J Patrick + Associates Blog

Seal The Deal: The Sales Engineer Product Demonstration Interview

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

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The road to a job offer for a Sales Engineer can look a bit different from other roles after the initial stages.

After impressing the hiring manager during your call or video interview, you've had a technical screen, interviewed with a senior sales engineer or perhaps some peers SEs. You might have even been screened by 1 or 2 of the sales reps you'd be supporting.

Now it's time for the final hurdle of the interview process -- the product demonstration interview. 

Whether you've been an SE for years, or this is your chance to step up into the role, there are some key factors to keep in mind as you prep for the demo.

The Ideal Candidate Marries Aptitude + Attitude

The ideal candidate for any SE role obviously has to have the technical knowledge and facility needed to support the product. But you know if you hadn't passed the technical screen you wouldn't be preparing to give a demo.

So, your job during the presentation goes way beyond being able to explain the back end of the product. The real point of the demonstration interview is demonstrating that you are relatable, passionate and creative.

Hiring managers are looking for SEs who can both make the tech accessible and clear, while instilling trust in the clients. Your job is to be an evangelist for the product, to transfer your enthusiasm and to tell the story of why this is the perfect solution for the customer.

Conveying that you have the perfect combination of aptitude and attitude during your presentationo will put you within reach of an offer.

Confidence is Key

Since you aren't doing a demonstration for customers you don't have the benefit of discovery or a pre-call. And while you will have done your research on the hiring team, you're not pitching the product to fill a real need for them. In fact, you might even be in the position of having to demo the hiring company's product for them.

And puts you at a disadvantage. Whereas you're accustomed to being the expert in the room, suddenly you're in the position of having to sell people who know more about the solution than you do.

But, that doesn't mean you can't knock this demo out of the park.

And the key to that is confidence.

We're not talking cocky swagger here. This is the confidence born of practice, research and deep, well-structured preparation. It's the ability to hold your agenda and convey your enthusiasm.

In some ways, a room full of skeptics is the best test of your talents. If you can convincingly sell a panel of Senior Sales Engineers, the VP of Sales and the hiring manager on their own product, then you can face the toughest customer challenges out there.

Share Your Passion

If your presentation is on the subject of your choice, choose something you're passionate about. Pick something you've done the deep research on, and that you can speak with perfect authority about.

We had a candidate do a demo on remote controlled helicopters - a subject that had absolutely nothing to do with the company's product, but it was a topic he could be an evangelist for.

He nailed the demo and got the job.

Close the Deal

Whether you're presenting on your current product, the hiring company's product or your favorite hobby, a successful Sales Engineers knows how to make any set of circumstances work.

You might not wind your demo looking for the sale, but you do want to bring the pitch to a clean close. Just as you know how to convert prospects into customers by from a position of knowledge intent on finding a solution, use that power of creative know-how to get the job.

Engaging with the room honestly - one person to another. Stay on target, explain functionality of the solution and convey your passion for helping them put a solution to work.

 

Looking for your next move? Give us a call, and....

Let's Get To Work!

Tags: Job Interviews, Sales Engineer

Yes, You can Rescue an Interview After a Bad First Impression!

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Apr 04, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

Rescue your interview after a bad first impression.jpgFirst impressions matter. In fact, they're more powerful than facts. Research has shown that we form our most lasting impressions of someone within the first 5 seconds of meeting them, and that we rarely change these initial ideas even in the face of hard evidence.

5 seconds.

That’s hardly enough time to walk in the door of an interview and take your seat, let alone make a strong case why you’re the best candidate for the job. But, it is enough time to blow an interview. Stumbling over a bump in the carpet, offering up a weak handshake, poor eye contact, or misjudging your wardrobe can all cost you dearly.

Prevailing wisdom dictates that it takes at least 8 positive interactions to overcome a bad first impression. And while that may sound insurmountable, the good news is there are some things you can do to hit the reset button and reverse your losses.

