You Got the Interview, Now What?

I hear it all of the time from hiring managers - the candidate looked great on paper, but was not at all prepared for the interview, so they are going to pass. The first initial conversation with the hiring manager can very easily make or break the rest of the process. Here are five tips to prepare you for your first interview:

1. Do your research. This doesn’t mean just scanning through the company website and reading the “About Us” page for two minutes. Take some time to read over any awards or conferences the company has been involved with, and find out what they have been up to recently.

Tip: Go to Google and search the company name, then click news instead of web at the top. This will show you all recent articles that have been published about the company.

2. Know who you are speaking to. There is a 75% chance the manager has a LinkedIn profile page; search their name and learn a bit about the person you will be meeting with. See how long they’ve been with the company and what school they attended. This may generate ideas for questions or talking points as well during the call. No LinkedIn profile? Google their name and company, you should be able to find at least something about them on the company page or an article written in the past.

3. Study your resume. I strongly recommend having your resume up in front of you while taking the phone call. The hiring manager will more than likely have yours up too, and there is a good chance that he/she will want to go over your background in detail. It can be nerve-wracking to remember previous dates and/or accomplishments in the moment of the interview; having your resume up while talking will make sure you don’t miss a beat.

4. Study the job description. Look over the main responsibilities of the position and think about how that relates to what you have done in the past. Maybe you have an accomplishment that you can relate to one of the bullet points. Knowing what the manager is looking for and what qualifications the candidate must have is a great way to tailor your answer towards some of the questions he/she may ask (i.e. sharing a time where your attention to detail or multi-tasking skills helped you finish a project on time or before the deadline).

5. Rest up and smile! There are few things worse than talking to a candidate on the phone who is tired and has no energy. If you do not sound excited about the company and the position, the manager is never going to be enthused to hire you onto the team. Get plenty of sleep the night before and smile when talking on the phone…you will be surprised at how much of a difference it can make!

Three Things to do to Increase Your Chances for a Call Back

We are trained from a young age that right after we graduate high school or college, we need to find a job. We frantically throw together a resume and start applying to any company that lets us upload our profile, impatiently waiting for anyone to give us an offer. This mind-set tends to continue on for many people as they get older, especially when they find themselves in a situation where they desperately need a new job. What is the right way to go about it?

I love helping people find jobs. My family and friends know it as well; whenever anyone I know is in the market for a new position, they tend to call on me for help. My years as a Recruiter paired with my job searching experience has taught me a lot on how to streamline the process and find a new job for someone quicker. One of the most consistent struggles I hear from job seekers is that they are not getting any responses from applications that they have submitted. 

While it is a tough market out there, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of hearing back:

1. Apply for more jobs. If you think you are applying for too many jobs, you aren’t. Research has shown that for every 50 jobs you apply for; you will hear back from one. I always recommend setting aside the first hour of your day to scour the job boards every morning and apply for all new and suitable (see below) positions posted. You are more likely to get a call back if you are one of the first applicants to apply rather than being the 50th person to apply after the position has posted for 20 days. You should shoot to apply for a minimum of ten new jobs per day until you start lining up consistent interviews.

Note: Make sure you keep a spreadsheet of all the positions you have applied for. Include the company name, position title, and source (i.e. what job board you found it on) so you can make sure not to duplicate your application. I like to keep a copy of the job description as well so you can quickly reference the details if you get an interview.

2. Only apply to positions you are qualified for. I cannot stress the importance of this. If you feel like you are applying for dozens and dozens of jobs and aren’t hearing back from anyone, you are probably applying for jobs that you are extremely under-qualified for. Make sure to take the time to read the responsibilities and qualifications section and only apply to those where your skills and experience match the majority of what is listed. Recruiters are typically turned off by a candidate who applies to every single opening at a company regardless of experience; this tends to show you are not taking the time to read the description and aren’t very concerned about finding the right fit.

3. Proofread your resume – and have someone else do it too. A Recruiter wants to see your attention to detail and having a typo on your resume will show the exact opposite. Don’t count on Microsoft Word to proofread for you; you’ll be surprised at how many mistakes it can miss. If writing is not one of your strengths, reach out to a professional resume writer for assistance – the investment will be worth it in the end.