Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The 10 Scariest Job Seeker Mistakes [Infographic]

by careerleaf

Halloween is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you should let your job search turn you into a clumsy zombie. Though these tips below may not help you survive a zombie invasion, they are good survival skills you can use to get through your job search without losing your brains.

Plenty of job seekers don’t realize that even seemingly small mistakes can have a huge impact on their success. In horror movies, the first person to realize there are killers on the loose is usually the one who lives, and staying ahead of other job seekers can help you, too. Lack of research, neglecting to follow-up, grammatical errors in emails, or having an unenthusiastic attitude – will all leave you struggling to keep up in the scary world of unemployment.

Your job search doesn’t have to be scary – proper preparation can help you to avoid making common mistakes. This infographic from Careerleaf, an all-in-one job search platform that cuts the time to apply in half, outlines the 10 scariest job seeker mistakes – and how to avoid them.

Mistakes 5-10 and Complete youtern article

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stand Out in Your Interview

by Amy Gallo

You've just landed a job interview for a position you really want. Congratulations. Now, you know you only get one chance to impress, but how exactly do you do that? Given all of the conflicting advice out there and the changing rules of getting a job, it's no wonder that job seekers are confused about how to best prepare for and perform in an interview.

What the Experts Say
One common piece of advice is to "take charge" of the interview. John Lees, a career strategist and author of The Interview Expert: How to Get the Job You Want and Job Interviews: Top Answers to Tough Questions, says this advice is misleading: "The reality is that the interviewer is in control. Your job is to be as helpful as you can." Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder International and the author of Great People Decisions, agrees: "You need to help interviewers do the right thing since most of them don't follow best practices." According to Fernández-Aráoz, who has interviewed more than 20,000 candidates in his 26 years as a search consultant, most interviewers fall prey to unconscious biases and focus too heavily on experience rather than competence. It's your responsibility to make sure this doesn't happen. Here's how.

Prepare, prepare, prepare
Most people know they need to show up to the interview having done their homework, but both Fernández-Aráoz and Lees agree that people rarely prepare enough. "You can never invest enough in terms of preparation. You should find out as much as possible about the company, how it's organized, its culture, the relevant industry trends, and some information about the interviewer," says Fernández-Aráoz. He also advises researching the specific job challenges. This will allow you to demonstrate you have what it takes to fill the role.

Formulate a strategy
Before you enter the room, decide what three or four messages you want to convey to the interviewer. These should "show the connection between what you have achieved and what is really needed to succeed in the specific job and context," says Fernández-Aráoz. Lees says the best way to do this is to draft narratives ahead of time. "People buy into stories far more than they do evidence or data," he says. Your stories should be concise and interesting. Make sure they have a good opening line, such as, "I'm going to tell you about a time that I rescued the organization." Then, learn them like the back of your hand. Know how they begin and end so you can relay them without stumbling or sounding like a robot. Whenever possible, use one of your stories to answer an interview question.

Emphasize your potential
"No candidate will ever be perfect, and you will be no exception," says Fernández-Aráoz. Instead of harping on where your resume might fall short — or letting the interviewer do the same — focus on your potential. This is often a far better indicator of future job performance. "If your past achievements are not directly related to the job, but you've demonstrated a great ability to learn and adapt to new situations, you should very clearly articulate that," says Fernández-Aráoz. For example, if you're interviewing for an international role but have no global experience, you might explain how your ability to influence others in a cross-functional role, such as between production and sales, proves your ability to collaborate with different types of people from different cultures.

Ace the first 30 seconds - More Tips and Complete Harvard Business Review Article

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Best Ways to Contact Recruiters on Social Media

After having written a recent post for The Undercover Recruiter (How NOT to Contact Recruiters on LinkedIn), I received a lot of requests for advice on how jobseekers SHOULD reach out to recruiters. It reminded me of a recent InMail message in my LinkedIn inbox and I thought I would share my response since it details some of the many ways that jobseekers can (and should!) approach recruiters on LinkedIn as well as other forms of social media.

In my opinion, the following advice is the MOST important step that a jobseeker can make because it turns a reactive process (applying online and waiting / hoping to hear back) into a proactive one (reaching out to recruiters / hiring managers online and starting a two-way dialogue that gets your resume reviewed / considered for the role). Anything a jobseeker can do to stand out from the pack (in a good way, of course) and beat others to the punch will help them land that coveted offer. Remember, there is no 2nd place when applying for that dream position. That 1st place candidate gets the job and the dozens (or hundreds!) of others do not. What are YOU doing to differentiate yourself in this tough job market?

Here’s the original email (identifying details changed for privacy):
I recently found your blog as I have been trying to find the best tactics to land my next position. I have my heart set on a marketing job at XYZ Company in Washington D.C. but I am from Massachusetts and have no connections there. Do you have any advice?

My response:
Hi Jane,

Thanks for reaching out. Great question! Here’s my advice…

1. First things first. Go to XYZ’s company website and apply online for any position(s) of interest that match well with your skill set and experience.

2. Next, it’s time to leverage LinkedIn and the power of networking. I just searched my network and I have 956 total connections currently working at XYZ Company in the DC area. 109 of them are 1st or 2nd level connections, so once we’re linked, they’ll be in your network too (as 2nd or 3rd level connections).

Once we’re connected, do a LinkedIn search and identify two or three of those contacts that you would like to contact. I’d recommend Recruiters, hiring managers – Manager/Director/VP of Marketing in your case, peers who hold the same title that you desire, etc. We can identify additional contacts later, if need be.