TAKE A CUE FROM PERFORMERS

Think back to the last time you were watching a live performance and a dancer slipped, or an actor flubbed their lines. The dancer who seamlessly continues on with the choreography or the actor who allows the gaffe play in their favor often wind up as audience favorites. It’s the ones who pull a face, or get so flustered they can’t find their place that lose the audience’s favor - something no amount of raw talent can make up for.

Handling mistakes with grace goes a long way to mitigate their potential damage. Allow yourself a brief moment to recover, make a small joke or offer a polite apology appropriate. What is important is to dust yourself off and get back to the business at hand. You’re there for a reason - to get the job - now is the time to focus on that.  

REMAIN POSITIVE

Running yourself down or trying to overcompensate with ongoing apologies will only serve to highlight your flaws. Unless you’ve been summarily dismissed from the interview, you still have the opportunity to turn things around. It’s important that you turn your attention from yourself and your embarrassment and toward your interviewer.

Demonstrating that you are flexible and can bounce back from setbacks is attractive to potential employers- use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your resilience.

PIVOT

Now is the time to return the full force of your focus to the interview. Leave the mistakes behind and communicate in an open, expressive manner. Let the interviewer see who you are and your core competencies. Shine a light on what you bring to the company and try to help them see you in a new.

A word of caution: Don’t push. Overcompensating with only serve to further alienate yourself and could do even greater damage than the original slip-up.

FIND COMMON GROUND 

Even a bad first impression can be softened if you and the other person share something in common. It is more difficult to affirm the negative ideas we formed when confronted by similarities. If you and your interviewer share a point of view or interest, they are less likely to hold their initial reaction against you.

CLOSE STRONG

 Just as first impressions are important, the end of an interview can have lasting effects. Arriving prepared, having done your homework and presenting your interviewer with well considered solutions can help stem the tide that was flowing against you. There’s no reason to allow a poor beginning to set the tone for the entire interview- you’ve come to sell yourself, don’t sell yourself short.

LET IT BE

There are also those things that are outside of your control. All that you can do it make certain that you are professional, and have communicated the value you bring to any position clearly. Focus on the things that are in your control and let the blunders and mistakes be your teachers for future interviews. After all, if you chose to wear grey shoes to an interview and the hiring manager absolutely detests grey shoes, there’s nothing you can do about it.

Aside from wearing neutral black next time.

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J. Patrick & Associates, Inc is an Executive Recruiting firm that focuses on Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Technical roles within Information Technology markets. We have over 20 years of experience recruiting in every aspect of AV/VTC/UC, Application, Storage, Information/Network Security, Mobile Technologies and Telecommunications.

Tags: Job Search, Networking, Job Interviews

Do Video Conferencing Interviews Save or Cost Your Company?

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

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More and more companies have begun using video conferencing to conduct the early stages of the interview screening process. What begun as a trend, has now become an industry standard, but is this really an effective use of a company’s resources? Let’s explore some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of video interviews from a cost/benefit perspective.  

STRENGTHS

Convenience

The need for two people to be in the same room is eliminated. Hiring managers and candidates both enjoy greater flexibility, meetings no longer have to be confined to the office, and both parties can meet from the comfort of their own office or home. 

Cuts Costs

Handling candidate screening remotely can cut traveling, scheduling, and costs. Money saved can be re-allocated to improving productivity in other sectors of the organization, or towards expansion. Similar to phone interviews, video feed can be one of the most cost effective ways to meet candidates.

WEAKNESSES:

No Face-to-Face Interactions

There’s no better way to get a feel for someone than shaking their hand and sitting across from them. Video can flatten out an interaction, allowing cues you might have picked up in person, to go unseen. When deciding to bring someone into your department, you want to be assured that there’s chemistry and a connection, something you can only fully experience in person.

Feel for the Space

During a face-to-face meeting, candidates are able to get a feel for the environment of the office. Remote meetings cut out the possibility for spontaneous introductions to different team members, while also eliminating the candidate’s opportunity to get a sense of what the office is like. A potential hire's first visit to the office is also one way of seeing if they are a good cultural fit for your organization.

