Friday, April 27, 2012

Don't Stress to Impress

For many people the idea of talking about themself is an anxiety producing pit stain. First impressions matter. We know this from a first date, first day of school and, of course, an interview. When you're conscience you need to showcase your positives sometimes the exact opposite happens.

For example, I interviewed someone, via the phone, who dropped a slightly racist comment the other day. He realized his error right away and quickly said, "I can say that because I'm 'insert ethnicity here'. I actually felt bad for the guy. I know he meant no harm and was making a joke at his own expense but it was still not the right time to make the joke. He was a little green and had slipped up. If hired he represents my judgment and my company. Knowing he made a guffaw like that within 10 minutes of talking to me means I just can't take a chance that he won't do it again. A slip like that would be an employee relations nightmare.

There are many great people who I interview and don't get the job. Some are just not right for the position. There are some candidates who I question whether they actually want a job. Then there are those who trip themselves up to the point of no recovery. I compiled a list of basics to remember when interviewing. It sounds like common sense to pros but to someone who's nervous or a natural introvert it might help to keep these in mind.

  1. Don’t give one word answers: This makes you sound very uninterested in the position and makes me wish I had scheduled an interview with another applicant.
  2. Sound enthusiastic: I don’t think this should be something I need to write, yet I still talk with people who sound half asleep.
  3. Don’t use slang: Even if you’re a fantastic fit it still makes me cringe when people use slang in an interview. It's Ask not aks and dude is not the proper term for person. Don't be using no double negatives neither. Think about your social speak and adjust it a little when your speaking to a professional.
  4. Phone interview: Find a quiet place. Loud places distract both you and me.
  5. In Person interview: Always dress in business attire. You never know who will be interviewing you and what their opinion is on jeans.
  6. Be prepared: Always know what job(s) you applied for and know a little bit about the company. When someone says "I don't even know, I'm applying to 60 jobs a day" it's a huge turn off.
  7. Don’t take control of the interview: Asking questions is great, but when you start interviewing the interviewer it can get annoying really fast.
  8. Be Honest:If you lie and we find out, your fantastic resume and interview are now in the garbage. There is a reason we’re taught at a young age not to lie.
  9. Expand on your accomplishments: I read your resume and I liked it, hence your interview. Tell me why I should hire you over the other candidate with the same exact credentials.
  10. Specific examples are great: When people are too vague it makes me think you might be embellishing on your accomplishments.
  11. Remember, professional on e-mail: it’s way too easy to be relaxed over e-mail, fight the temptation!
  12. Stay organized: Creating an Excel sheet tracking all of your job search activity is a nice way to keep organized.

These are just some tips to help you survive and shine during the nerve racking experience that is the interview. I am sure there are many more interview tips that I did not include so feel free to comment with yours or just tell me about funny interviews you have conducted or been on in the past!

Remember: Recruiters want you to succeed, we're rooting for you!

Until next time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Company Branding on Pinterest

Pinterest. It seems as though it came out of the blue this year. While clearly a lot of people were using it prior to 2012 it certainly didn’t have the media coverage and clout it does today. Pinterest is equivalent to an online bulletin board. Genius idea but I actually thought it sounded silly until I played around on the site. Two hours and 50 pins later I came up for air realizing I had converted into a pinner. 

Not only was I now a pinner but I was immediately all edumacated on crafting. Oh, and my diet was going to be crushed by all the peanut butter and chocolate delights I would be baking. This got me thinking.  If it only took me two hours to become a great crafter AND baker on Pinterest how could I use this for recruiting. I don’t always like to think practically but I truly enjoy incorporating new media into recruiting and branding.  Pinterest though?  

I did some research but found there weren’t many articles about recruiting with Pinterest. With no solid track to follow, I decided to go all willy nilly and try and figure it out on my own.  I set up some boards for recruiting and I found others who were doing the same thing. I followed them and they returned my follow. I quickly realized Pinterest’s power for Employment Branding.  Proper branding is huge in recruiting top talent and getting people to KNOW your company and who you hire. To me this most definitely precedes having a fancy job ad, which is a more common focus in recruiting departments. Not that job ads aren’t important but having a company people know and want to work for will trump a fancy job ad any day. 

Most people would describe themselves as visual and Pinterest is such a visual tool. One way to brand your company on Pinterest is to create several boards and use them to paint a 'corporate culture' picture. This can also be done on YouTube and other picture/video sites but Pinterest has the massive referral potential that makes most recruiters salivate. The ease of use and the referral potential are two reasons why Pinterest should not be overlooked as just a crafts and recipe site. Pinterest is very easy to learn and use, which explains its exponential growth and probable staying power.  

Some ideas on how to use Pinterest to promote your company as a great place to work:

Board Ideas
  • Work Culture
    • Who are you as a company?
  •  Future of your Industry
    •  Forecast articles on your industry.
  • Innovative Ideas
    • Did your company develop a groundbreaking product?
  • Company Perks/Benefits
    • IPADS for all? Flexibility? Casual Dress?
  • Volunteer Day at your company?
    •  People love working for companies who gives back. Post pictures of it.
  •  Employees, outside of their job
    • A lot of people have side interests. Helping cross promote those interests helps shape you as a company and your employee as an individual.
Since I signed up for Pinterest I have seen articles on Recruitiing + Pinterest increase in droves. This means that Pinterest isn’t a fad. It’s definitely gaining traction and if you don’t have an account, get one, it’s fun!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why can't you see how great I am?

You are a great employee. 
You know it, your boss knows it and your coworkers know it. Why can't anyone else see it? What's the deal? 

There could be a whole slew of reasons. You might have a crappy resume, poor interviewing skills or sweat like a wild boar. Though, hopefully you're aware of a massive sweating issue. Then there are those lucky cherds who get a job without even really trying. They are those self-confident and charming people who you wish would just crawl into a hole. On the other hand, that would make you sad because they're just so damn charming. Those charmers know how to impress their audience and interviewing comes naturally to them. Thankfully for the rest of us interviewing is a skill and like most skills it can be learned.

Before an interview write down your accomplishments, practice talking about them to a trusted friend and ask your friend for an honest critique. It might take a little practice but a good salary is worth it. Be sincere, the worst type of interview for me is when I feel like someone is trying to sell me a used car. No thanks, I take the subway.

Way too often people don't research the company. Even charming people are guilty of this but they're better at 'winging it'. Please don't try 'winging it', you'll fail. Save the laziness for after you get the job. Another common tip that every interviewing article will tell you is to make eye contact. This is an oldie but goody. If you don't make eye contact then it's shifty, people don't trust shifty. On the other hand, don't stare at your interviewer either. That will just guarantee they lock their door after you leave. While locking ones door is a safe practice it shouldn't be the result of your interview.

More tips for interviewing:
  • Know the difference between confidence and arrogance.
  • Feel free to crack a joke or two but stay appropriate.
  • Communication is mostly nonverbal so don't fidget.
  • Stay positive, no matter how much you hated your last boss.
  • Be prepared to talk about your career highlights.
  • Be yourself, but be the best of yourself. Pretend you're on a first date.
No matter what, getting a job can take time. Don't get discouraged. As a recruiter I often meet several candidates who would be great for the one job we have open. It sucks but take every interview as a chance to perfect your skill!