Tips 3, 4, and complete article

Friday, October 26, 2012

For Older Workers, Here Is Where the Jobs Will Be

Growing numbers of older adults are finding a nice surprise in the workplace: a "Welcome" sign.

The number of workers age 55 and up grew by 3.5 million from September 2009 to September 2012. That represents the lion's share of the gain of 4.2 million for all workers 16 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Two factors help explain the trend.

First: demographics. In the three years ended in July, 86% of population growth among people ages 25 to 69 came in the 55 to 69 age range, says Richard Johnson, director of the program on retirement policy at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research group. That increase comes mostly from the baby boomers, who began turning 55 in 2001.

"There are many more Americans turning 55 in recent years than turning 25," Mr. Johnson says.
Second: changing attitudes. More employers are recognizing that older adults bring skills and experiences to the table that can help the bottom line.

It's not all good news. While older workers' unemployment rate is lower, when they lose a job they're unemployed longer—a median of 35 weeks versus 26 weeks for younger folks.

"The problem of age bias hasn't been solved yet, but attitudes do seem to be improving," says Sara Rix, senior strategic policy adviser with the Public Policy Institute at AARP, the Washington advocacy group.

Here are several industries where experts say the outlook is bright for older workers:


School reform at the K-12 level, in particular, may provide opportunities for older workers, says Jackie Greaner, North America practice leader for talent management at consulting firm Towers Watson 

"Expectations of teachers are much higher," she says, "but in a way that provides opportunities for other talent to enter the school system—[individuals with] other types of skills and knowledge."

Financial Services
"Banks and insurance companies have been forward-thinking about…the aging workforce and what that means for their organizations," says Jacquelyn B. James, director of research at Boston College's Sloan Center on Aging and Work.
"They've been trying to offer more possibilities to older workers to work more flexibly, to reduce their hours when they decide that's what they want to do," she says.

One example: Principal Financial offers a "Happy Returns" program to enable retirees to return to work without interrupting their benefits.

More job areas and complete WSJ article

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cover Letters in the Age of Email

The job search has changed so much in the last decade.  In the past, a job advertised in a local newspaper or trade publication prompted you to write and send off by mail a cover letter accompanying your resume.  The fax machine brought about a change in that resumes could now be sent to employers and received within a few moments.  But certainly the growing reach of email and expansion of job related web resources has dramatically influenced how job seekers connect with employers. Email messages, resumes attachments in various formats; on-line applications have all changed the format and speed of those interactions. Is the formal cover letter still necessary or are candidates better off writing an email? The answer is simple – do whatever positions you most effectively with the employer.

No matter what the format, you must practice articulate brevity – write enough to make your case and convince whoever is reviewing your materials that you are worthy of serious consideration for the job  - and no more. Looking for a job involves many steps, but when you apply for a position or communicate with a potential employer it is important to remember that it is a professional interaction and what you write and how you communicate will be viewed through this lens.

Here are some useful tips for a great cover letter in today’s fast paced and connected world:
  1. Write to a specific person.  If you are building and leveraging your professional network in applying for positions this is easy. In those instances be sure to indicate in your message who helped you to make the connection.  If you are writing “cold”, do your research first so you obtain a name rather then writing to an anonymous individual, title or department. There are many on-line resources to help you find out the names of managers and you can always make a phone call to the organization as well, where a polite inquiry will usually produce helpful results.
  2. Tell the employer in the first sentence why you are writing.  This should include the position title or job function area you are interested in.
  3. Let the employer know how you found out about the opening citing in particular a personal, mutual contact if appropriate or at the very least showing you’ve done some research about the company and its talent needs.
  4. If you are writing on an exploratory basis and there is no specific posted position you’re aware of, discuss how you have been following the company and feel that you would be an excellent addition to a specific area in the organization.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

8 Commandments for Every Job Hunter


Successful job hunters have, over the years, shared with me their "secrets for success." Here are eight of my favorite rules to organize your search while maintaining your sanity:

1. Remember: Your job hunt is a job. Treat it with the same professionalism that you would a job that gives you a paycheck. It's easy to continually procrastinate and say, "I've got all this personal stuff to do, I'll get around to job hunting next week." At the other extreme you can become compulsive and spend every waking hour obsessing about the job hunt. Instead, set up work hours, an agenda, and goals for yourself every day. When your workday is over, leave the job hunt behind. Spend your off hours with those you love, pursuing your hobbies and interests, exercising, and living a balanced life.

2. Keep your knowledge and skills up to date. Maintain all your professional credentials, licenses, and certificates. Enroll in continuing education classes. Keep up to date with the "latest" in your field of expertise, and thereby you will demonstrate your commitment to excellence. Even if you are used to having your employer pay for these things and now have to pay for them yourself, it will be money well spent.

3. Stand out from your competition. Title your resume "{FIRSTNAME LASTNAME} Resume." Then, whenever you send it out to a company, do a "save as" and rename it: "{FIRSTNAME LASTNAME} Resume for XXX Company." It will show the employer that you aren't just blasting it everywhere. Also, it will become easier to retrieve if you keep all your resume files in a single folder in your computer, and that way you will be certain to be able to find whichever version is relevant to the company with which you are speaking.

4. Find a way to make yourself findable. Make certain that you have a complete and compelling LinkedIn profile, and include in it a PDF version of your resume (without your phone or physical address). Contribute in a meaningful way to relevant LinkedIn Group Discussions. Attend local Meetups and professional association gatherings. Present yourself as a peer who just happens not to have a paying job at the moment, rather than as a desperate person seeking to become a peer.