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OPPORTUNITIES

Saves Time

Time is money. Instead of budgeting time to get to and from the physical location, all that is necessary is a block of time in front of a computer. Most importantly, video conferencing reduces the time it takes to fill an open position, as you are able to meet more candidates in a shorter period of time.

Broader Selection

Distance is no longer be an issue for first or second round interviews. You can connect with candidates all over the globe with a touch of a button, allowing you to reach out and discover the hidden potential in unexplored terrains. You don't have to miss out on discovering the final piece to your puzzle because the applicant lives too far away. 

Playback  

One of the prime features embedded in a virtual interview is the ability to rewatch or playback the meeting. After a face-to-face meeting, you are left to rely on memory and notes you took during the conversation. Video conferencing allows you to take a second look to analyze body language, or discover cues that might have slipped past you in the moment. You can dig deeper into the candidate's responses, and you can get more team members involved in the decision process.

THREATS

Glitches

For all of its advantages, technology can sometimes be unreliable. There’s always the possibility for hardware/software problems. Connection is a two way street, so the chances of an interference is doubled, and the wait time can be unpredictable. Lag and delay can both cause interruptions. Hardware problems such as microphone/webcam failures can make communication problematic. WIth video conferencing you’re buying into the possibility that complications can disrupt an entire interview, setting back your workday.

With the benefits of cutting costs and time, it makes sense to switch over to video conferencing for the early stages of the screening process. 

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Turn Down An Interview

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

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Here you are happy as can be in your current position, when out of the blue you get a call from a recruiter (or a friend drops you a line) saying they've got an amazing opportunity for you.

You weren't thinking about leaving - you like your job, your boss is a peach and life is running like clockwork. So you might be tempted to turn down the opportunity to go on the interview, after all you're busy, why waste anyone's time?

Well, there are some great reasons to take the interview, and not all of them center around finding a new job.

1) The Best Laid Plans

As they say, the only thing you can count on is change. One day things are running smoothly at work, and the next day you come in to find your company is being acquired. Or maybe your boss gets promoted or leaves and and now your team is learning how to work with a new leader. The new boss may not think as highly of you as the old boss, they may have a style that clashes with yours or they may simply have someone else they want to put in your position. You certainly can't plan for this kind of upheaval.

On the other end of the spectrum, you never know when you might stumble into the job of your dreams. We've all heard the stories of people who reluctantly went on an interview only to find their dream position.

Taking the time to meet for a coffee or lunch time interview may just be the best thing you can do to maintain control of your destiny.

2) Loyalty Can Be A Slippery Slope

Long gone are the days when a career spanned 25 years, and ended with a retirement party and a gold watch. In fact, the new normals for millennials is to spend an average of 2.5 years at any one position.

And even if you do find yourself in a long term position, you might be selling yourself short. Chances are incremental raises and promotions will not carry the same kind of bump in $ a new job will (unless of course you are given a counteroffer). Then too is the reality that there's a limit to how far one can climb at the same firm. While your boss may think highly of you, if you are looking to move into a new area or take on responsibilities that greatly vary from your current position, you might just stand a better chance of being thought of in a new light somewhere new.

And finally, the truth is, when cuts need to be made some companies will look to cut the costliest employees first. If the choice comes down between someone who is working near the top of the pay grade and a newer hire, chances are you very well might be the first on the chopping block.

 3) There's No Such Thing As Wasted Time

Just as going on vacation is a great way to re-energize and open new pathways of thinking, so too is talking to other companys.

Gaining insight into how other companies operate and other teams engage can act as jet fuel for your current position. While you're certainly not taking these meetings to spy, you can use it as a window into industry trends.

Information is power, so even if you're not interested in pursuing the opportunity any further, the worst thing that will come of the interview is insights into market trends. It might also highligh just how good you have it at your present job.

4) Stay On Your Toes

You know you should be keeping your resume up to date and your LinkedIn profile current, but if you're not always looking for the next great opportunity, most of us simply won't do it until we need to. But if you wait until you've either left or lost your present position, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage. No one wants to have to do that under duress.

