J Patrick + Associates Blog

BEST Practices for Hiring Managers in 2023

Posted by Jarrett Zike & Kevin Seche on Tue, Dec 06, 2022 @ 12:00 PM

Interviewing Techniques 101: The Dos and Don'ts of the Hiring Process

You might knee-jerk to thinking that interviews are predominantly stressful for candidates, but this would frequently be an unfair assessment of the situation. While managers need to make good hires, they also want to leave the candidate with a positive impression of themselves and the company. 

The recruitment process can be lengthy (although it doesn't have to be), and as you would rightfully expect a candidate to come to the interview ready, you, as a hiring manager, should be equally well prepared. 

Using practical hiring strategies can change the outcome of interviews and allow you to improve your job postings, interview skills, and the thought processes behind posting a job opportunity.  Here are some effective and simple interview tips for hiring managers looking to improve their approach to interviewing. 

Before the Interview  

1. Have an idea of who you'll be talking to

  Take the time to look at any notes from HR or the person who conducted the screening interview, as well as a recent resume, LinkedIn page, and any other documents they have submitted. If the candidate’s other social media pages are public, give those a look as well. These can save you loads of time in the event of a personality lemon, and they can also provide a basis for early-interview small talk, which will be discussed in a few paragraphs. 

 

2. Learn all there is to know about the position

It's important to understand the details of the role for which you are hiring if you want to match an ideal candidate to the position.  Having a thorough understanding of role-specific skill sets, certifications, educational requirements, and requisite experience will all put you in a good position to identify the best candidates. 

You should also think about the specific projects the candidate would work on and what KPIs or measurements of success are important to the role. This information will allow you to ask better, more targeted questions of the candidate.  

 

3. Go into the interview with a plan

Interviewing a candidate without a plan is a recipe for failure, so you’ll want to map out how you’d like the interview to progress. This is especially important if you end up with a particularly charismatic or garrulous candidate. Some people can talk about anything for as long as you let them, so you’ll want to have a plan for this contingency that doesn’t require you to appear impatient.    

Additionally, if you don’t have much experience interviewing, a working outline will give you an added boost of confidence and direction. It’s something to fall back on if need be. You should also ask experienced colleagues to run a mock interview with you. This will produce valuable insights into how your interview could go and allow you to make adjustments before the rubber hits the road. 

During the Interview

4. Greet the candidate

You want the candidate to feel as comfortable as possible, so feel free to take a few minutes at the start of the interview for some friendly conversation to help break the ice.  Remember that you are the face of the company and a prospective boss to the candidate, so it is ideal to leave a positive impression whether you hire a given person or not. 

A note on small talk: While being friendly is important, you want to keep the conversation on track and relevant to the role, so err on the side of short and sweet.  

 

5. Respect the candidate's time

Things happen. Meetings run late, surprise fires need to be put out, children do predictable but inconveniently childish things. If you happen to get held up, find a way to reach out to the candidate and make them aware of the situation. You don’t want a winner walking out because you were running late and didn’t think to touch base. 

 

6. Take Notes, Listen more, Talk less

Hiring can become complex, especially when interviewing multiple candidates for various roles within your organization or team. Taking notes will help you keep track of candidates and how their interviews went. 

It is also important to let candidates answer your questions completely.  Listening and allowing them to fully answer each question will prevent you from missing details that you wouldn’t know were that important if didn’t let them elaborate.  

After the interview

7. Make a report

You will want to review your notes from the interview.  Adding notes to your company’s CRM is a great starting point, but if you have an ATS (applicant tracking system), this would be the ideal place to store notes on interviewed candidates.  

 

8. Follow up with the Candidate

Make sure to let the candidate know if they got the job (okay, most people don’t forget this step, but in the name of covering all my bases…), didn’t, or will be moving along to the next stage of the hiring process.  Hiring managers often forget to follow up when the answer is “no,” which leaves the candidate in the dark as to where they stand, stands to damage the company’s reputation, and generally adds a pinch of misery to the world that didn’t need to be there. So make sure you call back. If nothing else, it’s just good manners.   

 

9. Review your work

Take the time to review your interview and how it went.  Are there things you would like to have done otherwise? Different questions you should’ve asked? Maybe you started the interview by talking about yourself, your experience, or the company and would prefer to have started with the candidate and their experiences. These are all finer points that you can hone over time, but only if you are aware of them. Unfortunately, many of the particulars aren’t that memorable unless you recount the experience shortly after the fact, so make sure to conduct a review after each round of interviews. 

 

You’re ready to start interviewing

Great interviewers earn their chops over years of experience, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes a few rounds to start feeling confident.  Asking the right questions can pick a needle from a haystack and land you a stellar employee, but a 30-minute conversation always risks leaving something to be desired. You’re interviewing people, after all. We’re complicated. 

So give yourself a little grace. Sometimes it will be ridiculously hard to find someone. Other times you’ll end up going with a candidate who proves less impressive than they first appeared. Then again, sometimes your intuition that a candidate is just right will prove correct. 

The longer you’re at this, the better you’ll get. But improvement, in interviewing as in all things, requires preparation and reflection.  