Tips 5-8 and Complete USNews Article

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Nuances of Job-Seeking While You're Employed


You may not be surprised to learn the best time tofind a job is when you already have a job. Recent research shows that some employers consider passive candidates—people not actively looking for work because they're employed—one of the best sources of hires.
When you consider that no job is forever, and the fact that the average employee will have between 10 and 15 jobs in a career, it's wise to take action to positively influence your chances to land a new job, even if you don't think you need one right now.

Jonathan Kreindler, founder of, a free, web-based career management system that provides guidance from a community of career experts, suggests these tips to help you stay competitive when your next transition may be just around the corner:
1. Broaden your scope. Kreindler notes: "While you likely have a full-plate at work already, consider ways to take on different challenges within your role. When you do, you'll not only become more valuable to your current employer, but you'll learn new skills, enhance your experience, and expand the number of opportunities you'll be suitable for next time you're actively looking."
2. Seize opportunities to try new things. While it is important to have niche expertise, don't let yourself be pigeonholed in one very specific area for years on end. Keep a close eye on where your field is headed and don't keep your head buried in the sand. When you're aware of trends and potential hot areas, you'll be in a better position to advance your career.
3. Don't be passive, but passively search. "Conducting a passive search doesn't necessarily mean you're applying for jobs with the intention of leaving your current role behind. Rather, it's all about exploring your options, understanding your value, and determining what gaps exist between the role you have today and the role you aspire to in the future," explains Kreindler.
Research your competitors by tracking their social media company pages (especially on LinkedIn, where you'll be able to tell when companies hire new people). Follow industry leaders on social media and keep track of the news about your field. One easy way to do this is to find and follow industry thought leaders on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Read their updates and you'll keep up-to-date about what is going on in your field with very little effort on your part.

Monday, October 22, 2012

How To Get a Job At The World's Most Desirable Companies

Haydn Shaughnessy

LinkedIn’s list of the 100 most in demand employers is a fascinating group of well known brands. But did LinkedIn manage to create a good list and is it relevant to you?
The list is topped by Google and has folks like Apple running close behind, so no surprise there.
However there are some tips on job seeking, arising from the list, that do have a surprising emphasis  – the power of networking with existing employees of a target firm. I think this is part of the LinkedIn effect on employment. More below.
The list was compiled, obviously, from the activities of people on LinkedIn, so first things first. This is a list that reflects people “connecting with employees, viewing employee profiles, visiting Company and Career Pages, and following companies.”
There’s no question this is a big data triumph, which has tapped into some 15 billion transactions on the site. I see a couple of anomalies.
In Australia, the list is topped by Rio Tinto, the mining company whose employment practices provoked protests ahead of this year’s Olympic games. In Canada the list has RIM at number 3. I can’t help thinking that RIM is a tough place to be right now.
In the USA Google, Apple, Facebook are all in the top 5, which makes you think, in the USA at least, the list is biased towards tech companies. Microsoft, which appears at number 3 in the global list, does not appear in the top 5 of US companies – or I am reading these lists wrongly.
The rankings are somewhat biased towards North America with 70 of the top 100 being North American companies. 26 are from the EMEA with only 1 from Latin America. I guess that’s also an insight into who uses LinkedIn.
31 of the US companies are from the West coast, with 19 from San Francisco. Almost 20% of the worlds most popular employers are therefore from this one city.
So, LinkedIn wants you to use the list to discover your company’s talent brand power. But is there a way we job seekers can use it?
Clearly, the top companies are where all our competition is going to be. And the easy answer, go west young folks, is something we already know. LinkedIn, however, has followed up with a series of posts on how to get jobs at these stellar companies.
The first in the series is Expedia, a company doing great things to externalizing its activities.

Friday, October 19, 2012

In the Job Search & Over 50: Closing the Deal (Part III of III)

by Amanda Augustine

Age discrimination doesn’t disappear once you’ve made it to the interviewing phase with a job opportunity. Read on for tips to help you maneuver around interview questions designed to reveal your age.

Before you head into an interview, do your research.  Visit Vault, Glassdoor and the company’s employment page on the web to get a better sense of the company culture. If you have any connections to the company, reach out to them for an informational interview to help you prepare. Depending on the company, you may need to adjust your interview wardrobe. For instance, if you walked into an interview at Google wearing a full suit and tie, you would look out of place.  Set a Google News Alert for the company in the days leading up to the interview so you stay up-to-date with relevant news.

Know your rights. There are certain questions that are off-limits – including those about your age. Oftentimes the interviewer isn’t aware of these laws, and is naively trying to break the ice by asking about your family, which may lead to inappropriate questions. In these cases, the best thing to do is redirect the question back to the interviewer. For instance, if they ask about your marital status, you can reply by saying, “It sounds like family is important to you. Are you married?” You’ve kept up the friendly chitchat without having to divulge any information about your personal life.

You are not required to submit a photo ID (which has your date of birth on it) during the interview process. If asked, you can simply not include it when filling out the initial forms, or tell the interviewer that you have concerns about identity theft and would prefer not to hand it over until it’s determined whether or not you will be joining their team. Keep the conversation light and friendly – you don’t need to come off as angry or defensive.  Be conscious of how you answer even the simplest of questions, such as “Are you at least 18 years of age?”  If you make a joke about your age, you are drawing negative attention to it.

Prepare to overcome any objections you expect to hear in the interview, such as your salary requirements. Don’t be afraid to be proactive during the interview to ensure no assumptions are made about your candidacy. Interviewers will often assume your near-term plan involves retirement, which may not be the case at all. If they don’t ask about your long-term plans, bring it up. Make sure the employer knows you’re in it for the long haul, recommends Elizabeth Mixson, career coach for TheLadders, and explain how this role fits into your long-term plans.