5) Build A Better You

There's nothing like getting out in the world to see yourself in a new light. Even if you get nothing else from an interview, it's an opportunity to test how you rate in the marketplace. Afford yourself the chance to test which of your skills are in demand and which you are lacking. You'll be able to see how the marketplace views you and get a better understanding of your strengths and where you need to learn. Any chance to brush up your interview chops is one you should jump at.

There are however a few words of caution you must keep in mind:

  • Don't make phone calls on company time
  • Do not use company equipment to make phone calls, send emails, faxes or do research
  • Remain focused on your job while you're at work
  • If you can avoid it, don't schedule an interview during work hours
  • Don't make any mentions on social media
  • Don't use current co-workers or colleagues as references

As long as you remember these few rules, we encourage you to take advantage of every interview that comes your way, you never know where it will lead you!

Looking for a new opportunity? Let's Get To Work!

 

Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

How To Make The Most Of An Employment Gap

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Nov 28, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

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Returning to the workforce after a hiatus (either planned or involuntary) accounting for a gap in employment can be daunting. But whether you’ve been out of the job market for a few months or a number of years, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that prospective employers view your hiatus as time well spent, rather than damaging blank space on your resume.

Embrace the Gap

As much as you may want to try to make an employment gap disappear when getting back into the workforce, you must embrace it. You are much better off accounting for it, than trying to make believe it never happened. If for example, your hiatus was devoted to raising children, include it as such on your resume: 2011-2016 Time off to stay at home with my children/care for parents etc. Be clear and honest, and know that having taken time off doesn’t make you a less valuable employment prospect.

Highlight Volunteer Work

It may be tempting to minimize the impact volunteer work may have on your career, but if you step back, you you'll see that you gained valuable skills and experience by working with a non-for profit institution or school. By highlighting this experience you are showing prospective employers that you are willing to use your skills to be a positive force in your community, that you are passionate about certain causes, and you are engaged in building new skill sets.

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Don’t forget to avail yourself of those connections you made when volunteering when you’re looking for your next position. Even if they are not able to help connect you with prospective employers, they can write recommendations for your LinkedIn profile and provide you with endorsements.

Keep Learning

Employers will be less apt to balk at a gap if you’ve been busy working on your education. And understand this is not a bias that’s limited to University or degree work. Take the time during your hiatus to get current with certifications and trainings and learn new skills. Employers will see you’ve been dedicated to keeping your skill sharp, and are returning up to date with the latest trends in your sector.

Practice Your Story

When it comes to the interview, you need to be able to explain your hiatus in a way that allows you to be seen as an exciting prospect. Don't fall to the temptation to apologize for your hiatus. All that's called for is a concise explanationto help remove any doubts of your readiness and appeal to a potential employer. Know what you have to offer and be ready to voice it in just a few sentences. Understanding how to tell your story may take some time and practice, but it will deliver dividends when you are pitching yourself for a job.

Practice telling your story with both friends and people who don't know you so well - it will help strenghten your pitch and work out any hesitation or weakness.

While there may be a pervasive bias against people who have left the workforce for a hiatus, how you handle it can make all the difference in your job search.

If you’re ready for to end your hiatus, or are looking for a new job, contact one of our recruiters here at J.Patrick & Associates. We are an Executive Recruiting firm that focuses on Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Technical roles within Information Technology markets. We have over 20 years of experience recruiting in every aspect of AV/VTC/UC, Application, Storage, Information/Network Security, Mobile Technologies and Telecommunications.

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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Networking, Job Interviews

3 Reasons Why Hiring Managers Need To Always Be Recruiting

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

3 Reasons Why Hiring Managers Need to Always Be Recruiting.pngIf you’re a hiring manager with a fully staffed team, you might assume there’s no need to keep seeing candidates. After all, you’re busy and need to keep your focus on rewarding your top performers, continually training the guys in the middle and pushing the team members who are lagging behind. Why waste time interviewing candidates for a position that doesn’t exist?

Well, there are several important reasons why you should always be recruiting that transcend simply filling vacancies.