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Tags: HR and Hiring

6 Best Practices For Resume Writing

Posted by Jarrett Zike on Sun, Nov 27, 2022 @ 12:53 PM

It’s a perennial question: “What should I put on my resume?” There are plenty of articles and how-to videos offering advice on what a resume should say and how it should look. But, when looking for employment, it's important to stay focused on your goals in sequence. Here is what I mean: You are not writing a resume to get a job; you are writing a resume to get an interview.  

Here are 6 best practices for writing a winning resume:

1. Create a Personal Brand When Writing Your Resume

When writing your resume, don’t list your strengths and expect a hiring manager to take notice. Rather, make every effort to tell a story that builds a personal brand. What, you might ask, constitutes a “personal brand?” For our purposes, your brand will be a synthesis of your professional capabilities and the positive aspects of your personality. 

Let's say you’re a talented public speaker. Instead of just listing the speaking engagements in which you have participated, give some indication of your enthusiasm for speaking and the impact your rhetorical talents had on your audience.

Did you “present information to colleagues in ____,” or did you “interpret and explain pivotal data and statistics for professionals in the ____ industry?” One phrasing sounds like a description of a slideshow, and the other leaves an impression of personal expertise and agency. 

The key here is to connect your experiences with real-life successes and tell potential employers why they should care. When possible, include observable and quantifiable outcomes in your descriptions. If an employer can look at your resume and see evidence of your strengths, it will put you at a marked advantage. 

Finally, do not lie. Not only is lying unethical, but it is far too easy to sniff out a tall tale these days. 

2. Use The Right Keywords

Working in a recruiting office, I bear daily witness to how sorely neglected keywords can be.

The bottom line is that recruiters in my office sort and search through untold heaps of resumes, and they do so by using applicant tracking systems, i.e., robots: unconscious, hyper-literal, ruthlessly precise robots. If your resume doesn’t contain the exact keywords that map onto the job you’re after, there’s basically no chance you’ll land an interview. 

How can you access the occult words and phrases that open a portal to the interview? Start with the job posting. In almost every case, the employer will include specific skills and qualifications you must possess in order to be considered.

Copy their language directly. Touch up your resume to incorporate their verbiage, then touch it up again for the next job. Does this seem tedious? Yes. Seemingly unnecessary? Probably. But these are the rules of the game. You can be confident that whoever lands the job will have adhered to them.  

3. Tailor Your Resume to Each Potential Employer

The easy path is tempting, but as efficient as it would be to crank out a generic resume and fire it off to everyone who might be interested, this tactic is not a winning one. You will almost certainly get overlooked for missing keywords (see above). You will also blend right in with the nameless mass of resume gamblers who their job searches into something similar to a spam campaign. 

The rationale here is pretty straightforward: Every job is different, so don’t make every resume the same. The screening technologies are too good to countenance blind optimism when it comes to hoping for an interview.

Take the time to tweak and tailor your resume into a customized document that aligns with each job description. Absent this consideration, you will be wasting the time you thought you were saving. 

4. Only Relevant Job Experiences, Please

Many people write their resumes under the misguided assumption that they should cram as many professional experiences as possible onto the two pages of real estate offered by their resume. This is somewhat understandable. They want to impress a potential employer and, thinking quantitatively, more must be better, right? 

This approach is actually the direct opposite of what should be done. When listing professional experience, you should prioritize quality and relevance over quantity. There are a few reasons for this, but the first is simple legibility. A concise and clean resume is a much more eye-catching and inviting document than one with a single-spaced block of micro-fonted text. 

That being said, you do need to list the most current and relevant jobs on your resume. A good rule of thumb is that any job worked before the last 10-15 years is unlikely to be of interest to anyone but yourself. 

5. Grammer  Matters 

This one doesn't require too much explanation. Grammarly and programs like it are so widely available that having an ungrammatical resume impresses as sheer laziness. While it is true that most people cannot recite exact grammatical or usage rules, most people notice when a sentence doesn't make sense. Since the rules of grammar are essentially the accepted logic of the English language,  failing to abide by them can result in nonsense. In a text, there are no nonverbal cues to bridge the gap between what you mean and what you say. So, whatever your creative writing teacher told you in high school, writing like you speak is not a good resume decision.     

6. Begin Narratives With Strong, Descriptive Action Verbs

One of the biggest risks you run when submitting a resume is sounding bland, being forgettable. In order to avoid this, you need attention grabbers. Describing your accomplishments with strong action verbs such as organized, managed, directed, and etc., conveys the active role you played in your stated accomplishments. 

The key here is emphasizing your agency. You did something; you made it happen. Avoid language suggesting that you were merely “responsible” for some outcome or “contributed” to it. These words are vague and reek of passivity. Choosing strong action verbs will also help build your personal brand. Think: You are the kind of person who…launched an initiative, spearheaded an campaign, organized an audit, etc.

Final Thoughts

When you sit down to write your resume, carefully consider what you have to offer an employer. Your resume is the base ingredient of your personal brand–a first impression that should not be improvised. It is a tool to place you in an employable position.

If you find yourself at a loss for ways to improve a resume, don’t be afraid to get professional help. There are people whose entire livelihood depends on creating top-notch resumes. Key details that most people would overlook will stand out to such a person.