Also, stress your flexibility regarding work hours and availability for travel. Candidates with young families may not have as much flexibility to offer, Mixson points out, so emphasize your ability to work outside of the conventional nine-to-five box.

Read the rest of the Ladders article Plus pts I and II

Thursday, October 18, 2012

7 Job Search Tips You Need to Follow

3. Write the Resume for Hiring Managers, Not Yourself

I see SO many resumes that were obviously written to impress the writer. This is so wrong on countless levels.

Create your resume as if you were a journalist. Your contact information is the masthead of the website or newspaper. The headline is your first sentence, preferably a single line stating exactly the position for which you're applying. Your objective statement is the first paragraph of the article. Notice that when you are reading any article, if the writer does not grab your attention right away you scroll away looking for your next topic of interest. This also applies to recruiters.

Grab their attention at the outset by stating what you are going to do for them and the organization in that all-important first full paragraph.

2. Avoid the "Rewarding & Challenging" Mumbo-Jumbo

And to follow up on the previous point of grabbing your reader’s attention, do you really think you are doing so by "seeking a rewarding and challenging career?!" In this economy, when a business owner or department manager is concerned about even being in business at this time next year, you come out of the blue "seeking a rewarding and…"

Think about it. Not only is it unoriginal, it could be construed as borderline insulting.

1. Network, Network, Network

I know you have heard this time and time again, but there is so much truth in this statement.

The reality is 60 to 80 percent of all jobs are filled as a result of someone knowing someone who "would be perfect for that position." Not sure where to begin your networking? Well, your immediate circle is where you must begin. Friends, family, former/current co-workers, supervisors, professors, clergy, etc. For young people I always recommend they begin with the parents of their friends, and then grow that circle by asking to meet friends of your friend’s parents.

Also, always be prepared to drop 2 or 3 job search business cards with everyone you meet and always have several copies of your resume handy. I’m a big fan of carrying a copy of your resume in your cell phone/tablet, etc. Email is a wonderful thing!

Tips 7 - 4 and Complete Article

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

4.8 Million 'Social Networks of Jobs' Will Put a Dent in Unemployment

There are 4,813,400 jobs advertised in the U.S. right now (as of Sept. 30th), yet 12.1 million people looking for work (source: U.S. Department of Labor).
"What gives?," you might ask.
Some very smart people are working on this problem, including two I chatted with recently: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. (Thanks, Joanna Rees for your cocktail party.) I encourage you to read up on their perspectives on unemployment.
I've got an additional angle on this: Every one of those 4.8 million job ads running right now is a potential social network ready to go viral to the 12.1 million people looking for work!
Let me explain.
Job openings (even those old newspaper help wanted ads) have always had a community surrounding them consisting of three different parties:

The Hiring Team -- The hiring team (the manager, human resources and other team members).

The Job Candidates -- Typically, many hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people need to hear about a job in order for the employer to find the right candidate. The candidates found these job ads in newspapers (beginning in the 1600's) and more recently on job boards like Craigslist and

The "Connectors" -- These are well-networked people who connect candidates and employers (many do it for free (they are just good people) and then many others are paid for it (these are called recruiters).
The 4.8 million job ads -- many of which reside on Craigslist, and other job boards -- are largely static, hard to find an unattractive to share. That is all about to change due to five breakthrough trends:

1. Social Recruiting -- Increasingly, every job will have at least two social media components: a "social bar" that allows anyone to share the job through sites like Facebook, Twitter; and LinkedIn and connectability: a link between the job seeker and the employer's hiring team (i.e., the ability to see the people who can connect the job seeker to the hiring team).

2. Visual Recruiting -- More and more innovative companies are hiring through the use of video and pictures.
Fast-growing uses a video for each of its hires, such as this designer role in San Francisco in which candidates candidates get to see the hiring manager and other team members (including the CEO) discuss the role.

Jobs with videos and pictures are more likely to be shared across social network portals, including (in the case of videos) YouTube and its 490 million users.

3. Job Newsfeeds -- Generation Y and future professionals interact differently than the rest of us. They post short bursts of text through text messaging, instant messaging, Facebook status updates, and tweets. Facebook has made these famous as "newsfeeds" and Twitter calls them "streams."

Just like there is a comment/newsfeed area for every news story on HuffPo, football game on ESPN, and birthday of a friend of yours on Facebook, so too will there be a newsfeed around every job -- and every comment/update in the newsfeed will of course be shareable across social networks.

More Tips and Complete Huffpost Article

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

25 Social Media Tips from Recruiters

Social Media and social networking is no new concept in the job search space.  Depending on who you ask – you’ll receive varying tips to build your network and possibly land a job.

Some of the advice is good, but as one Recruiter shared, “Don’t listen to all the bad advice out there – if it seems crazy it’s because it is”.

At a Minnesota Recruiters event a week ago, we asked Recruiters to identify useful tips for job seekers when they are leveraging social media in their job search.

We compiled the list into the following 25 bite-size tips:
  1. Use social media as a vehicle, not a substitute for an in-person interaction
  2. Remember your audience and that social doesn’t necessarily mean casual
  3. Engaging in social shouldn’t be a one-way communication or conversation
  4. Don’t fall for all the fads.  It’s likely you won’t find your next job browsing Pinterest, although some of the worst recruiting consultants make it seem like a viable channel to be found
  5. Pick one or two social sites and be active.  It’s also important to have your profile and any links on other static sites that you do not visit as frequently
  6. Use the right keywords in order to be found
  7. Have a Skype account, make the offer to conduct a digital interview or ask if the company uses a video interviewing service
  8. Post industry content on the social sites and be focused
  9. Don’t be afraid to reach out to employers directly via social sites
  10. Your social presence is your personal brand – protect it

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to get a recruiter’s attention through social media

If you’re a recent college graduate, or someone looking for a career change, you’re probably spending a lot of time networking, filling out job applications, and sending out résumés and cover letters. But have you ever tried getting a recruiter’s attention through social media? It’s clear that social media has now become a big part of business, and that includes the hiring process as well.

