When you first begin your job search, it’s natural to feel a little nervous – especially when it comes to interviewing. When you aren’t fully aware of a company’s culture – or the interviewer’s temperament – you may face a small case of the jitters. As we’ve discussed before, feeling a little nervous can sometimes help you to perform at your best. However, once you begin to feel overly comfortable with the interviewing process, that’s when the real problems can come into play. One of the best interviewing tips is to never get too comfortable. Whether it’s your first interview of your career or the tenth interview of your most recent job search, every single interview deserves your utmost attention and preparation.
Here are three of the best interviewing tip to keep in mind, regardless of where you may be in the interviewing process:
Make a good impression on your recruiter. Some job seekers make the mistake of assuming a recruiter is immediately on their side, and don’t feel they need to put forth as much effort as they would with a potential employer. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A recruiter stands between you and an interview with the company of your dreams – so act accordingly.
Don’t discount phone interviews. Just because an interviewer can’t see you in person doesn’t mean you should be any less professional. One of the best phone interviewing practices is to ensure you are in a quiet, office-like space where you can focus without interruption.
Keep in mind that if you can’t impress a potential employer via a phone interview, you probably won’t make it to a face-to-face.
It’s not over until it’s over. Just because you’ve made it to the final interview doesn’t mean it’s in the bag. In fact, once you’ve reached the end of the line, maintaining a professional demeanor and likeable attitude is more important than ever. Never assume your skill set is your only selling point. Prepare for your last interview just as if it’s the first, and you’ll be sure to shine.
Landing an interview is exciting, but it’s only half the battle. In the days leading up to a job interview, you likely consume yourself with research and preparation. Most people strive to learn everything they possibly can about a potential employer before walking through their office doors. However, you can only find out so much about a business by a Google search. While it’s important to know a company’s history, net worth and mission statement, knowing the company culture and environment is also imperative to the best interviewing experience.
A recruiter provides job seekers with a unique advantage. In addition to helping you locate new opportunities, they also offer insight into the inner workings of a company as well as information that can’t usually be located through outside research. This is because recruiters are not only working to help you – they’re also searching for the best fit for their clients. In other words, recruiters already have relationships with people at the company for which you are interviewing.
Think of your recruiter as a compass navigating you through the interviewing process. While doing your own research is important, having a recruiter who can prepare you with the best interviewing insights and tips can greatly improve your chances of sealing the deal. It the journey of job searching, it’s always good to have a guide who knows the ropes.
Fear can be crippling and, in many ways, it's the biggest threat to an individual’s personal success. Imagine all of the wonderful things we could accomplish in life if it weren’t for the burden of fear hanging like a dark cloud over every grand idea. While we like to assume it’s extreme competition or circumstance holding us back from fulfilling our goals, fear is generally to blame. If you’re ready to triumph over your apprehension of the future and gain better control over your career, consider the following steps.
Don’t ignore the fear. Suppressing a problem is like ignoring a flame in a dry forest – eventually it’s going to spiral out of control. Fear is much easier to manage when you address it head on. Ask yourself: what are you afraid of? Where did this fear come from? Sometimes we can trace our fear back to a comment made by a boss or coworker. Consider the source and get to the root of the fear.
Make a plan. Although it may sound silly, sit down and make a list of pros and cons of the situation causing you fear. If you’re afraid of an impending layoff in your company, consider the benefits and disadvantages to being let go from your current position. Devise a strategy – such as getting in touch with a recruiter ahead of the layoff.
Examine the outcomes. What is the worst-case scenario, and the best-case? Decide what you would do in either situation. For example, although you fear the possibility of job relocation, it may offer you new career opportunities or it may give you the push you need to start examining other job offers. By taking this step, you’re likely to realize that the worst outcome may not really be that bad after all.
Lastly, take small steps to reach your goals. If an upcoming deadline is the source of your fear, attack the project in small chunks. Set small daily goals that are in line with your end objective. You may find that you tackle the project and reach your goal much faster than you ever expected.
Although the memory may be a little hazy, most people can remember their first job interview. After a few painstaking weeks of filling out applications, the phone began to ring and eventually you landed the perfect minimum wage gig to occupy an otherwise restless summer. Since then, this first interview experience, we all learn a great deal about the professional world – including everything from business etiquette to how to give a proper handshake. Unfortunately, for most people, interviewing never seems to get any easier.
As an IT Recruiting agency, we know that every company has their own unique interviewing style, but we also know that a positive attitude and a genuine personality will take you far. To assist you in your job search, we’ve compiled a few of the best interviewing tips:
Wear a Smile. Like Little Orphan Annie sang several decades ago, remember that you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Be sure to greet each and every person you meet over the course of the interview with a warm smile and a firm handshake. However, be sure to drop the grin when answering the more in-depth questions – otherwise your interviewer may assume you’re taking things seriously.