 

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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

How to Get a LinkedIn Recommendation in 2022

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad and Kevin Seche on Wed, Nov 09, 2022 @ 11:14 AM

Get the best linkedIn Recommendations

In a hyper-connected world, having a strong digital presence is key to networking and, by extension, your job search. Some time ago, the time to make a great first impression while job searching was during the initial phone screening or first interview. Today, more often than not, recruiters and hiring managers check out your LinkedIn profile long before you ever hear from them. 

Think about how people make buying decisions. When looking for a new restaurant, auto repair shop, or recruiter, the first place we tend to go is Google. We want to know what their customers are saying before committing to a purchase. The same logic holds for employers looking to "purchase" a prospective employee. While it might go without saying that having a standout LinkedIn profile and resume is crucial, what you might not know is that LinkedIn recommendations can be just the game-changing variable you need to land you in a coveted interview slot.

LinkedIn recommendations can help you stand out to potential employers by showing that you both credible and trustworthy. After all, nothing makes you look better than receiving voluntary praise from a disinterested party (think old client, boss, or colleague). 

 

Who Should I Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation?

Here are Five People from Whom You Should Request a Recommendation.

1. A previous (satisfied) client:

Did you exceed a client's expectations while working on a project, leaving them smiling ear to ear with your performance? If so, feel free to ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation.

Before making this request of them, you should consider the specifics of how you would like them to recommend you. Do you want a general recommendation or a more targeted one? Be precise when you ask so they can provide recommendations in ways that will work to your maximum benefit!

 

 2. Your current supervisor:

LinkedIn has long been used for job searching, but it also serves other functions including networking, locating clients and prospects, and being a general hub of resources for ongoing professional development. So, If you are looking for new clients outside your organization, getting recommendations as “social proof” can prove quite valuable. Here, your current supervisor can attest to your contributions to the company and the team. 

When seeking a recommendation from your current supervisor, it is important to thoughtfully time your request. Asking out of the blue can be a red flag that you are seeking new opportunities. Making your request shortly after a successful project will seem more natural and less conspicuous. 

 

3. A close colleague:

Did you work on a successful collaborative project? If so, ask a teammate to write a recommendation based their experience of you as a teammate. You can then write your teammate a reciprocal recommendation that testifies to their work ethic, team orientation, creativity, and motivation.

 

4. A volunteer or board member (when applicable):

Maybe you volunteered for a cause you care about or are part of a special interest or organization board. Ask a fellow board member or volunteer pal to write your recommendation. At the very least, they would be able to attest to your work ethic, how great of a team player you were, your leadership skills, and your willingness to collaborate.

5. A former supervisor:

If you and your previous supervisor are on good terms, think about reaching out and asking for a recommendation to add to your LinkedIn profile. Often, if the relationship was good, a previous supervisor will be happy to do so.

 

Why LinkedIn Recommendations are Worth Your Time

Yes, in 2022, LinkedIn recommendations are important. To reiterate, before spending the money, people will tend to do a bit of digging into the product or service they are considering purchasing. This is no less true of new hires than it is goods and services, and LinkedIn will probably be their first (possibly only) stop. According to Jobscan:

  • 92% of people are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations and greatly trust recommendations made by peers.
  • 70% will trust a recommendation even if it comes from someone they don’t know.

 

LinkedIn Recommendation Examples

LinkedIn is the leading social media channel when it comes to building your professional network. One of the best ways to get recommendations is to live by the law of mutual back scratching, i.e., to give recommendations. Before doing so, however, you should think carefully about who gets your imprimatur. If you're having a hard time deciding what to say, consider one of the following recommendations as a model.

From a Co-Worker

Example 1.

Ben and I worked together on several projects, and I was lucky to call him my colleague. He consistently gave 100 percent to the team and played a critical role in ensuring that we completed assignments on time. 

Ben has excellent time management skills and has a knack for keeping the team calm and productive during crunch periods. Plus, he has an excellent disposition. We miss his smile in the office these days.

Any team would be lucky to have Ben, and I couldn’t recommend him more highly to a business looking for promising new talent.

Example 2.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many remarkable professionals, but Katy is someone who I always recall with special fondness because she was essentially my mentor. Not only did she show me the tricks of the trade, but she also helped me navigate the company’s internal structure.

Katy is a great mentor and leader. She’s always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs it. Watching her seamlessly adapt to our dynamic environment was a lesson in itself. She was an all-round inspiration! 

 LinkedIn Recommendations For a Manager or Supervisor 

Example

Ms. Smith is one of the most delightful people I have had the pleasure of working for in my career. Not only did she have a unique ability to keep our team organized and on schedule, but her consistent, clear communication habits helped lift our spirits during challenging situations.

Her humor and empathy helped create a comfortable work environment, and we’ll miss her warm manner. I highly recommend working with Ms. Smith. 


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Tags: Job Search, Networking

How to use LinkedIn when you’re unemployed

Posted by Kevin Seche on Wed, Oct 26, 2022 @ 11:24 AM

 

 

Like it or not, LinkedIn is often the first social channel used by recruiters, employers,  colleagues, and industry insiders to check you out. In today’s digital world, not having a LinkedIn profile makes you almost invisible to recruiters and potential employers because there simply is no other single site that conveniently displays your career stature, credentials, education, and work experience.