At the start of 2012, I decided I wanted to work for Radian6, so I created a social media campaign targeted towards the company. The goal was to get an interview with a recruiter. Here’s what I did:
  • I first started out by setting a plan, and a goal. This way, I had clear direction with what I wanted to do, and how I was going to do it.
  • I started engaging with Radian6 on Twitter on a regular basis.
  • I decided to write this post as my job application.
  • I engaged with my influential followers, and asked them to share this post with their community.
  • I tagged Radian6 in the post on Twitter and Facebook to make sure they would see it.
Results? I was contacted by email within 24 hours to set up a phone interview. I had my phone interview within 48 hours of me writing the post. Other people were interested in the post too, and decided to write articles about it! Here are the links to the articles that different people wrote:
I did not end up getting the job with Radian6 because of bad timing (the position started in march, and I only graduated in May). However, I ended up making great contacts during the experience! Also, Radian6 invited me to write a guest post for their blog. You might say this campaign was not successful, but I would disagree. The goal was to get an interview, and that goal was accomplished. To me, that’s success. The best part about all of this was that it took me as long to write the blog post as it would have to write a cover letter and  résumé specifically for that company.
So how can you take my example, and apply it to you? Here are a few tips of what you could do with your personal online presence that might help you get a recruiter’s attention through social media.

Your online brand must be professional

  • Make sure your social media profiles are clean. Pictures must be appropriate and keep any negative comments about employers to yourself.
  • Establish a headquarters (i.e. website or blog), and show your skills through your writing. Be creative with it.

Listen to what hiring managers are saying

  • Find the companies where you want to work. Make sure you are present and active on the same networks as they are.
  • Look at their online presence, and listen to what they are saying. Engage with them and introduce yourself to the company.

Friday, October 12, 2012

5 Tips to Recruit (and Job Search) in a Recruiter-Driven Market

by Neil Shorney

Economic Outlet of the Job Search Market

It’s now nearly four years since the “credit crunch” hit, and the economic outlook is still far from certain. If we believe the media, there are huge numbers of highly-qualified graduates out there and only about 7 jobs available. It’s a recruiter’s market for the job ssearch, isn’t it? Well… no, apparently not. In my role as a sales manager, I’ve recruited twenty times in the past ten years, and finding the right person for my sales jobs is no easier now that it was before the current troubles.

I’ve put together some first-hand advice. If you’re a recruiter, I hope this helps you. If you’re a candidate, you can use this advice to help you land your dream job and gives you a look into the recruiting and hiring processes from all perspectives.

5 Top Tips for Effective Recruitment

  • Look Out for Mistakes in CVs.  When reviewing CVs or curriculum vitae (also know as resume), it’s important to remember that candidates can put anything they like in the document. A better measure of a candidate’s appropriateness is to look out for inconsistencies, mistakes in spelling, grammar or punctuation, short stints in previous jobs, or unexplained gaps. Clumsy mistakes can be a sign of poor attention to detail or lack of knowledge. Other inconsistencies should at least warrant further investigation during interview.
  • Start with a Phone interview.  It is good practice to conduct the first interview over the telephone. Apart from giving a good indication of the applicant’s telephone manner, it is also a great time-saver. When a face-to-face meeting goes badly, it’s usually at least half an hour before you can politely show the candidate the door. By beginning with a telephone interview, you can keep the interview time down to 6 or 7 minutes if the candidate is unsuitable, meaning that face-to-face interviews can be reserved for only the most promising applicants.
  • Be Flexible with Your Interviewing.  Whilst it’s important to have a well-structured interview plan, it is equally important to approach each conversation with the flexibility to drill down into the specific strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Whilst most interviewers will have a list of “good” interview questions such as “why did you leave your previous job?”, “what are your career goals?” and “what would you change about your last manager?”, the most important questions you can ask are “why is that relevant?”, “how would you do that here?” and “can you tell me more about that?”. Questions like this allow you to personalise your interviewing, and to press candidates for more details to ensure skills are genuine.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Acing the Behavioral Interview

By Jeanne Knight

"The most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation."
This statement is the premise behind behavioral interviewing, an interviewing technique created in the 1970s by industrial psychologists. This style of interview is becoming popular with employers, and it can be a challenging experience.

You're likely to face the technique on job interviews and you should be prepared to confront it the right way.

Traditional interviewing calls upon the candidate to state opinions: "Tell me about yourself." "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" "Why do you want to work for this company?" By contrast, behavioral interviewing requires job candidates to relate stories about how they handled challenges related to the skill sets the company requires for the position.

For example, if a job requires strong communication and team-building skills, an interviewer might ask candidates to recount past experiences where they explained new plans that brought a team together. Behavioral interview questions often start with phrases like, "Tell me about a time when ..." or "Describe a situation in which ... " or "Give me an example of ..."

While your skills and experiences could be a perfect match for the position, you could lose out if you can't validate them with relevant anecdotes.

So how do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

First, you'll want to put yourself in the shoes of the employer and imagine what the ideal candidate for the position would answer from the interviewer's perspective.

