J Patrick + Associates Blog

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.png

 

When 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.

 

Related Blog:

7 MUST HAVE COMPONENTS FOR AN EYE CATCHING EXECUTIVE RESUME SUMMARY 

 

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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 re-watch 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. 

 

Related Blogs:

HIRING: HOW TO GET THE PERFECT ORGANIZATIONAL FIT

8 PRO-TIPS TO ACE YOUR PHONE INTERVIEW

IOT SECURITY: PROTECT YOUR COMPANY AND CUSTOMERS 

 

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring

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

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

Hire the Right Candidate

 

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.  

 

Related Blog:

HOW TO REEL IN CANDIDATES WITH A KILLER JOB DESCRIPTION

 

 

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, recruiting

How To Know If A Company Is The Right Fit For You

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

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The savvy candidate knows that the interview is an opportunity to not only be vetted by a hiring manager, but also to vet the company. Think of the interview as a fact finding mission not only about the position, but also about the company culture. The job you're interviewing for may be everything you want, but is the company? 

Here are some important clues to look for when interviewing, and can help you decide if a company is the right fit for you. 

 

Lobby Life

Arriving early for an interview is always good advice - it prevents rushing into a meeting flushed or frazzled - but it also allows you some time to watch the company at work. Consider the lobby as a window into a company’s soul - take this moment to look around and listen.

Are employees friendly toward strangers and each other, or are they rushing about with sour expressions? Is the receptionist rude and dismissive or does he greet you with a smile? You’re not looking for a Stepford Wives experience here, but you will get an idea of what daily life is like just by sitting in the lobby and watching the flow of people in and out.

 

Your Network Knows

Just as you might research a potential employer on Crunchbase to better understand their growth, funding and growth trajectory, you need to mine your social connections to find out what it’s really like on the ground. Contact 1st or 2nd degree LinkedIn connections who have worked for, or do work at the company. Write them a polite note explaining that you have an interview set up and would love to ask them a few questions.

Keep your inquiry specific to their experience. You’re looking to hear what kind of person thrives there, what the feel in the office is like, how do they perceive the work culture, and do they find it a good place to work.

A word of caution: this is not an expedition to weed out office dirt -  what you’re looking for is a peek into the culture.

 

Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

Company policy is one thing, how it’s actually implemented a whole other. It’s all fine and well for an employer to state that they support employees working from home, or that they always try to promote from within. But whether or not they actually operate in accordance to these policies is what you need to be looking for. Ask for specific examples of people who have moved up the ranks, as well as attrition rates.

Who leaves and after how long can tell you a whole lot about the tenor of the company.

Be watchful also for aspirational policies - perhaps they are programs a young start-up might hope to one day implement but are not in the position to follow through on at this time. If this is the case you’ll have to weigh the company they are against the company they hope to be, and decide if it’s worthwhile.

 

What It's Like Interviewing For A Company Is What It's Going To Be Like To Work For Them

The interview process can take a very long time from start to finish, in fact according to a recent article in Fast Company, a software engineer may have to endure 35 days or more during the interview process. So judging a company by how long they take to make a hiring decision may not be the best metric.

What you do need to look at is how they operate during the interview. A company's vetting and hiring processes are highly valuable data sets to consider. Everyone knows first impressions matter, but when considering a new employer, it’s the 2nd, 3rd and 4th impressions that reveal how the company operates on a day to day basis.

Keep your eyes open throughout the hiring process to make certain that the company is a good fit for you. For more on company culture, read here.

 

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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

How to Rescue Your Interview from a Bad First Impression

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Sep 06, 2016 @ 03:30 PM

How to rescue your interview from a bad first impression

 

First impressions matter. In fact, they are 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 winds up as audience favorites. It’s the ones who pull a face or get so flustered they can’t find their place that loses 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 on 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

The Best Hire: Strategically Gaining an Asset to the Organization

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Thu, Jul 07, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

The best hire strategically

 

Hiring managers know that filling vacancies can be time consuming. Reading through resumes, conducting phone interviews, and vetting candidates can take you away from all your other responsibilities. But taking the time to get the job done right can save time, money, and headaches. Spare yourself the struggle and do it right the first time!

Here are 3 strategic methods for gaining an asset to your organization.

 

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 you value 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 tasks that are performed in an average day, so that they can filter for your job properly.  Putting yourself in the shoes of the candidate could further help your search to finding the most qualified employee.

 

Quickly But Not Too Fast

After a promising first date, would you be ready to walk down the aisle?  I didn't think so! However, you also don't want to take too long, creating the opportunity for another to sweep in and steal your true love.

The hiring process is eerily similar to the dating game. In a technical aspect, two parties engaging, shaping a bond, and establishing goals that can be executed together. When a company hires someone, they are granting them access to numerous resources and assets. An unsuccessful match can cost you time, money and can in some cases lead to security vulnerabilities.

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.

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. Nobody wants to repeat the process!

 

Related Blog:

HOW TO REEL IN CANDIDATES WITH A KILLER JOB DESCRIPTION

 

Looking for a new job or to relocate? Give one of our recruiters a call!