Practice, practice, practice. Although interviews vary from company to company, there are some questions that seem to remain a constant – such as “Why did you leave your last position?” or “What is your greatest weakness?” By formulating answers to these questions beforehand, you will avoid being caught off guard and will thus sound more eloquent and confident.
Mirror the Interviewer. Before you crack a joke or comment on the office decor, take some time to get a feel for your interviewer’s personality. If they’re the more buttoned-up , no-nonsense type, it may not behoove you to engage in small talk.
Accentuate the Positive. Don’t speak ill of your former bosses, co-workers or companies at which you’ve worked. Instead, highlight the more positive aspects of your professional experiences. If you’re asked to critique a company where you once worked, mention challenges and setbacks and avoid blatant negativity.
Overall, the best interviewing advice is to be respectful, calm and, most importantly, be yourself. Remember that while an interviewer may be assessing your skills and potential fit within the company, you should also take time to consider whether the company’s culture and mission is in line with your own personal goals.
About ten minutes before you're set to leave for the day, a client rings your desk and asks you to change something within a database. The pass code needed to access the database is printed on the lower left corner of a document his assistant faxed to you earlier that afternoon. It’s essential that you find this code immediately, or your company could lose this important account.
You meant to grab the document from the fax room on your way back from lunch, but there was a line out the door. Now, you're forced to begin diving through the mounds of loose paper and crumbled Post-Its littered around the ancient fax machine. Thanks to your mess of an office, and your disorganized coworkers, the document in question isn’t anywhere to be found – and now your job may be on the line.
The truth of the matter is that you’re only as productive as your work environment allows. A clean, comfortable and organized work space not only means you’ll be able to find things when you need them, but it also helps to reduce your stress level and promote efficiency - two things any employer should be happy to provide.
Think of all of the times in which you were driven to near-tears because you couldn’t locate something you needed, or when you lent a file to a peer and they lost it among the clutter surrounding their cubicle. Then re-imagine a scenario in which you were able to open an alphabetized file cabinet and pull out what you need in seconds flat. Now, which would you prefer?
It only takes a couple of hours and a little money to transform your work environment into one you can enjoy. An ergonomic chair, sizeable desk and plenty of organizational accessories may be all you need to set yourself on the fast track to higher productivity and a better attitude about your job. However, if the rest of your office space is a disorganized mess, it can only fuel your frustration with your job.
If you’re looking for a career change, you may need more than a trip to the local office supply store. If your company refuses to make the changes you need to complete your work effectively, then it may be time to contact a recruiter at Phoenix Staff and start locating the job of your dreams.
In this technological age we are in, there are better ways to find a job in 2012. According to CNBC, "In 2011, 53% of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed." Tackle the odds and find your ideal position by following these simple tips:
- Update your resume with your final GPA, completed coursework and graduation date so that employers are up to date with your current information. Also, you may remove your college email address and replace it with a personal email address that you will check often. Most universities will disable your email account approximately 6 months after you graduate.
- Get out there and network. If you live in the Las Vegas area, we at Phoenix Staff hold a monthly BarCode Network where IT professionals gather to collaborate on the latest IT advancements in the industry while kicking back with a drink. This is a great way to get your name and face out there. Bring business cards to this free event that is open to all in the IT industry.
- Gather references from your professors. These professional references will be able to help you out down the line when it comes to applying for jobs and confirming your skill set. Professors will also be able to easily highlight your skills; this should reaffirm what you are good.
- Maintain your relationship with your recruiter. They are on the inside when it comes to the latest job openings that fit right in line with your skills and abilities. If something changes, let your recruiter know. Your recruiter is there to help you find a job, plain and simple.
If you have not contacted a recruiter at Phoenix Staff yet, give us a call in our Las Vegas office at 702-566-3694 or in our Phoenix office at 602-254-6363.
With continuing layoffs and uncertainty in the job market, employees must make themselves irreplaceable. The only way to become irreplaceable and achieve job security is by strengthening your personal brand. Your personal brand is how you are defined in a company by your superiors, peers and yourself. In today’s economy, you cannot just maintain the status quo. You must go above and beyond expectations by adapting to the changing needs of the company and providing innovative ideas to solve problems. Here are 10 great tips to strengthen your personal brand:
- Always take the long and thorough road. The definition of work is an activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or preform something. Exert yourself, do not take shortcuts or be lazy. How many successful people do you know who are lazy?
- Learn to adjust, do not resist change. With the advent of technology, knowledge grows and changes every day. Companies change business plans and implement new strategies for success. The quickest way to losing your job is to be rigid and hold on to the past. By choosing to speak of the good old days or advocating against changes, you show your employers a willingness to undermine their authority and a lack faith in their leadership.
- Be innovative, create beneficial changes. Think of solutions to problems that are original, well researched and beneficial to the company. Even if your plan fails or is not put into action, you show your employer that you want to be valuable to the organization.
