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Great tips for Controlling the Job Interview

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate...

As per article in Men’s Health magazine (http://www.MensHealth.com), Great tips for Controlling the Job Interview (20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Nov. 2008):

You’re being evaluated before you open your mouth so use your time wisely!

Before a word is spoken, an interviewer will assess a new acquaintance and look for evidence to back that impression according to Gitte Lindgaard, Ph.D., of Ottawa’s Carleton University. A polished look helps you secure subconscious approval.

A limp handshake makes a worse impression on a prospective employer than body piercings, tattoos, or a crazy hair color, according to a 2006 survey of employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. And a strong handshake can convey vitality, say researchers at the State University of New York, whose findings back the belief that grip strength may correlate to genetic fitness. Keep your wrist and forearm horizontal to maximize force. An inverted or rotated wrist diminishes grip strength.

Don’t worry if you feel you’re talking too little. In a seminal study, people who were eventually offered jobs spoke about 2 minutes less than their interviewers did. Use prompts – “Tell me about a problem your team recently faced” – so your interviewer has a chance to talk shop, and you can flash your problem-solving skills.

A typical interviewer can assess integrity with high accuracy in 10 minutes…..so tell the truth and resist “image-protecting behaviors,” according to a 2007 Journal of Applied Psychology study. Chances of success dropped by two-thirds when applicants omitted details, distanced themselves from failures, or hid embarrassing chapters. Omissions that surface later hurt double.

Interviewers may not remember your answers but the do remember how you answered. Be specific. “They’re looking for examples that indicate how you’ll function in the future,” says Carole Martin, the author of Boost Your Interview IQ. Come prepared with stories and examples that demonstrate leadership ability, communication skills, integrity, and proven performance that you can shoehorn into any answer.

REFRESH YOUR RESUME:

Work Experience: Screeners may forgive up to 6 months of unemployment, a Harvard study shows. Don’t fudge dates, and use your cover letter to explain gaps. Fill jobless time with volunteer or temporary work.

Work experience and academic performance matter a lot to employers. But involvement in business and social organizations demonstrates leadership and can offset shortcomings, a study says.

Emphasize practical abilities such as communication, organization, and initiative-talking skills. One study found that resumes with accomplishment statements were more appealing to screeners.

 
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Top 10 Cities for New Grads

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

According to Apartments.com and CBcampus.com, the top 10 cities for new grads are:
1. Indianapolis
Average rent:* $625
Popular entry-level categories:** sales, customer service, health care
2. Philadelphia
Average rent: $1,034
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, management
3. Baltimore
Average rent: $1,130
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, health care
4. Cincinnati
Average rent: $691
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, health care
5. Cleveland
Average rent: $686
Popular entry-level categories: sales, marketing, customer service
6. New York
Average rent: $1,548
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, admin-clerical
7. Phoenix
Average rent: $747
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, marketing
8. Denver
Average rent: $877
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, health care
9. Chicago
Average rent: $1,133
Popular entry-level categories: sales, marketing, customer service
10. San Antonio
Average rent: $696
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, management

To Read Article:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/05/13/cb.top10.cities.grads/

 
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So many resumes, so little time

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the employer...

Are you a hiring manager sifting through tons of resumes trying to find that needle in the haystack? Are you looking at an unusually large amount of resumes and thinking about changing your title now to RESUME COLLECTOR?

In today’s downsizing economy, it’s hard to imagine why so many hiring managers are having tremendous difficulty filling their job openings. This is indeed happening, no question about it. With the challenges we face everyday, I scratch my head every day wondering how any one company can effectively recruit without the help of a dedicated search firm that is solely committed to this effort 24/7!

We review resumes daily from various sources including, but not limited to, job boards, advertisements, mailing lists, social media sites, etc. Keep in mind too that we still dedicate time and effort with cold calling and reaching out to those passive candidates in order to make sure no stone is unturned if we’re going to find that needle in the haystack or the very BEST candidate for our client.

So with that being said, I would be too embarrassed to let anyone know (other than my partner) how many messages are currently sitting in my inbox right this very second!! Let me assure you though that we have a system in place to handle this type of volume because after all, that’s ALL we do.

If you are a hiring manager who would like to review fewer resumes yet hire the BEST candidate for your job opening, then consider using an external agency. For more information, please visit
https://cporecruiting.com/services.shtml

 
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Some sound advice on resume writing…

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate...

Sound advice on resume writing from Susan Lewis Paciga, a freelance writer/editor.

If you haven’t looked for a job in the last ten years or so, you will certainly find that things have changed. Even that venerable hiring tool, the resume, has undergone a transformation. Many people are still carrying around myths and false information regarding resumes and looking for a job.