Being active on the platform when unemployed is just as important as when you are employed.  The question of how a profile should look during unemployment is a common head-scratcher. After all, you want to broadcast your career successes, not your current joblessness.

LinkedIn offers a green profile photo frame to job seekers, which indicates that you are open to new opportunities. But this is only a good starting point. If maximizing opportunity on LinkedIn is your goal, you will want to go beyond the green.

Update your headline

Fortunately, there is a smart way to show that you are looking for new opportunities without broadcasting your unemployed status, and it starts with a good headline. Writing a good LinkedIn headline is always important, but it's critical when unemployed. Take this opportunity to push the 120-character max in service of a headline that showcases your successes.  

LinkedIn headline examples when your unemployed

  • Data Scientist with 10-plus years of experience
  • Experienced Sales Strategist
  • Seeking Chief Financial Officer - VP of Finance Position
  • IT Manager Seeking Application Development, Infrastructure, or Networking Manager Roles in Production or Manufacturing
  • SaaS sales Sales Director who increased company growth from $250M to $1.2B in revenue in 18 months

 

 Stay active on the platform

LinkedIn is the place to grow and develop your personal brand. Creating connections, joining groups, engaging with industry colleagues, creating and sharing content, and continuous opportunities to learn are just some of the benefits of staying active on LinkedIn. 

How to get started

  • Create and share posts: Talk about projects you are working on, experiences you've had and how you dealt with them, or what you have learned from these experiences. You can also share industry colleagues' posts and add your take on the subject. 

 

  • Add informational content: Create a long-form post relevant to your industry and the space in which you work. If you are creative, make an infographic, share an article you have written, or, if you are comfortable on camera, add a video. This is the time to show your colleagues what you know. 

 

  • Stay consistent: Posting on LinkedIn should earn a spot on your weekly to-do list. It may be useful to set a reminder on your calendar so you don’t go through the week without posting. Soon enough it will become second nature, and your once-a-week post will turn into several posts a week! 

 

 Post any relevant certifications you may have

 If you have any relevant industry certifications, you will want to be sure they are prominently displayed on your LinkedIn profile.

 Why this is important? Recruiters or hiring managers frequently include various certifications in their search criteria, so having your certifications readily accessible will help you stand out from the crowd. It also shows potential employers that you are hungry to learn and are on top of best practices. 

What if I don’t have any certifications? While you are looking for your next opportunity, you can (and should) actively look for certifications that may be relevant to your job (or the job you want). 

 

Where can I find certifications?

Coursera: Coursera is a popular place to find both free and paid online courses for a wide array of topics.

Udemy: With 18,000+ courses available, you are bound to find a course that will benefit you! 

Linkedin Learning: Since you are already optimizing your LinkedIn profile, take some time to earn LinkedIn certifications. There is no shortage of opportunities to further demonstrate your expertise regardless of your industry or profession.

PMI: You can find many relevant project management certifications here.

Avixa: Avixa is undisputedly the leading certification source for audiovisual professionals.

 

 Consider Getting a Premium LinkedIn Subscription

If you are unemployed, LinkedIn Premium is probably worth your consideration since the benefit of landing a job will more than offset the monthly fee. 

LinkedIn offers many paid subscription services. For job seekers, LinkedIn Premium Career is the most logical option. LinkedIn Premium Career will cost you $29.99 a month.  In return, you will get 3 InMails and unlimited people browsing, which is especially worthwhile when actively looking for a job.

 

Why LinkedIn Premium Career?

All users have access to LinkedIn Jobs, but this is just a listing and will not, in and of itself, work any miracles for you. To land a job, personal connections are invaluable. It’s no surprise, then, that 72% of recruiters were using LinkedIn to find candidates last year.

LinkedIn remains a popular place to find a job. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s internal statistics, 40 million people look for jobs on LinkedIn every week, and 3 people per minute find a job there. As a Premium user, you can get a leg up on the competition by directly reaching out to recruiters. 

It’s important to remember that having a presence on LinkedIn is key to your success in our hyper-connected world. This is largely a function of visibility--if no one sees you, if no one is exposed to your capabilities, it is less likely that you will find an acceptable job in a timely manner.

 

So make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, consider adding the green “open to work” filter to your profile picture, choose a success-oriented headline that is relevant to your career, and make sure you are actively networking! With these arrows in your quiver, you can rest assured that you are using the singular tool of LinkedIn to the greatest effect possible.

Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking

Five  Certifications every sales engineer should have in 2022

Posted by Jarrett Zike & Kevin Seche on Wed, Jun 22, 2022 @ 11:22 AM

CSE, CPSP, and EIT certified

So you’ve been hearing about the increase in demand for Sales Engineers (SE’s) and you want to give it a try. As is often the case in highly sought-after positions, you will need to set yourself apart from the crowd if you hope to land a role in this highly competitive field. Where should you start?  

As it happens, there are certs for that. Sales Engineer certifications can make you stand out in a competitive job market. They show employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job.

 

Here are seven of the best Sales Engineer certifications to consider in 2022:

 

1. The Certified Sales Engineer (CSE) certification from the North American Association of Sales Engineering (NAASE)

This certification is designed for sales engineers who want to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in sales engineering. It covers topics such as sales process, product knowledge, and technical solution selling. In order to enroll in this certification program, you must have the following:

 

2. The Certified Professional Salesperson (CPSP) certification from the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP).