J. Patrick & Associates, Inc is an Executive Recruiting firm that focuses on Executive Mangement, 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 Interviews, HR and Hiring, recruiting

Why Hiring Managers Need To Always Be Filling Their Pipeline

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Thu, May 05, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

hiring Managers need to be always hiring

 

If you’re a hiring manager with a fully staffed team, you may assume there’s no need to keep seeing candidates. After all, you’re busy and need to keep your full focus on managing the team you have; rewarding the 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?

But there are several important reasons to keep seeing candidates that transcend simply filling vacancies.

 

Gather Intel

Regardless of what business you’re in, information is an invaluable commodity. Whether you’re in sales or not, you need to constantly be gleaning intelligence about your brand’s position in the marketplace. Speaking to candidates who are interested in working for you is an invaluable way to get all kinds of information. 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?

And on the other side of the coin, you need 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 do you stand against your competition in terms of pay structure, quotas, the tools they use. And then there are the intangibles such as company culture, how is the morale? 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 the team of your dreams 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 with an empty desk. And if you’re in sales, you know that 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 talking to your mentors, attending conferences and speaking with your peers often gives you new insights into your sector and your place in it, interviewing candidates allows you to see what’s possible. It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that what you have is all that’s available to you. 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.

Just because you don’t have an opening at the moment is no reason to let the best candidates go to your competition.

Interested in meeting top flight sales candidates? Let J.Patrick & Associates hunt for you!

 

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, management

Interview Sabotage: 6 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Interview

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 @ 10:16 AM

Sabotaging Interview

 

The job interview is one of the most important, and nerve wracking, components of the job search process, and it needs preparation beforehand. You know all of the interview prep basics -- from developing questions to ask your interviewer to bringing multiple copies of your resume. But are you forgetting basics that are invaluable to your interview prep?

 

Check out the various ways that you might be sabotaging your interview!

 

Being Late for an Interview

It is the day of your interview and you have the directions ready to go, but your car breaks down or your bus is late. What do you do? Although arriving late to an interview may not always be your fault, it can still make a bad impression. If you’re stuck in traffic, your train is delayed, or there’s the slightest chance that you won’t make it on time, always call ahead, your interviewer will appreciate not being left in the dark.

Remember, a good rule of thumb is to arrive 10-15 minutes early to an interview to have time to relax and compose yourself before hand. But most importantly give yourself enough time for your commute, you never know what bumps in the road you may face!

 

Dressing Inappropriately

We all know the old saying “dress to impress,” but are you dressing too impressive for the position you’re interviewing for? It is important to research the company’s dress code policy, whether it be through web forums, your LinkedIn connections or asking your recruiter, if you’re working with one. Dress codes vary immensely from company to company, even within the same sector, doing as much research as possible will help prove that you’re a good cultural fit.

 

Not Researching the Company/Position

For many candidates this maybe a given, but there are some who do not conduct research on the company that they’re interviewing for. This could be a disastrous omission. It’s important to be prepared for questions about the company such as “what do you know about our company”, and/or “how do you think this position will aid in your career development?” It’s very easy to find information on almost any company these days, whether it be on the company website or through your recruiter. You don’t have to know all the company history per say, but it is important to understand their mission statement and know their current financial standing.

 

Bad Mouthing a Previous Employer

Would you trust the opinion of someone who can’t stop badmouthing their last job or employer? If your answer is no, then don’t do it at your interviews! Even when you’re asked the reason for leaving your previous position or to provide an example of a time you showed leadership at work, avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer. These negative comments will reflect badly on you, even if the employer was at fault. Be creative with your answers and put a positive spin on your current or previous work situation.

 

Not Knowing When to Stop Talking or Not Talking Enough

Whether you are a nervous rambler or your nervousness makes you go silent, know how to balance both. It is important to keep your interviewer engaged, just as it is important to engage in active listening to understand the questions asked by the interviewer. You do not want to seem as if you’re rambling, but you also do not want moments of dead silence to permeate the interview. Whether you’re a nervous talker or not, remember to relax and rock your interview!

 

Knowing the Right Questions to Engage Your Interviewer

As important as it is to understand the hiring process or to understand the roles of the position, it is crucial to get to know your interviewer. Yes, the interviewer will ultimately be the deciding factor of whether or not you’ll proceed onto the next step of the hiring process, but you need to remember that she is also attempting to determine if you would be a cultural fit. So, engaging in friendly conversation and learning about the interviewer’s current position will help to put you both at ease.

But, remember that this is a professional meeting and not a coffee date!

As simple as they may sound, these interview mistakes are committed very often. So, next time you land an interview, keep these basics in mind.

Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

How to Handle a Counter-Offer

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

iStock_000015051069_Small_opt.jpg

 

You’ve just gotten an offer for a new job. Congratulations!

Now comes the hard part; telling your present boss you’re resigning. There’s every possibility you might receive a hearty handshake and their very best wishes for your future. But there’s every other possibility that they meet your news with a counter-offer; a pay raise, a promotion, added vacation time or any other incentive they can offer. After all, nothing adds value like a little competition.