Myths:

• Paper Matters.

Truth: The great majority of your resumes will be emailed. If you want to get a slightly nicer stock for the ones that will be mailed, that’s fine, but not seriously important. Stick with whites, maybe tans. Having it on bright blue paper is not going to get you a job.

• Be fancy, use crazy fonts, put designs all over the paper to stick out.

Truth: Unless you’re in graphic design, don’t. Even then, be careful. You’re better off using an easy-to-read font (like this one—Ariel 12) and bulleting your points to be clear. In fact, email your resume to yourself. See how it stands up to being emailed. Sometimes what looks great in Word gets messed up when sent as an attachment. Make sure your resume is as clear when sent as an attachment as when it’s sitting in front of you.

Another point: save your resume as yourname.doc. Too many people save it as myresume2009 or something generic. If you save it as SharonSmith.doc (or whatever your name is), it will make it easier for the recipient to find you again. The easier you make it on the recipient, the easier it will be for him/her to contact you for an interview.

• List every single duty you have ever done in a job. The more, the better.

Truth: The fact is that what employers are looking for now are accomplishments. It’s taken for granted that everyone now has computer skills and can run a copy machine. What employers want to know is what you can do for them. List accomplishments—saving the company time or saving the company money makes them happy. Implementing new programs, coming up with new ideas, anything along those lines is what you want to emphasize.

• Stay at home moms better hang it up. They’ve got no experience.

Truth: Stay at home moms and women who have left the workplace for awhile have not been staying at home eating bonbons. Look at what you have done—organized a play group, volunteered at a church or organization, headed up a committee. Look at the skills needed to be successful at home: organization, time management. Emphasize this. Maybe you’ve helped your husband in his business. Look at what you’ve been doing; you may be pleasantly surprised.

• Go ahead and embellish your accomplishments. They expect it and won’t check anyway.

Truth: Yes, they will. If you attended university for three years, but didn’t graduate, don’t say that you did. You can absolutely list that you ATTENDED a college and even list a couple of relevant courses, but don’t lie. In the same vein, if you were a secretary, don’t call yourself vice-president in charge of administrative duties. Use the title you actually had. They will check. They may even check after you’ve been hired, and if the lie is grievous enough (like faking a degree), you’ll be fired. Companies are getting more and more careful about this sort of thing as they’ve been embarrassed when the truth has come out in high profile cases. They’ll check. Don’t lie.

• People are so used to texting and email, they don’t care about grammar.

Truth: Your resume is, first and foremost, a marketing tool. If you have misspelled words (absolutely inexcusable with word processing tools like Spellcheck) or really bad grammatical errors, employers will absolutely notice and they won’t even call you. After all, if you can’t even be careful on the marketing tool you are using to try to get hired, why in the world would they think you would be careful at the job they’re thinking of hiring you to do?

• When it comes to resumes, one size fits all.

Truth: Back in the early Pliocene era, say the 70s, when many of us first started looking for jobs, we would type up the resume or maybe hire someone to do that, go to a printer and pay to have 50—100 resumes printed off for us. Yes, on beautiful, heavy stock. Then we’d type up cover letters (on additional blank matching stock we’d purchased), slip the resume and cover letters into the envelopes and pray.

In the Computer Age, there is no excuse for not customizing your resume towards the job you are applying for. You should emphasize the accomplishments and experience that complement the position you are applying for. For instance, I have one resume that emphasizes all the writing and editing positions I have held. Another one emphasizes my teaching experience. Another one my sales and training experience. The one I use depends on the position. And if another position I think I’d like opens up that calls for a different skill set than the ones I’ve mentioned that I think I have, I’ll revamp the resume accordingly.

Another word about different kinds of resumes: There are two basic kinds, the functional resume and the skill-based resume. If you have a lot of experience in the field in which you are applying, use the functional one that emphasizes your accomplishments and experience. However, if you are just starting out in the workplace or have been out for awhile, use the skill based one. This is a resume that emphasizes the skills you have (like time management, oral communications, time management, problem solving) through real world experience.

OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS

• Be sure to have current contact information on your resume at the top where it can be seen quickly. This may seem like a “duh” point, but you’d be amazed at the number of people who don’t put a phone number or email address or their resumes. If they have to hunt you down, chances are they’ll go on to the next prospect.

• Speaking of email addresses: Get one solely for job hunting purposes. This way a response from an employer doesn’t get lost in the funny videos Aunt Fanny sends you. Also, get a professional sounding address. Sexxxygurl@hotmail.com may be lots of fun for you and the folks at Match.com, but it’s not going to impress a prospective employer. Ssmith@yahoo.com or SharonSmith@gmail.com (or hotmail, Verizon, yahoo) works much better.