Gather Intel

Regardless of what business you’re in, you need to constantly be gleaning intelligence about your brand’s position in the marketplace. By always being willing to interview candidates with in-demand skills you are creating an awareness of your brand and stoking interest for openings down the road.

It's also an invaluable way to get all kinds of information about your place in the marketplace.

  • How are you perceived by your user base?
  • How does your brand stand up in the marketplace?
  • What’s your reputation out in the job market?

Additionally, it allows you to stay current on your competition. If you want to learn how other companies in your sector operate, you have to keep speaking to people on the inside. And who better to learn from than someone who is looking to move on.  

  • Where does your company stand against your competition in terms of pay structure, quotas, the tools they use.
  • How is the morale at your competitors?
  • Are they hiring?
  • Are they losing people?
  • Do they have a high level of management churn?

Building a fluid picture of your place in the industry is key to staying competitive.

Feed Your Pipeline

Even if you have your dream team in place and can’t foresee it changing anytime soon, you have to remember that life happens. People leave, they get promoted or maybe they’re unexpectedly moved to fill a hole in another group. And let’s be honest, not every hire delivers on their potential.

If you don’t have a pipeline of top quality candidates to draw from, then you’re stuck either with a mediocre performer or worse, with an empty desk. And if you’re in sales, you know that a vacancy is costing you not only productivity, but is draining your own quota. This is a high price to pay for not planning ahead.

Pop Your Filter Bubble To Stay Competitive.

When you look out over the same vista day after day, it’s easy to lose perspective. Just as you might talk to your mentors, attend conferences and keep up with with your peers in order to gain new insights into your sector, interviewing candidates allows you to see what’s possible.

It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that the team you have is the team you’ll always have. But if you are meeting candidates on an ongoing basis, you’ll see that you have options. You don’t have to tough it out with the salesperson who’s struggling to keep up, nor do you have to put up with the cancer in the locker room.

What it really comes down to is the difference between simply filling vacancies as the occur, and engaging in workforce planning. The first model leaves your team exposed and under pressure to cover the workload left behind by a vacancy. But if you always make the time to meet qualified candidates you'll be far more nimble and ready to act when you find yourself with an empty desk.

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, management

8 Tips For Acing A Phone Interview

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

8 TIPS FOR ACING A PHONE INTERVIEW.pngWhen J. Patrick & Associates first opened 25 years ago, the vast majority of interviews we set up for our clients were face-to-face meetings, based on a resume and our recommendation. Phone interviews were rare and arranged primarily for remote candidates. Well, times have changed, and today more and more of our clients require a phone interview regardless of the candidates apparent qualifications.

Make no mistake about it, a strong resume is still of prime importance, but hiring managers have taken to the phone interview as the first point of contact. Certainly there are the obvious considerations of time and money saved, but phone interviews  lower the threshold for the hiring manager. Fifteen minutes on the phone with a candidate is a far more expeditious way to answer some basic questions about a candidate’s suitability and appeal than having to sit through a longer meeting.

And while you might think an interview is an interview is an interview, knowing that there are some key differences between an phone interview and one held face- to-face can mean the difference between failing to get to the next step and landing an offer.

The Phone interview is your first and best opportunity to make a good-impression. Follow these 8 pro-tips to ensure it’s not your last.

PREPARATION IS KEY

Just as you do your homework in advance of an in-person interview, you must do your due diligence for a phone call. Be careful of falling into the mindset that a phone interview is somehow less important or just a necessary hurdle you have to get past to get to the real thing.

1) Do Your Homework

Research the company and the interviewer. Understanding what their strengths are and what challenges they might be facing are key to presenting yourself as a necessary addition to their company.

2) Make Notes Ahead of time

One great advantage of a phone interview is that you can use a “cheat-sheet” to refer to. Always have the necessary and vital statistics on the company close at hand so that you are prepared when asked what you know about the company.

Also be certain to print your resume, cover letter and any other supporting material you want to present and keep them close at hand. You don’t want to have to go digging for anything while on the phone, nor hem and haw as you try to remember why you left a previous position. Don’t make  your interviewer feel that your attention is not 100% focused on the conversation.

