Monday, December 11, 2023

Taking this one extra step after a job interview can pay off—‘hardly anyone’ does it, says career coach

Gili Malinsky

In-person job interviews typically last between 45 and 90 minutes, according to job search site Indeed. In that time, you’ll probably be asked about your work history and be told about the role you’re interviewing for.

When the interview’s over, it’s customary to send a thank you email to everyone who interviewed you within 24 to 48 hours — but if you want to go that extra mile, send a physical thank you note as well.

“Hardly anyone does that ever,” says Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster. But it can pay off — here’s why.

It shows you ‘really put in the effort’

Interviewers likely speak with many candidates, many of whom will remember to sent over a thank you email after they meet. But most probably won’t send anything by snail mail.

“A handwritten thank you note can help you stand out in the job interview process,” says Angelina Darrisaw, a former manager at Viacom and CEO of C-Suite Coach. “It can signal that you are willing to go the extra mile, which can be very attractive to potential employers.”

When you see someone’s handwriting, it feels like you “really put in the effort,” says Salemi.

Not only will they remember that you were willing to go a little further to show your gratitude about the interview and excitement about the role, but they’ll have a physical reminder of it sitting right in front of them.

Salemi remembers the effect these notes had when she was a recruiter herself. “As we were determining who was going to get the job offer, I had that thank you note on my desk for at least a week,” she says. “And I always thought of that person.”

‘It’s a nice touch’ - Read the full CNBC article to learn more



Thursday, October 26, 2023

A scientist explains the surprising influence of body language in job interviews

By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Despite rapid advancements in the science of assessments and a booming market for recruitment technologies, it is still virtually impossible for anyone to get a job without first going through a traditional interview. 

This is bad news, since typical job interviews tend to be poor predictors of future performance, and unreliable markers of someone’s true talent. The reason is that all humans are biased, to the point that it’s impossible to resist the impact of first impressions, even when we are determined to do so.

As a result, intuitive inferences of people’s potential are generally flawed and contaminated by a range of irrelevant signals. Those are the things that interviewers cannot ignore but should because they are poorly correlated with future job performance.

A common example is body language or nonverbal communication, which is known to impact others’ evaluations of candidates’ job potential far more than it predicts candidates’ future job performance.

In fact, it takes just 30 seconds for people to make consequential judgments about us based on their initial gut feeling, so there is really no second chance for a first good impression.

To put things into perspective: Imagine that wearing a red sweater increases your chances of being hired, but without boosting your probability of actually being good at that job. In other words, our nonverbal communication, which includes face, voice, body, touch, and interpersonal space, plays a significant role influencing others’ views of our employability without actually being a relevant indicator of it.

To make matters worse, the commonly held belief is that body language matters a great deal more than it does, with popular estimates absurdly claiming that 80% of communication is nonverbal; if this were true, we would not need subtitles when we watch a movie in a foreign language, or interpreters when we travel to a remote country. 

But while we cannot stop people from making conscious and unconscious evaluations of our nonverbal behavior, we can pay attention to the signals we send, curating our professional self-presentation, and using our knowledge of what people look for to our own advantage.

In fact, a fundamental component of social and political skills involves displaying the right kind of verbal and nonverbal communicational signals to improve how we come across to others. 


The more deliberately you seem to engage with the interviewers (e.g., nodding, smiling, making eye contact), the lower the status you will project. Conversely, if you want to project a powerful and high-status image, you may want to seem disengaged, disinterested, and basically play hard to get. 

Read the full Fast Company article to find out about more about Body Language and Interviewing


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

7 Unspoken Job Interview Rules That Everyone Needs To Know

Rule #1: Interviewers want a highlight reel, not an exhaustive list of everything you have done. 

Job candidates are guaranteed to be asked some version of  “Tell us about yourself” and “Why are you interested in our company/role?” said Anyelis Cordero, founder of Propel on Purpose Coaching, a career coaching service designed for first-generation professionals.

You may think you can just repeat what your resume says. But that would be a mistake.

“Interviewers are going to expect [you] to be able to concisely walk them through your career. This is an area many experienced professionals struggle with, especially first-gen professionals, because the unspoken rule here is that the interview wants the highlight reel,” Cordero said.

“Since most interviews are 30 minutes, if you don’t practice, you’ll make the mistake of spending too much time on this answer and not leave enough time to answer other questions.”

Other job interview questions come with silent subtext and expectations, too.

The job search is all about demonstrating your competence, commitment, and compatibility, said Gorick Ng, a career adviser at Harvard University and the author of “The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right.”

“The interview question ‘Tell us about a time when…?’ is really a competence question of ‘Have you done a similar job before?’ and ‘Do you have a good head on your shoulders?’ The interview question ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ is really a commitment question of ‘Do you care enough about us to do enough research to ask a question that you couldn’t have found the answer to on Google?’ And the interview question ‘Tell us about yourself’ is really a competence, commitment, and compatibility question,” Ng said.

Rule #2: To be a stronger candidate, you need to understand the role of each person you interview with. 

Tailoring your questions and answers based on the roles that individual interviewers hold is one of the best unwritten rules to a successful interview, saidDaniel Space, a senior human resources business partner for large tech companies.

“The way I answer what a peer is going to ask me in an interview is going to be a little different than what I tell a manager,” he said. “I know what the peer wants is: ‘Can Daniel do his job? Can he hold up the team? Is he good for collaboration?’ What the manager wants to know is ‘Can Daniel do his job without a lot of interference from me? Can I trust him to make tough decisions? What level of support do I need to provide him?’”

It’s important to go into a job search process knowing how to tell the story of your career. But if you want to be an even stronger candidate, you need more than one story to tell interviewers, because often, they debrief each other.

Sharai Johnson, a sourcer for Latinx and Black engineering talent for a large tech company, said she wants job candidates to understand the differences between a sourcer, a recruiter and a hiring manager. Johnson said a sourcer’s job is to gain the interest of passive talent; sourcers may schedule the first interview, then pass off duties to a recruiter, who will be in contact with candidates through the end of the hiring process but doesn’t make final hiring decisions. 

“A recruiter and a sourcer can advocate on behalf of a candidate, but at the end of the day, the hiring manager is the one that actually can get the budget approval and send the ‘yes’ or the ‘no,’” Johnson said. “It’s just important to understand those moving parts and those people, so you know who to reach out to and who to direct questions to.”

Rule #4: You need to be prepared with more than one career story to tell. 

It’s important to go into a job search process knowing how to tell the story of your career. But if you want to be an even stronger candidate, you need more than one story to tell interviewers, because often, they debrief each other.

Space said that ideally, you should have three or four success stories that you can rotate between interviewers because he has seen hiring panels in which it counted against candidates if they told the same story to every person they talked with.

“If they have that one amazing story of how they sold that really difficult client, if all five people were told that story, sometimes it helps them because it helps reinforce it,” he said. “But in other cases, it actually helps to have different stories.”

Read the complete Yahoo Finance article for all 7 rules

**  I half disagree with #5 and #6 so take them for what they are worth **

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

I’ve done over 30,000 interviews, says hiring expert: Here are 3 ways to ‘instantly impress’


The first five minutes of a job interview can make or break your odds of landing an offer. 

Those fleeting moments set the tone for the rest of the conversation: If you show up late, unprepared or glued to your phone, it’s hard to convince the interviewer that you want the job, even if you are qualified. 

To capture a hiring manager’s attention, you need to project a friendly, confident and professional demeanor from the onset, says William Vanderbloemen, the CEO of executive search firm Vanderbloemen Search Group.

Vanderbloemen has interviewed over 30,000 job candidates throughout his career — and the ones who stand out, he says, always do these 3 things to instantly impress a hiring manager during the job interview:

Dress for success

You might have gotten comfortable dressing down for online meetings during the pandemic, but a more casual ensemble isn’t going to cut it for a job interview — even if it’s on Zoom. 

While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half online, they could catch a glimpse of your sweatpants, depending on the camera angle, Vanderbloemen warns. Some interviewers might even ask you to stand up during a video call, to check that you’re wearing professional attire. 

“I know that sounds like old curmudgeon stuff but if you want to impress a recruiter, you really need to dress for the job,” he says. “It’s an important sign that shows you’re taking this opportunity seriously.”

Regardless of the interview setting, Vanderbloemen recommends checking out a company’s website and social media to figure out what people are wearing to the office or, if the company is remote, to corporate retreats and in-person events. Then, match your outfit accordingly. 

Read ways 2&3 + the complete CNBC article


Ex-Google recruiter shares the No. 1 thing to do after applying for a job: ‘Everyone fails’ at it

Gili Malinsky

If you’re applying for a job, it may seem like all there is to it is making sure your resume reflects the language of the job description, your cover letter explains why you want the position, you’ve had multiple people read both — and then, finally, you’ve sent in all of your material.

While those are all crucial steps in the job application process, there is one more step that comes after applying which “everyone fails on,” says Nolan Church former Google and DoorDash recruiter and the current CEO of Continuum, a talent marketplace for executives. That’s following up the application with a message on LinkedIn and a personalized email to the company hiring manager and even its CEO.

When Church was at DoorDash, CEO Tony Xu would get such emails and “he would forward them directly to me every time,” he says, adding that “probably 90% of the time, we took calls with those people.”

Even if the company you’re applying to is Amazon and you’re sending an email to Andy Jassy, do it, Church says. He might not be the one reading that email, but someone on his team could see it and forward it along to HR or even a VP.

Here’s how to go about writing these messages and why he thinks they’re critical.

Explain why you’re a perfect fit for the role...

Find out more about writing the messages and the complete CNBC article


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Does Your Résumé Pass 6-Second Test? - 4 Tips

By Kailyn Rhone

No pressure, but your résumé has six seconds to make an impression before it is sent to the don’t-even-bother pile.

That is how long a recruiter typically skims a résumé to decide whether to pass it on to a hiring manager, said J.T. O’Donnell, chief executive of career-coaching site Work It Daily. Recruiters often have hundreds of online applications to wade through, even with algorithms helping filter many of them out. They will likely give yours little more than a glance to judge whether you make it onto the shortlist of candidates.

In other words, your résumé has to be highly “skimmable,” Ms. O’Donnell said at The Wall Street Journal’s recent Jobs Summit. “The human eye works in a Z-pattern, and I’m going down, looking for four to five things that I was told you need to have or you cannot be considered.” 

The CV won’t clinch a job offer, but it gets you to the next step, she and other career coaches say. A résumé that’s hard to skim or fails to mention key skills needed for the job could keep you from ever getting the chance to make your case in an interview. 

Some ways to make your résumé stand out, and some job-search killers to avoid, according to the experts at the summit:  

1) Forget the professional statement.

Job seekers have long been advised to include a short paragraph atop of their résumé summing up their skills, experience, achievements and goals. No more.

“Recruiters don’t have time for that,” Ms. O’Donnell said. Instead, open with a one-line “headline” stating your occupational specialty—ideally with words matching the role you’re applying for, like “digital marketing specialist” or “technical writer,” she said. 

Follow the headline with two short columns of bullets with concrete skills. If you coordinated a team to pull off a big assignment and the job posting mentions project-management experience, use that same language, since that’s what recruiters and their applicant-tracking-systems will screen for, said Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation, a nonprofit focused on workforce development. 

“Every job you apply for, you should customize your résumé just a little bit by putting in some of the words that are in that job description,” Ms. Oates said.

3) Use numbers.

Avoid subjective, ambiguous language, such as “passionate self-starter” or a “dedicated hard worker.” The hiring manager or recruiter will assess your soft skills when they interview you, Ms. O’Donnell said. A résumé is about your hard skills, which are best told through numbers.  

Her tip: Circle all of the nouns on your CV, because they can usually be quantified.

If you are describing your experience as a receptionist, for instance, don’t just say “Answer phones.” More effective is something like: “Work for a 300-person company, answering more than 100 calls a day, on a 12-line phone system,” she said.

See all 4 tips + video and complete WSJ article




Monday, March 27, 2023

Here's How to Land a Job in Tech — and What Can Blow Your Interview

By Dorothy Cucci

A former Google recruiter says layoffs may be trendy, but tech workers are always needed. Here's how to land a job at a major tech company.  

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jeff Sipe, a private tech career coach and former Google recruiter. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Big Tech layoffs were always going to receive backlash — that said, I don't think any of them have been handled perfectly, and many of them could have been avoided. Yes, companies needed to cut down on costs, but more than that, I think layoffs have become trendy.

After layoffs, the company's stock price usually goes up, and the board of directors and shareholders (most of whom don't work there) are happy. It starts becoming more and more acceptable to conduct them; Twitter did it, so Google can do it, so Microsoft can do it, and so on.

But there are other ways to cope with a recession. A Stanford business professor says that layoffs often don't cut costs and suggests companies could implement other strategies like a 10% wage cut across the board.

That said, I don't think anyone who's been laid off or wants to break into the industry should be discouraged — it's always a good time to get into tech. Tech workers will always be needed. So if working at Google or Amazon has always been a dream, I always advise people to go for it.

1) Use LinkedIn to work smarter, not harder

Whether you've been laid off or are hoping to break into tech for the first time, the first thing that you should do is clean up your LinkedIn profile. You could be sleeping, working, or going to the gym, and your profile will do the work for you. Every aspect of your profile, from your picture, to your headline, to your name, to your about, to your experience, that should be buttoned up.

I rarely see true red flags on LinkedIn, but I think it's unappealing when candidates don't include their photo. Your headshot should be shoulders and above; I see a lot of people use a photo of themselves with sunglasses on or a photo with their families, and it's just not professional. I recommend just taking a selfie or having somebody take a picture of you against a clean background.

You should also be using the platform to reach out to recruiters at target companies — with a giving approach, rather than just asking for a job right out of the gate. A message like this will go a long way: "Hey Sue, I came across this really cool article about machine learning, I thought I'd share it with you."

Take a look at what's trending in your space and devote time to sending notes like this, as well as commenting on other people's posts. It will make you much more noticeable to hiring teams on LinkedIn.

I also like when people keep track of what we've spoken about in the past. Let's say you send another message to Sue a month or two later. Keep track of your connections in a spreadsheet so that it's easier to follow up. Trust me: continue with that giving approach, and eventually Sue will ask how she can help you out — it will come full circle.

2) Be open about your layoff

If you're coming out of a big tech company, chances are you've built up a great network. You should be announcing to the world that you're looking for work. Make a LinkedIn post saying, "Hey, I got laid off. Here are the types of roles I'm looking for."

I've noticed that many employees who have been laid off add the "Open to Work" feature to their LinkedIn, but don't necessarily make it clear that they've been laid off.

I recommend creating a banner to set as your profile's background photo. Anyone can create one for free, using Canva for example, that says, "Impacted by Google Layoffs." I'd also include the types of roles you're interested in, as well as your contact and locations.

From a recruiter's point of view, I'd see this and immediately understand your status — I know you've worked in a tough environment, and I know how to contact you. I haven't seen laid off candidates do this yet, but I think it would definitely help them jump up the list.

Read more tips and the complete Entrepreneur article