- Striving to be perfect leads to failure. Most people believe that being perfect is the only way to achieve success. Actually, perfectionists tend to be inactive, waiting until they have a perfect plan to guarantee success. Nothing is guaranteed, take risks and do work.
- Be driven by purpose instead of by goals. In every profession, employees are supposed to meet certain goals, but this is often impossible due to an unclear sense of purpose. Know your purpose and achieve that purpose. Choose to produce actual changes instead of merely preforming daily tasks.
- Help others for the good of the team and organization. Most people will only do things for others if they expect something in return. Help others to help the company which in turn helps you. The more you become company oriented instead of personally motivated the more indispensable you become.
- Never be satisfied. Continue to learn about your field and keep up to date on current trends and innovation. Go to conferences to gain knowledge even if you have to pay yourself. Always be proactive, because someone who is not learning is going backwards.
- Self-promote by being assertive. If you are the most intelligent and hardworking employee at your company, but no one knows, what does it matter? Don’t be afraid to speak up, share your ideas, and make yourself be noticed.
- Forgive others and yourself quickly. Your worth at a company is not determined by getting everything right all the time. How you handle mistakes, accidents and failures shows your accountability and value as an employee. Get over it, everyone makes mistakes.
- Leave your problems at home. Everyone has a personal life and that personal life can have many problems. Dwelling or talking about those problems won’t make them go away and you can’t solve those issues while working. Prove your dedication to your job by working while at work.
My afternoon ritual outside of work consists of a visit to the mailbox. This time, something exciting is inside my box! There in my mailbox is a handwritten thank-you note which my friend thanked me for attending her baby shower a couple of weeks ago. And it wasn’t just the usual “thank-you…” upon reading her note, she had included a personal touch, mentioning the gift I gave her but also the inside joke we have laughed about since her shower.
We live in a society that now relies on emails, text messages, and voicemails in order to convey emotion. However it hardly ever comes across as it is meant to be. I hear it all the time - “You sound just like everyone else in email!” As an IT Recruiter, I spend many, many hours at my desk sourcing candidates by calling and emailing. I hardly ever receive a handwritten thank-you note from a candidate or anyone of any kind for appreciation. I do however receive thank-you email, or phone calls which is always a pleasure to receive! Yet, after every meeting I attend with someone, I make an effort to hand write a note, thanking them for their time in meeting with me. I seal the envelope and place a stamp on it in order to be mailed to their home. In doing this, I receive more phone calls and emails thanking me for my words, and effort. My intentions are not to get more phone calls or emails, but rather to convey that I have a vested interest in each and every person I get the pleasure of meeting. I always feel grateful and sincere, and I want this to come across in my note—I truly appreciate time well spent with a candidate. It also goes to show I care—and that people are not just another hash mark on my quota board.
The world is harsh enough! I want to make it a bit kinder by saying “thank you,” handwritten, signed, and delivered.
A couple weeks ago, I attended a full day seminar, and was privileged hear the former CEO of Microsoft, Rick Buluzza speak about the kind of professional leader he learned he wanted to be early in his career. The day was very effective for me—I left inspired to share two things with my professional network. Two critical components of professional development: having a positive attitude and being a person of integrity.
Initially, it may seem unlikely that attitude and the character feature, integrity, are part of professional development, but here’s why they are:
Having a positive attitude enables you to be flexible and patient both in your job search & career. No matter where you are in your professional development, or career, or even during a new job search, attitude is important:
- Building & refining a resume (refining multiple times and keeping it updated even when you aren’t actively looking so you can keep track of your own growth and development)
- Dressing & behaving like a professional
- Networking & building relationships (even prior to looking, make sure you don’t let your network get ‘stale’. People like to stay connected with you because of their own network and not only when you ‘need’ them for something)
- Being receptive to constructive criticism
- Keeping skills current (and always looking for opportunities for more professional development)
If you’re in between jobs or embarking on securing a new one, it’s a full-time job getting a full-time job. Regardless of your specialty – programmer, business analyst, instructor, recruiter, student, CEO, you deal with people – patience & flexibility are necessary when dealing with people. I try to follow two rules for dealing well with people:
- Golden Rule (Treat others as you would have them treat you)
- Platinum Rule (Treat others as they want to be treated)
Not everyone will follow these rules, but you (I, professionals, people, etc.) should take the high road because in the long run, you want to build long-term professional relationships with people and these rules will always help you do that. You want to always be identified as a person of integrity. As professionals, we are our own enterprise, and therefore, we have to own our own development—which is an on-going process. Rick Buluzza said to be “hard headed and soft hearted…never burn bridges…be accepting of bad news and stay humble.” Everyone knows about Microsoft’s success; hard not be inspired by a guy who knows a thing or two about professional and personal success.