Write out your questions ahead of time so that you can be sure to get the answers you need. Remember too that interviews are as much an opportunity for you to find out if the company is a good fit for you as it is for the hiring manager.

3) Clear Your Calendar

Assuming you have a scheduled interview be certain to allow yourself 10-15 minutes in advance of the call to prepare and clear your head of other business.

If you don’t have the advantage of a scheduled time and the call comes in when you are not prepared to focus on it, you can always allow the call to go to voice mail - it’s unlikely it would be held against you. The better option, however, would be to say something like, “I’m not at my desk at the moment, when would be a good time for me to call you back?”

4) Dress the Part

It might sound counter-intuitive, but doing a phone interview from home in your sweats does not give you the best advantage. While no one might be able to see you except your cat, dog or pet fish, how you dress has a direct influence on how you feel. 

While you want to be comfortable and not on edge, watch your posture and body language. Your interviewer may not be able to see you but they will be able to pick up on subtle hints when you’re not fully engaged or energized.

5) Clear the Distractions

Thirty minutes or more before your call check that your cell signal is strong and even and/or that your Skype connection is stable. You might also want to disable call waiting and other features that might break up the flow of your conversation.

Put the dog somewhere else, send the kids out of the house and close the windows. There’s nothing more frustrating that loud, extraneous noises on the other end of the phone. It’s best to find as quiet and contained an environment as possible for the phone call. If your home is not a viable option, see if you can’t borrow some office space from a friend or perhaps book time a short session in a co-working space.

6) Listen First/Talk Second

 Once the call comes in, answer with your name - it’s a small thing but can go a long way to showing the interviewer you are professional.

Be certain to listen attentively - even though they can’t see you, we’ve all experienced that sensation that the person on the other end of the phone is not quite with us. Let them know you are actively engaged in listening- a few well placed “I see’s,”’ go a long way to create a bond during a phone conversation.

Unlike a face-to-face interview where you have the benefit of body language and other non-verbal communication, it’s wise to wait a beat (a count of 2 or 3) before answering a question just in case your interviewer has not finished with their question. There’s nothing worse than interrupting or speaking on top of someone, especially in an interview.

The one advantage of not having physical cues during a phone interview is that it keeps the distractions down, you can make your pitch free from the very human instinct to constantly interpret visual clues.

7) Speak with Distinction: Speaking on the phone requires slightly different inflections and an alteration in tempo. Slow down and articulate.

If you have a very low voice, you may want to try speaking at a slightly higher pitch - it will help with relay a better sense of engagement and avoid miscommunication.

Pro-Tip Not all HR and hiring managers do well on the phone. Some might ramble or be distracted themselves. If this is the case, use the opportunity to show them that you’ve done your homework and can keep the conversation focused on what you can offer the company.

8) End On A Positive Note

Thank your interviewer for their time and the information they’ve provided. If you’re interested in the position make certain to let them know that. Saying something like, “I’m very interested by all that I’ve heard and am confident I could add value to your company,” is a clear, professional message of your intent.

Send a thank you note via email within the same business day to once again thank them for their time, reiterating your interest in the position and reaffirming the value you bring to the position.

As in any interview once it is over the next thing you have to do is let it go. As long as you were prepared, thorough, professional and personable, then you’ve done everything you can within your control. The rest is out of your hands, so change out of those work clothes, put your sweats on and let the dog back into the house.

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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

Will Video Conferencing Interviews Save or Cost Your Company?

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 @ 11:30 AM

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More and more companies have begun using video conferencing to conduct the early stages of the interview screening process. What begun as a trend, has now become an industry standard, but is this really an effective use of a company’s resources? Let’s explore some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of video interviews from a cost/benefit perspective.  

STRENGTHS

Convenience

The need for two people to be in the same room is eliminated. Hiring managers and candidates both enjoy greater flexibility, meetings no longer have to be confined to the office, and both parties can meet from the comfort of their own office or home. 