This certification is for sales professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in sales by affirming skills in sales process, selling skills, and account management. Takers learn to move customers along the buyer’s journey, improve sales strategies, and develop the habits of successful Sales Engineers by completing daily modules. 

 

3. Engineer in Training (EIT) certification from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). 

This certification is issued by all state engineering boards after successfully completing an Engineer In Training Exam. It is available to students who have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. The primary function of this certificate is to indicate that the FE has been passed and that the holder fo the certification is halfway to becoming a professional engineer (PE). 

 

4. The Certified Sales and Marketing Engineer (CSME) certification from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

This certification is for sales engineers who want to demonstrate their knowledge in mechanical engineering. It covers topics such as sales process, product knowledge, and technical solution selling.

 

5. The Certified Sales Engineer (CSE) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

This certification is for sales engineers who want to demonstrate their knowledge in project management. It covers topics such as sales process, product knowledge, and technical solution selling.

Each of these certifications can help you build your skills and knowledge in sales engineering. They are all recognized by employers, and they can help you stand out in the job market.

 

So, which of these sales engineer certifications should you get?

It depends on your goals and interests. If you want to focus on communicating your proficiency in coordinating moving parts, you might investigate what is on offer from the Project Management Institute. If you're a little earlier in your career, but still want to set yourself apart as knowledgable in your area of expertise, then perhaps the EIT from the NCEES is right for you.

No matter which certification you choose, be sure to prepare for the exam and get certified! The skills and knowledge you acquire will help you succeed in your sales engineering career.

Crafting a Living Resume to Stand Out in 2022 and Beyond

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Dec 17, 2021 @ 10:31 AM

Update_Your_Resume.png

2022 is here, and while many are still trying to navigate the fallout from (gulp*) 2020, others are bearing witness to the perennial wisdom that upheaval creates new opportunities. Industries across the board have had to retool and rethink strategies that reliably produced results until all of a sudden…they didn’t anymore. Change, the other cosmological constant, was intensified to a revolutionary pitch. 

We are all in new territory, and employers are looking for innovative, forward-thinking assets to help them capitalize on new opportunities presented by–among other things–the decentralization of the workplace. This means, in part, that candidates who are equipped to gracefully maneuver across shifting ground are in high demand. On a practical level, presenting yourself as just such a person with a living resume is a great way to start.  

A “living resume,” is one that is dynamic, ever-evolving, and reflective of your individual competence, flexibility, and potential. The following 8 strategies are steps that you can begin taking immediately in order to ensure that your invaluable first impression is memorable, impactful, and effective in 2022. 

 

  1. First the elephant in the room–you must be disciplined. Building a standout resume takes discipline and dedication, especially when you find yourself in a comfortable position. As we all know, the days of working a few decades in the same role are long gone, which means that you must force yourself to be constantly thinking about the next opportunity. Acknowledging the uncertainty of the future and consistently acting with this uncertainty in mind is the first step; it is the “inside job” that allows you to prepare and position yourself effectively. 

  2. One great way to do this is to develop a pattern of consistent and thorough documentation of your accomplishments and responsibilities. You don’t have to add them to your resume right away, but you should keep a running list of any new projects, skills, and responsibilities you assume in your current position. If nothing else, such a document will allow you to update your resume quickly when the time comes. This is especially useful if the worst-case scenario forces you to find a new job yesterday. Stress is inimical to memory, and if you have to send out resumes in a hurry, the last thing you want is to short-change yourself. Document now so you don’t forget later.   


  3. Schedule specific time slots for updating your resume and stick to them. This isn’t exciting work, plus it forces you to think about the contingency and possible precariousness of your employment. These are strong disincentives that must be overcome. The best way to do this is to set dates for yourself. Think of it like scheduling an appointment with the dentist or going to the gym. You will never feel like doing it, but will inevitably appreciate the effort when the time comes to present your resume to a new potential employer. 

  4. While working on your resume in the allotted time slot, focus on impact. Employers want concrete examples of how you have delivered results. This is particularly true regarding your demonstrated ability to encounter the unexpected. Here, numbers are your best friend. How many days before a deadline did you complete a project? How much money did you save your employer? What specific actions did you take to solve a problem? Impact is demonstrated in concrete terms. Don’t claim to have simply “improved” a situation, tell a story about precisely how your actions constituted an improvement for your business.    

  5. Check on details that affect style and readability. Believe it or not, there are trends in resume writing that stand to affect your reception by a potential employer. Click here for a checklist of style considerations to make when updating your resume.


  6. Selectively cater your resume to each position in which you are interested. It is extremely tempting, once finished, to clap the dust from your hands and bombard any and every interesting position you find with your freshly refurbished resume. This is not ideal, and in all likelihood will not work very well, especially as the desirability of a given opportunity increases. The last thing you want is for a recruiter or hiring manager to look at your resume and have to connect dots in order to understand how you are a viable candidate. Take the time to investigate the particular job descriptions in which you are interested, pull key terms from those descriptions, and explicitly incorporate them into your resume.