• DON’T GIVE UP. There are jobs out there. Treat your job hunt as a job. Keep records of who has received your resumes and follow up when possible. Drop an email to a hot prospect to say, “Sent my resume on (date) and hope to hear from you soon.

There are all kinds of sites on the internet to help you put together an effective resume. Consider, too, going to a resume specialist to write your resume. Once you have the initial one (be sure to get it in electronic form as well as paper), you can change it to emphasize the important points and update it as needed. It could be money worth spending. ~ ~ Susan Lewis Paciga, a freelance writer/editor.

 
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One of CPO’S pet peeves: typos or spelling errors in thank you notes

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate...

Candidates should send a thank you note after an interview.  If the manager does not provide you with his/her direct email address, then send it through the recruiter.  Email is acceptable since it saves trees!

Why should you send a thank you letter?

Sending thank you letters will make you stand out and also indicates to the prospective employer that you are very interested.

Let the prospective employer know in your letter that you appreciated his/her time and say something positive about the position, company and overall opportunity.

Take this opportunity to rebut any concerns that were mentioned during the actual job interview, perhaps referencing a particular point that was discussed during the interview.

If you need to send a note to more than one person, it’s ok to include everyone’s names in the letter; otherwise, send it to the decision maker and cc the others.

CPO’s biggest pet peeve though is when someone does not check to see if there are any spelling / grammatical mistakes in the note!!  If your note is full of spelling or grammatical mistakes, your chance of getting the job decreases rapidly.  It also will show that you are not detailed or focused.

SO PLEASE MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO TYPOS OR SPELLING ERRORS!!

 
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What does a job title mean to you?

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate...

Just a thought…….How would you like the idea that you could change your job title every 3 to 6 months? Job duties are always growing and evolving so why not let your “title” do the same when it’s time? Why not have the opportunity to change your title to be more meaningful or descriptive of your duties? Why can’t companies include in the offer letter that you and your supervisor can sit down after 3 months and have the chance to create a new title for yourself? Maybe have the freedom to create a title that is all yours and no one else will have that title. Think of the conversation that your new title will start! It’s an opportunity to really express who you are. You will have the chance to change your descriptive title just as your job duties might be changing. Keep everyone on their toes with what your new title will be every 3 or 6 months. If a company offered this to you, would this make you that much more interested in the company? Please share your comments. We would like to hear your thoughts and whether or not this would be important to you or not. Please be sure to visit Glenn Gabe’s blog since his blog is what inspired our thoughts on this very topic: http://www.hmtweb.com/blog/2008/03/job-titles-overtitling-and-undertitling.html

 
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Chatter…

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Even amidst the talk of company downsizing, outsourcing and of course the depressing housing market, today’s job market in our opinion seems to be strong. The market does not seem to be inundated with employees looking for a job which is always a good sign that a HEADHUNTER is still needed for TOP TALENT!

This Blog serves as a forum for us to share recruiting and interview tips and comments. We welcome suggestions, ideas and comments on anything related. We would love to hear your opinions and comments on industry happenings or topics you would like to see discussed. For more information on our company, please visit www.CPOrecruiting.com.

 
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HIBERNATION

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate..., For the employer...

Are you in hibernation mode yet still interested in hearing about good solid job openings?  With 20 years in this industry, CPO still finds that many of the best opportunities arise when one is not actually looking.  The recruiter role is to be your eyes and ears and let you know when a position surfaces that may be of interest.

 

Are you a hiring manager with a job opening that you just can’t fill?  Having difficulty filling it because a lot of the qualified candidates are hibernating?  Not able to find that right person to fill a need and/or getting ready to begin the hiring process on a new opening and just don’t have the time to consider all the resumes?  Do you crave to have your recruitment and hiring process simplified by having only the best-matched and well-qualified candidates presented to you?

 

If you are a candidate or a client that can identify with any of the above, we would like to hear from you.  Share with us your thoughts on why you might not be looking during these crazy economic times or the reason why you can’t fill your job opening.

 

 

Note to the candidates:  we will be discrete with your name and employer in order to keep you safe while in hibernation.      

 
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Enhance Your Job Search

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate...

Given the current economic conditions, it’s that much more imperative to enhance your job search so here are a few common sense tips for strategizing:

  • Your resume should outline your experience, education and skill set clearly and effectively.  Have a few resumes targeted towards different types of positions.  A generic resume in today’s competitive marketplace will lose its effectiveness.  Most of our clients prefer to view chronological resumes in which there is a description of job duties under each heading of employer name, job title with dates.