Cuts Costs

Handling candidate screening remotely can cut traveling, scheduling, and costs. Money saved can be re-allocated to improving productivity in other sectors of the organization, or towards expansion. Similar to phone interviews, video feed can be one of the most cost effective ways to meet candidates.

WEAKNESSES:

No Face-to-Face Interactions

There’s no better way to get a feel for someone than shaking their hand and sitting across from them. Video can flatten out an interaction, allowing cues you might have picked up in person, to go unseen. When deciding to bring someone into your department, you want to be assured that there’s chemistry and a connection, something you can only fully experience in person.

Feel for the Space

During a face-to-face meeting, candidates are able to get a feel for the environment of the office. Remote meetings cut out the possibility for spontaneous introductions to different team members, while also eliminating the candidate’s opportunity to get a sense of what the office is like. A potential hire's first visit to the office is also one way of seeing if they are a good cultural fit for your organization.

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OPPORTUNITIES

Saves Time

Time is money. Instead of budgeting time to get to and from the physical location, all that is necessary is a block of time in front of a computer. Most importantly, video conferencing reduces the time it takes to fill an open position, as you are able to meet more candidates in a shorter period of time.

Broader Selection

Distance is no longer be an issue for first or second round interviews. You can connect with candidates all over the globe with a touch of a button, allowing you to reach out and discover the hidden potential in unexplored terrains. You don't have to miss out on discovering the final piece to your puzzle because the applicant lives too far away. 

Playback  

One of the prime features embedded in a virtual interview is the ability to rewatch or playback the meeting. After a face-to-face meeting, you are left to rely on memory and notes you took during the conversation. Video conferencing allows you to take a second look to analyze body language, or discover cues that might have slipped past you in the moment. You can dig deeper into the candidate's responses, and you can get more team members involved in the decision process.

THREATS

Glitches

For all of its advantages, technology can sometimes be unreliable. There’s always the possibility for hardware/software problems. Connection is a two way street, so the chances of an interference is doubled, and the wait time can be unpredictable. Lag and delay can both cause interruptions. Hardware problems such as microphone/webcam failures can make communication problematic. WIth video conferencing you’re buying into the possibility that complications can disrupt an entire interview, setting back your workday.

With the benefits of cutting costs and time, it makes sense to switch over to video conferencing for the early stages of the screening process. 

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring

The Pros & Cons of Contract Work

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

PROS__CONS.pngThe word on the street in Silicon Valley is that we are currently in a “gig economy.” What that means is that more and more people are opting to work as independent contractors, as opposed to traditional full-time employment. According to new research, conducted by labor economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, between 2005 and 2015 the number of Americans seeking alternative work arrangements swelled by 9.4 million. The swing towardcontract employment can be explained by several factors, such as the need for flexible work hours, to the desire for increased autonomy.

But, if you find yourself thinking about joining the growing ranks of contract workers, you need to first understand the pro and cons of this kind of work.

PRO: Potential for Higher Earnings

Companies look to hire contract staffing because it provides the flexibility they need, it saves time, money and resources. However, they are looking to hire experts, not neophytes. They do not want to invest in training or other onboarding expenses. A contractor who knows what to do and how to get it done in a timely manner, is worth top dollar. They come in, do the job and don't put any further drain on company resources.

CON: Increased Uncertainty

The potential for higher earnings is a great benefit of work-for-hire, but there’s no guarantee you will keep working once a contract expires. And since the nature of the work you’ve been hired to do is finite, you have no guarantee that you’ll make the money you thought you would. Another other thing to consider is that the project you were hired to work on can be unexpectedly cancelled. All of these factors can add up to increased financial instability --if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid.

And finally, there’s no way of knowing the amount of time you’ll spend between contracts.  

PRO: Lifestyle Flexibility

According to Randstad’s Workforce360 Study, about 86% of independent contractors reported their level of job satisfaction to be good/excellent. With this kind of work arrangement comes more freedom, you’re able to control your career path without having to wade through office politics for a promotion, pay raise, or time off. You negotiate to get the employment packages that suit you best, and you take as much or as little time off in between contracts. If this type of flexibility is appealing to you, then contracting out may be the best of all worlds.  