  7.  After tailoring your resume, save several iterations of it for future use. If, for example, you know that you are interested in positions that are not peculiar to a specific employer (project management, corporate training, or human resources, for example), craft and save a version of your resume for each and reuse it whenever an appropriate position blips your radar. You should still tailor your resume to each position, but the number of changes needed will be minimized if you have several versions of your resume on deck.

  8. Include a “hobbies” section in your resume. Your hobbies might seem irrelevant, but briefly including them highlights your curiosity and individuality. Employers want human beings, not robots, and your hobbies are a reflection of your personality. That being stated, your hobbies should not take up too much space in your resume and should not appear to take precedence over your education, professional experience, and accomplishments. Think of hobbies as garnishings–a little goes a long way.  



    Every time January 1st rolls around, we take stock of the previous year while anticipating the future and imagining how we might improve it. We set goals and mark up calendars, magnet photos of ourselves to refrigerators that remind us of where we have been or where we would like to end up. We invariably consider our careers and how they stand to be improved. If you have found yourself dreaming of new opportunities in your career, one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your situation is to ensure that you are as appealing as possible by maintaining a living resume. 

Your resume is the invaluable first impression that sets the tone for all subsequent interactions with a potential employer. Make it a goal this year to give yourself every advantage that is within your power. Schedule time each month to enliven your resume. You’ll thank yourself when 2022 rolls around, and ‘23… 


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Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization

The Pros & Cons of Contract Work

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Mon, Sep 20, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

contract work

The 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. The swing toward contract employment can be explained by several factors, such as the need for a flexible schedule, 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.


The Pros and Cons of Contract Work

PRO: Potential for Higher Earnings

Companies looking 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. (no guaranteed job security after contract) 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 thing to consider is that the project you were hired to work on can be unexpectedly canceled. 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, or during your next job search.  

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 are 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 ever-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 long term bonds are rarely 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 skillset 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 workforce or need a flexible work arrangement, contract work very well might be a great option. Although there’s no fixed amount of time you can guarantee being unemployed between contract positions there are definitely a lot of pros to short-term positions.

 

 

Find A  Job!

 

Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

How to Ace your Virtual Interview

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 @ 11:17 AM

How to Ace Your Virtual InterviewCovid 19 has wreaked havoc on many Businesses, Industries and peoples’ lives as a whole...

For those seeking new job opportunities, the option to attend an in-person job interview is simply not viable. Therefore, virtual interviews have become the new norm.

However, what exactly is a virtual interview? What equipment do I need to have for a successful virtual  interview? What makes a Virtual interview so special?  How can I prepare for a virtual interview?  

What is A Virtual Interview? 

Simply put, a virtual interview is an interview done over Video Conferencing Software. The interviewer will send you a link to a call, either on Zoom, Google Meets, or Skype.  You can then talk to and see the person on your computer screen.

What are the differences between Live and Pre-recorded Interviews? 

Video interviews come in two forms chosen by the company: Live and pre recorded. 

A pre-recorded interview is when the interview questions are shown on your computer screen and you record your answers in a given amount of time. The interviewer will review your answers at a later time.

A live interview is when you join a video call from the interviewer on a conferencing platform.

What are the Benefits of Virtual Interviews?

Interviewing remotely has many facets that can benefit both the candidate and the employer.

  • Hire Globally: Candidates that live in geographic areas far from the business headquarters can still be interviewed via Virtual Interview to work in the office or do remote work. 
  • Hire the Best Employees: Being able to interview candidates from various locations can help increase a company's talent pool.
  • Faster Hiring: Pre-recorded interviews can save the hiring manager a ton of time and make it easy to share candidate responses with other team members.
  • Reduce Cost: Additionally, this eliminates the travel costs employers incur when traveling to interview people.
  • Flexibility: Do you have to get your kid to a soccer game at 3PM but have time mid-morning or after dinner to interview? No problem! Virtual interviews can be done at a time that is convenient for both you and the interviewer.

How do Virtual Interviews differ from traditional in-person interviews

Face to face interviews have preparation steps that we have all been familiarized with. However, virtual interviews have some different steps to take.

Here are a few virtual interview tips:

  • Reliable Internet Connection: You will need a wifi connection and bandwidth speed at least one megabit per second. 
  • Professional Space: You will need a space that is well lit, with a professional appearance and free of any distractions, including family, pets and loud distracting sounds. 
  • Alternative Solutions: If you are lacking a good wifi connection or private space, consider checking out your local library. They offer private rooms you can rent, additionally they may be able to provide you with any equipment you're lacking. Or ask a friend or family member if you can borrow equipment.

Equipment preparation for Virtual Interview

Having a functional work space with the correct equipment is key. You will use several pieces of equipment to make your video interview work. 

Some of the equipment needed include: a webcam (internal or external), a headset or microphone, adequate lighting and the software required to interview on whatever platform the interviewer uses, usually Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet.

Interview Space

Are you a detail oriented person? 

Well… that dirty pile of laundry in the corner of your room might make your interviewer think otherwise.

The space you choose for your interview should appear professional and organized. Your bedroom, a guest room, your home office or kitchen are usually good places to orchestrate your virtual interview.