Then, take the time to review thoroughly the job description and research the company and its culture. Look for cues about skills necessary for the job and valued by the organization. Next, think about the sorts of behavioral questions an interviewer might ask to determine those skills.

Here are a few examples of skill sets and some behaviorally focused interview questions aimed at surfacing them.

Decision Making and Problem Solving

  • Describe a situation in which you used good judgment and logic to solve a problem.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.


  • Have you ever had trouble getting others to agree with your ideas? How did you deal with the situation, and were you successful?
  • Describe the most challenging group from which you've had to gain cooperation.


  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Give me an example of a situation in which you positively influenced the actions of others.


  • Describe a situation in which you were able to communicate with another individual who did not personally like you (or vice versa).
  • Describe a time you had to use written communication to convey an important argument or idea.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tell Me A Little About Yourself - 7 Interview Tips


If you have ever been on a job interview the odds are you were asked this open-ended, break-the-ice question, which is often the first one asked. Now if you worked with a resume writer/job coach like me, inwardly you would be jumping for joy because the exercises used to prepare your resume also prepared you to knock this out of the park.

However as a recruiter and hiring authority I was shocked at how many people were caught off guard when asked this question and how many struck out in my evaluation of them before the interview even started. After all, this question is a slow pitch lobbed right over the heart of the plate and I expected them to hit a home run, or at the very least to make contact and get on base.

OK I admit it, I am a huge baseball fan and the division playoffs begin this week.

So now that I got my baseball metaphors out of my system my advice to all of you is “expect to be asked this question and be fully prepared to offer the proper response.” After all this is not really a question, it is a request for information and your reply will set the tone for the balance of the interview.

How do you reply?

1: First off keep your reply as brief as possible, not less than 60 seconds but no more than 2 minutes. Remember this is generally the beginning of an interview so you have ample opportunity to present relevant information later on.

2. Write your answer out and rehearse it until it comes out sounding natural and unrehearsed.

3. Be aware of your body language. Keen interviewers judge you by eyeballing you as well as listening to what you have to say.

4: Your reply must offer the following personality traits that employers look for no matter what level job you’re applying for: intelligence, enthusiasm, confidence and professionalism.

5: Present yourself in a positive yet humble way and by all means avoid sounding negative, cocky or braggadocios.

6: If you ever heard a politician or professional interviewed in person, on TV or the radio you will know that most reply with the same opening line, and you may want to adapt it in your response by saying, “That’s a very good question, where should I start,” and then go into your prepared spiel.

7: When you are done, politely throw the ball back into the interviewer’s court in a way that puts you on a more equal footing as the interview moves forward.

What do interviewers want to hear? + More Tips and Complete Article

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

After the Job Rejection: Why Following Up Gracefully Works


Getting rejected for a job hurts. Just like striking out in a baseball game or never getting a phone call back after a great date. Even if no one knows you’ve been rejected, it can feel like a first degree burn that doesn’t blister but still feels painful. It’s hard to forget that it’s there.

There are many schools of thought on how to handle a rejection from a job. Some career counselors say to turn your disappointment into fuel — and apply for a job with a competitor of the organization that turned you down. Others say to keep moving, and immediately apply for other jobs in different companies.

I recommend a different strategy: Follow up with the organization that turned you down before you move on.

This may sound counter-intuitive but here are three reasons how it can help your career:

1.  If you ask for feedback and receive a response, it can help you move on.
Not getting an offer isn’t fun, but knowing why you did not get the job can be helpful.

Even if you are perfectly qualified for the job on paper, there could be a number of reasons why you didn’t get the offer.
  • Perhaps the company has a company initiative to hire current employees in order to minimize hiring cuts in another department so they hired a current employee into the job. 
  • Perhaps the job description changed — after the interview. 
  • Perhaps they company really liked you but thought you’d be a better fit — in a different job.
Knowing the truth can bring you peace of mind and/or position your skills better next time!

2.  Following up can help employers better understand you.
Let’s say you interviewed for a job for which you were over-qualified.
Many employers reject candidates on this very basis alone, “She’d be bored stiff. Why would she want this job?”
Responding to a rejection note and saying “I’m disappointed, particularly as this job would have enabled me to learn _______” can counteract this assumption. Note: I’ve actually seen this approach turn one job seeker’s rejection into a job offer within 48 hours!

More tips and complete article

Monday, October 8, 2012

Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most

I know you: You’ve made looking for your next job, well… your job. You’ve scoured your resume of clichéd buzzwords, brushed up on body language and even gotten a handle on the dreaded video interview.

But all that might be for naught if you just don’t have the personality your dream employer is looking for. New research shows that the vast majority of employers (88%) are looking for a “cultural fit” over skills in their next hire as more and more companies focus on attrition rates. Lucky for you, we’ve drilled down into data from 1,200 of the world’s leading employers (think General Electric, P&G and Accenture) to find precisely the personalities big business is looking for.

Universum, the Stockholm-based employer branding firm that annually surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide on jobs-related issues, has culled their data to the top five personality traits employers are looking for in job candidates in 2012. How’s that for a leg up on the competition?

“We surveyed employers to get a handle on the challenges that face them in hiring,” says Joao Araujo of Universum. “What are they looking for in employees and what are they not finding?” By identifying both traits, he says, aspiring job applicants can both identify the most sought after traits—and brush up resumes and interview tactics to best position themselves.

Professionalism (86%), high-energy (78%) and confidence (61%) are the top three traits employers say they are looking for in new hires. Kathy Harris, managing director of Manhattan-based executive search firm Harris Allied says these first-impression traits are the most critical for employers to prepare for as they all can be evaluated by a recruiter or hiring manager within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate.

“A manager can read you the moment you walk in the door,” she says; from the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake, presenting yourself as a confident, energetic professional is about as basic as career advice gets. But don’t be off-put by this commonplace advice. Harris, who specialized in high-level executive placement says even the most seasoned of CEOs can get tripped up by the basics. Universum clients agree: confidence ranks highest on the list of skills companies think employees are missing most.

“We remind every candidate of the most granular advice,” she says. The most successful applicant is the one who walks into every interview with her hand outstretched for a handshake, has done her homework on the interviewer and company and is dressed to fit effortlessly into the culture of the workplace.

Traits 4,5, and complete Yahoo/Forbes article

Friday, October 5, 2012

9 Things You Wish Job Candidates Knew

Sure, you'll consider their qualifications. But admit it: This is what you're really looking for during interviews.

Job candidates say a lot during an interview. As the interviewer, so do you.
But there's a lot you wish you could say to job candidates well before the interview ever takes place:

1. I want you to be likable.
Obvious, sure, but also critical. I want to work with people I like and who like me.
So I want you to smile. I want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship--and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before).
A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond.
You may have solid qualifications, but if I don't think I'll enjoy working with you, I'm probably not going to hire you.
Life is too short.

2. I'm taken aback when you say you want the job right away.
Oh, I do want you to want the job--but not before you really know what the job entails. I may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you... so hang in there.
No matter how much research you've done, you can't know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

3. I want you to stand out....
A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don't recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)
The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.
So when I meet with staff to discuss potential candidates I might initially refer to someone as, "the guy with the handcuff-ready stainless steel briefcase," or "the woman who does triathlons," or "the guy who grew up in Romania."
In short, I may remember you by "hooks"--whether flattering or unflattering--so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career.
Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time, or the huge sale you made.
Instead of letting me choose, give me one or two notable ways to remember you.

4. ...But not for being negative.
There's no way I can remember everything you say. But I will remember sound bites, especially negative ones.
Some candidates complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, their customers.
So if, for example, you hate being micro-managed, instead say you're eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you're desperate to to escape your old job.
And keep in mind I'm well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I'm getting the best possible version of "you." So if you whine and complain and grumble now... I know you'll be a total downer to be around in a few months.

Tips 5-9 and Complete Inc. Article

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Real Responsibilities of a Job Seeker


People with a background in sales understand basic sales principles and know how to build a sales funnel. They understand lead generation and aren't afraid of rejection because they know it's part of the process. Job seekers are sales professionals and should understand what the job duties are in their new role. The responsibilities of a sales professional closely mirror those of a job seeker, as a matter of fact, these ARE actual responsibilities taken from a sales job posting:
  • Develop new and manage existing relationships by systematic outreach and follow up
  • Perform prospecting on the phone and in person to build a pipeline of opportunities
  • Strategically manage online and offline brand promotion
  • Increase contact volume and enhance image in the community
  • Plan and implement a marketing strategy/campaign
  • Write strong technical and marketing materials
  • Monitor activities and performance to ensure activities meet or exceed established plan
Develop relationships and build a pipeline. Just as sales professionals must identify the companies who need their product or service; you must identify companies who could use your services. Sales professionals develop a large pipeline of potential customers, not just those who have an immediate need. Their prospective customer includes anyone who could potentially use their product. The million dollar question is: How? Sales professionals target customers in different ways. One way is by identifying similar products they may use. In your case, look at companies who already employ people who do what you do. Search LinkedIn for job titles and see which companies have your job. Or you could look at what companies are doing. Are they growing? Did they win a new contract? You can identify companies that will have a future need for the problem your services solve. Once you have identified these targets, you would create a sales pitch for each individual company based on what they would gain by using your service.

Brand promotion. As you know, you have a personal brand or personal reputation. How are you strategically managing this and promoting it within the community? Sales professionals participate in trade shows, industry events, and local events. Likewise, you should seek opportunities to attend and perhaps even speak at events in your area of expertise. Get out of the house! And don't forget to build a reputation online by embracing LinkedIn groups and actively participate in discussions or by answering questions and helping others on other social networks.

For more on:
Strong marketing communication skills.
Have a strategy and measure it.
Other duties as assigned.
Thick skin.
and the complete USNews article

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

13 Big Mistakes Job Seekers Make And How To Avoid Them

Jacquelyn Smith

There are a lot of ways you can go wrong during your job search. You can fail to devote enough time to it, or you can get so involved you become isolated from family and friends. Those are among the most common mistakes job seekers make, according to a study by Connie Wanberg, Jing Zhu and Edwin A. J. van Hooft. The researchers wrote a paper on their study titled “The Job-Search Grind: Perceived Progress, Self-Reactions, and Self-Regulation of Search Effort,” which was published in the Academy of Management Journal in 2010. Though the study was conducted two years ago—Wanberg says its findings are still entirely relevant today.

The three scholars asked 233 participants to complete a baseline survey and then follow up online every Monday through Friday for three weeks. Particpants tracked their emotions, the time they dedicated to their job search and the level of confidence they felt about finding an acceptable job. They all had been out of work for about 16 weeks.

“There is a significant amount of research available on job search, however there is little understanding of what job seekers do on a day-to-day basis,” says Wanberg, a professor of human resources and industrial relations at the University of Minnesota. “I found that there are a lot of ups and downs in the process, and I would say that one of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make is that they don’t regulate their emotions. They often start off angry, especially if they were let go from their previous job. Once they start the application process, they become very confident. Next, they get frustrated by their rejections.”