 

  • Write your resume in Microsoft Word and save it as a Word document in your name (i.e. NAME.doc).  This then will allow for easy search of your resume by the recruiter or hiring manager.

 

  • Don’t apply for jobs which you are not qualified.  Recruiters as well as employers are not looking for someone who perhaps can perform the job but rather they want someone who has and can clearly perform all or most of the job duties as outlined in the job description.  Recruiters and hiring managers bear the brunt of a candidate’s lack of focus if he/she applies for a job unrelated to his/her skill set.  It takes a long time to look through tons of resumes and those involved are always looking for ways to simplify the recruitment process (not clutter it).  Additionally, for your sake, frustration could then set in as you start to feel of lack of feedback from the recruiters and employers which could then slow down your enthusiasm during your job search.

 

  • To avoid being discouraged in your job search, we think there is a higher reward for you to spend your energy on job openings that are more closely related to your background and skill set.  Don’t waste time on jobs that you won’t get but rather build a good strategy and network for jobs that you really should be targeting.

 

  • How do you know if you are qualified for a particular job?  Pay attention to the job description and the parts that say “required” versus “preferred.”  If you have experience with most of the “Must Have” requirements, then submit your resume and make sure that specific experience is outlined on your resume.

 

 
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INTERVIEWING TIPS

Posted by cpoblog on October 10, 2011 in For the candidate...

The following are some suggestions considering most individuals don’t conduct interviews too often.

 

We suggest business attire unless client requests otherwise – minimum of a sport coat, suit if you prefer. If they haven’t suggested casual, let’s stick with business.

 

Allow 20-30 minutes extra for travel (depending on distance) and 10 minutes to get from car to the office. Always plan to arrive 15 minutes early to allow for time to fill out any necessary paperwork and so you can be relaxed to gather your thoughts. Please remember to have necessary information with you for filling out an application including dates, addresses, references, and phone numbers. (It’s a pain – but we all have to live through it!). Also, be understanding if the interviewer’s schedule gets delayed in any way – this is a great opportunity to show them how flexible you can be.

 

A good rule of thumb is to assume the “interview” begins at the time you pull into the parking lot, and to present yourself professionally from that point through departure from the company site. You never know who you’re “bumping into” before and after the actual interview and who is “watching out” for you. Also, as a rule, the candidate does not initiate salary discussions. In many circumstances, this will not be discussed at all on a first interview. If they ask you, keep your answers consistent with what was presented with your resume.

 

Please prepare by doing some investigation on the company by visiting their website and any parent company website that’s available. Looking at their investor information and recent news releases is also helpful. Formulate a couple of intelligent questions based on your research and you’ll find the appropriate time during the interview to raise them. Asking questions signifies interest on your part, which is important to any hiring manager, as is direct eye contact during your conversation.

 

If you choose to prepare further, here are some suggestions. If you were the hiring manager for this position, what would you be asking a potential candidate to determine if this person is a good fit?  Prepare answers to these questions. Think about the manager’s job and what makes someone a “good hire” other than their technical expertise – i.e. easy to get along with, positive outlook, flexible and helpful, etc. These traits are never written in a job description but are frequently the deciding factors when choosing a coworker. It’s always a good idea to practice out loud with a partner or friend so that your responses are not said for the very first time during the actual interview. It may sound silly, but once or twice through at home makes a huge difference in your confidence and inflection at the interview.

 

If on the day before or the day of your interview you become ill, call the recruiter or manager immediately to reschedule!! It is to your extreme disadvantage to interview under those conditions and most often the company does not appreciate the sharing of sick germs!!

 

Prepare an answer to the following question: “What are your greatest weaknesses and how do they affect you in a work environment?” We all hate this question and many interviewers love to ask it. You must have an answer because if you don’t, it appears you think you’re perfect. This is a tough one to answer spontaneously, so be prepared with something appropriate. Of course, in the interview, your answer should seem spontaneous!

 

Most importantly, take good care of yourself so you are at your best. You already have the talents and skills that they are seeking, and with a little preparation, you will do great on the interview!

By the way, here is a list of some definite “No No’s” during an interview (O.K. we know there’s no need to really mention these but all have actually occurred…so review for humor):

  • Wandering aimlessly in the parking lot looking for your car after an interview.
  • Asking for $20k more because the drive to the interview was so long!
  • Taking documentation along with you stamped “CONFIDENTIAL”…especially when it’s from a previous employer.

 

Best wishes for a successful meeting! ~JP, MC

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