CON: Outside Looking In

All that flexibility may be nice, but the price you pay is that you’ll always be the outsider.  Contract work makes it difficult to create connections that might help advance your career further down the road. There’s also the fluid and evr- changing nature of social engagement at work. As we all know, you spend more time at work than at home, so your social life tends to stem from your work life. Relationships are fleeting and lasting bonds are rearely formed. 

PRO: Increased Technical & Professional Knowledge

You’re an expert in your field, and have a certain skill set that companies in your industry want. But, contract work also provides the opportunity to sharpen your expertise and work in different sectors. It allows you to broaden your experience in your field and perhaps gain new skills in other industries. You’re at liberty to choose the skills that you would like to further develop in other industries, allowing you to enhance your CV and marketability for future jobs. It can also be part of your story when explaining an employment gap to a potential employer.

CON: Career Development

The freedom provided by contract work to broaden your technical and professional skills means that you are in charge of your own development. Great, right? Maybe not. Although it feels empowering to be in charge of your own career development, it is a heavy burden to bear. You no longer have the human resources department or a talent management team to ensure that you’re properly trained and qualified for the job. It is now up to you to make sure that your skill set is up to par with the current trends of the industry.

Like everything in life, contract employment has its benefits and drawbacks. Although it might not be a career long plan, if you’re returning back to the work force or need a flexible work arrangement, contract work very well might be a great option.

 

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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

To Hire The Right Candidate, You Need To Do This First

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Wed, Oct 05, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

To_Hire_The_Right_Candidate_You_Need_To_Do_This_First.png

Hiring managers know that filling vacancies can be time consuming. Reading through resumes, conducting phone interviews, and vetting potential candidates can end up taking you away from your other responsibilities.

But taking the time to get the job done right from the very beginning, even before you start collecting resumes, can end up saving you time, money, and headaches. Spare yourself the struggle and do it right the first time.

Here are some important aspects to consider before you start seeing candidates for an opening.

Understand The Company

Let your mission statement be your guide to success! A well crafted mission statement, one that reveals the character of your company is one of the best ways to attract desirable candidates. Make sure that the key qualities that your company values are easily identifiable in all of your materials. If a company’s main focus is “Going Green” and the potential candidate disregards the practice of taking care of the environment, then maybe they're not the best pick for the position. When interviewing a candidate, ask how their personal goals intersect with the company’s. If both are in alignment, you could have a very good match on your hands.

Understand the Role

Before the interview process, it's important that you understand the open position and obligations that are embedded within it. Any vacancies should be thoroughly explored before you hand a job description off to human resources. Discover faults or pain points in the role. Find out why the position requires certain specifications.

A study from the National Business Research Institute has shown the two leading factors that attribute to a failed hire are poor skills match and unclear performance objectives.

This isn't to say that you need your human resources department to become experts on all company roles. However, you do want them to be familiar with the tasks that are performed during an average day, so the filtering process can run at a much more efficient pace. Putting yourself in the shoes of the candidate could further help your search to finding the most qualified employee.

Also, take the time to understand why this certain position was left vacant. See if you can look through old employee concerns and reports. If you can assign a problem, then you can apply a solution. 

Now, Take Your Time (But Not Too Much Time)

Hiring managers need to strike a balance between finding qualified candidates, and doing so in an efficient and respectable amount of time. Taking too long to close a hire can result in the lose of a worthy applicant, and rushing the process can lead to a bad match. According to the National Business Research Institute,  43% of employers cited that filling vacant positions in a limited amount of time resulted in unfit and unqualified hires.

You can think of the hiring process as oddly similar to the dating game. In a technical aspect, two parties engage, shape a bond, and establish goals that pursue together. When a company hires someone, they are granting them access to numerous resources and assets. An unsuccessful match can result in loss of time, money, and in some cases, can lead to security vulnerabilities.

Having to refill a position after a failed hire is a time consuming and costly endeavor. Find your balance and place the right candidate the first time.  

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, recruiting