And the question you now have to face is whether you should take the counter-offer or stick to plan and leave for the new position. Well, if you ask most career experts they’ll tell you to turn it down on the spot and get on to the next position.

If this sounds counter-intuitive let’s break it down into PRO’s vs CON’s to understand why this is the prevailing wisdom.

 

PRO: There’s nothing like feeling wanted. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be the one to break-up and have the other party at least make a pitch for staying? At least in the short term you’ll feel very wanted.

 

CON: The time to be recognized for the value you bring to your position was before you went looking elsewhere. While no position is perfect, an employee who feels valued, who is a good match with the culture and who is energized by the company they represent is less likely to explore other opportunities in the first place. Chances are, you wouldn’t have taken an interview if you were satisfied with your present position. Would a raise in pay or a new title really address your issues?

 

PRO: The in-house promotion offers you a better title than the new job. A larger leap ahead puts you in line for C-level that much sooner.

 

CON: What you have to remember is this is a tactic to keep you on-board. Your present employer has invested time and money in you already; they want to get the maximum gain for that investment, and keeping you on is in the best interest of their bottom-line. A counter-offer might even simply be a knee-jerk reaction or an attempt to simply buy time until they can find an acceptable replacement. What it might not be is a symbol of the company’s long-term commitment to you. You’ve already identified yourself as a flight-risk, and while they may want to/need to keep you on in the short term, they’ll be looking at you with a different set of eyes going forward.

 

PRO: You can stay where you are with some of the benefits you would have gotten from the new position. You don’t have to worry about new commute, new relationships or figuring out the workings of a new office.

 

CON: You have to remember why you took the interview in the first place. Think back on how you answered the question: “What could be working better for you in your current position?” Job satisfaction isn’t just about vacation days and perks; it’s about making a good match with a company whose products or services excite you, whose culture is supportive of your work and life styles and about a challenge that stimulates you. The very same things that used to bother you about your present position will not disappear under a new job title or behind a slightly larger paycheck.

 

The Bottom Line: Everyone wants to feel wanted, but rarely is that reason enough to stay in any relationship. the counter-offer may be attractive, but you need to remember that a career is built on steps and chances and challenges. Taking the counter-offer may sully you in the eyes of both the new company, who will now consider you off-limits, as well as your old company who, despite the favors they are showering you with now, may be already looking for your replacement.

 

Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

Interviewing with a Company is What it'll be Like to Work for Them

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

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The savvy candidate knows that the interview is an opportunity to both vet a company and to be vetted. But beyond researching a company’s products, financing, and sales stats, it’s vital to find out as much as possible about a potential employer’s work culture. And while most companies today will have thought about their culture and are actively selling it, it’s important to learn how to distinguish between what’s real and what’s nothing more than a public relations campaign. You need to be certain that what you get is what you thought you were buying into.

We’ve laid out some important clues to look for when interviewing and how they relate to the understanding a company’s work culture.

 

Be a fly on the wall. Arriving early for an interview is always good advice - it prevents rushing into a meeting flushed or frazzled, but it also allows you some time to watch the company at work. Consider the lobby as a window into a company’s soul - take a moment to look around and listen. Are employees friendly toward strangers and each other, or are they rushing about with sour expressions? Is the receptionist rude and dismissive or does he greet you with a smile? You’re not looking for a Stepford experience, but you will get an idea of what daily life is like just by sitting in the lobby and watching the flow of people  in and out.

 

Reach out to your network. Just as you might research a potential employer on Crunchbase to better understand their growth, funding and growth trajectory, mine your social connections to find out what it’s really like on the ground. Contact 1st or 2nd degree LinkedIn connections who have worked or do work at the company. Keep your inquiry specific to their experience. You’re looking to hear what kind of person thrives there, what is the feel in the office, do they find it a good place to work.

A word of caution: this is not an expedition to weed out office dirt -  what you’re looking for is a peek into the culture.

 

Separate the wheat from the chaff. Company policy is one thing, how it’s actually implemented a whole other. It’s all fine and well for an employer to state that they support employees working from home, or that they always try to promote from within. But whether or not they actually operate in accordance to these policies is what you need to be looking for.

Be watchful also for aspirational policies- programs a young start-up might hope to one day implement but are not in the position to follow through on at this time. If this is the case you’ll have to weigh the company they are against the company they hope to be, and decide if it’s worthwhile.

 

What it’s like interviewing with a company is what it’s going to be like to work there. The interview process can take a very long time from start to finish. According to a recent article in Fast Company, a software engineer may have to endure 35 days or more during the interview process. So judging a company by how long they take to make a hiring decision may not be the best metric. However, looking at how they operate during the interview, vetting and hiring processes is a highly valuable data set to consider. Everyone knows first impressions matter, but when considering a new employer, it’s the 2nd, 3rd and 4th impressions that reveal how the company operates on a day to day basis.

 

Keep your eyes open throughout the hiring process to make certain that the company is a good fit for both your work and life styles.

 

Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews