passed over for a job you are qualified for.

The Resume

Make it so they’d notice your qualifications even if your resume blew by during a hurricane.

  • Pay close attention to how the employer writes the job ad. Reuse the language they use to describe qualifications in your resume.

  • Make sure the format is easy to read, and that qualifications are bolded and bullet pointed.

The Phone Interview

They’re going to do an initial check to be sure you’ve got the skills.

  • Be ready to talk about specific projects you completed from beginning to end.

  • Know what success looks like for the position, as well as common mistakes people make.

  • Be ready to give specific numbers, i.e. exactly how much you grew sales by in the first quarter.

The Face-to-Face Interview

Almost there! They probably think you’re qualified at this point, but just to be sure…

  • Be ready with specific examples of what you’ve accomplished in previous roles.

  • Know your industry – be able to talk about the best examples of people doing your job well, what direction it’s headed in, etc.

It really is a fantastic time to be looking for a job. If you can show employers that you’ve got the skills they need and make the right impression, you’ve got an excellent shot at landing an awesome job. If you’re looking for more job search advice, check out Betterteams’ list of job boards, by profession. Good luck!

****Campus to Career thanks Paul Peters for this insightful post!!****

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About the author: Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.

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21 Interview Tips to Help You Shine

4 10 2016

Most college students have held jobs in the past—whether a full-time job in the summer, a part-time job during the school year, or both. Yet searching for that first “real” job after college can be intimidating. You’ve finally earned a shiny new degree, but you’re likely competing against candidates with more experience than you.

The good news is, hiring managers don’t necessarily select the candidate whose resume is the longest. Job interviews play a huge role in who lands the position because companies want to hire someone who fits in with their culture and team. Most of the time, they would much rather invest the resources to train a recent graduate than hire someone else who’s close-minded and unteachable.

This infographic from Company Folders  an online printing company, will give you 21 tips to put your best foot forward before, during, and after the interview. A few highlights include:

  • Bring any materials you need, such as business cards or a portfolio
  • Research the company beforehand
  • Allow extra time for traffic
  • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question
  • Take your time answering the question
  • Follow up with a thank-you note or email

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Acing the 400hr Interview

21 06 2016

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You read that right. A 400 hour interview. Before you start freaking out, let me break it down for you…

The standard internship period these days is approximately 10-12 weeks, predominately focusing on the summer months. Most internships are full-time positions (40hrs/week), hence the result of a total of 400hrs (40hrs/week x 10 weeks = 400hrs.) Internships are no longer about temporary summer help at the office. Instead, they’ve become proving grounds for future employees. Think of it as an extended interview. In this case, a 400hr interview!

On the corporate side, the ultimate goal of the internship is to convert the intern to a full-time position after college if the intern performs well. For the intern, that could be the same goal or the goal could simply be to expand your knowledge base and level of experience so that you’re better prepared for the world of work post-graduation.

So, how do you set yourself apart from all the other interns?? There is a LOT of intern advice out there. It all seems to boil down to the following points:

Ask Questions! You might be saying, “but, they hired me because of my skills. I should know how to do the job and how to do it well!” WRONG. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re not expected to know everything on the first day. Jump in, ask questions, seek feedback (but not so much that you annoy the boss…there’s a fine line) and try not to assume anything. Let your curiosity flow!

Get Out of Your Cubicle! As an intern, you have some AMAZING access to executives and individuals who will later be more difficult to reach. Take advantage of this opportunity and connect with people outside of your work group, division, etc. Most companies hold several intern mixers throughout the internship period, so you’ll have the chance to interact with your fellow 400hr interviewees. Focus on your work and projects first, but don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor for the opportunity to meet or job shadow with people in your areas of interest.

Seek Out Mentors! Would you rather enter uncharted territory and try to blaze your trail blindly or would you rather have a few tips/tricks to help you succeed in your journey? If it’s the latter, then be sure to seek out a mentor during your internship. You might be asking, “where do I even start??” Never fear! A lot of today’s internship programs have carefully selected executive sponsors and mentors for their interns. After all, they want YOU to succeed! Other places you go for mentor assistance include your university’s career services or alumni offices. They should be able to help get you connected. If you prefer the DIY method, check out LinkedIn’s Alumni tool (click My Network, then Find Alumni) or create a simple Boolean search (ie: “awesome company ABC + Syracuse University”) and see what pops up. Be sure to connect using a personalized request like this.  Once connected, set up a short meeting, share your goals, ask for help and where you can potentially help as well. Remember, the mentor relationship goes both ways!

Do Your Homework! Ugh. Homework. Don’t you have enough of this during the regular school year?? The reality is that homework never really goes away. When you graduate, it simply goes by different names like research and preparation. As an intern, be sure to do your research and create your plan of attack so you can ROCK your presentation. Not a fan of public speaking? Check out this link for some tips on how to avoid common mistakes.

Tell Us About Your Experience! Now, hopefully your experience is a good one. Tell your friends about the things that were so great (like the culture, your team, the work, the company’s mission, etc.) AND tell them about the things that weren’t so great. You can do this in a tactful way. Sites like GlassDoor provide individuals with the opportunity to share their experiences anonymously. I’d recommend checking this site as you do your “homework” researching potential target companies for your career. Here’s why you should tell your network about your experience: personal referrals are more powerful than any corporate recruiting spiel. It’s the truth! Wouldn’t you want to get the inside scoop on the overall experience from someone you know or someone you know has had a similar college background?

PS. Vanilla Ice has something to say about internships. Click here. 🙂

Now, go out there and ACE the 400hr interview! You’re going to do great.

Anything you’d like to add? Feedback? Leave a comment! As always, thank you for reading.

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5 Tips for a Successful Skype Interview

12 04 2016

No matter what type of job you’re seeking (or going to seek),  odds are that you’ll do a Skype or teleconferencing interview. Companies especially love to use this to screen out candidates, as it’s quick and cheaper than flying you onsite.

Skype interviews can feel unnerving because you’re not physically in the same space as the person. But managed correctly, Skype interviews can be successful.

picjumbo.com_HNCK4011Here are my tips for a successful video interview (#4 is especially important).

  1.  Test out the technology at least half an hour  before hand and make sure your account and your microphone works.Have your interview contact’s phone and email prepped, in case there are tech issues and you need to speak with them in an alternative format.

  2.  Put your laptop on a regular desk (or kitchen table if you don’t have a desk at home),so you can recreate the same height and depth of sitting across from someone.

  3. Wear what you’d wear to an in-person interview, i.e.  a suit. At worst, you look overdressed, at best you seem prepared and professional.

  4. During interview, look straight into the webcam (important as it’s a way to make “eye” contact);  resist the urge to look at the person’s face the whole time as you’re not actually looking at him/her.
  1. End the interview with questions. This is universal, whether you’re in-person or doing a teleconferencing interview. You must ask three good questions, preferably those that get at what success in the job looks like, what traits/ attributes the company wants in that hire, etc.

Using these tips should help you nail that next Skype interview.

****For this informative post, Campus to Career thanks Mishri Someshwar!!****

About the author: Mishri Someshwar helps entrepreneurs and senior business leaders craft effective speeches, conference presentations, and anything else they need to sound good in front of investors, colleagues, conference attendees, and more. Past clients include startup founders, sales VPs and C-suite leaders. To get her answers on the three mostly commonly asked job interview questions, click here.





3 Great Tips to Explain an Employment Gap

23 02 2016

Most honest job-seekers with stellar resumes, sufficient experience and impeccable references also have gaps in their employment histories. Some of those gaps were filled with personally-enriching experiences such as hiking or swimming with dolphins. The issue is what such employment gaps signal to the prospective employer. After all, when you’re between jobs, the proper practice is to engage in worthwhile activities: volunteering, internships, freelancing, or taking classes. What happens when you’ve done none of those things? What if you simply took a break to mentally prepare for diving into a new, demanding job once the opportunity arose?

Karl Magnussen Interview Gap post

Not everything you’ve done during your gap may have been productive, but even so, there are some things that can be used to your advantage when discussing potential employment opportunities with hiring managers. So here’s how you can explain a longer gap in your resume and land the job you’ve been searching for:

Be honest – highlight achievements during the gap

There’s no problem with owning up to being burn out or having had needed to take some time out. That’s something that everyone deals with sooner or later in life, even hiring managers. So be honest about taking some time to recompose yourself, mention a journal or a blog you’ve kept, any new publications or activities you may have engaged in. If you took time off to travel, discuss the experience: have you had the opportunity to learn a lesson that can, in any way, relate to your career? Great! Mention it, debate it, build around it.

Were you preparing for a career change? Then discuss how you collected information about this particular change during your employment gap. Be open with the hiring manager and detail how you’ve been reading, connecting with people in the industry you’re targeting and preparing for this career change. Just like people tailor their applications to make then appeal to a potential employer (here are some absolutely creative job applications, for instance), you too can explain your gap in a way that hiring managers find understandable and acceptable.

Know how to discuss why you left your previous job

Chances are that hiring managers will ask you about the reasons why you left your previous job long before they will ask about any employment gaps so be prepared to address this issue. An ideal answer follows the well-known KISS rule (keep it short and sweet). Now, there are acceptable reasons for discontinuing employment:

  • Advancement issues: you did not find the advancement opportunities that you wished for
  • Location: unreasonably long commutes/ being forced to move
  • Job Security: working for a company that was not stable
  • Prestige: wishing to work for a more prestigious company
  • Financial reward: being underpaid for your contribution and skills

Always focus on yourself and not your previous employer. Any change should be a result of your desire for growth and career improvement.

