Education Career Services

September 14, 2009

Job Interview…an employer’s experience (day one)

Recognizing what an employer goes through when searching for qualified candidates places the job seeker in a distinct advantage.  With this in mind, spend a few minutes to get inside the mind of an employer.

September 14The final days of reviewing job applications and responses to my job posting has come and gone.  I have been swamped with great applicants throughout a five day period…can you believe the responses.  As a result, keep active in your job seeking and do not hesitate or delay action.  There are too many qualified candidates waiting for their chance.

With this in mind and a handful of very qualified candidates, it’s on to the next phase of the process.  In so many ways, this is the least enjoyable (at least from my perspective) phase to endure.  Holding initial job interviews can be taxing not only by the amount of time required, but by the opportunity cost of not being able to perform my daily functions.  Thus, keep in mind the importance of being at an interview a good ten to five minutes early.  Need I mention the effect of being late?

Interviewing began last Friday and I met three very wonderful and unique individuals.  It’s truly hard to imagine the process without sitting across the table (that of the one actually interviewing).  This is your opportunity to allow the interviewer quality time to get to know you, your contributions, and your goals…don’t blow it by being late or unprepared.  As an employer, what do I look for in a candidate?  So glad you asked.

As mentioned a few lines ago, I am looking for individuals who are prepared and ready from minute-one.  If an applicant is new to the city or is worried about traffic and as a result being late; do your homework, make a trip to the office/location the day before, estimate and give yourself plenty of time to make it on time.  I have this strong belief that a person’s character and ethic is confirmed not by what is said, but by what is done.  No doubt about it, during interviews, actions definitely say more than words.  For the individual who is going to be late, you must call and let the interviewer know. 

Many applicants may not belief this, especially students new to the workforce, but the interviewer will be interviewing more than one person and he or she designates a certain amount of time to conduct the interview.  For the late arrivers, know the interviewer will now be crunched for time and this will upset the remainder of the day.  For example, I planned on interviewing a new candidate every 1 and ½ hour for the next three or four days.  If an applicant is late, that disallows me to adequately interview or prepare for the next scheduled interviewee. 

On a side note, understand that by the end of the day many of the applicants blend into faceless pieces of paper.  In other words, I often do not recall all the wonderful values an applicant will bring to the company.  As a result, I encourage each interviewer to send a hard copy follow-up letter immediately after the formal interview.  At this time, don’t simply state how meeting was wonderful and I am more eager than ever to become part of the company…blah, blah, blah.  Take this opportunity to express the true value and contributions you will bring (and base the follow-up letter on what was mentioned during the interview—by using those cues, you are letting the possible employer you listened to the needs and are offering solutions).  No doubt it does not warrant a side note but will do one anyway:

No grammar issues or misspelled words on your resume or follow up letter!

Enough for now, tomorrow we will go over more interviewing tips and what employers are seeking during the initial stage.  Before we go, I encourage each one of you to share an interviewing experience and perhaps our blog audience can benefit from your knowledge.

I will keep you up to date as this saga continues…

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

June 13, 2009

Diagnosing Your Job Search Problem Areas: Part 4a Perfecting Interpersonal Skills

Filed under: Uncategorized — EducationCS @ 1:33 am
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red-crossIn our beginning-of-summer job search rundown, we’ve covered how to put together a top-notch résumé and how to get that document in the hands of the right people.  For our next-t0-last installment, we’ll cover some techniques for setting yourself apart throughout the rest of the hiring process.

If you missed the earlier postings of this series, scroll down the blog and look for the red cross symbol.

Networking

In the last post of this series, we covered the importance of networking as the basis for an effective job search.  Keep in mind, however, that your contacts aren’t primarily interested in your job search—so a self-centered approach is likely to fall flat.  What to do?

–Brainstorm ways you can reconnect with former colleagues in a less demanding way than simply asking for a job.  You might be able to orchestrate social interaction.  Email and online networking sites also offer a low-stress, low-commitment way to reach out…but they may not result in a flood of new leads.

–Making new contacts?  Consider what makes you valuable to them.  Do you have information or expertise to share?  Can you volunteer some time or get involved in an event?  Then by all means, do so!  By giving first, you are much more likely to receive the intel and recommendations you are looking for later.

Follow-Up Calls

Most job postings request candidates not call, or they shield contact information to avert a constantly ringing phone.  In these cases, don’t buck the system.  Following instructions is a basic characteristic of a good employee.

If you’re doing direct outreach to companies, however, follow-up calls are an important part of getting through.  Send your information to the contact you’ve identified, give it a few days to arrive, then call to schedule a time to meet. 

Follow-up calls may also be appropriate at other times in the process.  If you’ve had an interview or been told a decision is forthcoming but don’t hear anything for a while, a call to the hiring manager is acceptable.  Ask if they need more information or if you can answer any further questions.  Also, quickly underscore your key value points and where they align with the position.  Don’t become a stalker who calls every day, but don’t let an organization think you’ve lost interest, either. 

“Can you send me some more information?”

Have you received a telephone call from a hiring manager or recruiter requesting that you send a more detailed résumé, a document in another format, etc?  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! 

Repurpose this call.  Highlight your interest in the position and ask for more information, mentioning that you’d like to send the right follow-up materials so they can accurately evaluate you.  Get the contact talking about the organization’s needs, then demonstrate how well you fit them. 

And don’t just send your standard cover letter.  Write a customized note based on the information you gleaned.  Mention your conversation to help spur the contact’s memory.  Ideally, this will spur an interview.

Check back here for the next installment where we look at interviewing.

 

Amy Lorenzo

Sr. Writer

Career Sevices International – www.careersi.com

Education Career Services – www.educationcs.com

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