Hardware 

Webcam

Most computers come with a pre-installed webcam. However, external webcams are a better option for most as they give you more options in terms of image control, positioning and image quality. Additionally, many external webcams come with software to adjust exposure, balance, and color. 

Pricing for external webcams will vary depending on quality, and features and can range from $25 to upwards of $200. If you are looking for something of quality, yet cost-effective, the Logitech HD Webcam C270 is a great option.

When setting up your webcam, be sure it's approximately eye level, slightly pointing downwards. If necessary, place some books under your computer to raise the height of your webcam. You want to make sure you can make eye contact with your interviewer.

Lighting

If you really want to give off a professional impression, lighting is key to your success. Regardless of the webcam you decide to go with, if you are doing the interview in a dimly lit space, you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. Since the interview is virtual, your body language is important therefore it must be seen.

While you do not need to have expensive lighting, the quality of the light projected is important. A budget friendly solution is to purchase some inexpensive clamp lights and some full spectrum bulbs from your local home improvement store. 

Microphone/Headset

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that” “What did you say?” “Could you please repeat the question?”

Interviews are stressful for both the candidate and the hiring manager. A smooth interview is one without technical difficulties including echos, background noises, and poor sound quality. That being said, it is imperative that you invest in a proper headset and microphone. 

The Logitech H390 USB Headphone is a fantastic option and won’t break the bank. 

Software

There are many different platforms that hiring companies may choose to use for their interviews. The most common of these are Google Meets, Zoom, and Skype for Business. 

You should take the time to familiarize yourself with these platforms. Make sure the username that you use is professional. "Skateboardkid08" may have been cool in the times of AIM, but times have changed. 

Best Practices for Virtual Interviews

Your equipment is set up properly and you're able to use it....great, now what? Similar to how you prepared your equipment you need to prepare for the big day itself.

Preliminary Research

The more time you spend researching and preparing for the interview, the more comfortable you will be, and the more confident you will seem to the hiring manager.

  • Educate yourself on the company and role for which you are applying. 
  • Check out the company's Social Media Channels and website. 
  • Learn about any exciting news that has occurred within the company or industry. 
  • Connect with people associated with the company to get some key insider information. 
  • Take the time to find out some of the frequently asked interview questions. This way you can think of relevant past work experiences or projects to answer the questions and show your capabilities.

What is the proper dress code for a virtual interview?

When it comes to virtual interview attire, the general rule remains the same; dress to impress. 

Having a professional and/or business casual look is still important for a virtual interview outfit. Studies show people feel more authoritative, trustworthy, competent, and confident when wearing formal business attire.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid loud, distracting patterns
  • Avoid black and white colored clothes
  • If you were glasses, make sure the are glare free
  • Keep the jewelry to a minimum
  • Go light on the makeup 

How to deal with nervousness

Interviews are likely to give even the most experienced interviewers nerves. The best solution for nervousness is preparedness. 

Log into the platform where your interview will be hosted 10-15 minutes before your scheduled start time. Do a final equipment check to make sure everything is operating properly. Review your keywords, talking points, and make sure your documents are organized and ready to go.

Take several deep breaths and focus on being relaxed and centered.

If you are feeling nervous about your interview the day before give this a try...

When laying in bed and before falling asleep, reach into your memory bank and find your most successful interview. Replay that over and over in your head. Try and feel how you felt during that interview and if possible recall what you said or how you behaved. This will put positive energy in your head and help you relax for your big day.  

What to do if things go wrong

Things don’t always go as planned. Technology can be finicky, even challenging at times. Before your virtual interview make sure you have a contact with a phone number. That way, if something happens, you can call the person and ask to reschedule or continue over the phone. 

How to Rescue Your Interview from a Bad First Impression

Follow Up

If you want to leave a great impression on the interviewer, make sure to write a follow-ep email.  

In this email you want to:

  • Thank the interviewer for their time
  • Highlight the ways your talents are suited for the role
  • Include anecdotes from the interview and job description

A well-constructed follow-up email showcases your communication and active listening skills; both of which are highly sought after soft skills.

Now, go to ace your virtual interview!

QSC: A New A/V Vendor In A New World

Posted by Daniel Lehman on Fri, Apr 24, 2020 @ 02:00 PM

QSC_ A New Vendor in a New World

The World is Changing, the AV Industry is Changing too

There has been a trend in the AV Industry of moving from a hardware to a software based business. This trend has never been more important than right now, as a global pandemic has forced government leaders to take unprecedented and decisive actions. Businesses are being placed into uncomfortably cut and dry categories of “essential” vs “nonessential”. The inevitable result is many people are being furloughed, laid off indefinitely, or out right terminated.

However, in every gray cloud exists a silver lining: this situation has caused the AV industry to enjoy a moment in the sun.

The Software Based Solutions

Business leaders across the board are moving operations from their offices to their living rooms, and are connecting with employees and customers over zoom, WebEX, and other software based Videoconferencing applications. The migration may be clunky, but it highlights the importance of A/V and collaboration services. It also presents a few questions:

  • What will happen when things get back to “normal” ?
  • Are people really going to be in any hurry to get back into commuter traffic, or crowded subways to go and high five team members at the office (without hand sanitizer)?
  • Will we go back to exactly as we were OR remain largely virtual-remote?

Somewhere in the middle seems a very likely scenario...

In a recent article with Sound & Communications, David Danto, Director of UC Strategy with Poly made the astute comment:

“With no other option but to remotely collaborate using the tools we’ve been advocating for years, people have discovered to their shock that they are actually easy to use and reliable.”

This is not to say that integrators are going to stop designing and building collaborative meeting spaces for their corporate clients. On the contrary, these services will likely be in higher demand than ever! However, a more simple, streamlined solution may be what’s in demand for smaller team gatherings.

A typical conference room includes a control processor, audio processor, video cameras, video distribution, LFD screen, and an end-user control point (touch screen or keypad) along with loudspeakers and amplifiers. A big part of what integrators offer is install, programming, troubleshooting and testing all of this audio, video and control hardware to make sure all pieces are communicating the way they should. According to Commercial Integrator,

“Each hardware piece is dedicated to a specific task and as such, needs to be managed individually and requires specific programming in order to integrate with the rest of the room...This not only presents a ton of work, but also a mess to manage, particularly when changes are requested.”

QSC and the Q-SYS Ecosystem offers a modern solution

Enter QSC, and their Q-SYS Ecosystem: “a software-based platform built around an open IT-friendly ecosystem. Q-SYS offers fully integrated audio, video and control on a singular platform…” rather than a mess of divergent hardware pieces associated with these different functions.

As a recruiter for the AV Industry, I can say that even before this global event took place hiring managers at AV Integrators were talking about clients woes for a simpler AV System (they were also on the hunt for Engineers versed in programming and integrating Q-SYS products). In a clever advertising video by QSC, an “integrated software platform” is explained to a confused and befuddled IT professional:

“Your phone is an integrated software platform: you don’t carry a calculator, video game console, and gps in your pocket...right!? You just download those features onto your phone...same with Q-SYS”

This is possible because Q-SYS leverages Intel processing and a Linux operating system, creating a simple and flexible audio, video, and control (AV&C) solution built on IT standards. Of course you cannot get rid of all the endpoints: cameras, speakers, touch screens, etc. These pieces may come from a variety of manufacturers.

However, the Q-SYS ecosystem has another unique ability: it accepts custom scripting from other programming languages; that way third-party hardware can still be controlled with Q-SYS, with the use of plug-ins built by integrators. This functionality differentiates Q-SYS as a plug and play solution for building upon existing conference room gear.

Not to mention all of this hardware is offered by the company as well.

What will the future hold for the AV Industry?

Now to the big question…

Will discussions of expanding business operations in a physical sense ever take place again? Or will we remain trapped at home; only to communicate virtually through small screens, for the rest of our days?

That is probably a stretch.

We may look to simplify, and our work-life balance may be more of a blend of virtual and onsite. What is clear however, is that AV/IT and VTC solutions are the technologies that will usher in this new normal. Our technology needs will likely scale up accordingly. Product suites like Q-SYS, which have the flexibility to easily deliver new features to the platform with a simple software upgrade, will be increasingly important and continue the shift away from purpose-built hardware.


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Traditional Recruiting Methods vs. A Recruiting Firm

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Feb 21, 2020 @ 12:51 PM

Traditional Recruiting vs hiring a recruiting firm

Whenever a business has to hire that new employee, they have to decide whether they should search for candidates on their own, or elicit the help of an outside agency.  Traditional recruiting methods versus a recruiting firm is the typical conundrum, so why is using a firm the better option? 

Finding an employee has always consisted of the traditional methods.  Examples of these methods include online recruitment job boards, online ads, classifieds, and career resource sites.  Online recruitment has become a HUGE influencer in the job market, websites such as monster.com, jobs.com, careerbuilder.com, and other sites have dominated the online job scene.  Another traditional method is an employee referral program.  This entails finding job candidates from referrals that may come from other employees, family members, friends, or anyone that can get in touch with you and influence your decision.  So the question still remains, what benefit does a recruiter have over the traditional methods, and do I want to pay someone to find an employee for me?

When you decide to work with a recruiting firm to help fill your job posts you enter into a relationship with a recruiter who has a wealth of knowledge in a specific field that you are trying to hire for.  Placement after placement, these recruiters have learned the industry from front to back, side to side; they know their stuff to say the least.  When you choose a recruiting firm, cost effectiveness goes hand in hand.  When you mention cost effective around the “head honcho” of a business their eyes light up, and visions of improved margins can quickly become a reality.  Nothing triggers the “let’s do it” side of the brain like saving money.  Recruiters can save you money, in fact LOTS OF MONEY because they provide the right person to fit your employment needs.  In other words, you don’t go out and hire some person who you thought was great, who turns out to be unskilled or unstable, etc.  Imagine wasting an entire first years’ salary on the wrong person?…ouch.  Saving time is also a benefit of choosing a recruiting firm over the traditional methods.  Recruiters look through hundreds of resumes every month, this saves companies plenty of time in searching for that needle in a haystack.  Once these recruiters have searched through these resumes they present only the most qualified candidates to potential employers.

Going with the traditional methods could work, but if you want that perfect fit for your position and organization, it’s worth the time, effort and energy to work with a specialized recruiting firm Guaranteed it will save you time, money and unnecessary headaches.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies