Archive for June, 2009

Interviewing Demystified

Posted in Interviewing, Job Search, Service with tags , on June 23, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

For many people on the job market, the Art of Interviewing seems like a Mystery.  That’s why we decided to demystify it a bit by offering a few clues that will hopefully put the whole experience into perspective. We’ll start by looking at a few common words that hold within them a hidden meaning about what it means to join an organization.

If you look at the roots for the business terms company and corporation, you find a common theme. “Company” shares its root with the word for companion while “corporation” essentially means to unify in one body.  At its simplest, the message that these words intend to convey is one of coming together. What complicates things is the purpose for which the members come together.  For example, in most cases it’s a lot easier to come together for a party than it is to come together for something like jury duty.  Now let’s apply this idea to interviewing.

When most people find themselves on the job market, their first thought is to get another job as soon as possible.  They’ll think about what it means to be a part of the company later.  Little do they know that this mentality is actually doing them a lot more harm than good. Without intending to, they could be sending out a message to recruiters and their potential employer that more or less says, “You are just an obstacle between me and my money.”

What they are forgetting is the fact that the company has needs too.  That’s why they are hiring.  This is important to remember any time you land an interview and especially so in this economy.  Companies are not sitting around saying, “Wow what are we going to do with all this money.  Let’s find someone who needs it and give it to them for eight hours of their time a day.” And this takes us to the second word clue–the word hire.

To hire means, “to engage the services of one or more individuals in exchange for compensation”.  This means that the hiring company, while conscious that you have certain salary requirements for your services, put the actual service part first. That means that candidates should too.  When interviewing, one should always keep in mind that the company is speaking with you because they believe that you could offer a potential solution to their challenges.

This understanding is the platform upon which the relationship with a company begins and is sustained.  And ultimately, it is the cardinal rule for interview success.  Articles about how to navigate your way through an interview are in no short supply, but without following this first rule candidates are reducing their chances for success.

The following tips, when combined with the above understanding, will enhance your job search experience and ideally reduce the interval between interviews and joining an organization.

  1. Study the website and job description and write down any questions that arise.
  2. During the interview, listen for the needs of the company and be ready to discuss how you can offer a solution.
  3. Ask the question, “What has been your greatest difficulty filling this position?”
  4. Ask for a business card(s) from the person/people interviewing you and try to agree on an appropriate timeframe for following up.
  5. Offer to open your network to the organization.

The bottom line is to put service first.  By making this a habit, you will eventually attract people and companies to you and stand out among others in the crowd effortlessly.

This posting is a candidate focused version of our article as posted on www.ere.net.

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Top Of The Stack Resumes

Posted in Interviewing, Job Search, Personal Brand, Resume on June 15, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in the case of your resume, you are giving the reader permission to do just that.  Consider for a moment that for any given position, there could be tens or even hundreds of resumes for a recruiter or hiring authority to look through.  Faced with these numbers, a person with a hunter’s nature will surrender to instinct and begin the process of elimination. And what are most recruiters, if they’re not hunters?

Imagine you’re a lion or lioness in the wild seeking food for your family.  You just snuck up on forty or so gazelles.  You know that there’s no way you’re getting more than one, so what do you do?  Doesn’t it makes sense to focus on the one you think will best suit your needs?  And of course your only way of judging initially will be to look at the appearance of the gazelle.  Sure, there is always the chance that looks can be deceiving–as they often are–but for the hunter with limited time to strike, that is a chance he or she will have to take.

It is this instinct that comes into play when narrowing down candidates for a particular position.  It’s not personal, it’s natural.  And as a result, your resume is subject to some or all of the following statistics:

  • 10-200 resumes are generated per want-ad
  • 80% of candidates are screened solely with the resume
  • 1 in 245 resumes result in an interview
  • 3 seconds make-or-break a positive 1st impression
  • 10-30 seconds are spent to review 1 resume
  • Less than 1% of the managers keep or respond to unsolicited resumes

Fortunately, as “the hunted” in the case of your job search, your goals differ from the gazelle’s.  You want to be caught and it is in your power to increase the odds in your favor.  That’s why JCSI is offering a free resume webinar, Top of the Stack Resumes: 5 Ways to Break Through a Noisy Job Market.

It’s no secret that we are living in a marketing world. So if your talents and skills are the product you are “selling” to your potential customers (employers), you should consider your resume as the packaging.  This webinar is filled with concrete advice and examples from resume expert, Chris Farmer of Resumes for Results.  She will take you through the ins and outs of a well crafted targeted resume that will set the tone for your personal brand.

Join us Wednesday July 8, 2009 from 10 – 11AM and get an across the table look at what companies expect to see in a candidate’s resume.  Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to make yourself more visible to prospective employers and get to the top of the stack.

Catching Up In a Dynamic Job Market

Posted in Job Search, Social Media, Web 2.0 with tags , , on June 8, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Ask anyone who was on the job market ten years ago or more and they will tell you that it’s not what it use to be.  But then again, nothing is the way it was 10 years ago.  Ten years ago there was no LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google and the only “Green” most people were thinking about was money.  But as the world became more connected and inevitably more social, changes became more transparent and we gained the ability to watch evolution occur in real time.

Instant feedback is now the norm and the “try before you buy” mentality that has entered our lives through consumer ratings sites has entered the job market.  As Dan Voelpel pointed out in his News Tribune article, “The Rules For Job Hunting Have Changed“, these days one of the first things employers do is check your LinkedIn profile to see if you have any recommendations. 

Fifteen years ago if you neglected to keep your resume up to date prior to a job search all you needed to do was spend a few days cleaning it up and start handing it out.  These days you have to think about your various profiles and web presence as well.  So the question is what do you do if you anticipate being on the job market or are already looking and have all of this “catching up” to do?

Well the obvious thing is to start today.  In spite of the initial trepidation of walking in new territory, you will quickly find that you are going to know many people participating in the social media Big 3–LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.  Lay your foundation there.  Secondly, build a framework by finding and engaging with groups that are either in your industry or share your interests.  From there, make it a part of your closing in conversations to ask if the person uses any of these networks.  Over time, you will find that connecting this way becomes as natural as using email and cell phones.

The key here is to make yourself accessible if you want to found.  We are living in a world where we’ve become very used to having information at our fingertips.  If you can’t google it, then people will assume that it probably doesn’t really exist.   As you begin your new job campaign, keep in mind that people are out here looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their challenges.  So if you have what they’re looking for, make it known.

Making Every Interview A Success (Part 2)

Posted in Interviewing on June 2, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

In Part 1 of this series we established that the first step to interview success is engaging the interviewer(s)–getting out of your head and being present in order for their to be a true information exchange.  If you can do that, then the next step will be a piece of cake.  All it will take is a little more commitment on your part.

While there will always be certain elements that are beyond your control, your attitude is always ultimately in your hands.  So before you go into the interview, decide that you are going to come out of the interview better off than when you went in.  Now, how you define “better off” is up to you.  If you see beyond “winning” the role, you will find that there are many other opportunities to gain from the interview process.  Here are just a few:

  1. A second interview – Although this sounds obvious, most people forget that ultimately what you are trying to achieve in the first interview is an invitation to a second interview.  It is very rare that someone is offered a job after one interview.  Realizing this will help you stay present and minimize the risk of overwhelming the interviewer.  Remember that their decision to move you forward reflects upon them.
  2. A referral or lead – When done right, you can leave such an impression on your interviewers that they will want to see you succeed even if they can’t offer you the job you came in for.  This is a great opportunity that speaks volumes.  Imagine that an employer is so impressed with you that they go out of their way to help you.
  3. Improved Interview Skills – If you stay engaged in every interview, you will inevitably improve.  With every interview you will become more refined and ideally you will be perfectly prepared for the opportunity that suits you best.
  4. Company Insight – There are so many things you can learn from the interview to include realizing that landing the position may not be what’s in the best interest of you and the company.  Additionally, you can learn about future plans of the company, competitors that may have opportunities, or emerging markets that could prove beneficial.  

Remember that interviewing is part of a selection process.  How you view it will largely influence the outcome.  When you make the conscious decision to learn from the process and to be improved by it, you cannot lose and you will always have a measure of success.  This attitude alone will help you in attracting opportunities and gaining support for all of your efforts.