The study revealed that more than 40% of the participants dedicated less than three hours a day to their searches, while another 40% spent more than half their day at it. Wanberg warns against taking either too many or too few breaks from the job hunt. “Some people tether themselves to the computer and become isolated,” she says. “It is healthy to take time out to exercise or have lunch with a friend.” On the other hand, the study found that progress tends to induce loafing, as some job hunters take lengthy breaks after a particularly productive day, feeling complacent or wanting to reward themselves.

Wanberg says job seekers tend to make these kinds of mistakes because they don’t always have the help and resources they need to conduct a successful job search. “A lot of unemployed people go into the process without talking to people or researching effective methods for finding a job,” she says. “For instance, many people are not aware that they need to diversify their approach.”
She stresses the importance of using different search methods, including networking, online searches and making phone calls. “Sticking to one method is one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make,” she says.

Last August, Wanberg, Zhu and van Hooft won the 2011 Academy of Management’s Human Resources Division’s Scholarly Achievement Award, an annual distinction the Academy gives to the authors of the human resources article, published in recognized journals and research annuals, that it deems most significant.

More recently, Wanberg and van Hooft teamed up with Gokce Basbug of MIT and Archana Agrawal of TheLadders to follow up on the topic. They conducted a qualitative study on job search demand and wrote an in-depth paper, titled “Navigating The Black Hole: Explicating Layers of Job Search Context and Adaptational Responses,” which will be published later this year.

Click here to see 13 big mistakes job seekers make, and how to avoid them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

6 Job Search "Signs" That Don't Actually Mean Anything


Because job searching can be frustrating and full of disappointments, and because employers can be so difficult to read, job seekers often try to find clues about their candidacy in things that employers say and do. But plenty of what job seekers take as "signals" from employers really don't reveal anything at all.

Here are six actions that job seekers often see meaning in, but in reality often don't mean anything at all.

1. The employer reposted the job. Job seekers often assume that if a job is re-advertised, it must mean that none of the candidates were satisfactory and the employer is starting from scratch. But to the contrary, many employers simply keep job listings active until the position has been filled, which often means refreshing ads that would otherwise expire. Don't assume that if you see a job you applied for reposted, it means you aren't still in the running.

2. The job suddenly disappears from the employer's website. At the opposite end from the employers in point No. 1 are employers who remove job listings as soon as the application period closes—even before they've begun conducting interviews. Don't assume that just because a listing has been removed, the job has been filled. Plenty of the time, the hiring process is still ongoing.

3. An employer is taking longer to get back to you than they said they would. Employers regularly underestimate the amount of time that different stages of the hiring process will take—and they don't generally take the time to proactively update candidates when timelines change. Candidates often don't realize this and interpret delays as a bad sign, when they're often just a normal part of the process.

Signs 4-6 and Complete USNews article

Monday, October 1, 2012

Keep Your Job Search Under Wraps

Like an amateur poker player who twitches whenever holding a full house, people seeking to change jobs have "tells" that cue co-workers and the boss into the fact.

There are the sloppy classics: leaving a résumé on the copier or missing work for a string of emergency "dental" and "medical" visits. Then there's the dead giveaway of dressing atypically well.

"I saw a woman I hired [at a prior employer] a few years ago come in one day and I realized that she was wearing the exact same suit as she had when she interviewed with me," says Charles Wardell, chief executive of Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm in Oak Brook, Ill. "My instincts told me she was interviewing. She denied it, but I was right."

Given stress from stagnant careers, it makes sense that many workers would like a new gig. And while it can be helpful to network with select co-workers during a job search, discretion is key to maintaining a smooth work environment while trying to transition to a new job. A prematurely exposed job search can deepen rifts between employees and management, and damage morale. Additionally, co-workers can suffer if a manager's retaliation affects an entire team.

"Once the cat is out of the bag that you're looking for a job, your co-workers and your boss will treat you differently. It's human nature," says Art Papas, chief executive and co-founder of Bullhorn, a Boston recruiting-software firm. "And, if your search takes a long time, your performance, pay and job security could all be at risk."

Thoughtful planning can help job seekers avoid the classic mistakes. But experts warn that there are subtler behaviors that can expose a job search.

1. Dropping digital breadcrumbs
The three big online job-hunting giveaways: frequently updating a résumé, adding recommendations to a professional profile and connecting with recruiters on social networks, Mr. Papas says.

"You have to be careful about the digital breadcrumbs that you are leaving behind," he says. "Is there somebody watching? The answer is 'yes.' People generally don't ask for endorsements on [networking sites such as] LinkedIn unless they are thinking about a career search."

To avoid too much online activity at once, which can attract unwanted attention, experts recommend that workers always maintain a robust career profile, rather than waiting until the start of a job search to flesh out experience and contacts.

"If you haven't done that, take the leap and do so, just not in the same week you're showing up spiffier than usual after a 'doctor's appointment,' " says Meredith Haberfeld, an executive and career coach in New York.

2. Avoiding co-workers and the boss
Job hunters can arouse suspicions by dropping out of social office activities. Keeping up water-cooler conversations, even if you are taking a new job, is important, says Janette Marx, senior vice president at staffing firm Adecco.

"People don't want their friends to pick up on the fact that they are interviewing, and they don't want to be in a position to lie to their friends," Ms. Marx says. "But you need to be fully engaged, and be very aware not to distance yourself from current activities."

Even if you land a new job, it's important to remain professional and dependable and keep the respect of co-workers and your boss.

"You don't want to burn bridges," says Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert based in San Antonio, Texas. "You want to make sure you leave in good standing."

More Tips and Complete Article