Confidently explain how you’re qualified for the job

It’s understandable that an honest conversation about an employment gap would make you uneasy, however, confidence is paramount. Remember that resume gaps are common among job seekers and hiring managers know it. Have an answer prepared and finish with a question that moves the interview back to your capabilities and the job’s requirements:

“I’ve taken advantage of this period to better educate myself and connect with successful industry professionals who’ve gone through such a massive career shift. Getting up to speed with how the job hunting process has changed also took more than I had anticipated, but all these experiences helped me grow. Here I am, determined, persistent and re-fueled. “

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Karl Magnussen!!****





[INFOGRAPHIC]: How to React to Weird Interview Questions

17 02 2016

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There is a growing trend among employers these days: ask really weird interview questions. So what is the purpose? Is it just to entertain them or is there something else?

Well…it may be for entertainment purposes, but there might a deeper reason behind questions such as: If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?

Thanks to these questions, they can see, how a prospective new employee can react to something unexpected. It shows how interviewees can think outside of the box. Some of the questions are specially designed to determine job seeker’s analytical thinking.

So how do you react if you get this kind of question? Don’t worry. Some of the genius answers we all saw on the internet are just made up stories. Your answer doesn’t have to be especially brilliant, but it should be somehow creative.

Take your time to think about it, but don’t stare at the wall with a blank look. Try to highlight some of your strengths in your answer. Think of something that wouldn’t be a standard answer to the question. Make yourself easy to remember (in a good way)!

Google. Tesla. Apple. These are companies that we’ve heard ask really weird questions. Questions like these…

 

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****For this fun post, Campus to Career thanks our friends over at KickResume!!****





Blow Your Interviewer Away: Smooth Responses To Simple Questions

1 09 2015

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An interview often happens to be the only thing standing in between you and your dream job; it’s the make-it-or-break-it phase of your job hunt. If you’ve just been selected for a job interview, you may be wondering how to get past that final barrier to the sumptuous package that lies ahead. Well, it’s not easy to face an interviewer’s barrage of questions, but with adequate preparation, you can definitely increase your chances of success.

It’s important to know as much as possible about the questions that you’re most likely to be asked in your interview. This way, you can strategize your approach from the very beginning. You need to frame razor-sharp responses that precisely address each of your interviewer’s queries.

Here’s how you these 4 common interview questions with a little spunk and pizzazz.

Question 1 – What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

Interviewers ask you this question to gauge the way you think of yourself and also to look out for any self-esteem issues. You need to be sure that your answer is in-line with what you truly believe of yourself and not oversell or underscore your weaknesses. One approach is to be witty about the question. For instance you can reply with, “I learned that it makes no sense for me to work on things that I’m not great at, and it makes no sense for me to think of myself as having weaknesses. These days I focus on getting better at things I’m already good at”.

This will help you come across as an inherently positive individual, which can never be a bad thing. Convince the hiring manager that you can provide value to the team by listing out your previous accomplishments; these can be skills that you developed while working or the crisis situations that you handled successfully in the past.

Question 2 – Do You Think That You’re The Best Person For This Position?

By posing this question, the interviewer aims to understand how you’re different from the other job applicants. In order to pass this test, you need to know what truly sets you apart from the crowd. One way to go about it is by proving that you are in fact different. Deliver a quirky response like, “That’s what we’re here to figure out, I guess! I can’t say that you should hire me or if I’m the best person for this position”. Make sure that your tone is polite and you don’t sound too haughty or arrogant. Being quirky can work wonders for you and ensure that you don’t get muddled with the other applicants.

Question 3 – Where do you see yourself in five years?

This tricky question can cement your interviewer’s approval if answered in the right manner. Almost a staple question at the end of the interview, the recruiter is trying to comprehend your ability to plan and also judge your ambition and willpower. Instead of playing by the books, you can come up with an unusual response for instance, “Exploring one of my passions, undoubtedly—maybe in Finance, or my interest in e-commerce or in an international role. I have a lot of passions!”

This not only presents you as someone willing to think out-of-the-box, but also as a potential employee who isn’t one-note and dull.

Question 4 – Why Should We Hire You?

Interviewers raise this question to find out what you think of yourselves. Instead of replying with a sleep inducing answer listing your capabilities and past experience, why not try something new and more aligned with your personality. You can say something along the lines of, “You have to hire someone, you may as well give me a try”. Again, be very careful with your tone and ensure that you come across as funny and light-hearted rather than rude and obnoxious.

Interviewers across an industry usually rely on a standard set of questions to test aspirants. Instead of being monotonous and clichéd, stay true to yourself and let your personality shine through with each answer.

Photo credit: Ben Rosett

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Rakesh Singh!!****

rakesh singhAbout the author: As Head of Marketing at Aditi Staffing, Rakesh is responsible for organizational brand outlook. Rakesh, very strongly believes in the golden circle of why, how and what and supports Aditi Staffing’s success by connecting the brand with candidates, clients and the recruitment engineers in the same manner. With over 10 years of experience in various sales and marketing roles including an entrepreneurship attempt in the Digital Display Advertising world, he brings a comprehensive approach to Aditi Staffing’s brand management in the global recruitment market.